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Innovative Reflector Lifting Tongs

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Bushman Equipment Lifting Tong Design For Mirrors Reflects Innovative Engineering Capability

Bushman Equipment, a manufacturer of custom-engineered material handling solutions, has delivered 33 special below-the-hook lifting devices to BrightSource Energy LLC. The Oakland, CA-based company is a global leader in solar thermal power plant technology.

The Bushman lifters, delivered to the Ivanpah Solar-Electric Generating System in the Mojave Desert near Nipton, California, are being used to manufacture and install over 173,500 heliostat reflectors onto pylons placed into the desert floor. The mirrors are arranged in a circular array so that they can track the sun and reflect its rays to a central boiler tower. The boiler in turn generates steam that runs a turbine generator that will produce 377 MW of electricity—enough to power 140,000 homes for a year.

Bushman president Pete Kerrick said the reflectors presented several engineering challenges. “We are lifting and maneuvering essentially a glass mirror in a desert environment. Operator safety is job #1”.

Bushman designed the reflector lifting tongs with a special locking device that prevents the tong from opening until the reflector is securely set in its pylon and then disengaged by the operator.

In addition to the reflector lifters, Bushman provided other lifting devices designed for specific processes within the on-site assembly factory.