Saturday, November 21, 2009

A Big Load Moving Through

The largest and heaviest thing ever to roll on South Carolina roads is passing through Greenville this week. It is a generator stator for the Duke Power Clean Coal generating plant in Cliffside, North Carolina. It will be the Unit 6 generator, which will go into operation in 2012. Clean coal technology greatly reduces emissions from power generation plants like this one.

Here is an aerial view of the facility where the stator will be installed.

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The coal pile in in the upper center of the view, the generating boilers, turbines, and generators are to the upper right in the building with the stacks. Cooling water is taken from the nearby river.

The stator arrived at the port of Charleston South Carolina in August after it was shipped by sea from Toshiba in Japan. It began its overland journey in mid-September.

Classified as a “superload” by the S.C. Department of Transportation, the stator weighs 880,000 pounds and is being transported by a special hauling rig weighing 790,000 pounds. Mammoet USA, Inc. of Rosharon Texas is managing the delivery of the stator to Cliffside.

The load stopped for the weekend not far from my house, so I rode over to take a look today. It is certainly a big piece of machinery! The transport system has dozens of wheels, whose heights are controlled by hydraulic cylinders that can be moved to suit the contour of the roadway, and to evenly distribute the weight. There are also hydraulic steering devices to force the massive dollies to turn. I imagine that the tires get a lot of scrubbing. I would like to have seen how they got the rig parked perpendicular to the road in this lot.

It takes four large semi tractors to pull/push the load. The whole assemblage is said to be about 750 feet long. There are many support vehicles to move power lines, cut trees, and control traffic. The rig travels about five miles per hour.

Here are some pictures.
This is a view from across the road toward the paved lot where the rig is spending the weekend.

The orange thing is the rig that distributes the load to the dollies. The item in the center under the red tarp is the stator.

This is what a stator for a power generating plant looks like without the tarp.

From A Robot, I Am Not website.

Note that this one is being moved by the same company that is moving the one passing through town here today.

A closer view from the same direction.

This one is a view from the rear of one of the tractors that pulls.

Get out of the way, Bucky!

It is important to know how level the load is, so they have installed a simple water level on the front of the rig. It consists of a horizontal plastic pipe and two clear vertical sections of tubing, all with colored water inside. When the rig tips, the water rises in the low side tube. Simple.

This is a photograph of the rig on the road earlier this week.

Photo by WSPA Channel 7.

Once I have inspected this thing, I go a few other places in Greenville, just puttering around: Downtown Greenville, Reedy River Falls Park, and the Bob Jones University campus. You can see pictures of the first two here, and latter here.

It has been a beautiful day for a ride, about 68 miles covered.

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