Barnhart Engineers Provide Solutions for Drum Removal

At a recent job at a refinery in Illinois, Barnhart faced a challenge when removing and replacing a preflash tower reflux accumulator, or drum.

The customer requested that Barnhart develop a plan that would avoid removing any additional equipment or platforms located above the drum, and the team had a limited work area on the drum platform itself. Barnhart’s staff engineers provided a solution utilizing an elevated slide system allowing 33-kip sliding gantries to slide into the structure. The drum was rigged to the Lift Systems 44A gantries and slid to an open area where it could be handed off to a crane hook for removal.

Barnhart uses an elevated slide system and gantries to remove the drum.

Through efficient planning and coordination and by working closely with the customer’s maintenance contractor, Barnhart was able to complete the remove and replace job safely and on schedule.

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You might not think a crane and a truck would have much in common. But they do, as demonstrated in a short video, Common Core: Nissan Presents: Titans of Construction, part of a series of videos promoting the Nissan Titan truck.

In the video, Eric Fields, Director of Engineering at Nissan’s Assembly Plant in Canton, takes a trip to a Barnhart job site in Mississippi to check out an “awesome” construction crane.

According to Barnhart’s Drake Townsend, the 100-ton crane can move from site to site and be set up in 30 minutes. But its most unique feature is its video monitoring system, which can capture a 360-degree view, enabling crane operator John Cargile to get a full picture of where the crane is moving. The Nissan Titan is equipped with a similar monitoring system.

Watch the full video.


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Time is money during an outage, so the clock was ticking for a Barnhart project at a steel mill in Alabama. Barnhart had just five days to remove and replace a 146,500 lb. pinion stand. But before the project could begin, Barnhart had an extremely tight window of only 35 days to complete engineering, fabrication, testing, and scope of work.

There were several challenges. The pinion stand was located outside the radius of the overhead crane. Floor obstructions around the pinion stand prohibited a 4-leg gantry/slide operation for removal and the ability to position the slide system below the stand.

To get around the obstructions, Barnhart fabricated two- 3’ jack housing stands to fit into the extremely limited floor space. The engineering team designed a cantilevered slide system that could be assembled off-site and installed over the pinion stand in one piece, saving critical outage time.

Utilizing the custom fabricated set of jacks and the hook of the facility’s overhead crane, Barnhart successfully slid the pinion stand from below the 500-ton slide track to pipe stands within the radius of the overhead crane for removal.  The reverse order was executed for the rough-set of the new pinion stand.

Our crews were commended for handling some of the unexpected challenges of the project, while adhering to the project schedule.

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Barnhart was honored with two “Job of the Year” awards in the categories of “Rigging Job $750,000 – $2 Million” and “Rigging Job Under $150,000,” at the recent Specialized Crane and Rigging Association (SC&RA) annual conference

Criteria for the awards included overall safety, ingenuity, planning and scheduling. The winning jobs represented those that successfully overcame project challenges in the safest and most creative ways.

In the “Rigging Job $750,000 – $2 Million,” Barnhart engineered and built equipment to transport, lift and install a 400,000-lb. package boiler into a paper mill. The challenges were numerous due to restricted access, clearance challenges and the boiler’s offset center of gravity.

The boiler is maneuvered through the wall opening.

Barnhart’s engineering team designed a custom bracket to pin the boiler’s jacking haunches, allowing the use of a chain hoist to level the boiler during the transload.  At the site, the boiler had to travel down a narrow alley to an elevated wall opening. The boiler was lifted by gantries, rotated on a turntable and slid into the building on a slide system, with only a few inches clearance on all sides.

Due to the offset center of gravity, it was possible to support the boiler from three locations, which provided the room needed to remove Barnhart’s equipment. The boiler was lined up above the sole plates of the supports to ensure the boiler was fully supported, after which the crews removed the slide beams.

The winning “Rigging Job Under $150,000” included the removal and replacement of a motor, gear box and compressor located inside a structure full of piping and electrical work. Removal by crane was not an option due to overhead structures and utilities.

The Joust in action.

Barnhart developed a new traveling and lifting machine especially for the job dubbed, “The Joust” which consisted of two gantries on a six-line self-propelled motor transport and a cantilever beam. Barnhart’s engineering team provided stability calculations to ensure the center of gravity of the beam would remain safely between the two gantries.

