Barnhart Expands Midwest Presence with Purchase of Viant Crane

Barnhart has expanded into new territory with the recent acquisition of Viant Crane, adding a company dedicated to safety, reliability and performance.     

With offices in Wisconsin and North Dakota, Viant focuses on clients in the Northland and Midwestern United States, where it works in the commercial, energy, petro-chemical and pipeline business sectors, among others.  The addition of these two branches will add to Barnhart’s Midwest presence which includes existing branches in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska, Michigan and South Dakota.

Viant provides crane rental, operated crane services and specialty rigging, as well as logistics planning and transport services.   Barnhart will purchase Viant’s rental fleet of industrial and carry deck cranes providing up to 22-ton capacity, rough terrain hydraulic cranes of up to 150-ton capacity, lattice boom crawler cranes of up to 330-ton capacity, as well as a fleet of all terrain/truck cranes ranging in capacity from 50 to 350 tons.

 “The company is an excellent fit for Barnhart,” said David Webster, Barnhart Senior Vice President of Operations.  “Viant’s customers will continue to receive the same quality of service as they have in the past with the added benefit of access to Barnhart’s national network of locations, specialty tools, and a dedicated engineering department.”

As with other Barnhart acquired companies, Viant will keep its name, building on a strong brand that is respected in the marketplace.    

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Holiday Wishes for a Season of Miracles

This holiday season, we took inspiration from the movie classic, Miracle on 34th Street, to create this special Christmas message. Enjoy!

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At a national laboratory in New Mexico, Barnhart was brought in to remove a 460,000-pound rotor and transport it across the state to a rail station in Clovis. 

First, the rotor had to be removed from the stator housing and building using 400-ton gantries and a Goldhofer PSTe 10-Line transport. In the yard, the 69’ long rotor was transloaded to a dual-lane transporter.

Photo Credit: The Albuquerque Journal

The convoy would eventually include two accompanying semi trucks, making a transport system that weighed 700,000 pounds and took up two traffic lanes. That made for a slow pace, as the convoy traveled the 350 miles to Clovis at approximately 25 miles per hour. 

While some of the journey took place on the interstate, about 75 percent was on two-lane state roads. New Mexico state troopers who accompanied the dual lane transporter set up rolling roadblocks, essentially clearing the oncoming lane so that it could pass through.  

At the rail station in Clovis, the rotor was lifted off the transporter and loaded onto a rail car for transport to Virginia.  

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Fostering a Giving Spirit

As Thanksgiving approaches, we have much to be thankful for at Barnhart.  Our 50th anniversary, for one. Who knew that a company that started at a kitchen table with a handful of employees would grow to 45 branches nationwide and 1200 employees? We couldn’t be more grateful for the clients and our team that made it all possible.

We try to foster a giving spirit not only at Thanksgiving, but throughout the year among our employees. Our Barnhart Cares program makes it easier for them to get involved in the local causes that matter the most.

In addition to Community Cares grants to help the underserved in our communities, Barnhart gives each employee funds to donate to the ministry or charity of their choice. For every hour volunteered, we match those funds up to 10 hours per quarter. A majority of Barnhart employees take advantage of the program and give back in a variety of ways.

Here are a few examples:

The Shreveport branch provided Thanksgiving meals for several needy families this season.
The Phoenix branch packed 7776 Manna Meals for Feed My Starving Children, which are donated to FMSC partners around the world.
Members of our Houston branch served the homeless at the Loaves and Fishes soup kitchen.

Whatever the activity, our volunteers have learned that when you give of yourself, you get so much more back in return! Or to quote Anne Frank, “No one has ever become poor by giving.”   

Enjoy your Thanksgiving!

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Barnhart’s Custom Rigging System Helps Move Vessel

Recently, a crew boat bound for Aruba got a lift from Barnhart.  The boat arrived at the Alabama State Docks where it needed to be moved from the water to an awaiting vessel.

Premier Bulk Stevedoring, the company in charge of the project, reached out to Barnhart to provide specialized rigging for the crew boat, which was 110’ long and weighed 189,377 pounds. It also had an offset center of gravity.

Barnhart’s rigging system assisted in the move of a crew boat at the Alabama State Docks.

