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World cup highs: delivering stadium construction success

Global equipment manufacturer Terex has seen its kit used for key activities during the construction of one of the most spectacular stadiums for next year’s football World Cup.

The city of Manaus is located 1,500km from the sea, right in the middle of the Amazon rainforest, where the Rio Negro and Rio Solimões come together to form the Amazon, the world’s largest river. It is the capital of the Brazilian state of Amazônia, and was the centre of the natural rubber boom at the beginning of the 20th century. Now, with its Free Economic Zone, it is an important part of Brazil’s economy and a finance centre.

Next year the eyes of the world will turn to Manaus because it will host four matches during the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The venue for the matches is said to be one of the world’s most beautiful stadiums.

Brazilian construction company Andrade Gutierrez is responsible for delivering the Arena Amazônia stadium, designed by GMP Architekten, the German architecture firm behind the Commerzbank arena built in Frankfurt for the 2006 World Cup. The stadium will hold 42,377 spectators, and has been designed with architectural cues that symbolise its location in the Amazon, as well as innovative features that enable it to meet LEED sustainable design criteria.

The setup we chose is very efficient, as we can cover a large surface with only two tower cranes

Andrade Gutierrez, Thiago Bezerra

The stadium’s most striking feature is its roof, constructed using cantilever sections whose hollow core steel girders will act as large gutters to drain and collect the 2.2m of rain that falls each year in this area. The region also has average temperatures of over 30°C, as well as 80% relative humidity, so the roof will be covered with a translucent PTFE membrane that reflects heat while letting light through.

Ventilation will be provided by movable vanes in the roof. These will enable air to flow around the stadium by convection and will allow wind to blow into it.

Construction of the Arena Amazônia stadium began in 2010, when the old Vivaldão stadium was demolished. The pitch was reclaimed and stored, and a large percentage of the material from the old stadium was recycled for use in the new one.

Since construction began, Andrade Gutierrez has used a wide range of Terex lifting equipment, including tower cranes and mobile cranes, as well as aerial work platforms from Terex subsidiary Genie. At the peak of construction, two Terex SK575-32 hammerhead tower cranes lifted and placed the hundreds of precast concrete components that make up the bulk of the stadium’s bowl.

These cranes are 60m and 52m high and have jib lengths of 54m and 59m respectively. Both have a maximum lifting capacity of 32t and are mounted on rails over 100m long.

“These cranes had to pick and place hundreds of precast pieces that assemble the seating tiers,” explains Andrade Gutierrez construction and equipment engineer Thiago Bezerra.
The contractor chose the SKs for their robustness and lifting capacity. “The setup we chose is very efficient, as we can cover a large surface with only two tower cranes,” Bezerra says.

This, he adds, saves costs and time compared with erecting multiple cranes.

Construction of the seating finished last year, and the focus shifted to building the facade and roof. During construction of the stadium’s basic structure, the two SK575 tower cranes performed the majority of the lifts, but when more mobility and versatility were needed, a combination of Terex AC200-1 and AC350/6 all-terrain cranes, an RT280 rough terrain crane and a TC 780 truck-mounted crane was used.

We get a lot of rain here, so we really need to be precise and efficient to keep to schedule

Reinaldo Longhi, Entec

The all-terrain and truck-mounted cranes belong to Manaus-based lifting and rental company Entec Longhi, and were used for everything from loading heavy steel components to placing precast components in hard to reach places. “For this kind of work, we needed cranes that could handle the variety of different lifts, such as heavy lifting and long radius lifts,” explains Entec operational director Reinaldo Longhi. “The cranes also needed to move from place to place relatively quickly and be able to be set up equally fast.”

“We had the cranes on site with maximum counterweight and just the main boom. The boom length and capacity of these machines without attachments are very solid. No attachment meant faster set up times for each new lifting location,” he adds.

“These two cranes handled most of the lifts around the stadium. We also brought in a TC780 when we needed to step up the number of lifts within the restricted timeframe. We get a lot of rain here, so we really need to be precise and efficient to keep to schedule.”

The cranes were on site for six months and carried out over 90 lifts, some of them at 25m height and 24m radius, lifting weights of up to 28t.

As the stadium has neared completion, aerial work platforms have assumed a more prominent role, with the contractor using Genie GS2646 electric scissor lifts to mount fixtures and for finishing work.

The final element of the structure to be finished is the striking roof, which will give the arena its unique style, with design cues inspired by local flax basket weaving. The self-supporting roof, which is anchored to the stadium structure via tie bars, is made from more than 200 pieces of steel weighing a total of around 6,670t, with the largest individual components 22m in length and weighing 30t.

The roof components were fabricated in Portugal and shipped to the port of Manaus.

Portable components: Steel stadium roof components were shipped from Portugal and then up the Amazon to Manaus

Portable components: Steel stadium roof components were shipped from Portugal and then up the Amazon to Manaus

Roof construction was ­divided into 11 phases, including the erection of prefabricated structures, building and placing temporary support structures to bear the weight of the structure during construction, and placing the top sections which bear compression loads.

The work was coordinated like an assembly line: ships arrived from Portugal with the components, which were unloaded and transported to site where Terex all-terrain cranes previously used for the precast construction lifted them to form sub-assemblies. These were in turn lifted and placed with a Terex CC2400-1 crawler crane belonging to local heavy lifting specialist Tomiasi Logistica Pesada. Finally, construction workers welded them together with the help of Genie Z80/60 booms.

“The Genie booms were perfect for this project. The structures were very complex, and the ample freedom of movement of the Genie Z boom allowed us to work efficiently and safely,” says Bezerra. “The technological advance of construction machines like these allows the increasingly complex and innovative to happen.”

Before being joined together, the sub-assemblies needed to be lifted. This was done using Tomiasi’s Terex CC2400-1 crawler crane. “We are one of the biggest heavy lifting companies in the north region, and the CC2400-1 is one of our most used tools,” explains Tomiasi commercial analyst Marcelo Vinhote da Silva. For this job we configured it with an 84m main boom, SH/LH configuration, and vario superlift.

“We had to lift sub-assemblies weighing up to 92t,” he adds. “In the beginning we were working at a 20m radius or less and we didn’t need to use the additional superlift counterweight, but when we had to place the roof trusses well inside the stadium, the radius was much larger, so we connected the vario superlift.”

Construction of the roof structure and PTFE membrane cladding is set to be finished by the end of this year - about six months later than originally planned - with the cost of the entire stadium expected to come in at around $600M (£376M).


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