Kinder Morgan needed a state-of-the-art material handler to unload incoming scrap from barges for the new SeverCorr Steel Mill, a state-of-the-art, “next-generation” facility being built in Columbus, MS about eight miles from the Tennessee-Tombigbee waterway.
The SeverCorr plant will produce 1.5 million tons annually of hot roll, hot roll P&O, cold roll and hot dip galvanized/galvanealed steels. Kinder Morgan is headquartered in Houston, TX, and is one of North America’s largest energy transportation, and storage companies, with more than 37,000 miles of pipelines and 150 terminals for storage of petroleum products and chemicals, and dry-bulk materials like coal.
The company also operates about 50 transload facilities that transfer product from one mode to another rather than moving product into storage. “We looked carefully at several manufacturers’ equipment, considering each machine from the standpoint of design, construction, reputation, service life, and overall operating efficiency and economy, as well as parts and service backup,” said Kinder Morgan Director of Operations and Engineering, Thomas Ruff, Sr.
“Our choice was the E-Crane 1500B Series, model 11264 High Portal mounted on a Rail Lower. We wanted a hydraulic-electric material handler rather than a diesel-powered machine for economy, quietness and low maintenance. There were environmental considerations, too. E-Crane wasn’t a difficult choice. We’ve had previous experience operating a similar model E-Crane at an installation in Venezuela for five years now, and it has performed as expected.”Kinder Morgan purchased their E-Crane from E-Crane International USA, located in Galion, OH. Almost every product E-Crane builds is a custom machine. For example, Kinder Morgan’s new crane is built high enough so trucks can drive under it for loading. Kinder Morgan transfers scrap and other materials from barges onto trucks for transport to the nearby SeverCorr facility. “Initially we sat down with the E-Crane people and suppliers of other components for our new facility and brainstormed design and construction possibilities. As far as the E-Crane machine is concerned, we told them what we wanted to accomplish and they designed a crane specifically to meet our needs”, said Ruff.
E-Crane Material Handlers have the outreach, height, visibility and load capacity for the big jobs, plus easy operations with two joysticks in a roomy, air-conditioned cabin. The E-Cranes cutting edge monitoring system provides the operator with important machine status in real time.
Kinder Morgan’s E-Crane 1500B has an 18.2-ton duty cycle capacity. It is equipped with a scrap grab, clamshell bucket and magnet equipment for greater versatility. The unit includes a quick-change capability to switch between these three features to provide the most efficient method for transloading the material. Another feature of the E-Crane is the counter weight. The counterweight is actuated by a hydraulic cylinder, so it pivots back and forth on its axis. This movement is transmitted to the stick by means of a rigid connecting rod. “Thus, the E-Crane is nearly always in equilibrium during its working cycle.“ Ruff added, “Our E-Crane uses less power, and its durability and longevity will help keep our costs to a minimum. The maintenance is straightforward and we like that it’s compatible with many Caterpillar components, especially for the controls and hydraulics. Cat parts can be found anywhere in the world, and if we need service help from E-Crane, they’re always available. We have been using the E-Crane at Columbus, MS for a short time now, as it’s still in the startup and testing phase, but we’ve unloaded approximately15 to 20 barges, and everything looks great. We estimate we will be able to offload 400 tons per hour, depending on the product. Our new E-Crane can easily handle present loads with no problem, and it gives us extra capacity for growth down the road.”