July 4th: From Happiness to Hot Dogs

The 4th of July is celebrated with fireworks, hot dogs and parades. But what are we celebrating anyway? 

The holiday, also known as Independence Day, was when the Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia, right? Actually, the Declaration of Independence was adopted by delegates of the thirteen colonies on July 4th, but wasn’t signed until about a month later.

The Declaration of Independence was adopted while the Continental Army was at war with Great Britain. The Revolutionary War had started in 1775 with the Battles of Lexington and Concord.   

The document was a statement that the colonies regarded themselves as thirteen independent sovereign states, no longer under British rule. They had had enough of the British and King George! However, it would still take until 1781 to make that official when the Continental Army defeated the British and forced a surrender at Yorktown, Virginia.

In 1941, the 4th of July became a federal holiday, though it was celebrated in some form since 1777.   

Meaning and Mustard

The most famous passage from the Declaration of Independence contains these words.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Did Thomas Jefferson, who is credited as the main author of the Declaration of Independence, mean an elusive quest for happiness?  It’s open to interpretation. Scholars believe that Jefferson meant the practicing of happiness, not just chasing it. 

There will be lots of that on display at celebrations and cookouts this weekend. And the centerpiece of any 4th Celebration is the hot dog. According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, Americans will enjoy 150 million hot dogs on Independence Day. That’s enough to stretch from D.C. to L.A. more than five times.

Joey Chestnut accounts for more than his share. He’s the 13-time holder of the Mustard Belt from the annual Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest. The event is held every July 4th at Coney Island. Chestnut ate a record 75 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes at the 2020 contest.

This weekend, whether you’re eating a hot dog or two or more, celebrating your independence or practicing happiness, do it safely.

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Lady Justice Gets a Lift from Barnhart

Barnhart played a part in the recent restoration of a historic Holmes County Courthouse in Millersburg, Ohio. The courthouse, constructed in 1885, was in bad need of repair to restore it to its former glory.

The project involved the removal and replacement of the clock tower façade. A new cupola had to be fabricated. The Lady Justice statue that resided on the second floor balcony for decades also had to be moved.

Photo credit: Kevin Lynch The Daily Record

Midstate Constractors headed up the project with the assistance of Barnhart. They constructed a new cupola around the original steel frame. Several ornamental pieces were fabricated to make them look as close to the originals as possible. This involved the creation of Ionic capitals, columns and decorative cornices. According to a story in local news source, The Daily Record, there was enough copper on the project to make 4,883,200 pennies. 

When it was time to move the pieces to their final destinations, Barnhart’s Canton branch got to work. Using a Grove GMK 6250 crane, crane operator John-Mark Ziegler placed Lady Justice on top of a copper base high on the north side of the main roof. He then raised the copper cupola, which was guided into place by the Midstate crew.

The raising of the cupola attracted numerous spectators and a crew from Cleveland News 5. The project was profiled in the following story

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A project to remove and replace a 1,073,000 pound stator was recently featured in the May issue of American Cranes and Transport. What made this project notable was the precise calculations and testing that went into making the project a success.

The project was scheduled during an outage at a nuclear power plant in New Jersey. But before anything could be done, load tests had to be performed, including one at Barnhart’s Memphis location. 

The Memphis team assembled a Modular Lift Tower (MLT) frame in their branch yard. The test load weight, including support girders, was 1,332,160 pounds or 125% of the lift load. Once the test was completed, Barnhart match marked more than 600 components and transported them to the New Jersey site.

Load Testing using a Modular Lift Tower was performed at Barnhart’s Memphis yard.

At the site, the stator was located on a 47-foot, 7-inch tall pedestal on top of a building. Its replacement was staged outside near the plant dock. Hydraulic gantries would be used to load and unload the new stator.

Barnhart had to match mark and reassemble the testing components. The MLT and a 750-ton hydraulic turntable and slide system were utilized to rotate the stator beneath the lift tower. A hydraulic transporter was used for onsite transport of the existing and replacement stator.   

