Barnhart Crane and Rigging Moves One-of-a-Kind Superconductor Magnet

Apr 22, 2003

(MEMPHIS, Tenn.)—Barnhart Crane and Rigging Co., a leading provider of heavy rigging and transportation solutions, was retained recently by the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory in Tallahassee, Fla., to move an oversized superconductor magnet described as “priceless” in value.

Brian Fairhurst, deputy director of management and administration at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, said, “This is a one-of-a-kind superconductor magnet, in terms of its bore size. The project has been in progress for 12 years, and we expect to have the magnet operational by the end of this year.”

Workers recently completed the user facility to house the cryogenic magnet at the laboratory that is a joint venture of Florida State University, the University of Florida and the Los Alamos National Laboratory. The superconductor magnet, which needs to be operated at cryogenic temperatures of -450 degrees Fahrenheit, is valued at $14 million but is considered priceless due to its unique nature. The magnet measures 19 feet high by 10 feet wide and nine feet long and weighs approximately 30,000 pounds.

Barnhart employed its standard, heavy duty slide system to remove the superconductor magnet from the bay where it was manufactured and place it onto a self-propelled, six-axle Goldhofer platform for transport to its new location, about 400 yards away. The movement took nine hours, according to Shaun Sipe, branch manager at Barnhart Crane and Rigging’s Gulf Coast Division. Canister jacks were used to set the superconductor in place.

“The really neat thing,” Sipe said, “was that the laboratory asked us to keep the vibrations to the magnet under a certain level (.1G or one-tenth the force of gravity). They put sensors all over it before the move and monitored it constantly. During the entire move, we never got above 20 percent of their limit. Basically, we exceeded their expectations by 80 percent.”

According to Fairhurst, “We looked at a number of options to move the magnet, including the use of a conventional crane, helicopters and Barnhart’s Goldhofer trailer. Our engineering cost analysis indicated that the most cost-effective and engineering-effective way to move the magnet was the Goldhofer trailer. We retained Barnhart based upon the company’s reputation from interviews with other satisfied clients.”

The National High Magnetic Field Laboratory facility in Tallahassee is used for research in the fields of physics, biology, bioengineering, chemistry, geochemistry, biochemistry, materials science and engineering. It is the only facility of its kind in the United States and one of only nine in the world. Outfitted with the most comprehensive assortment of high-performing magnetic systems, the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory is the only national laboratory in the state of Florida. For more about the laboratory, access its Web site at

Barnhart Crane & Rigging, established in 1969, is a leading national supplier of specialized heavy rigging and transportation solutions. The company, with 14 locations across the United States, also provides crane services, machinery moving and plant relocations, as well as project cargo logistics and heavy equipment storage at its 100-acre, 700,000-square-foot warehouse facility in Memphis, Tenn. Barnhart Crane & Rigging, an ISO 9001 certified supplier, also operates terminal facilities at the Port of Memphis; Decatur, Ala.; and the deepwater Port of Mobile, Ala. For more information, visit

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