Engineering Team Shines in Plant Project

Barnhart was hired to remove and replace fuel heat exchangers at a nuclear plant in Wisconsin. The 14,750 lbs. vessels had to be maneuvered in a small space. To overcome the tight tolerances, the engineering team had to design a system that allowed for maximum flexibility, yet could be constructed using no overhead rigging.

Every 1/16” mattered when it came to doing field measurements, so the team also performed a laser scan of the space. Field verification in conjunction with laser scan data allowed for engineering to build a very accurate model of the site. Every detail in the model had to be correct, from the height of shimming to how far the bolts stuck out on the heaters.

The team designed a system using pull-up jacks and Hillman saddle rollers. The jacks underneath the slide beams allowed Barnhart to change the height as required to get under pipes and over foundations and to tilt if needed. The custom-designed rollers allowed the field crew to rotate the vessel along its longitudinal centerline to further avoid obstructions. The heater also had to be repositioned several times, so a roller that could be broken down quickly and moved was a key aspect of the saddle design.

Because of the space constraints, the project engineering plan took several iterations to complete a thorough and efficient design. But the preparation and planning paid off with a project that was successfully executed.

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A recent haul by Barnhart involved one of the most enigmatic particles in the cosmos. Barnhart was hired to receive and transport two neutrino detectors, which were shipped from Europe. A neutrino detector is designed to capture and inspect neutrinos, neutral subatomic particles that, while abundant in the universe, are little known or understood.

Inside the Icarus neutrino detector

Barnhart received the detectors at a port in Burns Harbor, Indiana from ships gear to 14 lines of THP trailer. They were staged onsite while resting on the trailers. From the outside, the two detectors looked like extra-large shipping containers, but inside the walls were lined with incredibly delicate panels of wires. The detectors were so fragile, impact sensors were installed to measure if the irreplaceable detectors met any unexpected disturbances.

Transportation of the detectors to their eventual destination in Batavia, Illinois began once the permits were approved by the Indiana and Illinois DOT. Due to the fragility of the cargo, the detectors had to be moved on a Goldhofer trailer to limit the amount of deflection and required precise shimming when loaded. They also needed to be continuously supported during the transport, while traveling at reduced speeds.

The convoy traveled at a reduced speed.

Since the shells of the detectors were aluminum, Barnhart had to ensure that their securement chains did not make contact and damage the shells. In addition, the crew had to ensure that all trees along the route were sufficiently trimmed back to eliminate the risk of damage due to contact with limbs.

Representatives from the detector’s manufacturer met the convoy every time it stopped to check the shock sensors and verify that handling instructions were being followed.

While the trip was only 250 miles, it took three days for the cargo to reach its destination, a lab outside Chicago. The detectors will eventually be installed inside a specially-constructed building specifically outfitted for them.

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Precise Engineering Results in Minimal Downtime During Outage

Barnhart was recently hired to remove and replace two feedwater heaters at a power plant in Kansas during a planned outage. But it wasn’t going to be easy.

The project, which was featured in Cranes Today, had a number of challenges. The heaters were stacked on two floors and surrounded by a structure that could not be removed. Both vessels were out of reach of the overhead crane and would have to be slid out onto the turbine deck floor to get to the hook. But the turbine floor had limited capacity.

The lower heater was able to be moved from its position to the awaiting crane using a light and heavy slide track and pull up jacks. Barnhart added cribbing over the beams on the turbine floor and under the heavy slide system to support the load.

The upper vessel was a more complicated removal. Barnhart’s engineers determined that it would have to be slid out, suspended and lowered through a hole in the floor. A light slide system was utilized because limited headroom caused freedom of movement issues for the overhead crane.

The upper heater was slid to the edge of the hole, basketed under the first light slide gantry on top of the heavy slide beam and slid to the second basket. It  had to be fully supported under the light slide gantries and lowered with air hoists to powered saddle rollers. The heater was then rolled on heavy slide track to the awaiting crane.

The process was executed in reverse to replace the two heaters.

Precise engineering resulted in minimal downtime for the customer. Barnhart had planned to complete the job in 16 shifts, but was able to complete it in only 12.

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Barnhart crews from the Memphis branch recently transported two 310,00 natural gas-fired generators to a substation in Tallahassee. The substation serves critical customers including Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare and the Tallahassee Police Department, and the move was part of continued efforts to enhance electric reliability.

The generators arrived by rail and, due to their size, were moved one at a time. Barnhart used a GS-800 transporter, which was over 300 feet long with 12 axles. Since the load had to be moved through normally busy downtown Tallahassee and the college district, the generators were moved overnight to minimize traffic impact. Crews accompanied the transport to raise utility lines and trim tree limbs along the delivery route. One reason the GS-800 was chosen for the job was because its low clearance enabled the transporter to get around live oak trees, which could not be trimmed.

The first haul took 12 hours to complete as crews became familiar with the route and its challenges. The second generator was hauled a week later in a trip that only took six hours.

Once construction of the substation is completed this summer, the two generators will produce a total of 20 MW of power, more than enough to serve critical customers and the surrounding area as needed, particularly during hurricanes and other storms.

View a video of the project, courtesy of the City of Tallahassee.

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Heavy Load Turns Heads in Tulsa

Last week, Barnhart’s heavy haul of a massive piece of equipment drew onlookers along the route in Oklahoma.

The 317,000 lbs. unit, known as a coker bubble tower, started at a fabricator in Sand Springs. Barnhart loaded it onto two 6+6 lines of Eastrac trailers, bringing the total weight of the load to 660,000 lbs. It was destined for the Port of Catoosa in Tulsa, 25 miles away.