There was very little room to work in. The Lift Tower was tight between two water tanks, overhead gantry crane bents and a turbine building. There was just one foot of clearance between the turbine building and stator during the lift tower operations. An adjustable rigging link system was used to lower the stator.

There was just one foot of clearance between the stator and surrounding buildings.

Other complicating factors included underground utilities which required shoring as well as matting of the area.  Plus a tropical storm that hit during tower erection, which caused erosion.

According to the customer, the project required more than 50 calculation packages and 70 drawings. But they paid off in a project that was completed safely and without incident.  

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Notable Omissions from this Year’s Oscar List

The Oscar ceremony is coming up this weekend. While it claims to honor the finest work in the film industry, there’s a treasure trove of video achievement that wasn’t recognized.

Barnhart has an extensive video library of compelling content. And while it doesn’t contain blockbuster titles, we’d like to recognize some of the worthy contenders that were omitted.  

Entitled, “400 Ton Barge Crane,” this piece is noteworthy for its cinematic scope. How did this one not get a Supporting Role nomination? We were robbed.  

“In it for the Long Haul,” charts the compelling journey of an awkward overweight vessel. Yet, it failed to be recognized in the Live Action Short Film category.

For those who haven’t taken our informative webinars like “Crane Configurations in Bridge Building,” this video might be a candidate for Best Foreign Language Film.

Still, we are not bitter that our work was snubbed. In fact, we know that there is an audience out there for our useful and informative video library content. Plus, there’s always next year. 

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Barnhart specializes in transporting cargo from Point A to B – even when those points are roughly 9,000 miles apart. In this instance, four Texas Towers in Italy required delivery to Illinois. This journey including oceanic travel, inland US waterway navigation, over the road super-heavy transport and brutal winter weather.  

Towers in Italy

The towers, which were 87’ long and weighed up to 325,000 poinds, were barged to the Port of Marghera in Italy by the local fabricator. Barnhart received the towers from the barge at the port directly to the heavy lift vessel, BBC Everest.

After nearly a month’s journey by sea, the towers arrived at Associated Terminals in New Orleans. Barnhart’s crew received the towers to a 250’ X 54’ deck barge by the ship’s gear. The barge then headed to its final stop, a refinery in Joliet, IL. 

Enroute to Joliet, the towers traveled through various inland waterways – the Tombigbee, Tennessee, Mississippi and Illinois rivers. The barge journey was made under a dedicated tow to the roll off location.   

Snowmaggendon in Illinois

Upon arrival in Joliet, the Barnhart crew rolled the cargo off the barge and transloaded it to self-propelled platform trailers. The towers would then be delivered over the road to the project site. Barnhart had acquired the necessary road permits for this stage and planned for obstructions along the way. But Old Man Winter had other ideas.  

During the roro operations, the crew faced arctic winter weather. Snowmageddeon 2021, the paralyzing snow storms in February, resulted in icy roads and subzero temperatures. Working conditions were impossible. The arctic blast complicated the final leg and delayed delivery for days.

Once the weather finally lifted, Barnhart transported the towers to the site one by one. The sections were self-offloaded to stands and beams. Final delivery was safely completed in early March.    

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While Alan Barnhart and his brother Eric share the name behind our business, they aren’t the owners of Barnhart. They are merely the stewards of its incredible growth and success. 

In this video, Alan and his wife, Katherine, outline their spiritual journey and Barnhart’s business journey, and how those paths became one and the same.

Barnhart started in 1969 with 10 employees in one location and grew to over 1000 employees in 50 locations. Through the hard work of a talented team, the company grew from revenues of 1.5 million in 1986 to 400 million in 2019.  

Remarkably, though, the Barnharts grew the company only to give it away a decade ago. This video tells you why.      

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Wind Project Uses Innovative Method

A recent project at a wind farm in West Texas employed a revolutionary method for blade and bearing replacement in the wind industry.  Barnhart used a new “craneless” method to complete the project. 

Customarily, a replacement project requires two and sometimes three cranes. By eliminating even one crane in the process, the cost of mobilizing that crane, along with its crew, are also eliminated.  

