Case Studies

Universal Cranes news and events from around Australia.

Pioneer Mill Calandria Project

Universal Cranes provided cranage, engineering and personnel for the installation of a pan for Pioneer Mill.

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Wilmar Sugar Mills

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Calandria installation for Pioneer Mill, Burdekin Shire, QLD

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March 2019

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Kobelco SL 4500
Grove GMK 5220
Liebherr LTM 1130
25t Franna


  • Cranage
  • Lift engineering
  • Personnel for the installation of a pan at Pioneer Mill


In March 2019 Universal Cranes was engaged by Wilmar Sugar Mills to provide planning, scheduling, crane hire, and project management for the installation of a new 220t capacity pan for their Pioneer Mill facility in the Burdekin Shire, Queensland. At 68t, the calandria was the heaviest item ever lifted into any of Wilmar Sugar Australia’s factories. It was a significant milestone for the client’s Burdekin regional team, as in recent years Wilmar returned to an in-house fabrication strategy and this was the largest vessel ever fabricated in their workshop.

Universal Cranes was thrilled to support the team in three key components of the calandria upgrade project: a 180° rotation of the calandria, the calandria installation, and installation of a second smaller capacity calandria.

The workshop needed a 180° rotation of the calandria to complete fabrication underneath the structure, including welding over 2000 pipes. Universal Cranes provided a solution to move the calandria out of the workshop, rotate it, and replace it into the workshop for completion. First, we used a truck and trailer with custom fabricated stands on the trailer to move the calandria to a clear area outdoors, approximately 100m away from the workshop.

Then, Universal Cranes mobilised a 130t Liebherr LTM 1130 and a 220t Grove GMK 5220 to carry out the rotation in tandem, and a Franna to provide guiding support. We also procured two specialised one-time use 50t lugs, to facilitate the in-air rotation, which was designed and welded into the calandria at the center of gravity. The calandria was picked up from approximately 1m off the ground to a height of 6m where it was then rotated.

The calandria was then placed back on the trailer to be taken back into the workshop for final welding over the following four weeks. During this time Universal Cranes began building the 400t Kobelco SL4500 for the calandria installation. The build required careful planning, with a 250t counterweight tray needing to maneuver in the extremely limited space around the mill and associated infrastructure. The crane pad design was also complex, with several inground live pipes running from the mill underneath the planned crane location. This required special bridging designed into the crane pad to ensure no damage.

As a significant and celebratory event for the Pioneer Mill team, the day of the calandria installation attracted a lot of attention. The calandria was picked up from the workshop at 7am and rolled around to the pick location, arriving at approximately 9.30am. The calandria was propped up on stools so the Wilmar team could carry out a photo shoot and interviews to celebrate the notable achievement of the team.

By 2pm, the Wilmar team was ready to have the calandria installed into Pioneer Mill. Wilmar provided four riggers for the lift, with Universal Cranes providing the crane operator. The calandria was slewed over the top of the mill, with the highest point at 25m. This was extremely challenging, moving the 68t, 8.2m long item to this height.

Unfortunately, at the time of the critical point of the lift, a storm cell came through the site heavily affecting the wind and visibility conditions, with rain continuing for over two hours. The lift crew assessed the site, and deemed it safe to continue with the lift, albeit continuing to closely monitor the wind speed and weather conditions. The pan was successfully lifted into place in three separate components: the bottom cone, calandria, and top cone and body.

Universal Cranes also provided crane hire for the installation of the second smaller calandria.

Key Equipment Utilised:

  • Kobelco SL 4500
  • Grove GMK 5220
  • Liebherr LTM 1130
  • 25t Franna

Check out the capabilities of our Liebherr LTM 1130 and Grove GMK 5220, or give us a call to learn more about how Universal Cranes can help with your project.