Barnhart utilized a modular structural box beam with a 40,000-lb. counterweight.  A custom center point lifting beam was designed to account for the lifting points on the compressor and the minimal headroom.

All three components were removed during a single shift for maintenance. Seven days later, Barnhart replaced the components in a single shift, saving the customer four shifts off its turnaround schedule.

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Barnhart frequently takes on mammoth undertakings, and occasionally encounters one of colossal proportions.

Barnhart’s assignment was to design the method and perform the installation of the world’s largest outdoor, permanent, four-sided center-hung television display.  Nicknamed Colossus, the display was to be installed at the Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee, a NASCAR short track and a popular sporting venue.

The Colossus is composed of four custom-built screens, each approximately 30 feet tall by 63 feet wide. The screens hang from a halo-shaped truss and cage, with an additional circular LED display screen underneath, measuring six feet high.

A mockup of the Colossus.

Barnhart’s engineers had to first figure out how to suspend the 3 1/2” diameter cables, similar to those used on suspension bridges, that would support the mammoth 380,000 lb. display. They erected four permanent towers, each approximately 200’ feet tall, at the corners of the stadium.

The issue of running cable from the towers to the Colossus structure proved to be the biggest challenge.  The team utilized a system of winches, crane blocks, and temporary messenger and pull cables to suspend the 3 ½” cables by lifting them, connecting one end of each cable to a tower, and then pulling opposing 3 ½” cables from the diagonal towers together.

The halo is lifted into place.

Once the cables were in place, Barnhart lifted the halo with two Manitowoc 999 cranes.  Barnhart personnel, working from man baskets lifted by smaller hydraulic cranes, connected the 3 ½” suspension cables to the halo pin connections.  The 999’s then lowered the halo so that it was fully supported by the suspension cables.

The Barnhart crew at work.

A couple of weeks later, the gondola, or TV cage, was lifted in place. Again, Barnhart utilized the Manitowoc cranes along with two additional 350-ton hydraulic cranes.

“This was a one-of-a-kind type job,” said James Harper, assistant branch manager of the Knoxville office, which handled the project. “The scale of the project, plus the intricacies of installing the suspension cabling, made it one of our more challenging projects.”

The Colossus will be unveiled this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Watch as the halo and gondola are lifted in these timelapse video.

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R & R: It’s One of our Specialties

R & R is what we all look forward to, and we’re no different.  But the R & R most people long for – rest and relaxation – is a far cry from what drives us.

Barnhart’s definition of R & R is not about lounging on a beach in some exotic locale.  It means hard work, engineering, planning, and execution centered around one of our specialties – Removing and Replacing plant components in hard-to-reach places.

The fact is, in every industry things fall apart. Pumps, boilers, heat exchangers, all have a life span.  Components break down, and when they do, it’s never convenient.

Often that component is in a difficult place that’s not accessible with standard equipment.  It might be in a congested area that not only poses logistical issues, but safety issues as well. Then there’s the matter of downtime, shutting the plant to allow for the procedure.

If it’s head scratcher, that’s when our creative juices start flowing, engineering solutions that make what appears impossible, possible. Devising safe solutions that minimize plant disruption and downtime, saving customers money.

If the tool doesn’t exist to reach this component, we’ll invent one. For example, during a turnaround at a chemical facility in Illinois, Barnhart was contracted to remove and replace a vertical gas cooler. The old cooler was located deep within the production facility and surrounded by numerous obstructions. The only solution seemed to be dismantling the surrounding structure and removing an additional heat exchanger located on top of the gas cooler. In addition to being costly, this would have caused the shutdown of a second production line.


Barnhart came up with an innovative alternative that utilized their tip stick to make the initial lift after a initial lift after a prefabricated stand was installed onto the bottom of the cooler. Very tight clearances meant one crane had to be set up to make the tip stick pick and another smaller crane was utilized for the swing.

This just one example of our R & R expertise, and we do this kind of work for a broad range of industries and a wide variety of plants.


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Barnhart’s heavy haul of a transformer to a power plant caught the attention of WGAL News 8 in Pennsylvania.  Weighing in at more than a million pounds, Barnhart’s custom-made 24-dolly transporter had plenty of spectators along its route.

