Five workhorse crawler and all-terrain cranes with lifting capacities from 250- to 500-tons, and their operators, ran 24/seven for 48 days to facilitate the outage of the No. 8 Blast Furnace at United States Steel Corporation’s Gary Works in Gary, IN. The equipment, also supplemented by several 50- and 60-ton capacity utility cranes, was all from the fleet of Central Rent-A-Crane in Hammond, IN, a member of the ALL Erection & Crane Rental Family of Companies. The general contractor is a major worldwide specialized engineering and construction company with an office in Hammond. ALL Erection said the long-time customer chooses Central Rent-A-Crane and ALL for their professionalism, expertise, safety record, service and quality of equipment and operators.
Only a few crane companies can provide so many high-capacity cranes at one time for long-term rentals, but the 34-branch-strong ALL Family of Companies shares among the largest, most modern fleet of equipment in North America, maintained in work-ready condition in their own service shops.
A blast furnace outage means the furnace can’t make steel for as long as the “heat is off,” so it is important to work efficiently. Central manned every crane with full day-time and night-time operator shifts, with a safety representative available at all times.
The full crane package included two Manitowoc 16000 crawler cranes (440-ton capacity); a Manitowoc 2250 crawler (300-ton capacity); a Terex Demag AC 1200 hydraulic all terrain crane (500-ton capacity) with main boom and Superlift attachment; a Grove GMK6250L hydraulic all terrain crane (250-ton capacity); and several 50- to 60-ton capacity hydraulic rough terrain cranes to perform various utility tasks. The smaller RTs kicked off the project by performing pre-outage work along with the assembly of the skip incline sections. Then the big crawlers and ATs moved in, and the work never stopped.
A major part of the project was replacing the skip incline system, a conveyor system that feeds raw materials, like coke and ore pellets, from buckets into the blast furnace. Like the perfect two-man offensive, the pair of Manitowoc 16000 crawlers, one rigged with 150 feet of main boom and a 150-foot luffing jib and the other rigged with 130 feet of main boom and a 130-foot luffing jib, handled the job with a tandem lift.
First, the top half of the skip incline, weighing 150,000 pounds, was assembled onsite on the ground and set on the high line by one of the cranes. The next day, the two 16000s went into action. The skip incline section was first grabbed by one crane at the bottom and one at the top, holding the section at high degree of angle to be lifted and placed in position. This complex maneuver can only safely be performed with proper lift planning and highly experienced operators.
Meanwhile, the Terex Demag AC 1200 was used to change out the furnace top; the Manitowoc 2250 handled the downcomer pipe; and the Grove GMK6250L was on duty to safely lift the personnel basket to various locations on the furnace, primarily to handle the downcomer rigging.
Larry Macuga, Central Rent-A-Crane’s sales manager said, “For us, there is no ‘usual’ job or ‘typical’ lift. Every day there are new challenges, but our training and experience makes us able to meet and exceed our customers’ expectations. We have had cranes working in every major industry from commercial construction to power generation. There’s no job too tough for our crews. I’m sure that’s why many industry leaders have chosen us to be their crane rental partner over the years.”