Photo credit: News on 6

The tower, which was a little over 170’ long, had to be maneuvered down narrow two lane roads, moving at an average speed of 15 mph. The back trailer was steered by a crewman and the load was pulled and pushed by two Western Star Prime Movers.

The load was also accompanied by the Oklahoma Highway Patrol and utility crews who helped move power lines and streets signs. The convoy was captured by News on 6 in Tulsa and other news outlets as it navigated the route.

The tower was successfully offloaded at the Port of Catoosa onto a barge headed for a refinery in Ohio. Once it reaches the site, two industrial cranes will be required to position and install it.

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Barnhart was hired to haul a 435,000-pound turbine to Dexter, Minn., a journey of over 1000 miles that originated in Alberta, Canada.

The turbine was brought to the border town of Sweet Grass, Mont. where it was staged on stands. It was then self-loaded to Barnhart’s GS-800 transporter, which brought the total size of the transport to 16’7” high, 18’ wide and 316’ long with a gross weight of 982,000 lbs.

At both the beginning and end of the journey, the trip was hampered by severe winter weather. Finding a route to accommodate the dimensions of the load was also a challenge, requiring multiple state and county permits. Two trucks assisted in pushing the load up steep grades and with maintaining an adequate speed.

The trip ultimately took 10 days for Barnhart to complete. Toward the end of the route, the team had to manage Frost Laws, seasonal restrictions that involve weight limits on roadways, where thawing pavement reduces load capacity. The final step was to offload and stage the turbine with 50-ton one-shot gantries to the client’s cribbing.

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Christmas from the Moon

It was 1968, a year of tumultuous events, marked by the shocking assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King.

But as the year came to a close, millions raised their eyes to the skies for the hopeful message of Apollo 8, NASA’s lunar voyage. Manned by Astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and William Anders, Apollo 8 achieved a series of firsts for space flight and NASA.

Anders’ iconic “Earthrise” photo.

The three astronauts became the first men to leave Earth’s gravitational pull, the first to orbit the moon, the first to view all of Earth from space and the first to see the dark side of the moon. Just seven months later, Neil Armstrong would become the first human to step on the moon.

But on Dec. 24, 1968, the crew had a special message to deliver in orbit.

“We were told that on Christmas Eve we would have the largest TV audience that had ever listened to a human voice,” recalled Borman years later. “And the only instructions that we got from NASA was to do something appropriate.”

During the broadcast, as the astronauts beamed back images of the moon and Earth, they took turns reading from the book of Genesis. Then they closed with the following wish, “Good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas and God bless all of you on this good Earth.”

The year 2017 was also tumultuous with natural disasters, political infighting and brewing international conflicts. Still, there is more that connects the people of this good Earth than divides us like love of family, community, the desire to help others, respect for hard work, achievement, decency and fairness.

During this holiday season, Barnhart wishes you the source of true peace on Earth in this video message.

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Tips On Choosing the Right Size Crane

To properly size and select a crane for a job many factors must be considered to determine the right type of crane and corresponding capacity. Should it be a heavy lift crane? Boom truck crane? Rough Terrain crane? Weight and size of load, location, reach, obstructions, and other factors must be determined before choosing crane.

Here are some key steps:

  1. Calculate the maximum radius from the center of pin.
  2. Confirm the total weight of the load. If not known, consider consulting an engineering professional.
  3. Determine clearance issues, either height under ceiling or overhead obstructions.
  4. Allow for the height of obstructions between crane and load.
  5. Consider the hook height required with lifting equipment.
  6. Allow for the distance from jib head to the hook.
  7. Determine if obstructions will impede the counterweight when swinging.
  8. Verify if the crane will need to work around obstructions during set up.
  9. Discern whether specialized rigging equipment will be needed to avoid removing critical plant equipment during the lift.
  10. Consider what boom length will be required.
  11. Ensure whether the ground can support the crane. Further testing may be needed.
  12. Establish how the crane will access and leave the site. Are roads and entrances able to accommodate?

All these factors are essential to the process of selecting a crane for a safe and successful job.


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Barnhart’s Phoenix branch occupies a unique niche. Nearly 68,000 square feet of its 72,000 square foot facility is devoted to storage of a very specific kind.

The facility acts as a response center for the SAFER (Strategic Alliance for Flex Emergency Response) program, storing $30 million of backup equipment for the nuclear industry in case of an emergency, including pumps, industrial grade fire hoses, generators, and lights that can illuminate five acres. This equipment would maintain safety functions for an indefinite period if an event disabled a plant’s installed safety systems. It has been preloaded on 46 trailers and, once deployed, can be at any nuclear facility in the United States within 24 hours.

The Phoenix facility houses $30 million of emergency equipment for the nuclear industry.

Barnhart’s football-field size storage facility is climate-controlled and has been upgraded to nuclear storage standards. Three full-time employees maintain and test the equipment on a regular basis.

The site is so essential to the program, it attracts an assortment of distinguished visitors.  Senators, congressman, industry executives and top U.S. and Japanese nuclear regulators regularly tour the facility.

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Barnhart has opened a second location in Kentucky with a new facility in Calvert City, joining Owensboro in the Bluegrass State.

“While we have been providing crane and rigging services and heavy transportation in the Calvert City area for many years, we can better serve customers in western Kentucky, southern Indiana and southern Illinois from this new operation,” said Clay Ellis, Barnhart’s branch manager for Owensboro.

Barnhart offloads a deethanizer at a chemical plant in Kentucky.

The new branch will focus on providing service to the chemical and power industry.  Area customers will also have access to an inventory of local cranes ranging from a 60 to 600-ton capacity, as well as specialized rigging equipment like cantilever beams, gantries, slide systems, SPMT’s, and other larger project equipment.

In addition to Calvert City, Barnhart has more than 45 other branches nationwide, including locations in the region in Tennessee and Illinois.

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