However, craneless does not mean completely crane-free. Instead this system utilizes smaller assist crane and ancillary equipment in place of the large crawler cranes that are normally used to exchange blades and bearings.  

Barnhart, in partnership with Windcare India, introduced this method of blade and bearing exchange for the first time in North America. For the first time ever in the world, it was also utilized on this particular turbine platform.

Rotor Lock Plates and Blade Tacos

There were multiple challenging steps during this execution of this project. For instance, the rotor for this specific tower would not lock at the 6 o’clock position, which was essential to execute the craneless method. The engineering team quickly designed and fabricated a rotor lock plate on site to address this issue.

The first successful blade bearing exchange was completed last summer in Abilene. Following that, the system was tested on a blade from a different manufacturer. Due to this blade’s structural integrity, which was different from the previous one,  the blade was damaged during the exchange.

In response, the Barnhart technical team worked together quickly and developed a modified procedure to utilize trailing edge and leading edge protection (or blade tacos). Once the new rigging method was approved by the customer and their technical team, Barnhart mobilized on site.

The field team completed the project safely in two phases. The first phase lowered the damaged blade using the craneless system, with the modified trailing edge and leading edge protection.  The second step safely raised the blade using the same system after the repair was completed by a third-party.  Barnhart used two different teams on the project, which required over 4000 total man-hours.  

The job was completed safely and efficiently and resulted in a client that was happy to see the turbine up and running again.

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Ten Safety Rules for Riggers

Riggers perform an essential function on any heavy lift and heavy haul project and in the daily function of many industries. Performing with excellence and managing the risks of work go hand-in-hand, plus abiding by standard rules and safety practices.  

With that in mind, here’s a few tips:

  1. Always determine the weight of the lift.
  2. Always consider the center of gravity of the load.
  3. Always check the capacity of the rigging to be used.
  4. Always consider sling angles and make allowances.
  5. Always consider the surface area of the load and wind conditions.
  6. Never kink, crush or cut slings by improper application.
  7. Never side load shackles, lifting eyes or lugs.
  8. Never use a spreader bar as a lifting beam.
  9. Never leave rigging on a job site.
  10. Never lift an unstable load.
Barnhart rigger=

Remember, safety comes first.  Not only your own, but that of your colleagues, customers and the general public. So be careful out there.

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The City of Seattle’s waterfront has undergone an extensive transformation over the past decade. It has involved reconstructing the 1930s Seattle seawall and boring a new 2.2 mile tunnel to create a subterranean waterfront corridor. An aging Alaskan Way viaduct has been demolished and a world-class waterfront district is in the process of being created.

At each of these stages, Barnhart has played a vital role. Most recently they were part of the final phase, joining forces with Granite Construction and Gary Merlino Construction to develop a concept to construct the new Elliot Ave. Bridge. It would be placed over some of the busiest live Burlington North Santa Fe (BNSF) railroad tracks in the Seattle area and surrounding region.

The topography of the area and close proximity to existing structures required months of planning and coordination among team members. This included the waterfront project team, the City of Seattle and BNSF. The challenge was to create a plan that would limit the impact to freight while maintaining an efficient and safe work environment.

Over the course of three days and two weekends, Barnhart placed 18 girders over the BNSF railroad tracks near Pike Place. They used their AC1300 (500 ton) and GMK6350 (350 ton) all-terrain cranes to set the concrete girders, which ranged from 63 to 150 feet long and weighed in excess of 79 tons. They were installed during six-hour windows at night when fewer trains were passing below. 

This project was one of the first major structural milestones toward building the new Elliot Way. The girders will support a four-lane bridge over the tracks, which will be a key connection between the waterfront and Belltown for vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists.

The work is part of a $728 million Waterfront Seattle program that is a complete redesign of the waterfront district. It is scheduled to be completed in 2024.

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As an historic, sorrowful and eventful year comes to a close, we wanted to share a special holiday message.  

Peace we leave with you.

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