Verlinde gantry crane lifts Italian helicopters21 April 2021

Helicopters sometimes do not lift themselves. Elifrulia, a long-established operator in Italian helicopter services and flight school market, has taken delivery of a gantry crane on steerable wheels for its hangars.

Claudio Girardi, maintenance manager at Elifriulia, said: "We recently turned to Handel Sollevamenti to help us optimise handling procedures related to helicopter maintenance activities, in particular, the replacement of engines, which are located in the upper part of the aircraft below the blades. Specifically, we were interested in creating a structure that would allow us not to be forced to dismantle the engines to carry out some of the more recurring maintenance activities.

Supplied by Handel Sollevamenti, the gantry is equipped with eight motors: four dedicated to rotation/steering and another four dedicated to moving the structure from one hangar to another.

The structure was built using a box girder with S355J2 sheet metal and consisting of two fixed upper heads and two lower heads for the motorisation housings, linked together by two diagonal legs and tubular steel bracing.

The entrance to the smaller hangar dedicated to helicopter maintenance is only 40 cm wider than the diameter of the blades. At the same time, the height of the door is only slightly higher than the maximum height of the helicopter, so absolute precision, and reliability of the movements of the structure and the lifting system were essential prerequisites for the success of the project.

Alcido explains: "For the lifting unit, we used a EUROBLOC VT model Verlinde electric wire rope hoist with a capacity of 3,200 kg.

The lifting speed had to be minimal to avoid any kind of handling error during helicopter maintenance activities."

The entire structure is radio-controlled to make it easier for operators to manoeuvre it, through a series of PLCs that use drives and encoders on the motors to guarantee extreme precision in steering movements.

Operations Engineer

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