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Meije renews the overhead crane of a hydroelectric plant

November 2021

Meije, manufacturer of overhead cranes, gantry cranes, installer of handling equipment and member of Verlinde’s EUROPONT and after-sales network, has won a tender for the renewal of a travelling crane in the hydroelectric plant at Mauzac, Dordogne. Present production of electricity at the plant enables some 15,000 households to be provided with this source of energy.
The replaced overhead crane was commissioned in 1924 when the facility was built. Having become obsolescent, its use was suspended in 2019.

With more than 70 years of experience and 25 professionals in the workshop and in the field, Meije’s field of action is a wide stretch of the South of France for lifting and handling operations for industry, together with the maintenance of electric motors. An important unit is dedicated to the construction of overhead cranes associated with an advisory service in the design department. Meije operates with the most demanding industrial companies not least of which are those in aerospace and shipbuilding.
Meije conducts on-site works including diagnosis, predictive maintenance, asynchronous motor and generator maintenance, laser alignment, dynamic balancing and vibration analysis of equipment. MASE certification provides a guarantee of safety, one of the company’s main operational priorities. Meije has been Verlinde’s partner and a member of the EUROPONT network for twenty years.

An industrial site one hundred years old

Meije has been involved in the installation, repair and maintenance of lifting equipment for the Mauzac hydroelectric plant for 40 years.
The factory was inaugurated in 1924, and several pieces of equipment still in use date from that period. That was the case of the overhead crane, used for the maintenance of machines. In compliance with the design of the early 20th century, the overhead crane operated with a single lifting speed and without a load limiter. Too old and obsolete, the overhead crane no longer met current safety standards. It also had design issues as it brushed against the plant wall when moving. Its use was therefore suspended in 2019. As a temporary replacement, a mobile crane or jib crane was occasionally used. The lifting process was expensive and not all-inclusive due to a lack of the power required to lift certain parts of alternators.
The hydroelectric plant therefore issued an invitation for bids initially for the retrofit of the overhead crane because of the narrowness of the installation and of the potential difficulties for positioning.

A customized overhead crane

Taking into account structural and design flaws, Meije responded by offering a complete replacement rather than a refurbishment, for an equivalent budget. With similar experience on another EDF site, Meije was able to resolve installation difficulties. The company’s solution was adopted.
A custom-designed overhead crane with an MWL of 63 tonnes, a span of 14.5m and a height of 12m was built. The crane is fitted with VERLINDE EUROBLOC VT5 hoists, with two speeds for all directions, a load limiter and radio control.
Several options were added at the customer’s request: lighting of the work area by LED projectors and load readout. An additional 3.2 tonne auxiliary hook on a VERLINDE EUROBLOC VT2 maintenance hoist replaces the large hook for small manoeuvres.
Meije took charge of the installation. It was necessary to install the crane outside the building and make an opening in the roof. The modern and down-sized design of the new overhead crane fits perfectly into the buildings, without touching the walls.
The new overhead crane was installed in Mauzac in the Spring of 2021. It took Meije only 6 months to design, manufacture and commission.
The plant is once again fully serviceable with a practical, functional and standards-compliant overhead crane. It is again possible to organize full maintenance of the turbines.

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