Braskem’s operations prioritize collaborative and close relations with its clients, and strengthening the entire petrochemical chain. Through its commercial offices located in the Americas, Europe and Asia, it serves clients in more than 70 countries. Its growth and international expansion strategy, which is based on innovation, has made Braskem the America’s largest thermoplastic resin producer; the world’s largest biopolymer producer and the United States’ largest polypropylene producer. With administrative headquarters located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Braskem America has five polypropylene (PP) plants: three in Texas (La Porte, Oyster Creek and Seadrift), one in Pennsylvania (Marcus Hook) and one in West Virginia (Kenova). In addition, a modern Innovation & Technology Center located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania strengthens Braskem’s partnerships with its clients in the region, while supporting the development of innovative solutions and improving existing products and processes.
Located 20 miles from Philadelphia, the Marcus Hook plant recently decided to add a 90,000 gallon pressure vessel to increase their storage and throughput capabilities at the site The 120′ long x 14′ diameter, 200,000lbs vessel would be delivered to the site on its side due to height restrictions and permits. Lifting, rolling, and setting the vessel would prove to be no easy task. The Maxim/AmQuip team was brought in to help determine the safest and most economical way to set the vessel. This included overcoming several challenges on site. For instance, the final location of the new vessel was located in a “land-locked” area surrounded by pipe racks, power lines, and four existing pressure vessels. As a safety precaution, it was determined that the load shouldn’t be suspended directly over the four existing pressure vessels that would remain in service during the lift. This would require extensive planning to place the crane in a location that would allow the aerial navigation of the load between the in-service vessels and silos, along with several live power lines and an existing building, all the while maintaining safe working distances from each. Furthermore, the site’s safety requirements dictated that the lift not exceed 85% of the crane’s rated capacity.
Based on all of these factors, a 440 ton crawler crane with 207′ main boom and wheeled ballast wagon (Liebherr LR1400/2 SDBW) was selected for the project. The crane’s rated capacity in this configuration was 265,000lbs at 125′ radius. The total load including all rigging and deductions was 223,510lbs, or 84% of the crane’s rated capacity. A comprehensive lift plan covering all aspects of the lift was put together and reviewed several times to ensure even the smallest details were considered. Once the plan was approved, a double-layer mat pad was engineered and constructed to lower the ground pressures the crane would exert to an acceptable level for the site. In addition, the mat pad would also cover several small concrete foundations where stair structures and ladders were removed to achieve the required crane placement for the lift, allowing the foundations to remain in place.
On top of all of the challenges surrounding the lift, assembling the crane would prove to be no easy task either. The client’s truck loading rack, the lifeblood of the facility, was located adjacent to the work area and had to remain open during the project. We would only have a brief timeframe to shut it down during a portion of the assembly and disassembly processes to allow the balance of the main boom to be installed and removed. The crane assembly area was extremely tight, with only a few feet to spare, and the crane would have to be re-positioned several times during the assembly process. Once the crane was fully assembled and positioned for the lift there would be only 11″ of clearance between the 57’1″ tail swing of the ballast wagon and the existing building located only 58′ away. A tight fit to say the least!
On the day of the lift, the vessel was unloaded, rolled 90 degrees, and set in the matter of a few hours. The lift was completed safely, on schedule, and within the client’s budget. Nevertheless, another successful lift by the Maxim/AmQuip team ‘ Lifting America Together!
Throughout history, humankind has relied on different lifting methods to build remarkable structures — many of which still stand to this day. Ancient civilizations used