Published Jan 5, 2016
In Unique Picks


Solution Brewed by a Terex in a Tunnel
When the only way to access a jobsite is to go THROUGH a building, ALL’s Central Contractor’s branch has just the crane to get the job done. Read for yourself why it landed the cover of ACT’s January 2015 issue. 

Published in American Cranes & Transport 
January 2016 


Central Contractors Service squeezes a Terex AC 100/4L into a Chicago Brewery 

With revolution-themed brews like Anti-Hero IPA, Coup D’ETAT and Double Fist, Chicago’s Revolution Brewing is riding the wave of microbrew popularity resurgence. Illinois’ largest and fastest growing craft brewery, crafting over 50,000 barrels in 2014, Revolution Brewing has set its sights on significant capacity expansion at its N. Kedzie Avenue facility, eventually boosting plant capacity to 300,000 barrels per year. 

As part of its expansion efforts, the brewery added a 120-barrel brew house and multiple 800-barrel fermenters, among other equipment. 

“The fermenters were 40 feet long with a diameter of 14 feet,” said T.J. Wicklander of Central Contractors Service Inc., a Chicago division of the ALL Family of Companies. “With a 70-foot-long parking lot as a work space, this does not leave much room for our crane equipment.” 

The Kedzie facility is located in Chicago’s Northwest Avondale neighborhood, so space around the building was at a premium. From the street entrance to the concrete business behind the building to the storage facilities flanking both sides of the business, space was extremely tight for positioning the tanks. It was a major challenge to determine the right crane due to the tight space at the jobsite. 

“To one side of the building, ground elevation was about 20 feet higher than where the expansion lifts took place,” said Wicklander, crane and aerial lift sales representative for Central. “There were fences and power lines surrounding the property and not much room to work.” 

The concrete plant site, behind Revolution Brewing, was considered as an option, but there were serious and expensive drawbacks to this location. 

 “We would have had to take down power lines, which would stop the brewery’s production for one to two days, and we would have had to mobilize a 600-ton crane to work at the extended radius to position the 24,000-pound tanks.” 

The only way to get to the back of the brewery was to drive straight through the building. And the only way for that to happen was to select a crane that was compact enough to fit through the narrow 9-foot wide by 13-foot tall door opening. 

The only option was Central's Terex AC 100/4L all terrain crane. 

“Only the AC 100/4L could physically drive through the building, due to its compact size, and still offer Central  enough capacity to make all the necessary lifts,” said Dave Kuhlman, senior sales manager, major accounts team, Terex Cranes. 

The lift required a crane with just over 151.6 feet of main boom and a total rigging weight of approximately 25,000 pounds at a 58.5-foot radius, according to Wicklander. 

“We could have brought in a 70-ton class crane to fit through the building, but it would not have offered enough capacity for the lift,” said Wicklander. 

The AC 100/4L AT is the only 120-ton capacity class, 4-axle crane with a vehicle width of only 8.4 feet. Carrying 9,900 pounds of counterweight and staying within a 26,500-pound axle load, the crane is equipped with a 194.9-foot main telescoping boom and is capable of a maximum system length of 268 feet. 

Mobilizing the crane for the two-day job required only the crane operator and a truck driver to transport two loads of counterweight. Crews equipped the crane with its full 57,000 pounds of counterweight for the heavy lifts. It took approximately 1.5 hours for the crane and counterweight to make the approximately 40-mile trip from Central Contractors’ downtown yard to Revolution Brewing’s N. Kedzie Avenue facility. 

“With the travel restrictions we have in Chicago, traffic is always a factor,” Wicklander said. 

Once on site, the operator took advantage of the crane’s all-wheel steering to position it for entering the tunnel. “It had to be a straight-on shot to make it through the narrow doorway,” Wicklander said. “We had approximately 30 feet of road in front of the building to get the crane into position.” 

Central Contractors’ crane operator carefully drove the AC 100/4L through the 9 by 13-foot doorway and down the narrow 200-foot long tunnel to get to the back of the building. The crane’s suspension was lowered and the side mirrors were drawn in so it could slip through the passage. 

“He literally had only inches to spare on the sides and at the top of the crane,” Wicklander said. “This is why we hire only the best crane operators available.” 

Once exiting the tunnel into the back parking lot of the building, the AC 100/4L crane was quickly prepped for the lifts. A crew consisting of the crane operator, oiler, truck driver and four workers from the construction contractor, Corcoran Fabrication, had the crane rigged and ready for lifting in just over an hour. 

In less than two days, Central Contractors lifted and positioned four 800-barrel fermenters and one each silo, chiller and carbon dioxide tank, along with supporting structures. The crane’s compact 26.7 by 23.6-foot outrigger footprint helped to work within the parking lot’s confined space, while still delivering the required lift capacity. 

After the last pick, the AC 100/4L was derigged and the process of carefully driving the crane down the 200-foot long, narrow passageway to N. Kedzie Avenue was repeated. Both trips through the building were made without putting a scratch on the crane’s body. 

Had Central Contractors not been able to use the AC 100/4L all terrain crane from the brewery’s back parking lot, the alternate concrete plant location would have been used. Wicklander said that scenario would have added significantly more work, time and expense to the project. 

“Not bringing in the 600-ton capacity crane to lift the tanks from the other lot, saved us and the customer a minimum of $11,000 in trucking costs alone, not to mention the expense associated with taking down the power lines and the lost production for the brewery,” he said. 

By using the Terex AC 100/4L, Central Contractors supported Revolution Brewing and helped to cost-effectively fulfill the brewery’s vision of significant expansion to grow its brand.

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Originally published in ACT January 2016