When the phrase “tall in the saddle” is heard it conjures up thoughts of Clint Eastwood or John Wayne riding the trails of the old West. Perkins project team experienced it’s own version of “tall in the saddle” providing transportation of three (3) lower stack sections from St. George, UT to the Port of Houston, TX at a loaded height of 19’ - 10”.
Perkins was contacted by a repeat customer, a major logistics company and freight forwarder in Houston, TX requesting that we consider moving various sections of three (3) coker units to Houston, TX for export to a Middle Eastern oil refinery.
The majority of the cargo could be handled on conventional equipment with the exception of the three (3) lower stack sections at 55’ - 10” long, 18’ - 10” wide, 18’ - 11” high with a net weight of 93,000 pounds each. Use of conventional lowboy deck trailers would have resulted in a loaded height of almost 21’ - 0" increasing the difficulty of transportation by truck and increasing the overall cost of the move significantly due to the added expense of utilities, traffic signals and other height-related issues. Perkins’ modular perimeter frame transporters were selected to minimize the loaded height under 20’0” by allowing a portion of the radius of the stack to rest between the load carrying beams.
Since the stack sections are designed for a vertical orientation , the situation was further complicated by saddle supports in two (2) locations to support each section without damaging it. The Perkins engineering team evaluated the loading point locations as it related to our equipment using finite element analysis. Two (2) specifically engineered trailer configurations were selected utilizing perimeter frame transporters to minimize loaded height while still providing sufficient frame strength for the two (2) support locations nested inside our longitudinal rails atop low profile cross members.
Special saddles were fabricated by Perkins own American Welding Society (AWS) certified personnel at our Northfield, MN operations center to take every advantage of lowering the height of each stack to its lowest dimension for safe transport from UT to TX. The loaded dimensions of each transporter was 132’ - 10” in length, 18’ - 10” in width, 19’ - 10” loaded height, and at a gross vehicle weight of 194,000 pounds. All information and calculations were submitted to our client for their evaluation and approval.
Perkins began a feasibility & operation study (FOS) to develop route options and to identify overhead and lateral obstructions, turns, utility issues, and overnight parking areas for the permitting process and to support the moves. Once the study was complete, permit applications were submitted for evaluation and processing by each state and local permitting jurisdiction with the overall process taking ten (10) weeks for complete approval. The first two (2) stack sections moved together taking eight (8) days for loaded travel. Upon offloading, one of the transporters was promptly returned to UT where the third stack section was loaded and moved to Houston, TX to join the first pair and await export at the port.
It is important to note that there was a substantial amount of coordination required for these moves. All of the utility companies (electrical, cable, and telecommunication), rail carriers, state and local police, cities and municipalities had to be contacted up to 72 hours in advance of the moves to coordinate the safe movement of these stacks with no disruption to normal supply and service to communities along the route. The results of the transport operation were yet another safe, well-coordinated, and managed project by Perkins and a satisfied client.