Investment Puts Belfast at Heart of Hi-Tech Coal Industry

Coal-BelfastHarbour

Investments totaling £30M by Northern Ireland-based LCC Group and Belfast Harbour have put the city at the centre of the global supply chain for hi-tech coal.

Since opening last year, LCC’s £12M facility has handled almost 500,000 tonnes of processed coal which is exported directly across the world to destinations such as Saudi Arabia, Australia, Scandinavia, mainland Europe and North Africa.  LCC’s investment and export opportunity is built upon a circa £20m investment by Belfast Harbour in recent years to enhance its deep water and cranage capability.

The LCC facility, the most sophisticated of its kind in the world, removes impurities from coal. The coal can then be used to produce ferro alloy and silica metals which are used in the manufacture of hi-end products such as solar panels and medical equipment.  LCC imports coal to Belfast from Columbia for processing before onward export.

Belfast Port and coal

Over 130 direct and indirect jobs are supported by the operation including engineers, lab technicians and port support services.

Michael Loughran of LCC Group, said:

“This £12m investment means that LCC operates one of the most environmentally friendly, state-of-the-art coal processing facilities to be found anywhere in the world.  In addition to creating 30 new jobs and up to 100 indirect jobs in supporting sectors, the facility has put Belfast at the heart of the global hi-tech coal industry.

“Working in partnership with Belfast Harbour and building upon its investments in port infrastructure, LCC is now to the fore of the emerging clean-tech coal sector. The facility is designed to meet the most stringent 21stcentury environmental standards, and uses the most up-to-date technology to combat potential air and water pollution.”

Michael Robinson, Belfast Harbour’s Commercial Director, added:

“In recent years Belfast Harbour has invested around £20m in a new deep-water quay and new larger cranes to enhance its bulk cargo operations in anticipation of our customers’ future needs.  This has enabled the Port to handle ever larger vessels and accommodate LCC’s new facility beside its main bulk handling quay at Stormont Wharf.

“Belfast Harbour is now handling direct export shipments to Saudi Arabia for the first time in its history and recently exported bulk cargo to Australia for the first time in living memory. This new trade is also supporting jobs across a wide range of port services including stevedores and hauliers.”

This week Belfast Harbour handled a shipment of 20,000 tonnes of processed coal destined for Saudi Arabia.

Article from Spring 2018  – Read original Article Here

Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies which offers a unique portfolio of businesses nationally with locations from coast to coast. Our companies provide an extensive coverage of products and services that support the success of a wide range of business sectors across Canada including the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, oil and gas, mining and marine industries.

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLRHercules Machining & Millwright ServicesSpartan Industrial MarineStellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.

We have the ability to provide any solution your business or project will need. Call us today for more information. 1-877-461-4876. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter LinkedIn and Facebook for more news and upcoming events.

Construction Industry Draws $1.3 Billion in Venture Capital

Ventire-Captital-in-Construction

In a bid to digitize building trades, investors have already bet big on the transformative power of new startups

Move over meal deliveries and mobility startups: The construction industry has become a new focal point for venture capital funds and tech investment.

Investment in AEC firms—architecture, engineering, and construction—have blossomed in the last few years, as a once low-tech, staid industry begins to feel the full impact of digital technology, especially when it comes to collaboration software, worksite monitoring, safety, and new design tools.

Tech Investment

Tech investment in construction has grown rapidly in the past decade—in 2008, global investment totaled $4.5 million across two deals—led by growing number of more active and specialized venture capital investors. According to data from CB Insights, the industry saw $882.3 million in investment last year across 103 deals, and has already bested that in 2018, racking up $1.38 billion across 61 deals.

While this year’s considerable investment is mostly due to a handful of sizable venture capital investments in companies such as Katerra, the Silicon Valley construction startup that received $865 million in a funding round that included the SoftBank Vision Fund, these mammoth deals only show the potential many see in these types of companies.

venture-capital-diggerFrom Low Tech to High Tech

“Construction is one of the least digitized industries, so many startups are seizing the opportunity to build technology that would increase efficiency within this market,” says Michael Wholey, an intelligence analyst for CB Insights. “As a result, funding and deal activity in the construction technology space has been increasing steadily over the past few years.”

Kaustubh Pandya, a principal at Brick & Mortar Ventures, a three-year-old San Francisco-based investment fund focused on AEC companies, says the technology to digitize buildings, including affordable sensors and better mobile technology, has the potential to make an industry known for long time frames and flexible deadlines more efficient.

