The Comeback Crane

Everybody loves a comeback. In our case, Barnhart took a sidelined LR1300 crane, gave it new life, and let it play in the big leagues.    

In 2005, Barnhart purchased a seldom-used LR1300 from Moss Marine in Pascagoula. It was moved to our Memphis location to be refurbished. The crane required significant work to its hydraulic system, as well as a complete control upgrade. All the relays and amplifier cards were replaced with modern PLC-based control systems with programming done by our engineers.

Soon the LR1300 was ready to work and was used on several big lifts at plants around the country. But the mobilization costs were high on the old crane. Although it could do some impressive lifting, it wasn’t cost effective.  The crane was sidelined again.

A New Purpose

That changed when Barnhart purchased a 200’ x 70’ used deck barge. The LR 1300 was mounted on the barge at the Port of Mobile for use in the marine cargo market in ports and shipyards.  The barge was modified to attach the super lift pendants down to bulkheads inside. That created, in effect, a shear-leg derrick with the advantage of being able to swing the crane around to boom down to allow the barge to be moved on inland waters with height restrictions.

This new heavy lift barge crane was christened, “Big Al.”

Today, Big Al is working from the Gulf coast all the way up to Chicago. The crane has three boom configurations from 184’ to 277’ with a max capacity of 806K lbs. at 110’ radius. It has been used for all types of work including:  

  • Unloading heavy cargo at ports from ship to barge, rail, or heavy transport. This includes transformers, turbines, generators, process vessels and more.
  • Loading and offloading undersea umbilical reels for the offshore oil industry
  • Replacing lock and dam gates in the inland waterways
  • Building docks and bridges
  • Setting and removing dockside ship loader cranes

Instead of being on the sidelines, Big Al is now the king of the waterways.

About Meredith Portman

Meredith Portman is a freelance writer who specializes in heavy industry, healthcare and education.
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