As a kid, building with toy blocks was fun, especially when using the kind that stack and interlock together to make buildings, walls, towers, and other things. With a little imagination, anything was possible. In recent years, engineers and constructors are employing a new type of building block to quickly erect all sorts of heavy industrial facilities throughout North America: the module.

Process, equipment, and pipe rack modules have often been built to massive proportions close to navigable waterways for plant sites that are also located close to the water. Typically moved on a short haul basis using heavy-duty hydraulic platform trailers, the huge structural steel rectangular shapes often travel from the point of fabrication onto a heavy duty deck barge using a roll-on loading method and are later delivered to a roll-off unloading site into job sites after a short haul. While a practical method for rapid plant construction, for plants located on the water applications for modular construction on inland facilities had been limited due to support, weight, and height requirements on smaller fabrications.

Perkins Specialized Transportation Contracting previously moved 87 process and pipe rack modules from two Texas fabrication facilities located in Abilene, TX and Corpus Christi, TX respectively, to a west Texas gas processing plant near Fort Stockton. Although the modules weights ranged from a mere 29,687 lbs up to 237,000 lbs, the highway transportation of the bulky modules all had common issues that Perkins overcame with sound engineering and superior equipment.

Varying in length, width and height, all of the modules required full longitudinal support under the average length of about 90’ - 0”. If placed end to end, the total length of all the modules would have amounted to well over a mile. The transportation of all of the modules required a high degree of maneuverability including backing into various lift sites at the facility. Because of the relatively fragile nature of the bulky modules, the elimination of torsional forces being transferred from the irregular road surfaces and elevation changes into the modules was required. Traditional mechanical trailers including beam-dolly combinations had been proven to be inadequate on this type of project.

Perkins’ hydraulic transporters, specifically designed for long distance highway moves, were the perfect choice for the bulk of the modules on this project. Torsional forces were eliminated due to the trailer’s three-pools of hydraulic suspension. To provide the full support over the length of every module, Perkins modular transporter length was adjusted to accommodate each load. With its hydraulic steering, backing of each load was easily accomplished to place the module into proper lifting position for the constructor’s heavy lift crane. Had it been needed, Perkins had the ability to self-load/unload from/to elevated storage arrangements due to the trailer’s hydraulic vertical stroke.