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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Project to Assemble World’s Largest Press Wins SC&RA Award

A Barnhart project in California involving 40 components and 50 lifts has received a 2019 Specialized Carriers & Rigging Association (SC&RA) Rigging Job of the Year award.

The award, our 37th since 1992, was in the category of Rigging over $2 Million. It was one of two SC&RA awards Barnhart received this year, adding to a Hauling Job of the Year award.

The winning project started at the Port of Long Beach where Barnhart was hired to receive and transport over 40 press components ranging up to 740,000 pounds from the port to a steel forging plant.

Over the course of a year, the components were transported by dual lane trailer and suspension girders to the site. The project required over six different trailer configurations, which was accomplished by the modular flexibility of the trailer. The hydraulic trailer also allowed the equipment to be self loaded by Barnhart at the port. The cargo also included several large asymmetrical pieces, which were positioned as needed in the suspension girders.

At the site, the components were transloaded to a Goldhofer SPMT and brought into the new facility to be assembled. The team utilized its Modular Lift Tower with strand jacks to make the lifts. On several of the asymmetrical pieces the CG was not centered between the lifting lugs so Barnhart utilized their extensive inventory of lifting devices to make rigging adjustments as needed on site.

Some larger pieces needed to be bolted together and assembled to a 0.1 mm tolerance using an assembly table made of Barnhart powered rollers and hydraulic jacks. The largest lift, the foundation crosshead, was assembled of seven components adding up to a final lift weight of 4,500,000 pounds.

In the end, the team made over 50 engineered critical lifts with very low ground bearing requirements and helped assemble one of the world’s largest presses.

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Made in the USA

On Thursday, July 4th, the United States will be 243 years old. Americans will celebrate across the country in traditional ways with backyard cookouts, fireworks and festivities in communities large and small.

This year, Barnhart is celebrating a milestone birthday, our 50th. While not being old for a country, that’s a pretty significant birthday for a company. Those years reflect thousands of projects, innumerable hours of work, and prudent decisions at strategic junctures.

We are a proudly American company, founded in 1969 in Memphis. Barnhart started with a single location in Memphis. The office was a kitchen table in the family home of current president Alan Barnhart.

Fifty years later, we’ve grown from that single office to 44 locations across the country – branches from sea to shining sea – and one of the largest heavy lift and transport companies in the United States. We are thankful to be in a country we have opportunity. Opportunity to grow through continuous improvement and arduous work.

But a company is only as good as its employees. We have assembled gifted leaders and a talented team who work diligently, solve problems, make us look good on every project and uphold our company standards.

Our employees represent all regions of the country and reflect different political persuasions, cultures and ethnicities. These employees possess talents that are indispensable to our company’s success, from engineers to crane operators to truck drivers.

We don’t have a secret to making it to 50. Like the eating an elephant analogy, we take it one project at a time. Plus, we stick to our mission, which is to improve and grow and glorify God.  With this in mind, we look forward to another 50 years.

Happy birthday America! You have given us so much.

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Tanker Haul Wins SC&RA Job of the Year

Barnhart recently took home a Specialized Carriers & Rigging Association (SC&RA) Hauling Job of the Year award for a project that involved three 644,000-pound vessels, three states, 7,667 man-hours and two months.

The three 117′ long tanks started at the manufacturer in Idaho. They had to be hauled to two different natural gas facilities in Colorado where they would be set at the sites. Transportation permits had to be secured for the oversized load from several states, plus arranging pilot vehicles and bucket trucks.

The load was carried on a bolstered 22-line WesTrac dual-lane transporter, which is designed to handle extremely heavy loads and to meet DOT requirements for highways in the western United States. Winter conditions and local regulations further complicated the project.

Barnhart had to come up with different options to deal with bridge crossing restrictions, including crabbing over one bridge. The trailer was configured in such a way that the front and rear trailer could split, so the load could be distributed over different lanes.