According to a recent Crunchbase article, a number of startups are on the rise, including Rhumbix, which raised $20 million in venture capital investments for its mobile platform for the construction craft workforce, and Procore, which has built a cloud-based construction management software application and raised $229 million.

While there’s a desire to expand and diversify tech investment—”the world doesn’t need another general fund, there are plenty out there,” says Pandya—the size and scope of the construction and design field offers plenty of opportunities. A report from global consulting firm McKinsey found numerous areas for improvement and investment, especially in the realms of field productivity and site-performance management.

One of the main reasons investors see great potential is the relatively low growth in productivity in the building trades, relative to other industries. The McKinsey analysis found that construction labor productivity averaged 1 percent growth annually over the last two decades, compared to the 3 to 4 percent average found in other industries. If new technologies could help close that gap, that would add an estimated $1.6 trillion to the industry’s annual output.

Read original article here.

Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies which offers a unique portfolio of businesses nationally with locations from coast to coast. Our companies provide an extensive coverage of products and services that support the success of a wide range of business sectors across Canada including the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, oil and gas, mining and marine industries.

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLRHercules Machining & Millwright ServicesSpartan Industrial MarineStellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.

We have the ability to provide any solution your business or project will need. Call us today for more information. 1-877-461-4876. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter LinkedIn and Facebook for more news and upcoming events.

Toronto – More cranes than NYC and LA Combined

reflected-crane

Toronto has more tower cranes decorating its skyline than New York City and Los Angeles combined.

This summer, real estate consultant Rider Levett Bucknall (RLB) released its third quarter crane index. The report is generated by counting cranes in major cities throughout the United States and Canada.

Cranes in Toronto

For the third consecutive crane index, Toronto has the highest number of cranes of all the cities surveyed with 97, an increase of nine cranes compared to the last count by the consulting firm.

The Toronto construction market continues to be led by the residential sector, which makes up more than 86 per cent of the total crane count, according to RLB. Other active construction sectors include mixed-use and commercial developments, followed by education, healthcare and hospitality.

The crane count in Toronto is expected to continue to climb, as the city will see a boost in infrastructure spending. More than 400 high-rise projects have been proposed, adding to the city’s crane count.

In New York City, RLB counted 20 cranes, a small increase compared to the previous count of 18. The increase is attributable to new projects breaking ground at a steady pace; the current count shows 11 cranes on mixed-use development sites, three in transportation projects and three in the commercial sector.

cranes-toronto
The view of Toronto from a Comedil 250 tower crane. The crane is one of 97 tower cranes operating in the city this summer. Photo by Adam Chiarot

In Los Angeles, the crane count held from January 2018. While 22 of LA’s 36 cranes are in use for mixed-use projects, there are several projects in other sectors that are shaping the skyline. Several infrastructure projects, including three bridges, and a new concourse at LAX, are underway. As well, cultural projects like the new Lucas Museum and a $40 million facelift for the city’s music centre, will boost LA’s crane count.

Seattle in second

Seattle placed second in the crane count, with 65 cranes city-wide, 20 more than the previous survey. Cranes are erected in Seattle for a variety of uses, including 27 cranes for mixed-use, 17 for residential projects and 11 for commercial applications.

The crane count in Calgary has grown from the 22 crane installations to 26. An increase in employment and new infrastructure projects, including a ring road and a light-rail line, help boost the city’s strong residential sector.

With two-thirds of the city’s construction activity is in multifamily buildings, with 6,500 units currently being built, 18 cranes are dedicated to the residential sector. As well, the Calgary Cancer Center, a $1.4 billion healthcare facility, will add jobs and services to the city. Other major projects include 500,000 to 1 million square-foot warehouses and two community recreation centers.

Read the original article here

Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies which offers a unique portfolio of businesses nationally with locations from coast to coast. Our companies provide an extensive coverage of products and services that support the success of a wide range of business sectors across Canada including the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, oil and gas, mining and marine industries.

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLR, Hercules Machining & Millwright Services, Spartan Industrial Marine, Stellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.

We have the ability to provide any solution your business or project will need. Call us today for more information. 1-877-461-4876. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter LinkedIn and Facebook for more news and upcoming events.

Skyscrapers – A History of Early High Rise Construction

Early-Skyscrapers

The early skyscrapers were a range of tall, commercial buildings built between 1884 and 1939, predominantly in the American cities of New York City and Chicago. Cities in the United States were traditionally made up of low-rise buildings, but significant economic growth after the Civil War and increasingly intensive use of urban land encouraged the development of taller buildings beginning in the 1870s. Technological improvements enabled the construction of fireproofed iron-framed structures with deep foundations, equipped with new inventions such as the elevator and electric lighting. These made it both technically and commercially viable to build a new class of taller buildings, the first of which, Chicago’s 138-foot (42 m) tall Home Insurance Building, opened in 1885. Their numbers grew rapidly, and by 1888 they were being labelled skyscrapers.

