Transformer replacement with Hydra-Slide

30 March 2020

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Reynolds Transfer and Storage used Hydra-Slide hydraulic skidding equipment to complete the removal and replacement of a transformer at a utility company in its home city of Madison, Wisconsin recently.

The multifaceted project involved removal of the existing 237,000lb (118.5USt/107t) transformer, which was installed by Reynolds in 1984, and installation of a 170,000lb replacement, which was redundant but in working order at another site.

Integral to safe completion were a 300USt capacity HT300 heavy track hydraulic skidding system and a 10ft x 10ft, 500USt capacity turntable, both chosen for their lightweight and suitability to the substation environment. A telehandler was used for moving equipment around the site.

Thomas Reynolds, president at Reynolds Transfer and Storage, explained that “the move occurred within a substation so that the existing pad could be removed and replaced with a design that is consistent with current standards. We then moved it to a remote site by sliding over 1,000ft. The 20ft and 10ft Hydra-Slide track lengths were leap-frogged ahead to provide for continuous movement with less total track length.”

The majority (700ft) of that ground was covered in a single day with three changes of direction and a 90° turn to get through an opening with only ft of clearance.

Reynolds continued: “When the new pad was ready, we went to Fond Du Lac, loaded the replacement unit onto our 85USt capacity trailer and hauled it to Madison. We needed to take the trailer apart just to get into the substation for unloading. The substation is very congested and energized so we unloaded and slid from the trailer onto the new pad. We also needed to rotate the new unit 90° and then went over the new 4ft-deep pit and onto the pad for final placement.”

A four-port propane Hydra-Pac, also from Hydra-Slide, was used to power the skidding system. Reynolds also owns a larger, six-port system for even bigger projects. In this instance, an umbrella was used to protect the operator from direct sunlight. A common challenge for rigging professionals working at substations is that these sites are in their nature exposed to the sunlight without shade or protection from rain.

Onsite, Reynolds was represented by up to six people at any one time, sourced from a heavy rigging team of 16. Inevitably, the project involved street occupancy permits and road closures.