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Synchronized Multiple Hoist System for Boat Repairs

Synchronized Multiple Hoist System for Boat Repairs

Application: Multiple hoist system with custom control package to lift boats out of the water for service and repair
Customer: Weston Solutions
Location: Umm Qasr Naval Base, Iraq
Line Pull: 1,000 tons (2,000,000 pound) total system capacity
Cable Capacity: 32 feet of travel 
Power Source: 400 VAC / Three Phase / 50 Hz
Special Features: Custom synchronized control system, complete rigging package including wire rope, blocks and sheaves

Umm Qasr Naval Base Umm Qasr Naval Base Umm Qasr Naval Base Umm Qasr Naval Base

Why  APPI: It was mid-afternoon at the Umm Qasr Naval Base on the southern tip of Iraq. Rick Fedrick, a seasoned project manager for Weston Solutions of West Chester, Pennsylvania, watched intently as a 90-foot Iraqi Coastal Defense Force (ICDF) patrol boat rose slowly out of the Persian Gulf on a steel platform. Although he had become acclimated to the 117 degree heat, he says now that he was “sweating a little” over the fact that his and Weston’s reputations were riding on the 10 slim pieces of wire rope lifting the vessel.

Fedrick arrived at Umm Qasr in January of 2004 and took charge of the rebuilding effort of that facility as contracted to Weston. Within three months, using local contractors and laborers, he had built two barracks, a dining hall, a classroom and a warehouse. Based on that success, Fedrick was given the opportunity to bid on removing and rebuilding a boat lift destroyed during the invasion of Iraq in March of 2003. Having the lift operational was identified by the Iraqi Ministry of Defense and the Coalition Provisional Authority as being crucial to ensuring the five patrol boats in the ICDF were properly maintained and able to fulfill their mission to counter terrorism, smuggling and piracy.

Although Fedrick was a naval architect, he knew that once the 250 tons of twisted steel remaining in the water from the old lift platform were removed, getting a multiple hoist system in placed that would meet his 1,000 ton capacity requirement was going to be more challenging than erecting buildings. In addition to the salt water atmosphere, sand and extreme heat that went with the location, the system he was responsible for specifying needed to be safe and reliable for the ICDF crews who would be operating it long-term.

Given his experience with the local contractors he had worked with on the building projects, Fedrick felt he could handle rebuilding the lift platform itself. But, as he said, “Hoists are not my area of expertise.” Based on Weston’s previous experience with Allied Power Products, Inc. (APPI) in Beaverton, Oregon, Fedrick contacted their president, Bob Peterson, and described his requirements. Fedrick says the reply from Peterson was simple, “Tell me exactly what you need and we’ll provide you with a system that meets those requirements.”

In order to use as much of the existing lift structure as possible, Fedrick specified 10 hoists with a total capacity of 1,000 tons. Fedrick also added the caveat that after traveling 32 feet vertically, the platform could be no more than 1/16th of an inch out of plane over its 265 foot length.

What APPI proposed to Fedrick was a multiple hoist system that included not only the AC electric hoists, but also complete motor controls, 10 load blocks with eight parts of line, wire rope spooling compensators, and the wire rope and electrical wire for both power and controls – even the mounting bolts for the hoists were included. Fedrick says the only thing Peterson did not offer to include were his services as an on-site adviser.

When Weston was awarded the contract to rebuild the ship lift, a purchase order contract was issued to APPI for the synchronized multiple hoist system. In December of 2005, Fedrick and Champak Sadhu, Weston’s lead mechanical engineer, made a trip to Beaverton where APPI had laid out the entire system for familiarization and run testing. After acceptance, the entire system was loaded into three containers and sent by sea to Umm Qasr.

Since the day the contract had been awarded to rebuild the ship lift, Fedrick and his crews had been working to remove and rebuild the old platform sitting in the water between the two wings of the ship lift dock. At the same time, they were also designing and building the 10 lift towers and hoist mounting pads in anticipation of the arrival of the containers from APPI. Without the benefit of any form of fabrication facility, the work was completed entirely on site just before the hoisting equipment arrived.

After bolting down 10 hoists, hanging 10 pairs of load blocks and reeving 10 lengths of wire rope, the controls were connected and system testing began. Over a period of a month, the platform was tested for both gross and off-center loading. Fedrick said that “Once we had everything dialed in, it made no difference to the hoists what the load was or where it was positioned – it lifted perfectly level under all conditions. There’s no question APPI was the right choice for this job as their system just flat worked right.”

On May 22, 2006, Fedrick watched as a team of ICDF sailors successfully guided Patrol Boat 5 into the cradle on the ship lift, secured it and lifted it to dock level. He may have been “sweating a little,” but with the system operational and training complete, the rest of his job was “just paperwork.” In early June of 2006, with both the base facilities and the ship lift in the hands of the ICDF, Fedrick returned home to his family in the States.

Please contact us if you would like more information about this particular multiple hoist system or any of our other products and services.


Allied Power Products, Inc. has specialized in providing winches, hoists, capstans and cranes to meet our customers’ specific application requirements for more than 30 years.

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