Kinder Morgan placed an order for an E-Crane early in 2013 for their International Marine Terminals (IMT) facility in Port Sulphur, LA near New Orleans. Kinder Morgan is currently engaged in a multi-phase expansion of the terminal to increase the throughput and storage capacity of the facility. This expansion includes the addition of a new continuous barge unloader (CBU), a new Gulf barge unloader, expansion of reclaim and product blending capabilities, expansion of coal yard storage area, and various other upgrades to the facility.
The new E-Crane, which was installed and commissioned in August of this year, is used for a barge cleaning operation on the Mississippi River. The Kinder Morgan IMT Terminal uses a continuous barge unloader to unload coal out of barges. The CBU unloads the majority of coal out of each barge but is unable to clean the entire barge. The E-Crane is then used to clean the leftover coal out of the barges which is unreachable by the CBU.
The E-Crane ordered by Kinder Morgan is an MH1200 Series / Model 11290 PD-E E-Crane. The E-Crane has a maximum outreach of 29 meters (95 feet) and a maximum lift capacity of 19 metric tons (20.9 US tons). The E-Crane is mounted directly to a floating barge, with principal dimensions 112′ x 54′ x 8′, which was custom modified to support the crane. The crane is powered by a 400 kW (536 hp) diesel generator which is mounted directly on the barge alongside the E-Crane. The attachment used to clean coal is an 8 cubic meter (10.5 cubic yard) hydraulic clamshell bucket.
Along with cleaning the excess coal out of barges, the E-Crane is used to lift payloaders in and out of the barges. The payloaders are placed into the material barges in order to consolidate all of the coal to one side of the barge. The payloaders are attached directly to the E-Crane underneath the grab in order to easily and quickly move them in or out of the material barges. Payloaders are stored directly on the crane barge inside containment areas located on the barge deck. This allows for maintenance to be performed on the payloaders directly on the barge. Bucket maintenance is also performed inside of these containment areas.
Kinder Morgan is very pleased with the success of their new machine. They have already placed an order for a second, identical E-Crane to add to their facility at IMT. This E-Crane will be dock mounted and will also be used for barge cleaning operations. Fred Pope, Project Manager at Kinder Morgan, summarizes, “The E-Crane design and operating flexibility is ideal for our needs at International Marine Terminal. E-Crane offered to provide the crane with a custom modified barge and managed the procurement, fabrication, assembly, commissioning, and training on a turn-key basis. We’re very pleased with the finished product which is now in service. A second fixed E-Crane has also been ordered for use at IMT.”
The E-Crane balanced design makes it ideal for barge mounting. The E-Crane design is based on a parallelogram style boom which provides a direct mechanical connection between the counterweight and the load. This unique four bar mechanism ensures that the E-Crane remains in a near perfectly balanced state throughout its entire working range. While conventional cranes use as much as 80% of their available energy just to move the boom, stick, and grab, the E-Crane allows gravity to work for you instead of against you, reducing horsepower requirements and power consumption by up to 50% and significantly reducing maintenance and operating costs. Along with the significant energy savings that a balanced design provides, it makes the E-Crane ideal for mounting on a floating barge. Because the crane is balanced, the movement of the E-Crane causes very minimal listing and movement of the barge.
A barge mounted crane is also beneficial because it floats up and down along with the material barges when the water elevation changes. This means that the cycle of picking material out of the barge is never affected by water fluctuation.
Kinder Morgan, A Repeat Customer
The Kinder Morgan company has realized the benefits of the E-Crane for a variety of operations. This new E-Crane at IMT is the third E-Crane for Kinder Morgan. A 1500 Series / Model 11264+ rail mounted E-Crane is currently operating at the Kinder Morgan Severcorr facility in Columbus, MS. This crane is used to unload pig iron from barges into a hopper which loads trucks. Another 1500 Series E-Crane / Model 9317 PD-E operates at Kinder Morgan Port Sutton in Tampa, Fl. This crane is used for unloading bulk fertilizer from large ships.