Saddle Up: Customized Solutions Place Refinery Column with Care

The Deep South team was tasked to receive, transport and set a 790,025-pound debutanizer. This specialized distillation column measures 174’-3” long with a 21’-3” diameter.

The debutanizer was received from an ocean-going vessel at the Port of New Orleans. Once cleared through customs, the debutanizer was loaded on a barge and pushed to a roll-off site 8 hours upriver, and prepared for transport to the refinery.

The column was loaded onto a double-wide 18-axle-line Scheuerle SPMT for the initial 2.25-mile haul to the refinery. Along the way, crews built a temporary bridge to cross a railroad track, to accommodate the length and weight of the debutanizer.

The debutanizer was then lifted with an 800-ton gantry onto cribbing in readiness for the one-mile move to the lift location. To facilitate the transport, Deep South worked with the vessel manufacturer to customize the debutanizer’s shipping saddles for the 52-ton Scheuerle SPMT-SL (Split) Trailers. (The SPMT-SL has a per axle line load rating of 104,000 pounds.) That adjustment helped shrink the overall transport envelope of the debutanizer, lower the load and accommodate a problematic route in tight conditions.

One of the challenges was that the debutanizer load needed to cross under multiple pipe racks with very little clearance (less than 1”). The debutanizer was designed specifically to fit under the pipe racks with minimal clearance. The shipping saddles with the split trailer configuration were ideal for this circumstance. An 1,800-ton VersaCrane™ TC-28000 in configuration 4/8 with a 303’ main boom and a double-wide 12-axle-line Scheuerle SPMT with tailing frame were used to lift the debutanizer onto its foundation. Once vertical, the debutanizer was set on its foundation using the VersaCrane TC-28000.


About Deep South: Deep South Crane & Rigging is a leading provider of heavy lift and transport solutions in the refining, chemical, and energy sectors and strives to provide its customers the best tools to complete the task at hand and is home of the VersaCrane fleet. The firm offers a complete range of services, from bare crane rental to turn-key heavy lift and transport solutions to clients in North and South America. It operates out of 7 locations including Baton Rouge, LA; Sulphur, LA; New Orleans, LA; Dequincy, LA; Beaumont, TX; Houston, TX; and Catlettsburg, KY. Sister company DS Americas operates out of Bogota, Colombia. Recent recognition includes 2020 Houston Business Roundtable (HBR) Best in Class Safety Excellence Award Finalist, 2022 Best in Class Safety Excellence Award in Crane and Rigging, and 2023 Mentor Award; 2020- 2023 Greater Baton Rouge Industry Alliance (GBRIA) Safety Excellence Award; 2018-2023 Specialized Carriers and Rigging Association (SCRA) Safety Award; 2018-2023 Louisiana Worker's Compensation Corporation (LWCC) Safest 70); 2021 Texas Mutual Platinum Safety Partner Award; and 2021 and 2023 Safety Council of Southwest Louisiana (SWLA) Silver Level Contractor Safety Performance Award.

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