Compass Minerals, which is headquartered in Overland Park, Kansas, is North America’s biggest producer of sulfate of potash and magnesium chloride, and the tanks the company uses to store its chemical products are of a correspondingly impressive size. In this context, the Mountain Heavy Transport MHT logistics company was recently awarded the contract to transport a separator tank, 9 meters high and 8 meters in diameter, from the AFC plant to their facility 4.5 km away. The route was something of an obstacle course. In addition to challenging hairpin bends and gravel roads, the rig and its cargo had to cross a railway, pass under a high-voltage power line and negotiate an overhead pipeline.
The operation was made additionally critical by the need to minimize the forces acting on the separator so as to avoid damage to the internal epoxy coating. A Grove GMK 7550 crane was used to place the tank carefully on a 6-axle heavy-duty Goldhofer modular trailer towed by an Osh Kosh M1070 tractor. Although the separator weighed “only” 26 tons, weight distribution was problematical, with a high center of gravity near the closure. The cargo was accordingly secured with eight chains, two at the bottom and two on either side of the cover.
In view of the fact that a number of maneuvers en route had to be performed with limited vision for the driver, Mountain Heavy Transport MHT deployed a three-man team for the journey. The driver was accompanied by a spotter in the cab and an operator at the rear end of the trailer so that every movement and maneuver could be observed from several perspectives.
The first part of the journey was on public roads. They were closed to traffic as the width of the cargo necessitated driving on two lanes. Passage under the high-voltage power line was executed with the help of additional personnel: Experts from the local utility company used poles to temporarily raise the power cables for extra clearance for the rig and its cargo. At the plant, as the last obstacle on the journey, an overhead pipeline 6 meters above the ground also had to be negotiated. A crane was used to lift the separator over the pipeline and set it back down on the heavy-duty modular trailer on the other side. The experienced navigation team also handled this obstacle without a hitch, and the tank was delivered safely to its future location.