The vehicle is specifically made to carry super loads, has 192 wheels and takes four operators to steer it. The drivers have to move in unison considering turn radius, load height, and the contour of the road, moving at a top speed of 15 mph.  Six months of planning went into the trip.

Onlookers will get more chances to see the dolly transporter in operation, as this is the first of four loads.


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Of Sleighs and Cranes

Every year on Christmas Eve, NORAD tracks Santa and his precious cargo offering updates as he leaves the North Pole and delivers presents to children around the world.  When not tasked with this essential duty, NORAD, a joint organization of the United States and Canada, provides aereospace warnings and defense for North America.

Knowing the location of Santa and his heavy-laden sleigh is a valuable service, particularly if your audience is an expectant nine-year-old.  But if you’re a project manager with your own heavy lifting issues, Barnhart has a locator system that provides a benefit as well.

Barnhart’s Heavy Lift Crane locator can help you find a crane that suits your job with a listing of models, availability, capacities and locations.  It’s updated constantly, so you can locate the crane nearest to your project, saving money on transport costs to your site.

With our arsenal of heavy lift cranes, Barnhart can serve almost any need.  Our equipment capabilities, combined with our experienced operators and engineering team, can provide your project with the solutions you need.

Whether you are tracking the progress of St. Nick, or contemplating a project near St. Louis, Barnhart wishes you and your family a happy holiday season!


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Putting the Art in Barnhart

Barnhart has been hired for some unusual projects: to lift a 1950s garbage truck, install a generator on the roof of a high-rise, and set a lighthouse facade at a casino. In a recent job in Des Moines, Barnhart was instrumental in an art installation at Cowles Commons, a performing arts center.

In early October, the team began installing a massive steel-and-light sculpture in the middle of the center. When completed, the piece will be 94 feet wide at its widest point and 28 feet tall, upheld by nine heavy-duty stainless steel columns.

Barnhart’s job was to lift and set the columns using a crane. Rigging operator Jon Fontana carefully lifted the nine curved steel columns out of a flatbed truck, over a chain-link fence, and down to their anchors in the gravel.

“It’s not your normal cup of tea for a crane operator, that’s for sure,” said Fontana. “This morning I woke up excited to do something different.”

The ellipses that spool around the columns will be built and installed over the next month by Denver company Demiurge. More than 10,000 LED lights will eventually be suspended in the columns and ellipses.


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Barnhart to Provide Crane Service During Port Expansion

The show will go on at the Tulsa Port of Catoosa due to an agreement with Barnhart to provide high-capacity crane service for a limited time while the Port Authority upgrades its current crane as part of a multi-million dollar renovation.

The timing worked out well, as Barnhart will be utilizing their crane at the port over a period of several months to offload and transport components as part of an upgrade to a power plant in eastern Oklahoma.

“During that period, the crane will be available to our customers who require crane service while we are refurbishing our main dock and making upgrades to our existing overhead crane,” said Port Director Bob Portiss.

Barnhart's Demag CC2600 crane will be utilized at the port during renovations.

Barnhart maintains a full service office in Oklahoma City and has handled projects moving through the Tulsa Port of Catoosa for more than 20 years. The company will locate a Demag CC2600 at the Port’s Low Water Wharf Dock for the duration of its contract with the power plant. The crane is extremely mobile and can be relocated elsewhere within the port, as needed.

“The crane will be in ‘superlift’ mode, which will allow us to lift components of up to 600 tons,” said Bob Possel, Barnhart project manager. “We will be off-loading a number of heavy components which will be used to upgrade the plant to a combined cycle. The largest component we are scheduled to lift is the combustion turbine, which weighs approximately 331 tons.”

According to Jeff Latture, Barnhart senior vice president, “With a few days’ notice, we should be able to accommodate lifts for other port customers. This will allow the Port Authority to carry out its expansion work and upgrades without any loss of service for shippers who need heavy lift capabilities.”

Local Barnhart engineers in Oklahoma City can assist with any custom cargo and the company’s yard has a full inventory of custom rigging tools to meet customers’ needs.  Barnhart employees will operate the crane at the port.



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