Chicago initially led the way in skyscraper design, with many constructed in the center of the financial district during the late 1880s and early 1890s. Sometimes termed the products of the Chicago school of architecture, these skyscrapers attempted to balance aesthetic concerns with practical commercial design, producing large, square palazzo-styled buildings hosting shops and restaurants on the ground level and containing rentable offices on the upper floors. In contrast, New York’s skyscrapers were frequently narrower towers which, more eclectic in style, were often criticized for their lack of elegance. In 1892, Chicago banned the construction of new skyscrapers taller than 150 feet (46 m), leaving the development of taller buildings to New York.

A new wave of skyscraper construction emerged in the first decade of the 20th century. The demand for new office space to hold America’s expanding workforce of white-collar staff continued to grow. Engineering developments made it easier to build and live in yet taller buildings. Chicago built new skyscrapers in its existing style, while New York experimented further with tower design. Iconic buildings such as the Flatiron were followed by the 612-foot (187 m) tall Singer Tower, the 700-foot (210 m) Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower and the 792-foot (241 m) Woolworth Building. Though these skyscrapers were commercial successes, criticism mounted as they broke up the ordered city skyline and plunged neighboring streets and buildings into perpetual shadow. Combined with an economic downturn, this led to the introduction of zoning restraints in New York in 1916.

In the interwar years, skyscrapers spread to nearly all major U.S. cities, while a handful were built in other Western countries. The economic boom of the 1920s and extensive real estate speculation encouraged a wave of new skyscraper projects in New York and Chicago. New York City’s 1916 Zoning Resolution helped shape the Art Deco or “set-back” style of skyscrapers, leading to structures that focused on volume and striking silhouettes, often richly decorated. Skyscraper heights continued to grow, with the Chrysler and the Empire State Building each claiming new records, reaching 1,046 feet (319 m) and 1,250 feet (380 m) respectively. With the onset of the Great Depression, the real estate market collapsed, and new builds stuttered to a halt. Popular and academic culture embraced the skyscraper through films, photography, literature and ballet, seeing the buildings as either positive symbols of modernity and science, or alternatively examples of the ills of modern life and society. Skyscraper projects after World War II typically rejected the designs of the early skyscrapers, instead embracing the international style; many older skyscrapers were redesigned to suit contemporary tastes or even demolished—such as the Singer Tower, once the world’s tallest skyscraper.

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Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies which offers a unique portfolio of businesses nationally with locations from coast to coast. Our companies provide an extensive coverage of products and services that support the success of a wide range of business sectors across Canada including the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, oil and gas, mining and marine industries.

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLR, Hercules Machining & Millwright Services, Spartan Industrial Marine, Stellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.

We have the ability to provide any solution your business or project will need. Call us today for more information. 1-877-461-4876. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter LinkedIn and Facebook for more news and upcoming events.

Hoisting in Downtown Toronto? Advance Planning is Key

toronto-downtown
When it comes to hoisting HVAC and other heavy rooftop components onto downtown Toronto office towers, the lifts themselves take just a day or two. What makes it all work, however, is months of planning.

A case in point: In late May, Amherst Crane Rentals placed mechanical equipment atop a 22-storey building on Yonge Street, between Adelaide and Richmond streets, in the heart of downtown Toronto’s business core. With a 15,000-lb. cooling tower the heaviest lift, and a relatively narrow area to work from, Amherst brought in one of its heavyweights — a 500-ton Liebherr LTM 1400 all-terrain crane.

“In this configuration we had 276 feet of luffer and around 220,000 pounds of counterweight with the [Liebherr TY guying] heavy-lift attachment,” Amherst Crane Rentals vice-president Mark Welstead explained.

Key to matching the LTM 1400 with this particular job was the fact the telescopic boom is attached and doesn’t need launching each time it’s needed.

“You have a great lifting capacity without having a major operation like launching a boom, so this speeds things up and makes the whole job more productive,” Welstead explained.

Because the LTM 1400 is versatile and can readily adapt to an eclectic mix of hoisting jobs, it isn’t sitting around if only smaller jobs come calling.