Barnhart developed a plan for rigging above the lifting straps. To compensate for the offset CG, they used their adjustable rigging link system (ARLS), which resembles a large bicycle chain that adjusts down to two-inch increments. Custom fabricated 55-ton sling doublers prevented the lifting straps from doubling over on themselves. A configuration of spreader bars and a lattice boom spreader bar completed the rigging plan.

Using the Alabama State Docks’ Gottwald crane, the vessel was successfully lifted out of the water and moved to the vessel bound for Aruba.

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Barnhart Wins International Transport Award

Barnhart received the Overland Transport Provider of the Year at the Heavy Lift global competition on Oct. 15 in Antwerp, Belgium.  The award was not given for a specific project, but for Barnhart’s transportation solutions on a variety of projects.

An example was a multi-modal solution for transporting an oversized reformer vessel from Tulsa, Okla. to Lima, Ohio. The vessel was 73’1” long, 17’8” wide, 18’4” tall and weighed 425,000 pounds. Barnhart assembled its longest and widest dolly transport ever – a 300’ long, 24’4” wide and 18’9” tall permitted load with a gross weight of 885,000 pounds – to accommodate its size. Due to several factors, the team determined that a haul-barge-haul approach was the best way to transport the vessel.   

After hauling the vessel from the fabricator in Tulsa to the Port of Catoosa, the transporter rolled on to a deck barge using the port’s low water wharf. But first there was the challenge of squeezing a 300’ long transporter onto a 200’ long barge. The team removed the front prime mover and drawbar, reducing the length of the transporter, and pushed it onto the barge. 

Between the Port of Catoosa and Burns Harbor, Ind., the low-lying Lemont Bridge offered only 19’ of clearance from the bottom of the bridge to the water’s surface. Our barge needed 22’ of clearance. This required us to ballast the barge within 2’ of freeboard. 

The final stage of the journey was an over-the-road transport 235 miles to Lima, which included traveling through two states, four districts and two townships. The team spent over a month gathering field measurements and evaluating turns and clearances and coordinating with local and state authorities. These preparations enabled the transporter to successfully navigate utility lines, railroad crossing overhead signage and, working with state and regional authorities, allowed for the installation of a median crossing to avoid a low overpass.

The Heavy Lift awards are given by Heavy Lift & Project Forwarding International, a worldwide media company for professionals involved in the logistics of over-dimensional and heavy cargo.

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A refinery in Ohio had a problem. A 50-foot-long electrical shelter building had to be transported from one side of the plant to the other, a distance of about a half mile.

However, while developing the in-plant transportation plan, it was discovered that numerous overhead obstacles prevented a traditional transport. Still, the piece had to be moved without schedule delays, which carried potential EPA regulatory penalties.

Barnhart had worked with the refinery’s sister facility, so they were called in and challenged with the task of determining a safe, unique solution to an equally unique problem; how to transport the 14‘  x 12.5’  x 50’ shelter building under eight pipe racks, with the lowest overhead clearance at 15’ 2“ from grade. With that little clearance, a tractor trailer wasn’t an option.

The engineering team went to work to devise a plan and ended up creating a self-contained loading, transportation and offloading solution for the customer.

A custom lifting and transport frame was constructed with a combination of Barnhart 16” and 8” deep slide beams. The frame was supported in four locations using 8” x 4” tube steel. The tubes were affixed to the bottoms of the beams using sandwich plating and all-thread.

The frame was shackled to two 120k Riggers Lift masts with rigging lugs and rigging chain. The two Riggers Lifts worked in tandem to transport the cargo through the plant. The overall transport height of the frame was 14’ 6 ½”, which meant there was a mere six inches of clearance under the lowest rack.

The move took roughly half a shift and the work was performed while the plant was operational. Once the last obstacle was navigated and the shelter transported, it was offloaded with the pair of Riggers Lifts to elevated piers.  The project was executed successfully and on time.

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Miniature Crane Highlight of Children’s Museum

The Children’s Museum of Skagit County in Burlington, Washington has long been a favorite attraction for kids. It features interactive exhibits, including a miniature tower crane, which was donated by Sicklesteel Cranes a decade ago.

