Sunday, March 07, 2010

Access Roads Part II

One of my coworkers posted some pics from this trip on his Facebook page, so I stole 'em. Well, I did have permission....

The front tank is a fiberglass 15.5'x20' 1000bbl, the rear is a steel 15.5'x15' 750bbl. I had parked away from the pad. After the site is done, there will be scads of room, but this site was full of machinery, pickups, frac tank trailers, frac tankers, various vendors in and out, you name it. So, I left the Cornfield Cadillac out of the way. And, just for comparison, here is the Mighty Binder with a load of 12'x15' 300bbl steel tanks:

Same style trailer, but with the tail extended. Much easier pulling (way less wind resistance) and far easier to fit into 11' lanes. Plus, it's a far lower load, so dodging power lines isn't normally an issue.

We were hauling these bad boys for our sister company in Tejas - they needed some delivery help. This is an identical load - except the positions of the tanks are reversed - on one of their trailers. Their versions are not extendable and there is no suspension. The axles are attached directly to the frame rails. There is no sheeting in the "belly" or "well". No fenders, either. Electric brakes. I'm all about our triple axle trailers - air ride, air brakes, sheeted belly and extendable tails that can be shortened.

The entire crew of tank haulers. I am busily employed making sure the trailer is not overcome by a sudden loss of gravity. "They" had a big crane on site and that manlift saved our hineys putting up the walkways and stairs.

Sometimes it gets kinda lonely out there. I'm getting mixed signals.

We do this on site work all the time, but with the smaller tanks, we use our knuckle boom cranes to set the tanks and fit the landings and stairs. We don't usually have big cranes waiting on us. These tanks were just way too big for us to handle - not too heavy, just too wide. When we put a lift eye in the center of the top of a tank, we can only go so wide before our booms are into the upper corner of said tank. 25' is the max height for 12' diameter tanks, 20' is for 13.5' diameter - plus the steel tanks start getting pretty hefty.

This is somewhere in North Dakota or Wyoming. I wasn't there, which bothers me not at all. It was cold! Those are 12'x20' 400bbl steel tanks being set on rings. The knee braces for the walkway are already in place. Looking at the distance between the boom and the upper corner of the tank illustrates why we can't handle tanks much wider than these. Twenty five feet tall would have a steeper angle, and much past the 13.5' diameter would have a clearance problem as well. Hooking up to a vertical tank on the ground is one thing, but picking it up off a trailer and being able to lift it very high - say over a containment field wall - would be a problem. Our cranes have limited "reach" as well. However, they work fine for most of the work we do.

The cranes mounted on the blue and white KWs are quite a bit stouter than the one on mine.* They can easily pick up more than the platform can keep stable. Mine refuses to pick up things these cranes handle easily. But, these cranes have to be mounted on tractors with double frames. Which means we have to order them new - the specs we need are just not found on used truck lots. But, the crane on my truck is medium duty and will safely mount to a regular single frame. Finding used day cabs with fuel tanks forward - among other requirements - ain't easy - but finding identically specced used trucks with double frames is next to impossible.

A major portion of our tank sales involve setting the tank in it's new home - it's all part of the price. If we can set them - our customers save hiring a crane. We also help out the big cranes by "tailing." We hook to an eye (cunningly placed there for us to use) near the bottom on the side of the tank - which is up "at the top" when the tank is laying sideways on the trailer. They hook to the (actual) top and we both lift it off the trailer. The big crane gradually moves the tank vertical while we keep it off the ground and gradually take the bottom "under" the big crane. This saves scuffing the tank - if the crane uses spreader bars or a pair of long straps to unload off the trailer, they have to set it on the ground on it's side, unhook, hook to the top, and stand the tank before setting it. Having one of our trucks on site normally speeds up the process even if the customer had to hire a crane.

There is more to our jobs than just driving from the shop to the delivery point. What happens at the delivery point makes this trucking job more than just a little different.

*The crane I use is a Cormach model 25500E4 - four extensions. The bigguns are Cormach model 38000E4s - also with four extensions. I've seen them with two to six extensions. They're an Italian import - and they make far stronger cranes than we use. They also have wireless remotes as an option, which I think would be way cool.

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