Barnhart Crane & Rigging of the USA has made its highest ever lift with its proprietary modular lift tower system, which it designed and built in 1997.

Barnhart used its lift tower to raise a 272t ethane recovery column (ERC) more than 60m at the Amerada Hess natural gas processing plant in Seminole, 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 & Rigging.

Barnhart worked as a subcontractor for Marks Crane & Rigging of Odessa, Texas. Riggers from Barnhart’s Memphis and Mobile offices erected the modular lift tower in four days, despite windy conditions. The self-supporting tower, standing 80m high, sustained winds of up to 100km/h during erection.

A Demag CC 2000 crawler crane was used to erect the lift tower and to act as a tailing crane.

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 wind, the lift went smoothly, Barnhart says. The ERC, 68.6m long and 4m in diameter, was placed horizontally at grade and the lift tower was assembled around it. Lifting trunnions were positioned over the foundation, eliminating the need to reposition the vessel. Using a 400t strand jack on the lift tower, the lift took approximately five hours to complete.