Barnhart played an essential part in a recent milestone for The Port of Monroe on Lake Erie in Michigan. In July, the busy port received its first European cargo since the 1960’s, and Barnhart was there to unload it.

After a two-week journey from Bremen, Germany, a cargo of windmill blades and 127 sections of 40-foot long pipes arrived on the 411-footlong Faglegracht, a Spliethoff Lines container vessel. While it would seem unusual to choose a comparatively small port like Monroe, the intimate nature of the port proved beneficial in the complex exchange that involved six companies, including Barnhart.

Photo by Paul C. LaMarre III

Barnhart’s role in the job involved unloading two blades, which, at 190 feet long, were the longest ever used in Michigan.  The company also handled 120 sections of pipe.

The blades were unloaded using the ship’s gear with Barnhart providing specialized rigging.  A Terex 75 ton rough terrain crane and 40k forklift were also utilized to load the blades onto a truck the following week.  The total time to unload blades and pipe was 12 hours.

There was limited dock space, which caused Barnhart to stack the pipe four rows high.  While the coordination of the six companies – which included the port, ship, tug boat, freight forwarder, and blade truck transport company – was a challenge, the project was completely successfully.

“I think the Port of Monroe has not necessarily been seen as a potential gateway to international trade in recent years, but this is proof that our capabilities are far-reaching,” said Port of Monroe Director Paul C. LaMarre III.

Photo by Paul C. LaMarre III

Barnhart’s Monroe Branch Manager Dean Montrief added, “As a result of the work we performed, we expect the shipping company to make regular stops at the Port of Monroe.”

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Have you ever noticed how pretty much every company or business has some sort of mission statement, catchy slogan or motto that reflects the company’s core values?  Slogans like “Save money, live better” for Wal-Mart, or my personal favorite “There is no substitute” by Porsche.

I never have thought much about their importance until I started working at Barnhart. While our mission statement and core values aren’t necessarily catchy, the company truly believes in them.  They’re posted on every office wall, pushed by co-workers, and visibly performed by my leadership.  The mission statement and core values are used to make our company better.

Take two of our values, safety and continuous improvement.

Safety is our very first core value and the leaders at Barnhart put it first. They believe they have a responsibility to ensure that Barnhart is a safe working environment. In addition, Barnhart is convinced that the key to good safety results comes from hiring the right people who will be thinkers that are committed to owning their own safety whether on the job site or hiking the trails with friends. As the company grows, adding new tools, ideas, and people all the time, we decided to sharpen our focus and implement additional training concerning safety in our challenging industry.

This core value, continuous improvement, is resulting in completely redoing our entire internal introductory safety class. This new class zeros in on major advances in individual employee safety.  Entitled ‘Tactical Self Preservation,” it is boosting our first core value, safety, to a whole new level.

This class is leading industry safety thinking for individuals in the field. I am excited about the strides Barnhart is making to improve safety, and look forward to seeing the benefits this training will produce as we keep our commitment to continuously improve so that we can better serve our customers.

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Game Goes On Thanks to Barnhart

To kick off the upcoming football season, we share this Barnhart classic video** that captures the thrill of victory.

In the middle of a successful University of Texas football season, Barnhart was tasked with delivering and setting power generation components including a behemoth 60-ton generator, 100-ton condenser and 140-ton turbine at the H.C. Weaver Power Plant leading directly to Longhorn Stadium.

The challenges were many. The area was tight. The entire campus was built on a system of underground tunnels so placing large loads needed a sound game plan.  None of the trees or features could be disturbed. Furthermore, the components were arriving in the middle of a busy football season, so the campus had to have stadium access roads clear to allow for throngs of fans.

Whoa Nellie!

See how Barnhart completed this near-epic undertaking using their modular lift tower without placing the campus or season in jeopardy.

**Like most “classics”, this 10-year old video reflects the technology at that time. But Barnhart’s planning and execution of the job is timeless.    

