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PARIS, FRANCE, December, 2013 – “To the great men of this Country, in gratitude” states the inscription on the massive plinth of the Panthéon. In order to rejuvenate this most venerable monument, French construction group Ponticelli deployed its Terex® AC 700 all terrain crane to help raise a complex scaffolding structure.

Since 1791, the Panthéon is the secular temple of the French Republic, the resting place of citizens venerated by the Nation. Buried within the Panthéon are writers: Rousseau, Voltaire, and Victor Hugo; scientists: Pierre and Marie Curie; and heroes like Jean Moulin among other illustrious names. The last to be inhumed was Alexandre Dumas whose ashes were transferred there in 2002. Erected between 1758 and 1790 by the French architect Soufflot on the hill known as the Montagne Sainte-Geneviève, the neo-classical structure was meant to be a church dedicated to the patron saint of Paris. The onslaught of the French revolution in 1789 changed the course of history: Sainte-Geneviève lost her religious vocation and instead was transformed into the temple of French secularism. Over 700,000 visitors come to this emblematic bastion of national memory each year.

With the passing of the years, the pressure on its arches, water seepage caused by leaky joints and the corrosion of swelling metal components which have cracked open surrounding stone has compromised the stability of the structure. That is why the Centre des Monuments Nationaux, the main caretaker for the national monument system, has now undertaken a massive restoration project. The first phase of this restoration work will last until 2015, starting with the upper part of the structure at 82 meters high (nearly 270 feet). There is one major challenge: the monument has to remain open to the public while restoration takes place.

The Panthéon is fragile, and in order to repair its upper structure without using the historical building itself as a support, the colonnaded drum supporting the dome will be completely covered by free-standing scaffolding. In order to raise 350 tonnes of scaffolding into the air, Paris Echafaudage designed a metallic structure shaped like a kitchen stool. It consists of a reinforced hoop tightened around the base of the drum and resting on four legs, each 37 meters high and anchored by micropilons. One of the legs will serve as the base for a 96 meter-high tower crane. In order to assemble the scaffolding, Ponticelli brought in its Terex AC 700 all terrain crane, equipped with a 42 meter luffing jib and 140 tonnes of counterweight. “Obtaining the permits necessary to truck in and install this kind of equipment in the heart of Paris was no easy thing. But it turned out to be the best option for this type of project,” explained Stéphane Yorgui from Ponticelli’s engineering office.

Only four weeks were needed to lift the individual structures into their desired positions. The largest of these structural elements were 20 x 20 meters in size, weighed 42 tonnes, and had to be hoisted to a height of 40 meters. To cope with different lift profiles, the team at Ponticelli used the 42 m luffing jib and worked with varied main boom extensions and angles.

As the crane was working all around the Pantheon, the crane operator had to reposition it for every lift. This was a major consideration when choosing which crane configuration to use, as the time required to partially dismantle the crane for each reposition would have a big impact on the overall project schedule. With the chosen configuration, Ponticelli’s team needed to only remove 80 tons of counterweight to move the crane, as the AC 700 could be transported fully rigged within the jobsite.

Before each lift, the components of the enormous reinforced structure were laid out on the ground and rigged for the lifts. “These maneuvers demanded the highest level of precision, since the structure was assembled only a few centimetres away from the building. A job demanding patience that left no room for error,” insisted Dejan Kostovski, the project manager for the scaffolding company Paris Charpente. “And this shows the skill level of the crane people in this difficult site. During work hours, the Panthéon would remain open to the public, a crowded site with people milling around,” he added.

Franck Mikaelian, the main crane operator, has worked with Terex cranes for over 10 years and he has logged four years of experience working with the AC 700. “I am crazy about this crane,” he stated. “I immediately felt comfortable with it. It’s comfortable, precise, and powerful.”

After several weeks of methodical planning and 4 weeks of precise execution, the structure was assembled and ready to be used for the massive restoration project. “The work went smoothly. The crane operators are true professionals. Their advice was very useful to our team. We will likely work with them during the disassembly process too,” ended Dejan Kostovski.


About the Terex® AC 700 all terrain crane

The Terex® AC 700 all terrain crane is one of the most powerful telescopic cranes in the 700-tonne capacity class that can be transported together with its complete 60-meter (196ft) main boom within an axle load of 12 metric tons. An increase in lifting capacity, especially when working with steep boom positions, is achieved with the patented sideways superlift (SSL) system. Thanks to the crane’s star-type outriggers, system deformation is reduced and exceptional lifting capacities are achieved with a support base measuring 12.2 x 12.4 meters. The crane combines large lifting capacities with a compact undercarriage length of only 18.60 meters. A state-of-the-art engine and a fully-automatic transmission provide the crane with its outstanding power, and its four drive axles (3+4 and 8+9) feature differential locks. The crane’s unmatched maneuverability makes it versatile at the construction site: eight of its axles are steerable (one to five and seven to nine). An automatic leveling mechanism is available in order to complete the picture. The crane can be configured with a luffing fly jib measuring 24 to 96 meters. With only a few steps, the luffing fly jib can be rearranged into a rigid fly jib with a length of 20 to 50 meters, or, as a light system with a length of 6 to 36 meters.



About Ponticelli Frères

Established in 1921, Ponticelli Frères started out assembling and maintaining industrial smoke stacks. The family-owned business quickly earned the reputation as a specialized service entrusted with delicate operations, especially in assembly and lifting. The technical developments and innovative materials used by the company allowed to progressively enter other fields, in mechanical and pipe systems, and to thus become a major player in construction services, specially servicing the oil, petrochemical and energy sectors. Eventually Ponticelli Frères started expanding abroad, applying the know-how acquired in France, while carefully maintaining its course and remaining faithful to its reputation: respecting deadlines, safety and the environment while satisfying its clients. The Ponticelli family still owns 80% of the business, so today Ponticelli Frères is still an independent company with a stable group of shareholders guaranteeing its fundamental values.



About Terex

Terex Corporation is a diversified global manufacturer of a broad range of equipment that is focused on delivering reliable, customer-driven solutions for many applications, including the construction, infrastructure, quarrying, mining, shipping, transportation, refining, energy, utility and manufacturing industries. Terex reports in five business segments: Aerial Work Platforms; Construction; Cranes; Material Handling & Port Solutions; and Materials Processing. Terex offers financial products and services to assist in the acquisition of equipment through Terex Financial Services. More information can be found at





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