Lexington, KY - Smith Erectors, Inc. of Markle, IN recently spent four days working around the clock to service Steel Dynamic, Inc.’s (SDI) Columbia City, IN plant. SDI fabricates structural, rail, and engineered steel as part of their New Millennium Building Systems in a multi-building complex. Plant shut downs are required to maintain heavily used equipment in adverse conditions.

During the shutdown, Smith Erectors’ brand new 75-ton (70-mt) 75|RT rough terrain crane  entered one of the buildings on site through a 22 ft. (6.7 m) tall overhead door and setup beside an existing hot saw cutting station. The first step of the shutdown consists of removing an old 21,000 lb. (9 525 kg) chute for the hot saw. 

“You really have to be hands-on, especially in what we do because it’s so labor intensive. We don’t make money selling a product, per se. I know what my people can do, the time it takes, and above all else they need to work safely,” explained Smith Erectors Owner, Garland Smith.

Multiple lifting points were used to move the old chute, which was lodged in place by SWARF, remnants of hot steel. In some instances the SWARF must be jackhammered or dislodged in order to remove the chute.

Once the old chute is removed a slightly heavier, 31,000 lb. (14 061 kg) new chute is lowered back into the same 30 ft. (9.1 m) hole. The new chute is placed at a 35 ft. (10.6 m) radius, with 53 ft. (16.1 m) of boom and 4-part line.

“It’s a beast. All went smoothly. The crane has plenty of visibility. You have plenty of glass for sight lines on everything,” said operator Jim Green.    

“We expect the machines to perform what needs to be done. Like I said, we make a lot of heavy picks and take everything close to the limit. Link-Belt is behind that. They are always right there with us going to that goal and we’ve never had problems. They have good quality cranes, and are dependable,” concluded Garland Smith.