Technology Transplant

4 October 2016


Whiting has transplanted advanced material handling technology into the 200t crane at the Tulsa port of Catoosa.

The Oklahoma Port—which typically handles more than 2.7m tons of freight a year—is a major road, rail, and river intermodal shipping complex for US and global companies.

The port is served by a sophisticated multi-hoist 200t bridge crane which had to be totally stripped and renovated. The renewal of the crane was critical because port authorities expect the completion of expansion of the Panama Canal this year will provide new opportunities for container cargo to be delivered to the Port of New Orleans and onwards into the country’s inland waterway systems, of which the Tulsa Port of Catoosa is a major part. The redevelopment project had seen major works around the port, including a new 720USt dock on which the crane is located and 6,000 track feet (1,829m) of new rail.

Working closely with port staff, Whiting Services put in 46 consecutive 10-12 hour days, including weekends and Thanksgiving, to complete the modernization project safely and on-time.

Major component upgrades included: new built-up 100/50USt and 100/40USt 17ft gauge outdoor trolleys; new bridge wheel assemblies with eight new 30in diameter 90° MCB heavy duty wheel assemblies to fit existing end trucks; bridge drives, supports and jack shafts; an automated rail clamping system that secures the overhead crane bridge during storm-force winds; new runway and bridge rails; ergonomic climatecontrolled driver’s cab with console chair system and flux vector/variable frequency drive controls capable of individual and simultaneous motions between trolley hoists.

With lifting heights of over 90ft, the crane is integral to tasks such as loading barges that can hold as many as 15 rail cars or 60 truckloads of cargo for maximum cost efficiency and minimal environmental impact.

Refurbishment of the crane was preferred to building a new one because of the time and expense involved in constructing a totally new crane with all the features and versatility already contained within the structure of the original purpose-built crane. “Customers and stakeholders of the Port won both ways through the decision to cost-efficiently rebuild at a substantial saving on the cost of a new design, while also benefitting from the introduction of the latest safety and logistics technologies on the refurbished crane,” said Scott Bort, senior industrial marketing strategist, Whiting Corporation “We basically replaced everything but the existing girders, part of the end trucks, the runway and runway structure. What we didn’t replace, we repaired, prepped, primed, and painted for ongoing durability.”

The project began with the removal by mobile cranes of existing trolleys weighing more than 50,000lb each. Whiting then removed old runway rails and burnt off old bolts, still stubbornly sound after decades of service.

The crane service experts arranged the lifting and removal of the drive and idler girders - weighing over 114,000lb each - which were taken by a multi- wheel transporter to the project laydown yard for stripping and refurbishment. Control panels and all conduits were removed and replaced with a new 25ft stainless steel control panel, and the catwalk was replaced.

Finally, the new equipment was reassembled, reinstalled, started-up and subject to load testing.

“The project was a masterpiece of partnership and planning between Whiting’s crane specialists and a port management team (reporting to Bob Portiss, Port Director for the City of Tulsa Rogers County Port Authority) who oversaw the port upgrade of which the crane refurbishment is an integral part. Work was completed late last year after two years of carefully phased construction.

“We had to do our work as quickly and efficiently as possible to fit within the narrow time frame to bring the crane back online while Tulsa Port of Catoosa continued to serve the 2,500acre complex,” said Bort.

The complex already serves more than 70 companies, employing more than 3,000 people and contributing more than $300m to the local economy. Global and national brands using the facility include ArcelorMittal shipping and mining products, Gavilon fertilizers, Linde engineering, Matrix tanks for the oil and gas industries and Safety-Kleen environmental services.

The crane upgrade - a multidimensional jigsaw of phased tasks fitting around minimization of customer inconvenience - involved the Whiting team working with port staff while supported by the full engineering and manufacturing resources of the Whiting Corporation.

Preparing to ship a hoist from Whiting’s factory
The upgraded crane at work
Moving components around the laydown area
Installing new and upgraded components
Removing the old crane
The dedication ceremony for the new crane
Transporting old components