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Barnhart Agrees to Purchase Sicklesteel Cranes

Barnhart has reached a definitive agreement to purchase Sicklesteel Cranes, Inc. of Mount Vernon, Washington the company announced in a release today.  The company, with 53 employees and a fleet of over 56 cranes, will continue to operate as Sicklesteel but will have full access to Barnhart’s national network of equipment, engineers, and branches.

Customers will continue to receive the same high quality crane service and tower crane service they have come to expect. However, through Barnhart’s coast-to-coast network, customers will have access to the nation’s most innovative rigging systems, wind turbine up-tower services, project cargo logistics capabilities, and a department of over 40 engineers.

“Sicklesteel Cranes, Inc. reputation and history is one of excellence.” said Alan Barnhart, CEO of Barnhart.  “We think customers throughout the Pacific Northwest will be very pleased with the expansion of services they will experience through this acquisition.”

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Thousand-Mile Trip Takes Less Than Three Minutes

Barnhart was hired to move a water runner over 1,1000 miles from New Orleans to a hydroelectric facility in Ludington, Michigan. The piece measured 28’ 2” in circumference, was 15’ tall and weighed over 610,000 lbs. The project was captured in the following short video.

The water runner began its journey on a hopper barge in order to clear the low-lying Lemont bridge. With an air draft of 19’6” from the bottom of the bridge to the top of the water, the barge cleared within only two feet.

At Barnhart’s heavy lift terminal at the Port of Chicago in Calumet, Ill., the cargo was transferred from hopper barge to ABS deck barge to continue its journey across Lake Michigan.  There it was rolled off and transported to the plant.

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Planning and experience combined for a successful Barnhart job last week that removed an 80-year old deteriorating water tank and steel tower in East Hampton, Conn.

photo by Jeff Mill - The Middleton Press

The project was part of a seven-year effort to have the tank and tower on which it sat removed. Over the years, both had become safety hazards.

The cypress tank, measuring 22′ high and 18′ diameter and weighing 25,000 lbs., was removed first, utilizing a 200-ton Demag hydraulic crane and two pneumatically powered 135’ Manlifts. The crews secured the tank even as they worked to separate it from its supports.

To ensure the tank stayed whole, workers screwed long, narrow pieces of plywood to the outside. The two-man crews in the lifts also fastened slings around the tank.

After an initial effort, crews secured the tank from the bottom using the proper rigging.  Once the securement was complete, they began cutting away the supports using acetylene torches.  Then, with the crews down from their lift vehicles, the crane increased the tension on the lines and slowly swung the tank out and around and settled it down with ease on the pavement near an abandoned thread mill.

Lifting the wooden tank off its stand was “almost anticlimactic,” according to Jon Irwin, the operations manager for Barnhart Northeast.  Having developed a good plan in advance, “the lift is the least of the work,” Irwin said after the tank was safely on the ground.

Photo by Jeff Mill - The Middletown Press

Less than half an hour after the tank was lowered to the ground, crews starting taking it apart, carrying the weather-beaten boards into a roll-off container. Barnhart removed the four-legged steel tower the next day.

“We have a great crew here,” Irwin said. “They’re top-notch.”

Both the cypress wood and the steel in the tower are being recycled.

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Barnhart was contracted to provide turnkey service for the removal and replacement of five wind turbine gearboxes on 80m hub height wind turbines.

The site had several constraints in that the Bureau of Land Management owned the land on which the wind farm was located and restricted land disturbance around the turbine. Also, any ground disturbance had to be reseeded with native grasses.

A further complication was the involvement of a third party contractor to deliver the new components to the site and haul the old gearboxes back to the repair facility, requiring additional coordination on Barnhart’s part.

Two cranes were used for the project. The heaviest component lifted was the wind turbine rotor assemblies at 140,000 lbs. The gearbox with the four generators weighed 115,000 lbs. Once the gearbox was removed, Barnhart had to pull out the generators from the old gearbox and install them on the new one.

