A team of Manitowoc's Grove all-terrain and rough-terrain cranes is working at one of the most significant chemical processing plant projects in Europe. The Porto Torres Green Hub project in Sardinia, off the coast of Italy, will see the complete conversion of the existing facility from a fossil fuel plant to a bio-based production facility.

The six Grove cranes, which offer capacities from 40 t to 300 t, will spend six years at the giant coastal job site. They are charged with installing a demanding and expensive list of chemical plant equipment and materials that includes 15 tanks, which vary in size up to 500 m3; 17 racks measuring 950 m and weighing 1,188 t in total; 51 heat exchangers; 78 reactor vessels; eight thermal columns; 18 mixer units; 125 pumps and 51 km of piping.

Despite having an installation list that would keep most project managers up at night, Luca Pibiri, general manager at main contractor and crane owner I.COM, says his Grove cranes keep him relaxed.

"This is not the first time we've used our Grove cranes on a project of this size and importance and, as before, we are confident they will deliver excellent performance," he says. "Grove cranes are durable and reliable machines, and our operators find their simple operating systems and fast set up make life much easier."

Manitowoc Grove Cranes

The Porto Torres job site is a tricky place for a crane to negotiate – especially for the 300 t capacity Grove GMK6300L, the largest crane on site. Tight corners and an intricate maze of equipment means maneuverability is key, which Grove's mobile cranes are designed for. The Grove AT range features all-wheel steering to minimize turning circles, while the Grove RT range has four steering modes, allowing them to access even the tightest spaces.

The coastal location of the Porto Torres project brings its own difficulties. The marine environment, sand and uneven terrain make for tough working conditions. But the rugged design of the Grove cranes, which have the patented Megatrak suspension system on the ATs and deep box-section frames on the RTs, means they are built to tackle much worse.

Rough Terrain Cranes
Work began at Porto Torres in June 2011 and the first Grove crane arrived at the site in September 2012. All six will remain there until work is completed in 2018.

All of the Grove cranes were supplied by Italian dealer FIMI spa. The company was a key reason why Grove was selected for this major project as Enrico Angiolini, director South Europe at Manitowoc Italy, adds.

"This is such a big project that needs the best equipment and the best service," he says. "FIMI's staff have the expertise and the experience to fully meet the needs of the customer and ensure this ambitious project moves ahead on schedule."

The Grove all-terrain cranes at the Porto Torres Green Hub project include two 75 t capacity GMK4075s, a 100 t capacity GMK5095 and a 300 t GMK6300L all-terrain crane. The Grove GMK6300L offers the longest boom in its class, at 80 m, and is among Grove's most popular models.

The rough-terrain cranes at the project include Grove's 35 t capacity RT540E and the new 45 t capacity RT550E rough-terrain crane, which features Manitowoc's Crane Control System that makes lift set-up even easier. Both these units are built at the Grove factory in Niella Tanaro, Italy.

I.COM, a leading Italian construction company for the chemical and power generation industries, is also the owner of the largest fleet of cranes in Sardinia. It is transforming the Porto Torres facility for Matrica SpA, a joint venture between Polimeri Europa, the biggest Italian chemical company, and Novamont, a global market leader in biodegradable plastics.

The Porto Torres Green Hub project will convert the plant from using traditional fossil fuels to bio-based alternatives. The project will reportedly usher in a "new age" for the Italian bio-chemical industry. Once operational, the plant will produce bio-plastics, bio-lubricants and bio-additives.
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