Martin Bencher Uses Low Profile Skidding System for Texas Power Plant Project

Project cargo freight forwarder Martin Bencher USA LLC used an LP400 low profile skidding system from Canadian manufacturer Hydra-Slide Ltd to complete installation of 24 hulking loads at a power plant in Texas recently.

With 12 325 ton engines and the same number of 80 ton generators loaded over a three-week period through two doors at the facility, time and space were key considerations for Martin Bencher, making the LP400 stand out over alternative solutions.

Its patented low-profile, hand-portable design permits its use in most situations where a high capacity skid system is required, but where space or access is limited. A total height of less than 2 in. (51mm) reduces jacking time and is ideal for the power plant environment, where space was restricted as the units were loaded through openings in the east and west halls before final installation.

David Branco, US marketing manager, Martin Bencher, said: “We did our research following a recommendation from a heavy haul and rigging company and were confident in the capability of the Hydra-Slide unit, owing in part to an impressive demonstration video they provided for us. However, the LP400 still performed above our expectations.”

He continued: “An indoor gantry crane and conventional slide system would have been the alternative method in this case, which our riggers are familiar with, but the method requires a much thicker beam and a large crew. The LP400, by contrast, is lightweight and easy to assemble. Once we had two, then three, then four engines in the halls, space became restricted and the smaller track system made progression of the project that much smoother. Efficiency is a premium commodity in a power plant environment where shut-downs are often required to allow installation work to take place. The faster a plant is back up and running, the happier the customer.”

Janine Smith, vice president, Hydra-Slide, said: “Martin Bencher’s power plant project was a perfect application for the LP400 system. It can be mobilized quickly and set-up is relatively simple. The system is controlled by one operator working from a remotely positioned power unit. There is no need for personnel to be close to the load when moving and no winch lines, holdbacks or heavy equipment complicate the process. The maximum weight of any LP component is 130 lbs. [60kg] and the full system packs up into a storage box that fits in the back of a pickup truck. We’re seeing huge demand for this type of slide system for plant and factory projects, as well as job sites where there is limited heavy moving equipment available.”

Transportation of the engines and generators was more complicated. Martin Bencher employed two Goldhofer trailers simultaneously to move the loads from Port Isabel, Texas where they had arrived from Italy. Such was the size of the loads—all the engines were 20 ft.-high, Branco said—transportation had to take place overnight with police escort with a permitted top speed of 20mph. Branco explained that the transport operation of two engines alone took a week.

Branco also praised Hydra-Slide’s customer service ethos. He said: “Within two weeks of taking delivery of the unit they shipped us brand new engineered hydraulic rams, which demonstrated to everyone at Martin Bencher a great level of customer service and intent that they wanted us to get the most out of the product. If we needed another Hydra-Slide system we wouldn’t hesitate to place an order.”

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