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Vuka Timbers – The changing of a 22 tonne boiler

Vuka Timbers Boiler Change

The Project was to change a boiler for Vuka Commondale Treated Timber in Paulpietersburg.

This consisted of transporting, the cranage and rigging. On project commencement, Reef Rigging would need to change out 2 x BS2970 461 model stripped JT boilers; 5t steaming 22t dry mass and all accessories; steam, feedwater and blowdown piping modifications at Vuka Commondale Treated Timber in Paulpietersburg by combination Reef Rigging and Boiler Industrial Plant.

Scope of work

The scope of the project was to:

1) Remove the old unit from the boilerhouse.

2) To move the spare boiler into position.

3) Steam, feedwater and blowdown piping modification.


The resources that were used to accomplish the change were:

  • Crane trucks MB3348 and MAN480 with rear-mounted Fassi 41txm knuckle-boom cranes.
  • A lowbed transporter ARV30t.
  • A Forklift 7t and extension.
  • 8 qualified and experienced riggers.
  • Certified lifting gear.
  • 100t Hydraulic jacks.

Key Challenges

The key challenges that were faced when installing the new spare unit into the boilerhouse were that there was extreme space restriction, and removing the existing stripped-down boiler where there was a walled exit to the loading position was. The boilerhouse did not allow for access to the crane truck.

The ground conditions of the sawmills were sawdust chips and uncompacted, soft soil surfaces which further complicated the movement across the area of the 15t heavy lift crane trucks. Getting each module on-site necessitated a systematic tandem lift by to crane trucks to move them. It was also necessary to change out the different-sized skids on both boilers to accommodate the height differential between the bases to matching other fixed components.

Overcoming Project challenges

  • The existing unit had optimum jacking and stripping to detach from other fixed boiler componentry.
  • We used a 7t forklift for momentum, jacked-up the module onto 4 x 15t skates and rigged out boiler to exit the boiler room.
  • An extended crane boom was utilised into the building and crane our boiler on skates to the external loading position.
  • We reset the 2 crane trucks and tandem lifted and moved module in a small 5m step by step manoeuvre, eventually loading it onto the lowbed for onward transportation.
  • A tandem lift of the unit over the lowbed to remove the skid base and change out with different-sized skid base for the incoming spare boiler.
  • In the reverse process, transporting the new boiler to same entry position, driving out the boiler from under suspended boiler load.
  • The tandem move of the new boiler to boilerhouse entrance.
  • Rig in the new unit into its final position.
  • Using 100t hydraulic jacks to orientate the boiler into end-to-end alignment and bolt together the components.

The project in total took three days to complete.

Reef Rigging has undertaken various rigging projects and has a great safety record. Our projects include boilers, steel erections, food and dairy, manufacturing and factory relocations. Take a look at our Case Studies for further information.

If you need an experienced team to handle your rigging and lifting needs, contact or call on +27(0) 82 659 3315.


CONTACT Reef Rigging

+(27) 82 659 3315