At the site, the tanks were offloaded to elevated pedestals. To handle ground bearing requirements, the team built a temporary runway that allowed the trailer to come alongside the pedestals. Barnhart’s 500-ton one shot gantries were used to pick and set the tanks.

The SC&RA awards are given to companies for projects that demonstrate exceptional organization, skill and commitment to safety.

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Barnhart Purchases Burkhalter Rigging

Barnhart Crane and Burkhalter Rigging, Inc., of Columbus, Mississippi, entered into an agreement on Friday May 31st under which Barnhart will purchase the majority of Burkhalter’s assets.

The two companies have complementary skills and similar paths.

Burkhalter, a third-generation family business, traces its roots to 1973. In 1984, the company expanded from local crane service to providing engineered heavy lifting, rigging and transport for petrochemical, power, civil and marine industries.

Barnhart, based in Memphis, was founded in 1969 as a family-owned business. The company focuses on crane rental, rigging services, outage planning, engineered solutions for component replacement, heavy haul and national project cargo logistics.

“Burkhalter represents an excellent fit for Barnhart, and this acquisition further enhances Barnhart’s market position as the lifting and logistics provider of choice in this area,” said Brooke Burkhalter, Branch Manager of Barnhart’s new Columbus office. “Burkhalter has a good reputation for engineering custom solutions that mirrors Barnhart’s approach.”

Burkhalter customers will also benefit from access to Barnhart’s nationwide network of locations and equipment. We also boast one of the largest engineering teams in the industry, including a full R & D department and a fleet of barges for transport on inland waterways. This extensive network ensures Barnhart’s customers receive the lowest total project costs.

With the acquisition of the two Burkhalter facilities in Columbus and Rosharon, Barnhart doubles its presence in those states. Barnhart also has full-service branches in Jackson and Houston.

Barnhart is one of America’s leading lifting and logistics contractors. With a current network of more than 50 facilities, we provide world-class service through a local presence.


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Barnhart Part of Kentucky Workforce Development Program

Barnhart is part of an effort to prepare Kentucky’s workers meet growing workforce demands. Currently, the state is facing a shortage of highly skilled workers to fill approximately 115,000 open jobs.

Through the InDemand program, a partnership between Kentucky Educational Television and the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet, individuals can learn about opportunities in high-demand career sectors. A 10-video series and accompanying website provides an overview of careers available in advanced manufacturing, business and IT, construction, healthcare, and transportation and logistics.

The series includes footage and employee interviews from businesses across Kentucky, including Barnhart’s Owensboro and Calvert City branches. The videos explore careers in those fields, skills required and average salaries.

Barnhart is among the companies featured in the construction and transportation and logistics videos. If a career in any of those fields appeals to you, explore career opportunities with Barnhart in one of 44 branches nationwide by visiting our jobs page.


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Barnhart Sets Steeple Just in Time for Easter

A Catholic church in Utica, Nebraska had been missing its steeple for many years, seventy to be exact. Back in 1949, the steeple at St. Patrick’s Church had been struck by lightning and consumed by flames. In the following decades, it was never replaced.

Thanks to the efforts of an anonymous donor and church pledges, a new copper steeple made its way to its permanent home in Utica this week. Barnhart played a critical role in restoring the steeple to its former glory.

The church needed a company capable of lifting and setting the 30-foot tall steeple. It also weighed 23,000 pounds, even though the copper-clad steeple was hollow. Barnhart’s Lincoln office stepped in and donated its services.

“With the tragic news of Notre Dame’s burning in Paris and the three churches lost to fire in Louisiana, this project happening during Holy Week is very meaningful,” said Barnhart’s Director of Marketing Chris Teague. “The fact that someone donated the steeple and the parishioners raised the money to renovate the bell tower sets a good example for us all. The least we could do was to donate our services to help restore the steeple in time for Easter.”

On April 13, Barnhart used a 100-ton mobile crane to lift the steeple and place it atop the bell tower. According to the local newspaper, The Seward Independent, the historic moment was witnessed by a delighted crowd of 25 people and two dogs.


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