Rolling platform gantry on steel track

Rolling platform gantry on steel track

This rolling platform gantry installed on a steel track was commissioned for a short term experiment and had to be done on quite a tight budget as after approximately a 4 month period at the end of the experiment it is likely to be scrapped.
The rolling platform will be used as a gantry to house and carry some sophisticated laser scanning and computer equipment. So that it could travel up and down the flume / weir during the experiment. The experiment consisted of a re-creation of a section of a real river bed,  then as water flows across the river bed it will be laser scanned so they it can be recreated and monitored in a 3d environment. They will track the movement of the stones, pebbles and sediment at different water flow rates. They will also be depositing sediment from the rolling platform via a large hopper which feeds a vibrating spreader which we also designed and built.

The initial brief

We met our customer on site  to discuss the brief of the project, we were given their outlined plan and were asked to re-use some old items from site and to keep it low cost as it is a short term project so things like finish were not important, we were asked to keep it basic and functional. They asked us to use an old aluminum frame as the main base as it was approximately the right size and was a good starting point.
The old aluminum frame is pictured below, just being set up for use in our workshop.

original bare frame supplied to us
initial Site visit for the temporary rolling platform gantry main channel

The river bed re-creation can be seen in process in the pictures above and below.

Mock up riverbed for the rolling platform gantry

This project started at the end of the year and due to the time of year and that the weather may bring snow and rain they installed a large canopy aver the flume / weir.
This was handy as it meant the steel structures could be left un-painted for the duration of the experiment saving unnecessary costs.

River mock up in full flow for the rolling platform gantry

Pictured above you can see the pumped water representing the river flowing over the mock river bed.

Hopper feed unit for the rolling gantry platform

The hopper manufactured by our customer from wood to keep costs down, will be mounted onto the rolling platform we were building, this also had a vibrating spreader unit which we designed and manufactured see in the picture below and more details can be found here:
“the vibrating sediment spreader”.

prototype sediment spreading machine
brief concept sketches for the temporary rolling platform gantry

We discussed the brief and I came up with some rough design sketches of what was required, one of which is pictured. This job was not going to have any extensive cad design work as such, it would be designed on the fly. We then moved on to the build phase.

The Build

The build started by assessing the aluminum platform that was free issued, this was placed in the workshop on the floor and we removed any unnecessary bits from it and cleaned it up a little. We then started to add some fabrications to strengthen it up and to create the desired rolling work platform.

original bare frame supplied to us
the start of the rolling platform build
Some Machined components for the rolling platform wheels

Some components needed machining for the wheels.

simple tracks with spigot connections

For the track we used steel box section and on the joints we came up with a simple spigotted system so that it strengthened the joints but also helped to align the tracks.
We also created a joint system so the tracks could be bolted together.
the tracks had mounting plates welded to the underside.

setting up to load test the rolling platform gantry

After fabrication we set the gantry up on some load cells to be able to measure the weight ready for load testing.

basic rolling platform gantry weight
load testing the rolling platform gantry

We placed a load on the framework to see how it behaved and measured under load.

The Instalation

the finished installation of the rolling platform gantry

The finished installation of the rolling platform gantry. We precisely mounted the track on each side of the flume / weir parallel to each other and parallel to the flume / weir.

Rolling platform gantry installed

The rolling platform was then mounted on the tracks

Temporary rolling platform on its tracks
steel train wheels for the rolling platform on the steel track
steel wheels on the rolling platform located on the steel track

Our customer was really impressed with the fabrication, the installation and on how easy it was to get the platform rolling, demonstrated here on a video showing our customer starting to roll the platform with one finger…

And then they couldn’t resist having a little play on the rolling platform as shown here

getting ready to surf on the rolling platform gantry

And like boys with a new toy, they started to surf on the platform……..

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