Zimbabwe Power Company commissions Kariba South Expansion Cranes1

The Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) recently commissioned overhead travelling cranes in the powerhouse of the new 300 megawatt (MW) Kariba South Expansion plant which is under constriction 130 metres in the belly of the Kariba South bank.

Upon completion of the expansion, the Kariba South Power Station will add 300MW into the national grid. The US$533 million expansion project, that is inclusive of development costs to be met by ZPC, is being done by a Chinese firm, Sino Hydro. The project is scheduled to complete by 2018.

According to information from the ZPC, the cranes were commissioned earlier on May 1 2016 and will have a cumulative operation capacity totaling to 500 tonnes, making it the biggest crane to ever to be installed in the country. The heaviest part to be installed in the course of this project is a 490-tonne generator rotor.

Construction progress is currently at 45% towards completion and the ZPC is optimistic that the commissioning of the two overhead cranes is a significant step towards achieving its set target of adding the first 150MW generating unit into the national grid by December 24 2017.

According to ZPC, the remaining unit is scheduled to come to life on March 10 2018.

Designed by JME, a Chinese architectural firm sub-contracted by Sino Hydro, the Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) contractor, the 217-metre span overhead moving cranes have a lifting height of 28m, and will be used as special lifting equipment during installation of the new generating units. The cranes will however be preserved after commissioning of units seven and eight to be used for future rehabilitation ant maintenance work.

The process of manufacturing the crane started at JME’s factory in China in 2015. In September of the same year, ZPC and its project technical consultants, Hatch, subjected the cranes to factory acceptance tests after a month of attending to issues of quality; the manufacturer then shipped the crane parts to the country. The final parts arrived in Kariba on February 29 2016, ZPC.

Meanwhile, more manufacturing works on the generator and turbine components are taking place in China and are expected in the country at the end of this year.