The Nissan production facility located in Pretoria, South Africa, employs around 2,500 people and manufactures a range of light commercial vehicles and pick-up trucks. As part of a $200m investment, it was selected to manufacture the next-generation Navarra for 45 countries across the continent.
To facilitate this, key bodywork stamping equipment needed to be relocated inside the plant, without impeding pre-existing production lines for the NP200 and NP300 models. ALE was chosen to undertake the project.
The 77.4t crown of press 18 needed to be relocated to another press bed within the plant. The job required both a dog leg longitudinal and transverse movement and for the crown to be rotated mid-manoeuvre to finish the operation 180° rotated relative to its starting position.
The job needed to be completed within two weeks in order to minimise the impact on other plant operations. There were also physical challenges, for example the crown press had four connecting rods protruding from its base, increasing the overall height to which it must be lifted in order to clear the press bed and uprights.
ALE built a four-post lifting system on an elevated rail platform, making use of a combination of load spreading beams, rails and packing timbers, that was 1.2m in height. This enabled the team to span the suspended (false) flooring and reduce the overall ground bearing pressure. The crown of the press was then lifted and moved 24m longitudinally using the gantry lift system.
A 400t turntable system of ALE’s design had been prepared at the location and set down on four 1m x 3.3m load spreading mats. Four 1m stools were placed upon two 0.9m x 6.5m load spreading mats to allow space underneath the resting crown for the connecting rods at its base. The crown was then unloaded onto the stools and rotated 180°.
During the rotation, the entire gantry lifting system and elevated rail platform was dismantled and reinstalled at 90° relative to its former position. The crown was then lifted from the turntable, moved 28m transversally and installed. ALE’s experience in four-post lifting systems allowed the press to be slotted in its column keys at a 100mm offset.
This work enabled key plant equipment to be reconfigured in a cost-effective manner, allowing a crucial sampling area to remain undisturbed and requiring no movement of other plant furniture. It is also helping the plant towards a manufacturing capacity of 70,000 vehicles per year for the domestic and sub-Saharan market.
Read about ALE's Iraqi refinery project here.