French company potain has dispatched the first of two tower cranes that are due to be erected at the Three Gorges dam in China by the end of the year. The pair of MD 2200 Topbelts, each with a lifting capacity of 60t are two of the biggest cranes in the world being used for a construction application. Both models have been undergoing extensive testing of their mechanical and structural components.

Potain says that the tower cranes were chosen for their ability to meet the demanding materials handling requirements of phase two of Three Gorges. This will include pouring up to 350,000m3 of concrete a month across complete sections of the 115m wide dam, and placing large metal components weighing up to 60t.

Each crane is equipped with a conveyor system that can pour over a distance of up to 105m at a rate of 300-400m3/hr.