Platform structural failure
An incident occurred on Wednesday with a 13.5 metre CPL/Socage pick-up mounted platform, involving a structural failure within the CPL produced turret fabrication, just below the slew ring.
The incident, on a platform owned and operated by Northern Ireland Electricity, resulted in an injury to one of the men in the platform, although fortunately he was released from hospital following treatment.
The structural failure occurred within the 4mm high tensile steel plate that supports the slew ring, photographs appear to show that a crack in the material had been present for some time due to the rusted surfaces, and if so was not picked up in any routine or periodic inspections, such as those carried out by insurance companies or third party Loler inspections.
On Wednesday, the existing crack rapidly extended tearing the material to the extennt that the bearing broke free from the chassis. CPL has, we understand, already managed to inspect at least three machines from the same build batch and all three have been fine, it also says that the structural design and material yields of the turret are all sound.
It wrote to customers yesterday, pointing out that this failure does not involve the Socage A314 superstructure, and that the particular turret fabrication which is manufactured locally, is only used on the Toyota Single Cab Hilux A314 pick up. It also pointed out that no welds have failed and neither has the slew ring, but that something has caused the material to fail. The company says that an independent engineer has been appointed to inspect the machine and that a CPL engineer is also travelling to Northern Ireland in order to join a thorough investigation to try and determine what might have caused this particular failure.
The company is also highlighting the need to properly inspect all machines for cracks on a regular basis, and that in respect to models of this type on Hilux pick ups, they should be carefully inspected , especially around the turret area, but says that apart from that there is no reason at all to withdraw machines from service.
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The CPL A314 on single cab HiLux chassis
Material failures such as this are very rare - but not unheard of. When they do occur they are usually a result of fatigue, such as when regular lift cranes are used to carry out heavy duty cycle work over a long period, particularly in hostile environments such as shipyards or offshore. They can also be the result of regular overloading or a heavy impact from a direction that would not occur in any form of normal use. It has also been known for a steel supplier to deliver a batch of steel plate that is not up to specification, although this is very rare - but has been known.
The main thing to do at this point is to make sure that if you have a machine of this type you pay particular attention to the turret area when inspecting the structure for cracks. But regardless of what type of platform – or crane or telehandler - you may have, it should be checked on a regular basis, and if any cracks are found the machine should be withdrawn from service until it can be properly checked and if necessary repaired.