Lock Gate Replacement Becoming a Barnhart Specialty

Barnhart was recently hired for a project at the Holt Lock and Dam on the Black Warrior River in Alabama to remove and replace the lock’s lower mitre gate, our third lock replacement project in the past couple of years.

For the Holt project, two new gates were fabricated in Russellville, Alabama, and transported by barge to the site up the Black Warrior River. In the meantime, Barnhart was assembling a lift system that would span the width of the 150’ lock. The team brought in Big Al, their barge-mounted heavy lift crane, to set up the equipment.

Barnhart devised a system using a modular lift tower and two 8’ tall girders to span the lock in conjunction with a 500-ton hoist and slide system, which would maneuver the gates. Once the gates arrived, Barnhart lifted the two old gates from the pocket and downended them onto the barge for transport. Tugs were used to support the barge during this process.

The new gates were delivered to the hook of the hoist and upended using the 500-ton hoist. Each new gate weighed 375 tons, which was 35 tons more than the old gates. They were then set into the gate recesses on temporary stands, with each lift taking 3-4 hours.  Barnhart’s part, from equipment set up and removal, took four days.

It took coordination among all the players, including Barnhart, the tug and barge company, the Corps of Engineers and the lock’s maintenance company, to successfully complete the project on time.

Watch this video of the process.



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Barnhart Opens First Ohio Branch with Selinsky Acquisition

Barnhart will expand its services into Ohio through a recent agreement with Selinsky Force based in Canton. Barnhart will purchase the company’s crane and rigging operations, including all associated personnel and equipment.

Those resources include crane service with a lifting capacity of up to 275-tons, hydraulic gantries and sliding equipment, lift trucks of up to 100,000 lb. in capacity, and trucking services including hydraulic transporters. Barnhart will also acquire Selinsky’s rigging, hauling and crane assets, plus an experienced team.     

“Selinsky has a great reputation for providing crane, rigging and hauling services in Ohio, western Pennsylvania and West Virginia. This team will help Barnhart become the best heavy lift and heavy transportation provider in our market,” said Matt Brennan, Barnhart’s Chief Financial Officer.

Barnhart’s acquisition includes Selinsky’s heavy lift and heavy haul services.

The acquisition will further enhance Barnhart’s presence in the Midwest, where we already operate a number of branches in Kentucky and Illinois. Crane and rigging customers will benefit from access to Barnhart’s nationwide network of locations backed up by project cargo logistics capabilities, an engineering department with more than 60 engineers, and our own fleet of barges for transport on inland waterways.

Selinsky Force will continue to retain and operate all of its core industrial services, which include refractory, equipment rental, plant maintenance, steel erection, and pulverizer services.

With the Selinsky expansion, Barnhart’s network grows to nearly 50 locations nationwide.

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Load testing of equipment is a critical operation and often a requirement under industry standards. It ensures safety of equipment, and most importantly, people.

When should you do it? By ASME standards, all lifting equipment that has been fabricated, altered, or repaired should be properly load tested and inspected. New equipment also has to be load tested. Sometimes a customer wants to test their equipment to comply with their own QA/QC standards or to increase confidence in its performance.

Regardless of the reason, Barnhart has the engineers, equipment and facilities to successfully perform the service. We have multiple options to test a wide variety of equipment including overhead cranes & hoists, lifting devices, lifting systems and beams and spreader bars. Below-the-hook testing is our most common service. Barnhart is also capable of load testing other equipment, such as jacking or hydraulic gantry systems.

Load tests should be conducted by a qualified person who can direct the test, confirm the load rating, and provide a written report. Equipment should be tested to 125% of its rated capacity to account for potential unexpected loading during normal operation, such as dynamic or side loading.

Barnhart regularly load tests all its newly fabricated equipment. We frequently perform load tests for customers as the entire scope of work, for example, a new piece of equipment that needs a first-time test or an old piece of rigging whose documentation has been lost. Nuclear power, refining and industries with large overhead cranes like steel and power typically use the service.

A load test certificate is provided upon successful completion of the load test and inspection of the equipment. Barnhart also has several weld inspectors certified in Visual, MT, PT, and UT weld testing.

Visit our website to request a quote for our load testing services.

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Barnhart Expands Service in the Northwest with Purchase of Strate Line

Barnhart is adding its first Idaho location with the company’s recent agreement to purchase Strate Line Inc, a Coeur d’Alene, Idaho-based crane service company.

The purchase will expand Barnhart’s ability to serve commercial, civil and heavy industrial customers in the northwestern United States. Strate Line offers operated hydraulic cranes from 30 tons to 175 tons, and operates in Washington, Montana and Idaho.

“Strate Line is a strong company with a culture that is rooted in serving the customer in the safest, most expeditious and economical way. They have become a valuable resource for customers in this region. We are excited about integrating the Strate Line people and their culture into the Barnhart family,” said Barnhart’s Northwest Regional Director David Webster, an Idaho resident.

