Laurini SansOne pipelayer, the new “hero” of stability and precision
The name of this machine immediately brings to mind the Biblical hero Samson of prodigious physical strength who could fight a thousand men and never hesitated. And it is that legendary power that has inspired Laurini Officine Meccaniche from Parma to pick the name of its pipelayer: introducing SansOne, where the capital O is not a typo, but a play on words that refers to the hero's name and the English word for “number one”. So, right from its name the expectations for this new machine, designed and produced by the company from Busseto, are very high. We have asked Marco Laurini to describe it for us. In a lively conversation, he accompanied us behind the scenes of the design and introduced its features and strengths.
Let’s start from SansOne’s “identity card”, draw for us a profile of this machine.
SansOne has something more compared to existing pipelayers. In fact, while we were designing it, our goal was to improve the key aspects of this type of machine, with visibility as number one. Using a virtual reality programme, we were able to confirm that, from the viewpoint of the operator, SansOne allows perfect visibility in all directions. This is a crucial factor for pipelayers, because the machines work in groups. The operator must be able to look ahead to unload the pipe, and also behind and sideways to check the movements of other operators. To reach total visibility, we “scrambled” the layout and moved the position of the components. To give you an example, the radiator, which usually is tall and narrow and placed in the front, in SansOne is long and short and located at the side. To make it happen, we lowered the bonnet, so the operator can see closer, right in front of his face. We did the same in the rear of the machine: usually the diesel tank is placed behind the seat, but we have lowered it to allow the operator to see as far as the machine’s towing drawbar.
Besides visibility, are there other elements you have considered essential?
Yes, another key feature of our range of pipelayers is stability. It was designed to lower the centre of gravity of all components: this means that considering the machine’s weight, the centre of gravity is lower, which helps stabilising the machine, especially when working at an incline. Stability has also increased thanks to one of our patents regarding the manufacturing of the pipelayer boom. The concept is this: the articulated boom moves forth and back, thus shifting the machine’s centre of gravity when operating on slopes, so the centre of gravity can be always maintained in optimal position.
Quite interesting, the patented boom that compensates for working at an incline. Can you tell our readers more about this concept?
This system has joint and pin at the centre of the boom, so the load can move forward or backward according to the direction of travel, and not just sideways as standard booms in pipelayers. This is accomplished thanks to hydraulic pistons featuring slow and precise movement that shift the centre of gravity forth or back to maintain the machine more stable as it proceeds uphill or downhill. This movement is not automatic, we think the operator should decide whether to shift the load. We have applied for a pattern for our invention; there wasn’t one for this type of machines. It will benefit stability as well as easing laying the pipeline so-called “joints”, i.e. the spots where sections of the pipeline are joined. As we well know, equipment used in this type of work must make small movements. During these operations, thanks to our boom, the pipe can be moved by millimetres without moving the machine at all. SansOne is a true precision machine.
You mentioned a range of pipelayers, will you develop several models?
Yes, we are going to manufacture three models with three different maximum lifting capacity: 45, 70 and 100 tons.
We know that transport is very important matter to companies active in the pipeline sector worldwide. How did you handle it with SansOne?
In the smaller 45 and 70-ton models by extending the undercarriage, the tracks widen during operation and retract during the transport phase. In the larger 100-ton model, instead, the tracks can be even removed with a hydraulic quick hook up system, so the components can be placed in a container. This special feature is crucial especially for companies that work on large projects abroad, as they need to do their shipment by sea, and saving on those costs is key, so they can save up to 70% by sending the machine n containers.
How long does it take to assemble and disassemble the larger model so it can fir in containers?In half a day two people can disassemble all the components and place them in the container; and it is going to take the same time to reassemble later on.
Why and how have you decided to design a pipelayer?
The idea of creating SansOne came by listening to market needs. Furthermore, this type of machine was not yet part of our offer. It seemed right to introduce an equipment that represents the sector in which Laurini Officine Meccaniche is today recognised globally. In fact, this is not really our first pipelayer: we made a prototype in 2007, and we sold it at that time. That too had special features that provided higher features compared with models available on the market at that time. At the time, we had not taken into account the price, which was not competitive with that of pipelayers offered by international producers. SansOne’s original idea was indeed our prototype, which served to focus on its key points and, in the meantime, on the matters of pricing. We have optimised the costs so we can launch on the market a machine at competitive price.
Which other special features make SansOne stand out from the other pipelayers currently on the market?
There are quite a few. For example, all the machine’s controls are housed on the seat’s armrest, there is no more dashboard: there is a multi-function joystick for each side, and some finger controls, so, by simply using his fingers, the operator can control all the functions. Using the 12” touch screen, fixed to the seat with a small support bracket, all parameters can be monitored, from temperature to pressure, and also have full view of the camera without having to turn or lean out. The operator can see exactly what is around the machine and has total control from his seat.
After all you told us, we certainly want to have a look at the SansOne at work. When will the three models be available for sale?
Having concluded the prototype phase at the end of 2020, we will begin from January to test the prototype of the bigger model, the SansOne100, with field demonstrations. Afterwards, we will make it available for sale in the spring, starting from the smallest model. SansOne will then start to make a name for itself.