“Where it excels is in its capacities for all the work we do, whether it be for [erecting] tower cranes or for mechanical work like this,” Welstead said. “If we don’t have a 500-ton job for a few days we can rent it out as a 250, 300 or 400 with relatively ease. This gives us more productivity and use out of the crane. We can use it for smaller jobs very easily without a big cost.”

The truck-mounted crane’s compact nature makes it relatively easy to transport it from job to job. To travel to the Yonge Street site from its yard in the suburb of Brampton, Ont., the crane simply motored down major arterial routes, taking up a single lane, travelling at the city-approved 40 kilometre per hour speed limit and avoiding sensitive overpasses.

“The crane is permitted for the City of Toronto, but there’s lots of roads and bridges we’re not allo

Torontowed to go over,” Welstead said, singling out the Gardiner Expressway, which for much of its length is an overpass that is aging and showing signs of deterioration.

To reach its downtown destination, the crane and its convoy of support trucks drove down Highway 427 and then took Lakeshore Blvd. eastwards. While the set-up and job itself were fairly straightforward, the project itself required months of logistical planning. As soon as its customer came calling, Amherst contacted City of Toronto work zone coordinators and affected parties such as the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) to sort things out.

“It starts with the customer and what they require,” Welstead explained. “We figure out what kind of crane we need and how we’re going to do it, then we decide whether or not we need to shut a road down.”

Logistics are normally arranged months in advance. Transit routes can be affected, and while Toronto’s subway system is underground downtown, bus and streetcar routes are impacted by street closures. Just as motorists and pedestrians will be redirected for a job’s duration, the TTC also needs to plan alternate routes.

Because there are subway tunnels, hydro infrastructure and other amenities underneath Yonge Street, Amherst and city engineers needed to ensure the area where the crane was set up could tolerate the weight.

Crews set up on mats, with engineered heavy point loads calculated to accommodate the 190,000-lb. crane.

“We provided them with all the crane loadings and came to agreement as to where the crane could sit on the road,” Welstead said.

It also took time to arrange for permits, paid-duty police officers and other supports. With a significant amount of on-site staging work, and numerous components needing to be hoisted, Amherst avoided chaos by scheduling the project for the Victoria Day long weekend.

“We had to take some of the older equipment out and put up some steel and other components to accommodate the new equipment up there, so there were multiple smaller lifts as well as a heavy lift,” Welstead said. “We’d hoist stuff down, put new stuff up. Then they would be fabricating and we’d start working on other stuff — taking down older frames and things like that.”

On more modest jobs, crews might normally arrive on a Friday evening to assemble the crane so it’s ready to hoist Saturday morning, and then wrap up and leave midday on the Sunday. The extra day afforded by the long weekend offered wiggle room, though crews were gone by mid morning on the holiday Monday.

“If we’d had to interrupt traffic for a whole other weekend to finish, it wouldn’t be in the city’s best interests,” Welstead said.

While the customer brought in two other contractors to handle other components of the job, Amherst relied as much as possible on its own equipment and services, opting not to sub out anything it was responsible for.

“That way we can ensure being on time and everything’s working properly and we don’t get a let-down,” Welstead said.

This included trailers, secondary equipment and services, and a second crane — a Liebherr, LTM 1055 all-terrain machine — to set up and dismantle the main crane.

While severe weather can put best-planned timing in jeopardy, crews endured nothing more than light showers on the Saturday.

“High wind and lightning can be a challenge if we have all of this set up ahead of time,” Welstead said.

Graham Morrison, the crane operator Amherst assigned to the job who also served as site supervisor, said the lift had its challenges but was mostly straightforward.

“We had five different trades working all at the same time in the same confined space,” said Morrison, a member of the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 793. “There were only three companies, but we were dealing with pipefitters, electricians, millwrights, welders and crane operators.”

Morrison described the rigging, which he oversaw, as standard, with nylon belts, steel chokers, steel beams and spreader bars used to help protect the load from potential damage. Morrison concurred with Welstead that the LTM 1400’s compact nature and its ability to avoid a boom-launching manoeuvre played a major role in getting the job done within a tight time frame.

“By 10 o’clock Monday morning we were gone and the street was reopened. We were right on schedule,” he said.

Article by By Saul Chernos Read the original article here

Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies which offers a unique portfolio of businesses nationally with locations from coast to coast. Our companies provide an extensive coverage of products and services that support the success of a wide range of business sectors across Canada including the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, oil and gas, mining and marine industries.

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLR, Hercules Machining & Millwright Services, Spartan Industrial Marine, Stellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.

We have the ability to provide any solution your business or project will need. Call us today for more information. 1-877-461-4876. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter LinkedIn and Facebook for more news and upcoming events.