When the Children’s Museum decided to relocate last year, the fate of the crane was uncertain. Sicklesteel had been purchased by Barnhart in 2015, so the museum reached out to their Mount Vernon branch to see if they would be interested in taking over the care of the crane.

“The crane has always been a highlight of the museum,” said Branch Manager Ron Bahr. “So we decided to do it.’

After a decade of wear and tear at the hands of children, the crane needed some repairs. Barnhart refurbished the mini tower crane, repainting it and rebuilding the controls and electronics to make it more durable.

When the Children’s Museum moved to its new location in March, so did the newly refurbished crane, which continues to be a draw for the kids. Standing 10’ tall with a 9’ foot long boom, the crane operates like a regular crane in that trollies in and out and the boom swings left and right. Its small cab has room for two children who can operate two control arms and practice their crane skills, lifting and lowering a load.

It’s not unusual for Barnhart to participate in community activities.  “We do a lot of volunteer hands-on events with our boom trucks and other equipment,” says Bahr. “We like to support the community in their efforts to give kids something fun and educational to do.”

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How to Make Shutdowns, Turnarounds and Outages Successful

The old saying, “time is money,” is never more true than with shutdowns, turnarounds and outages (STOs) requiring cranes and other specialized equipment.

Barnhart has extensive experience in this kind of work, so we’ve learned a thing or two and picked up some valuable tips that will make your next STO go a little smoother.

  1. Make up your mind                                                                                    

Much of outage rigging is on the critical path. The earlier the rigging contractor is chosen, the more consistent and efficient the delivery can be. In the case of specialized rigging and transport services, more preparation and planning time usually means safer, faster, and more elegant solutions.

  1. Vet the Vendor

Take the time to learn as much as you can about a vendor well in advance of any outage. Choose vendors that have a proven resume and a deep inventory of resources and equipment. Learn more about their protocols and procedures, particularly in the area of safety. Be sure your contractors have a deep pool of qualified personnel who are familiar with working within complex facilities.

  1. The Right Tools Matter  

Knowing you have the right tools and equipment in the hands of the right rigging contractor can reduce hours and mitigate risk. The best contractors may have innovative tools and techniques that could be unknown to plant personnel. Failure to learn about alternatives may cost the plant time, money and safety.

  1. Get in Synch

It is critical that the plant’s and contractors’ schedules align perfectly. For operations involving crane and rigging contractors it is important to hire a team that has a successful record of mobilizing teams and equipment within the schedule’s tight tolerances and performing the work, all within the critical path.

5. Check and Double Check

Simply said – have someone check your work.  A thorough review of your plan from a trusted partner will help ensure success and help you sleep better at night!

  1. Ask for Proof

Ask your crane and rigging contractor to show you their track record of adding value through innovative tools, methods and key personnel. Talk is cheap but proof is in performance.

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Teamwork and Innovation Win TVA Top Energy Award

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) recently won the Nuclear Energy Institute’s Top Innovative Practice award for an inventive method of replacing three school-bus-sized feedwater heater bundles at their Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant. We were proud to work with the TVA on this project and to help devise a method that not only won an award, but helped them save time and money.

The project took place during a refueling outage at the plant. The three heaters, which were 45’ long and 35 ½ tons each, had to be moved out of turbine building through the service building to the outside.

Conventional methods to remove the heaters such as slide rails, powered rollers, and simple crane and rigging devices weren’t an option. An alternative method had to be devised to move the heaters through the building without overloading the building structure.

The Browns Ferry and Barnhart teams developed two remote-controlled, low-profile vehicles, known as SoftTrac Crawlers. The crawlers were maneuverable and could be steered from both ends, plus the wheel bases could be adjusted independently. This enabled the crew to navigate the heaters through the turns required to get through two buildings. See the SoftTrac in action in this video.

According to Ashley Michael, implementation lead at Browns Ferry, “The benefit to the TVA in using the SoftTrac Crawlers is that it took about half the time of a conventional rigging and lifting method and allowed us to complete our outage work seven days early. Completing early means less time in the field and less risk to our employees and craftsman. I’m proud of the team and how we worked together to overcome this challenge.”

Barnhart’s experience in the nuclear industry extends to engineered lifting solutions, major component replacement, transport of radioactive components and outage support. We are thankful to the TVA for the opportunity to participate on this award-winning project.

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