The project was completed successfully, which resulted in a long-term agreement with the client to maintain their fleet.

For more project stories, check out Barnhart’s Lifting Letter. If you would like to be added to our distribution list please send us a note at or sign up on our website.

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Barnhart took home three of seven SC&RA Job of the Year Awards at the SC&RA Annual Conference April 14-18 at the La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad, California. The awards recognize projects that successfully meet professional challenges in rigging and hauling.

The winning projects included:

Rigging – Over $2 million

The vault being hauled after removal.

Barnhart engineered and built equipment to lift, transport and set a 340 vault and 309 reactor from the Washington Closure Hanford site in Washington.  The 1000-ton loads then had to be transported 50 miles to the Environmental Restoration Disposal Facility (ERDF).

The challenges were many. Since the 340 Vault was originally a basement for a larger building, the building had to be removed and then extensive excavation was required to allow access to lift the vault as well as transport the vault to surface level.  The highly-radioactive 309 Reactor had to be removed concurrently with its shielding structure as one large monolith.

Engineering for the project began in January of 2012 and the final piece was set at the ERDF in February of 2014.

Rigging – Under $150,000

Barnhart's Multi-Tagline Device controls the eight tag lines needed to safely lift the damaged blade.

Barnhart removed and replaced a damaged blade on a 2.5MW Clipper C-96 Liberty wind turbine generator utilizing their craneless single blade solution. Ice buildup on the blade posed a challenge, altering the center of gravity of the blade and adding an unknown amount of added weight. To overcome the challenge, Barnhart employed a “steam genie,” or heated pressure washer, to melt the ice and perform the exchange.

Hauling – Over 160,000 lbs.

Barnhart hauled a 425,000 lb. secondary reformer 1,605 miles from a fabricator in Tulsa, Okla. to a refinery in Lima, Ohio via barge and over-the-road trucking.  Weighing in at 425,000 pounds, the reformer was just over 73-feet-long, 17-feet, 8-inches wide and 18-feet, 4-inches high. In order to accommodate the vessel, Barnhart had to create the largest dolly transporter the company has ever assembled, with a gross weight of 885,000 lbs.

Barnhart decided to roll the entire 300 foot long dolly transporter and vessel directly onto the barge.

The project involved a 13-mile haul from Tulsa to the Port of Catoosa, loading the cargo and dolly onto the barge, and barging 1,357 miles to Burns Harbor, Ind. The barge trip required negotiating the low-lying Lemont Bridge which connects Lake Michigan to the Illinois River.  The final leg of the trip was another 235-mile haul to the final destination.

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Barnhart was tasked with engineering and executing the up-ending and down-ending of a 430-ton generator.  The team successfully completed the task despite the low head room and only ½” of clearance in the floor opening.  See how they did it in this 90-second time-lapse video.

For more videos of Barnhart in action, visit our video library.

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Today, engineers from Barnhart Crane & Rigging are expected to announce a major breakthough that will completely revolutionize the heavy lifting industry. In an afternoon press conference, Barnhart will reveal an electromagnetic levitation lifting device that can be used to lift and transport loads up to 1200 metric tons using anti-gravitational forces and completely radical rigging arrangements.

The transporter, known as the Stulti Aprilis, will be able to hover up to heights of 8,000 meters and will have a standard operating altitude of 50 to 100 meters.  “To date we have only successfully tested the craft at a ceiling of 8,000 meters and with only certain farm animals. Truth is, we don’t think there are any restrictions on its altitude range, though certainly its lifting capacity is higher at lower altitudes,” said Dr. I.M. Awisenhiemer, lead project scientist on Barnhart’s Anti-Grav Project.

Click this link to view a photo of top-secret testing of the Stulti Aprilis on April 1, 2014.

The Anti-Grav Project is from Barnhart’s Deep Six team, tasked with figuring out revolutionary ways to move cargo without any rigging.

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