Barnhart will maintain all of Strate Line’s current assets and employees, but will manage operations primarily from its current Spokane, WA branch location. The move will allow the company to continue to provide the services customers expect from Strate Line while also providing a broader range of solutions from Barnhart. Their coast-to-coast branch network means customers will have access to some of the nation’s most innovative rigging systems, cranes to almost 1,800 tons, wind turbine up-tower services, Project Cargo Logistics capabilities, and a department of over 60 engineers.

“These wider service options could help customers lower their overall costs on many projects. We think folks will be excited about that,” says Webster.

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Moving a Package Boiler with Inches to Spare

Barnhart has an extensive video library of equipment demonstrations, projects and case studies. In the video case study below, Barnhart was hired for a job at a pulp & paper plant in the Midwest. The project involved receiving a 400,000-pound package boiler from ship’s gear, transporting it to the job site and rough setting the boiler at an elevated position in the building.

The challenges included maneuvering the boiler down a narrow alleyway with just inches of clearance to spare. Plus, the boiler also had to be rotated 90 degrees to be slid and set in the building.

Using a combination of cool tools and a perfectly executed engineering plan, the job was completed safely and on time. And it was recognized as an SC&RA Job of the Year winner.

Here’s how it was done.

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Job of the Year: Innovation and Custom Fabrication

Barnhart recently took home an SC&RA (Specialized Carriers & Rigging Association) Rigging Job of the Year award in the $750,000 to $2 million category. The company also received an award in the Under $150,000 category as well.

The winning project took place at a nuclear plant in Louisiana. One of the facility’s two clarifier units needed repair. But the unit sat inside a concrete structure with a wall height of 28 feet and an inside diameter of 178 feet.

The clarifier core was supported by 16 lateral supports, ten out of which were structurally compromised and needed to be replaced. This made access from inside the unit too unsafe.

Barnhart had to design a lift system from above that would span the diameter of the tank and support the 600,000 lbs. clarifier while the lateral supports were removed. This required some innovative engineering.

Utilizing both a heavy lift crawler crane and a telescoping hydraulic crane, Barnhart assembled the lift system. The backbone of this system was 8 foot girder sections that were connected on the ground to a total length of 180 feet. Once assembled, these girders, weighing up to 225,000 lbs., were set to the clarifier walls with tandem lifts.

Barnhart custom fabricated stability kickers for the girders, deflection load spreading rockers for the girder contact points, and various spreader bars to accommodate the complicated rigging design challenges. With all the rigging in place, the clarifier was lifted and held in place while the lateral supports were removed.

Barnhart then positioned pull-up gantries and 5 foot girders to support the clarifier from below. Once the new lateral supports were in place and connected, the gantries and girders were removed.

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Faced with clearances of less than two inches, Barnhart pulled off a rigging challenge that resulted in a 2018 SC&RA award in the category of “Rigging Job of the Year Under $150,000.”  Barnhart has received Job of the Year recognition almost every year over the past decade.

Barnhart was hired to install a 46,000 pound silicon reactor at a chemical company while the plant was in operation. Measuring 11 feet 5.5 inches in diameter and 18 feet l1 inches in height, the reactor’s path to its final location was incredibly tight with vertical and horizontal clearance challenges.

Installation options included removing the roof, but that would have resulted in a plant outage. However, a computer model revealed that a path through the facility was possible – but just barely – with many immovable obstructions. The path would ultimately snake through the plant and up a vertical shaft for securement on the second floor.

Negotiating a turn with less than two inches to spare.

The reactor had to negotiate a couple of tight right-hand turns, one which offered as little as 1.8” to spare between columns. Barnhart’s solution was to modify the shipping frame to lower the overall height to be able to use traditional rigging tools. Roller support frames were added outboard from saddle to saddle, which didn’t add to the overall height or width of the reactor.

Horizontal travel was accomplished with a forklift with the reactor supported by Hillman rollers on the roller supports that were attached to the saddles. Spotters were located at every critical juncture.

Once the reactor negotiated the turns and reached the erection area, the reactor had to be tailed to vertical and hoisted to its final set location with just three inches of clearance. The team utilized standard chain hoists to lift vertically as high as possible, using the Barnhart-designed low-profile hoist system.

The yellow jacking frame allowed the jackup tower to lift the reactor from the bottom.

But the reactor was not designed to be lifted from the bottom. Anticipating this issue, Barnhart had collaborated with the reactor manufacturer to develop a jacking frame that could be partially disassembled during tailing and then reinstalled for jacking operations.

A jackup tower, which fit under the reactor by just two inches, then took the load. The hoist system was removed so the reactor could be pushed up vertically from underneath to its final set location.

At final elevation, Barnhart installed the support steel and the reactor was lowered and secured. The jackup frame was removed and Barnhart demobilized – beating the proposed installation schedule by 50 percent.

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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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