Potain Cranes Xayaburi Dam Project
Potain cranes keep multi-year Xayaburi dam project on schedule
One of the largest groups of Potain cranes at work in Asia is helping the Xayaburi dam in Laos stay on schedule as the eight-year project enters its second phase. The 23 Potain tower cranes began arriving at the job site in 2012 and are expected to stay on site for another three or four years, as the project builds towards its 2020 activation date.

The success of the highly ambitious dam is strongly dependent on reliable performance from the fleet of Potain tower cranes, and to date that performance has been exactly as expected. There are two huge Potain MD 1600 cranes installed on the job that are playing the lead role in the enormous concrete pouring operation. The cranes have been configured with 80 m of jib and have a maximum rated capacity of 64 t.

Roller Compacted Concrete is poured by the cranes at rates of up to 250 m3 per hour and the MD 1600 cranes are working with Potain's top-belt concrete placing system. The top-belt system acts as a concrete conveyor belt that extends 25 m beyond the jib, enabling each crane to pour up to 600 t of concrete per hour at a radius of up to 105 m.

Main contractor on the project is Thai company CH. Karnchang PCL, and the Potain cranes were supplied to the company by S.B. Siam, the exclusive dealer for the cranes in Thailand.

Verawat Siriboonrit, sales manager for S.B. Siam, said his company remains closely involved with the project. "The cranes have been performing well and have actually helped the project stay ahead of schedule," he said. "We've been training a lot of people associated with the job and also keeping a steady supply of parts heading up to the location. The job site is working 24/7, so it's imperative that the cranes stick to their tasks and also fit in with the overall construction schedule. So far they've performed well."

Potain Cranes
Alongside the two MD 1600 cranes are a mix of 21 other Potain cranes, all built at the Manitowoc factory in nearby Zhangjiagang, China. The two larger MD 1600 cranes were built at the Manitowoc factories in Moulins and Charlieu, France. The cranes are strategically positioned to give every square meter of the job site at least 3 t of lifting capacity.

The most popular choice for the job site is the MC 310K12, and there are 11 of these positioned across the project. These units have a 12 t maximum capacity, and are fitted with jib lengths ranging from 50 m to 70 m, and with working heights ranging from 50 m to 100 m. Alongside these are four MCT 385 units, which have a maximum capacity of 14 t and have been configured with jib lengths of 75 m. They are working at heights that range from 50 m to 135 m. There are also two MC 205B units, which have a maximum capacity of 10 t. They are working with jibs of 50 m and at a height of 35 m.

From the luffing jib range of cranes, there are four of the MCR 225A models, which also have a 14 t maximum capacity. These cranes are fitted with jibs of 55 m, while their working heights range from 40 m to 100 m.

All the MC, MCT and MCR cranes are used for general lifting duties, as well as for pouring Conventional Vibrated Concrete.

Thamnoon Surarat, project manager at CH. Karnchang PCL, said Potain's experience in dam building added a level of reassurance to this huge undertaking. "Potain provided the best solution for us, and the company's Lift Solutions department has a wealth of experience in successful dam construction that has given us confidence that our own project will be a success," he said. "The Lift Solutions department and S.B. Siam worked closely with us to design, implement and maintain a unique set-up that is working consistently in harsh and humid conditions to tight deadlines and a demanding work schedule. Everything is on track and we are delighted with the cranes."

With Phase I of the project now complete, Phase II has started that will include construction of the dam's powerhouse. The 820 m long Xayaburi dam will be 150 m wide and 35 m high on completion. It is situated 100 km downstream of Luang Prabang in Laos and owned by the Xayaburi Power Company, Ltd. It will produce some 7,400 GWh annually and the power will be supplied to both Laos and Thailand.