Jun 4, 2003

(MEMPHIS, Tenn.) Barnhart Crane and Rigging Co. has set a record for the highest lift to date with its proprietary Modular Lift Tower.

Barnhart used its Modular Lift Tower to lift a 300-ton Ethane Recovery Column (ERC) more than 200 feet at a natural gas processing plant in Texas. The lift was the largest and heaviest of a new process unit construction project at the plant, according to Scott Wilson, project salesman for Barnhart Crane and Rigging.

Barnhart worked as a subcontractor on the job. Operations manager for the primary contractor, characterized the lift as "a lifting milestone," and praised the combined efforts of the two companies in "using a Modular Lift Tower system with a rated capacity of one million pounds" and called Barnhart Crane, "a first class company."

Company riggers from Barnhart's Memphis, Tenn., and Mobile, Ala. offices erected the Modular Lift Tower in four days, despite extremely windy conditions. The self-supporting tower sustained winds of 60 miles per hour during erection. Barnhart utilized a Demag CC2000 crawler crane for erection of the lift tower and tailing of the vessel. The crane used 177 feet of main boom and a 138-foot luffing jib to erect the Modular Lift Tower. The tower measured 263 feet in height once erected, Wilson said.

Scott Fletcher, senior structural engineer for Barnhart Crane, said, "We sent 31 truckloads of components to the job site. 15 were the Modular Lift Tower and 16 were the crane we used to erect the tower and provide tailing. To handle this job using a conventional crane would have taken 50 to 60 truckloads. It would also have taken much longer to pre-position, assemble and disassemble a conventional crane."

Despite the challenges presented by the windy conditions, the process went smoothly. The ERC was situated in a horizontal position at grade, having been placed on steel matting (grillages) pre-positioned by a Barnhart three months prior to the lift. The Modular Lift Tower was assembled around the ERC, with the lifting trunnions positioned over the foundation, eliminating the need to reposition the vessel. The 300-ton ERC measured 225 feet in length and 13 feet in diameter.

Barnhart employed a 450-ton strand jack as the main lifting system on the Modular Lift Tower. The lift took approximately five hours to complete and began before dawn. Barnhart crews disassembled the Modular Lift Tower in two days.

The company designed and developed the Modular Lift Tower in 1997 to meet the needs of challenging heavy lifts. The Modular Lift Tower, developed and tested in accordance with all U.S. structural codes and regulations, requires less ground preparation when compared to a typical crane lift.

The Modular Lift Tower was developed with versatility in mind. Barnhart's engineers took into account many of the industries the company serves, including removing and replacing nuclear reactors and condensers, erecting distillation columns in petrochemical plants, positioning generators in gas turbine power plants and high capacity shoring. Led by Eric Barnhart, the engineering team containerized the design for easy shipment anywhere in the world.

The Modular Lift Tower provides an economical alternative to heavy lift cranes, offering a modular lifting system to safely move heavy equipment. The system generally offers a higher safety factor on most lifts when compared to heavy lift cranes. The localized erection minimizes the potential risk in the event of a failure, and the lower ground bearing offers higher safety margins for ground capacity.

Barnhart maintains an excellent safety record. The company was honored in April by the Specialized Carriers and Rigging Association (SC&RA) with the distinguished Rigging Job of the Year Award and the Transportation Group Fleet Safety Improvement Award.  The SC&RA awards are given annually in ceremonies recognizing the best and safest companies in the crane and rigging industry. Barnhart also received the Associated General Contractors Alabama chapter Safety Award for the heavy/industrial category for having the best safety record in 2002.

Barnhart Crane and Rigging, established in 1969, is a leading national supplier of specialized heavy rigging and transportation solutions. The company, with 13 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 and Rigging, an ISO 9001 certified supplier, also operates terminal facilities at the Port of Memphis and the deepwater Port of Mobile, Ala. For more information, visit

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