launch backward

Development - or how I became a Launching Gantry Operator / Supervisor

‘Launching Gantry Operator’ is not a common job. So may be it is interesting for you to read about how I came to take up this profession.

After I finished my apprenticeship as a construction carpenter and after a few years work experience, I started learning and working as a Crane Operator on Mobile Cranes (Hydraulic Telescopic and Lattice Boom Crane) and worked for different companies in Germany and operated different cranes from 25 to 800 tons capacity, drove heavy trucks, rigging and such and a found that I like this kind of work very much.

Then in 1995 it happened that I met a colleague who worked for a ‘British Crane Company’. He asked me if I was interested to work in Thailand for the company he worked for.


I didn't know much about Thailand but I had been interested in working in another country for a long time, so I took up the offer and went over there. I operated different cranes including being the ‘second operator’ on a ‘1200 ton Gottwald Lattice Boom Crane’ but mainly I was on a ‘400 ton Telescopic Mobile Crane’ and drove with this crane and crew (four very nice Thais) to different job sites around this wonderful country. Also in Bangkok were we did a few lifts for a ‘German International Construction Company’ which was building an ‘elevated highway’ from Bangkok to Chonburi 50km long over the existing six lane street on columns. We lifted the ‘Launching Gantries, Launching Girders’ is a other word for these machines, up on top of the columns and so I met the Construction Manager of this Company.

With the imminent economic crisis in South-East Asia, the crane company didn’t get any more jobs and as I was the last to come, I was the first who had to go.

Meanwhile I had a girl friend and made friends with a lot of people and I wanted to stay in Thailand. So I contacted the German Company who had just started work on the ‘Highway Project’, and asked if there was a need for a ‘Crane Operator’ or ‘Heavy Lifting Supervisor’ and sent them my application.

1200to. crane

‘No’ was the answer, ‘We don’t need a crane supervisor, but we urgently need a ‘Launching Gantry Supervisor‘, please come to our office for an interview’.

I went over there and in the meeting with the construction manager I mentioned that I had never operated a machine like this. He told me that he knew exactly what I did before, what kind of experience I had, and that he thought that I was the right guy for the job. A few weeks later I started with my new assignment and worked in Bangkok for the next three years, assembled and lifted ‘Launching Gantry / Launching Girder’ machines, lifted and placed ‘precast Concrete Segments’, installed bearings, learned how to stress (post-tensioning). I found that the job was even more interesting than what I did before and I liked heavy lifting work anyway. My knowledge as a ‘Lifting Supervisor/Crane Operator’ helped me a lot also because we had to do a lot of heavy lifts.

assemble 1000to. Launching Gantry

Then after a short break I went to Taiwan, where another ‘German International Construction Company’ hired me to operate and supervise a ‘Paulo de Nicola Launching Gantry’ for the ‘Taiwan High Speed Rail Project’ for nearly three years. This Construction Company sent me for 4 weeks to Korea, where I received training from the manufacturer of the ‘Launching Gantry’, who had a similar machine working there.

From there an ‘Australian-German Joint Venture’ contacted me to work in Panama on the ‘Second Bridge over the Panama Canal’ Project, and I worked there on a ‘Cable Stay Bridge’ mainly responsible for heavy lifting with cranes and special ‘Hydraulic Jack Systems’ to install (lifting and lowering) the 470 ton steel formwork.

400to. Mobilecrane

Than I got employed by VSL-Hong Kong LTD., where I supervise and operate a ‘Deal Launching Gantry’. Here we are build a ‘Two Lane Highway Bridge’ from Hong Kong to mainland China over Deep Bay that separates China and Hong Kong, the ‘Shenzhen Western Corridor Project’.

After completion of this project VSL-Hongkong tranferd me to the VSL Special Project Department in Switzerland who send me to Jordan where the Indian Construction Company Larsen & Toubro build in Amman a 460m Stay-Cable-Bridge in Segmental Cantilever method. Here I worked as Technical Advisor and advise/supervise the assembling and operating and erection of the Launching-Gantry</> and bridge segments.

Than VSL Switzerland LTD. Special Project Department send me to Tunis to work on the La-Goulette Stay-Cable Bridge Project Tunis were I stay for 4 month to assemble and lift the Pier-Table steel-structure and formwork where I still working.

All the time I still enjoy traveling to different countries and working in different places. I hope that I can join a few more projects of this kind in the future.

Best regards,

Uwe Baier

Created on ... February 26, 2005
Last update ... October 07, 2006
copyright © Uwe Baier