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When a construction company in Oregon needed help for a major equipment project, they called on Omega Morgan’s Portland office. In early 2017, our millwright teams worked with CalPortland and Dredging Supply Company to safety and efficiently assemble and move a nearly two-million pound suction dredge from land to water.

In all, this colossal move took two months of planning and assembly. Our experience in the area, and our team’s expertise in crane assistance, operations, and millwrighting allowed for smooth operations to overcome potential obstacles and result in full client satisfaction.

The Problem: Assembling and Moving Nearly 2 Million Pounds from Land to Water

Any move of major equipment from land to water takes significant expertise. When that equipment weighs 1,920,000 pounds and is 250 feet long and 55 feet wide, that requirement only becomes more important. The new dredge, to be installed in the rock pit operated by CalPortland, needed assembly before the move into the onsite lagoon.

Making matters potentially more complicated, the individual pieces for the dredge were received over a two-month period. Each piece was shipped from Louisiana, weighing between 40,000 and 50,000 pounds. From the beginning, only exact coordination could lead to successful assembly at CalPortland’s site.

After the assembly, the job was far from done. The next hurdle: safely getting a fully assembled dredge into the water. Any mistake here, and the equipment could be damaged, leading to significant expense and potential injuries. Safety mattered as much as expertise in assembly and moving.

The Process: Planning, Assembly, and Air Bags

Planning began with a schedule of trucks, delivering each piece of the dredge in the exact order in which it was needed for assembly. Omega Morgan worked with the client to understand exactly when parts were supposed to be received, so that no parts would be laying around and incurring damage or requiring storage resources.

The actual assembly was completed by the supply company’s specialized technicians on site, with close assistance from Omega Morgan’s millwright guys. For two months, our Portland team helped in receiving the parts, operating cranes, piping joints, and assisting electricians in the wiring and assembly throughout.

With assembly complete, our millwright team became the primary contractor in launching the fully assembled suction dredge from land to water.

To avoid any potential damage during the move, our team had to get creative. They accomplished this through massive rubber airbags, 60 x 5 feet in diameter, that acted like balloons to support the dredge throughout the move. After placing them under the dredge barge, we filled them up with about 10 to 15 psi, so that the bags touched just enough square feet of the barge to lift it.

The effect was two-fold: the airbags allowed the team on the ground to roll the barge towards the water, but also eased the transition into the water thanks to their floating ability. It avoided assembly in the water, which would have required divers and a much more dangerous and expensive operation.

The Result: A Successful Move and Satisfied Customer

The dredge move was completed without issue or equipment damage. In fact, we built in enough redundancies to account for the potential of an airbag bursting without causing any damage. The potential for damage is a significant consideration when moving any object of this size, and we were proud to provide the safeguards and competency needed for the task.

Our help in planning the assembly, along with the successful move itself, led to time and money value on the client’s side. Omega Morgan came up with the lowest-possible cost options throughout the process, without sacrificing safety. The result was a satisfied client, who can now use the barge on its rock pit for the foreseeable future.