Straightpoint Load Cells Weigh Gas Facility Components at US Port

Straightpoint load cells were integral to the safe offload of a 718-ton absorption tower and a flash vessel from SAL Heavy Lift’s Type 116 MV Amoenitas vessel at the Port of New Orleans, Louisiana.

The absorption unit is an industrial-size tower (it measures 170 feet long; 24 feet wide; and 23 feet, 7 inches high) used to separate out components of rising gas, while the flash vessel, although smaller, will be the main component of the flash recovery system at the major installation project.

The Amoenitas arrived at the port’s Louisiana Avenue Terminal in mid-January after a 45-day trip from Shanghai, China. It boasts a top speed of 17 knots (nearly 20 mph); the ability to carry cargoes weighing upwards of 900 tons; and two cranes, each offering a capacity of 450 tons and two auxiliary hoists of 35 ton capacity apiece.

SAL specializes in the sea transportation of heavy lift and project cargo. Its offshore subsidiary focuses on developing and delivering installation solutions for the oil and gas and renewable energy sectors.

Straightpoint Inc. worked alongside Marine & Industrial Supply, the rigging and testing solutions business responsible for providing the load cells and shackles; and Fracht FWO Inc., of Houston, a North American subsidiary of the Swiss freight forwarding company that oversaw the offload to barges positioned alongside deck cargo pontoons.

Charles Duprey, projects manager at Fracht FWO, explained that the load cells played a key role in the transfer of the valuable units from sea to barges before continuing their journey on land as there was a discrepancy over the weights of the loads that were recorded in the transportation documents.

John Molidor, the general manager of Straightpoint’s US operation, said: “Within 10 minutes of my phone conversation with Charles Duprey from Fracht I had drafted an email detailing my conversation with Charles which included his contact information to Ricky Thompson, general manager at Marine & Industrial Supply. It was late in the day West Coast time but from what I understand Ricky was in touch with Charles first thing the next morning.”

Duprey said: “The load cells were crucial given that when we loaded the absorption tower and flash vessel in China the lift weight in the barge was drastically inaccurate so for safety reasons we wanted to weigh them again in New Orleans. Importantly, when we used the load cells to weigh the items at the port, the weight matched the documents of the manufacturer which told us that the measurements recorded by the barge crane instruments were incorrect.”

Duprey and his team at Fracht FWO have been executing such offloads for the mammoth project for over 18 months and vessels have been arriving in New Orleans with equipment loaded from ports all over the world, adding to the complexity of the freight forwarding operation. Lifting and rigging technologies have been inherent to the safe progression of the project.

Straightpoint’s force measurement, load monitoring and suspended weighing products are at the pinnacle of technological advancement, offering users the ability to monitor the pick points of dynamic loads while they are being moved and relay the information 100% wirelessly to a PC.

Duprey said: “This wireless capability was hugely beneficial to the project, as was the convenience of being able to change the capacity in which the information was displayed from tons to pounds, for example. The Marine & Industrial Supply team were fantastic as was the capability and performance of the Straightpoint load cells.”

Thompson said: “The entire group was very professional and a pleasure to work with. Straightpoint load cells are well known to be the very highest quality, and our team at MIS works hard to provide impeccable service to our customers.”

Molidor concluded: “It is Straightpoint’s ever increasing involvement in these high profile engineering projects that is allowing us to transform the lifting industry in an accelerated fashion. The use of the Straightpoint product line by giants like Bechtel, Chicago Bridge & Iron Company, and Kiewit just to name a few is invaluable as these world leaders are known for setting industry trends.”

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