Replacing a slewing bearing on a radial stacker reclaimer during hurricane season
- (1) Omega Morgan-designed hydraulic heavy lifting jacking system
- (1) 30,000 pound winch system
- custom rigging
- load running blocks and tackle
As the old saying goes, you can’t control the weather. As our Portland-based heavy lift and rigging services crew found out on a recent project, that’s certainly true. But with careful planning, safety and know-how, you can achieve great results no matter what the storm.
Our team was contacted by HOST Terminals, an international bulk handling port out of Davant, LA, when they encountered a problem: the main slewing bearing on their ZPMC radial stacker and reclaimer had broken, leaving the machine inoperable.
They needed to replace the bearing, as well as prepare the machine to be relocated on-site before it could be recommissioned and operations could get back up and running. Though the sheer tonnage would be immense, and the site was about 2,600 miles away from home–not to mention the bulk of the work would also be taking place during a very active hurricane season–our heavy lift and rigging services team knew that they had just the expertise needed to execute this complex job.
It’s All in the Planning
In partnership with Crescere Marine Engineering, the crews put together a critical lift plan for rigging, lifting, ballasting and balancing a 250-foot tall, 225-foot wide, two million pound machine on a 19-foot diameter platform. The challenge to this plan was that the team wouldn’t have exact knowledge of the center of gravity at the location. We had to ensure that working under the supported loads to re-machine the 19-foot diameter circle would be completely safe, and we had to make sure to calibrate to the new bearing’s tolerances and acceptance parameters.
We also needed to have a contingency for the highly likely event of a hurricane blowing in during the course of the work. This would involve creating and attaching approximately two million pounds of temporary anchors and lashes.
Weathering the Storm(s)
Using an Omega Morgan-designed hydraulic heavy lifting jacking system, a 30,000-pound winch system, a custom rigging solution, load running blocks, and tackle, our heavy lift and rigging crews set to work to replace the broken bearing on the massive radial stacker.
But when it rains, it pours–during the course of the work, not one, but two hurricanes rolled in. Hurricane Sally caused some delays right out of the gate. Our team’s initial hurricane contingency plan accounted for winds up to 115 knots. Though we experienced no damage from Hurricane Sally, there was soon another storm brewing. Hurricane Delta was due to blow in only a few weeks later.
Our plans needed to be upgraded to withstand winds up to 150 knots due to this incoming storm. Our experienced heavy lift and rigging crews got everything upgraded and secured to the new requirements, just in time for Hurricane Delta’s arrival.
Though we were fully prepared, in a fortunate turn of events, each storm took a turn as it made its way to the Gulf Coast. Neither one ended up hitting the job site head-on.
An On-Time Delivery and a Satisfied Customer
Due to the team’s careful planning, the job was completed on-time, as scheduled–even with hurricane-related delays.
We’re proud of the hard work that the entire crew put into this job. It’s success is down to the dedication and commitment to excellence that our team brought throughout the entire project.
And our customer is more than happy with the job well done:
“I recently had the pleasure of employing [the Omega Morgan] team to R&R the slew bearing on our stacker reclaimer, and the experience was second to none. I could not be happier with the professionalism, expertise and flexibility of [the] team.
There was constant communication of process and issues. To [the] team’s credit, the issues were always presented with solutions. I know it’s not easy performing this job safely and efficiently during two hurricanes, but [the] team rose to the occasion and crushed it….I would work with them again in a heartbeat.”
– Director, Maintenance & Reliability, HOST Terminals