When placing LOFAR tiles, it seems that different LOFAR stations use different machines. Some of the German stations used trailer cranes, the UK station used an 18-tonne digger. At KAIRA, however, we are using a lorry with a HIAB.
A HIAB is a lorry-mounted crane. Actually, HIAB is a brand name and, as it turns out, it is now a Finnish brand! Lorry mounted cranes were developed at about the same time in both Sweden and Finlad. HIAB itself (which stands for Hydrauliska Industri AB) was originally Swedish, but was sold during the 70s. It is now owned by Cargotec Oyj — a Finnish-based firm.
The way we are deploying the frames and tiles is by suspending them from the HIAB and then driving the lorry in close to the correct square on the KAIRA grid. The HIAB is then used to place the unit either directly in front (like in this photograph) or to the side. This technique is quite effective (especially as our driver is very good at controlling the crane) and we can use a single vehicle for both taking the tile from the store to the unfolding station, completing the unfold and in lifting it onto the array. Additionally, the HIAB has sufficient lift so that we can lift the tile over the frameset and, when necessary, even over tiles that are already fitted. This means we can drive right in to the array to place tiles deep into columns. And, as can be seen from the photograph, the lorry needs to manoeuvre quite close to the other tiles!
Photo: D. McKay-Bukowski