Baghouse Walk Keeps Plant Project Moving

Sept. 28, 2010

Abington Group hired The Smedley Co. to bring its Link-Belt 298HSL crawler crane to its power-plant retrofit job because the 230-ton crane's offset jib options would allow the contractor to lift and turn large modules for easiest assembly at controlled heights. They discovered that the crane's stability and agility transporting heavy loads would save their production schedule at a critical juncture.

The contract calls for upgrading the 150-megawatt power plant in Holyoke, Mass., with a new emissions-control system called a Turbosorb. The system binds power-plant flue gases with powdered carbon and hydrated lime, then removes the dust with 12 baghouses mounted 145 feet above the ground.

Turbosorb sections are engineered with weights up to 100,000 pounds so the 298HSL can lift and turn them for fabricators to work at heights no more than 40 feet off the ground.

"The crane (during one time period) had a 30-foot-long jib with a 5-degree offset that is capable of 39,000 pounds for a single line pick," says Abington superintendent Don Leavitt Jr. "This jib length also puts the whip line out at a good distance from the main block. So, instead of two cranes to turn over a (25- by 13- by 55-foot) module that may weigh up to 75,000 pounds, we use just the 298HSL crane main block and jib. You see, often times, the fit-up and welding is easier if the piece is in a different position than its final placement. Sometimes we may have to flip it twice."

Abington ran into a snag last winter when the temporary construction roads proved inadequate to support a flatbed trailer carrying the heavy modules from the assembly yard to the site. They enlisted the 298HSL to walk several of the huge loads more than 700 yards to the plant.

The 298HSL's capacity at a 60-foot radius is about 83,100 pounds. Each baghouse plus rigging weighs up to 72,000 pounds, so it was decided the load radius for the 25-minute walk would remain at 52 feet.

Passing through the crowded site would take the 52½- by 22½- by 13-foot funneled boxes down 24-foot-wide paths freshly paved with 6 inches of 1½-inch stone over snow and ice. Crane operator Mark Tidwell was guided along the way by a team on the ground, positioned around the baghouse.

"Turn it a little," sounded clear over the radio, as the 298HSL started to pirouette, the tracks counter rotating. The baghouse swung over snow-covered insulation and siding and lowered back into the pathway with the funnel pointing to the plant.

The looming baghouse hovered smoothly along the path while the crane maneuvered and turned to avoid obstacles or changes in grade, Tidwell keeping an eye on the crane's level bubble all along.

At the end of the walkway, for the fourth time in a day, a congratulatory voice crackled from the speaker: "You are one smooth operator."

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The Smedley Co. crane operator Mark Tidwell

Operator Mark Tidwell

The 700-yard walk took these 13-foot-wide, 72,000-pound baghouses down 24-foot paths.
Link-Belt 298HSL Basics
CapacityBoomMax. Boom + Jib
Source: Link-Belt
230 tonsTube: 300 feet270 feet + 90 feet