Crane construction at the Rail Cargo Terminal - BILK

05. 08. 2021

The Budapest Container Terminal (RCG-BILK) is the hub for combined freight transport to Western and Southeastern Europe. The linchpins of the Terminal are its two gantry cranes, which ensure transshipment from trucks to freight wagons and vice versa all goes smoothly. They work tirelessly to make this happen, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

The gantry cranes at the Rail Cargo Terminal BILK-Budapest

After an accident last year, one of the two cranes, which was erected in 2003, is being rebuilt. A project with rarity value that we will share with you here on the blog in the coming months.

Terminal BILK

The gantry cranes with the movable trolley

After an accident, it's now time for reconstruction

The two cranes are not only massive steel structures, each capable of handling 42 tons of cargo, but also technological masterpieces. With a majestic height of 22 meters, the cranes tower over the loading tracks like an oversized door frame. At the top, the crane bridge, the "trolley" moves back and forth to load the containers. The repairs are a complex project that require detailed planning and all our technical expertise.

Preparations in full swing

The preparatory work for repairing the hoist has been in full swing since mid-April, Tamás Balaton, Technical Director of Terminal BILK, is pleased to report: “Repair work is currently underway on the structural and mechanical engineering features. Our experts are repairing the removable components in off-site factories. Any parts that cannot be transported because of their size are repaired on the Terminal site itself. To begin with, we therefore had to prepare an area on site where repair work could be carried out safely and undisturbed. To achieve this, we put in place closures, speed restrictions and made changes to traffic regulations in certain parts of the Terminal.”

While the repair work is going on, the team will ensure that work at the Terminal is disrupted as little as possible: “Our top priority is to make sure supplies reach our customers without any problems. The repair work must not interfere with ongoing operations,” Tamás Balaton emphasises.

Good preparation is half the battle

What’s in store over the next few months? Balaton explains that “Once repairs to the structural and mechanical features are completed, the machine will assembled in several stages. It will then be connected to the power grid. Finally, the necessary test runs will be carried out in line with all safety and efficiency requirements. After that, the gantry crane can be put back into operation.”

Our engineers are doing everything they can to keep to the tight schedule. It’ll be something to celebrate when the gantry crane resumes its work towards the end of summer.

Bringing together the two main girders of the crane and checking that the elements have not warped.

Work is in full swing

At the Rail Cargo Terminal BILK everything is going according to plan and both the crane construction and the extensive background work are in full swing. Following the successful test operations, the crane will be able to resume its work as scheduled already towards the end of the summer. Until then, the terminal will ensure uninterrupted operation and smooth supply to customers even during the construction work.

What is happening in the background?

Péter Kovácsvölgyi, operational director of RCT-BILK, gives a behind-the-scenes look at the background work:

"During terminal operations, tons of containers and heavy equipment are handled, so it is even more important to ensure 100% safety at all times and especially during the current crane construction phase.

To this end, several temporary changes had to be made even before construction work began. For example, closures and changes to traffic regulations were arranged at certain points at the terminal. In addition, due to the space required by the machinery used to repair the crane, the terminal's storage area was reduced, so storage and train loading had to be reorganized. In our experience, the operational background work effectively supports the maintenance process and contributes significantly to the smooth operation we have been used to."

Péter Kovácsvölgyi operational director of Rail Cargo Terminal - BILK Budapest at the KALMAR Reachstacker, which currently ensures the smooth service at the terminal.

The current status of the manufacturing work: A part of the crane is already assembled.

Soon the test operation will start

In Mid-July the most difficult and spectacular phase of the crane's construction process was successfully completed: the support pillars, cross and main girders and the crane-trolley were installed. A significant milestone in the revival of the crane. After finishing the assembly work, connection to the electrical grid and the following trial operation, the crane will be in operation by early autumn.

Attaching the 73-tonne main girder definitly wasn‘t an ordinary task and had to be done with incredible precision. The main girder was 17 m above ground using bolts and screws.

Thanks to the competence of the colleagues at RCT-BILK and the company responsible for the repair work, DaruSín Kft, everything went smoothly and according to plan. We are very proud that the feedback from our customers was overwhelmingly positive with no noticeable reduction in capacity or quality of service.

Tamás Balaton, technical director of the terminal

Tamás Balaton, technical director of the Rail Cargo Terminal BILK

As the construction advances, the current measures in the terminal area such as speed restrictions, traffic changes, track closures, will be further reduced to allow for an even smoother service in the foreseeable future.

Successfully put into operation

After many months of work, the complex repair process of the crane consisting of several phases was successfully completed. The 22-meter-high steel structure was assembled before the end of the summer, after which the control system, drive and electrical connections were installed, and finally the load test was carried out. The gantry crane can handle up to 42 tons of cargo and enables containers to be reloaded quickly and easily. This not only creates efficient work at the terminal, but also provides an optimum link between the rail and road modes of transport. "After the test operation, the final acceptance was successfully carried out with our RCG internal experts and an independent testing company, so that the crane was now ready to be put into operation," says Tamás Balaton, the terminal's technical director.