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Transportation of 50m (160') Pressure vessel

Transportation of 50m (160') Pressure vessel

Transportation of 50m (160') Pressure vessel

Dear All,
Will there be any issue of transporting a 50m PV on road by trailer on road, assuming that we have got clearance from the Transport Authority & Vendor designs for the same with transport saddle.
After that, how this will be transported within the refinery plant.
We need to transport this as well as need to prepare a constructability report for the same.
It may be challenging to transport a 50m lengthy vessel in the presence of other running equipments in the plant.
I request you to throw some light on the same.

RE: Transportation of 50m (160') Pressure vessel

Whether or not this can be transported would depend on many factors, some would include:
  • Vessel height and width - cornering will depend on length and width. Height could be an issue for tunnels/bridges.
  • Route selection - major highways would likely be okay, but you could have trouble on local roads. Major detours might be necessary.
  • Vessel weight - bridge concern.
For vessels of this sort, it's best to contact the transportation companies early. They would likely have to perform a route survey, and could give you a yes/no. Regardless, the transportation would likely have to be accompanied by pilot cars, and would only be approved for limited travel times (middle of the night to avoid clogging up roads).

As for on-site transportation, that's a question you would have to sort out with the end user. You would have to carefully plan out the on-site routing. If you can't get the part very close to the installation site because it's too tight, you may have to hire a much larger crane than originally planned to fly the vessel in from farther out. If it's a refinery, they'll have lots of tall distillation columns and would likely have experience with moving long vessels through their site.

RE: Transportation of 50m (160') Pressure vessel

Actually these oversize loads are usually transported during the day (10-2) because of the added risks of doing it in the dark.
Take it as far as possible by ship/barge. Trucking will be expensive, slow, and expensive.
And Marty is right, diameter and weight maybe be the real constraints on shipping.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
P.E. Metallurgy, Plymouth Tube

RE: Transportation of 50m (160') Pressure vessel

I think there are a number of Youtube videos dealing with hauling similar large vessels.
Around here, it's common to see them hauling wind turbine blades that likely that long. Not a problem on major highways, considerable problem if you start trying to thread it through a city or a refinery.
As pointed out above, height/width/weight are likely to be bigger issues, depending on details. (In refineries, pipe racks are another obstacle to be dealt with.)
Some what-not-to-do:

RE: Transportation of 50m (160') Pressure vessel

This is a transportation job for a professional contractor. Some points for references:
- proper truck load (per axle) for bridges
- overhead obstacles such as structure, pipes, power lines, etc.
- don't be afraid to ask questions

RE: Transportation of 50m (160') Pressure vessel

Is there an issue was the question.

Yes. 50m is 4 times longer than normal loads so that's a big issue as soon as you come to any bend, roundabout or anything other than a motorway.

You don't state diameter or weight which is surprising.

Some temporary roads, bridges or special access may be required in the plant. Might even need to transport it upright for the last bit like a space rocket.

Remember - More details = better answers
Also: If you get a response it's polite to respond to it.

RE: Transportation of 50m (160') Pressure vessel


In some sick way, I always enjoy seeing how the trucks in your video links are in complete control, until they're not... Then the load takes over completely and the truck goes along for the ride.

RE: Transportation of 50m (160') Pressure vessel

Dear all, Thank you very much.
We have decided to approach the local Logistics guys who has already got experience in transporting such heavy & lengthy beasts, and also to prepare a constructability review report for the same.
Should we give any additional details to them other than Site visit report/photographs, vessel dimensions?
Thank you once again.

RE: Transportation of 50m (160') Pressure vessel

It is a mistake to ask the question, "how big a vessel can you ship?" The logistics guys will simply rub their hands together and say, "We can ship anything!" When the time comes, they will hook up a very large diameter line directly to your bank account and turn on a very large vacuum blower.

A FULL logistics study is required prior to even starting the design of such a thing.

Sometimes when I see these heroic "big moves" being undertaken, I wonder if the study was actually done, or done properly.

If it's a simple port-to-port move with short journeys on crawler trailers on either end, you can ship some truly incredible things. But if there is road transport of substantial distance required, seemingly minor changes to dimensions, weights or the time of year of shipment can have rather profound effects on the end result. And you are right, the final move from port to erection location can sometimes be a real deal-killer if it has to wind its way through operating equipment.

Rail is, surprisingly, sometimes an option:


This thing was 675 tonnes and though it doesn't say, it was really long too. And it shipped from Oakville, Ontario to somewhere in Kansas by rail.

All design of this kind needs to have a plan B if such a plan B is even imaginable, whether that be partial site construction, a body flange in the middle of the thing etc., so you know that the extra logistics cost and time of a massively over-dimensional shipment are actually going to pay off rather than just sounding like a good idea at the time.

RE: Transportation of 50m (160') Pressure vessel

@moltenmetal, This vessel has been designed only as "preliminary". We will place the order to any of the EPC contractors for a detailed design, who inturn will approach any vendors for fabrication.
We have approached the logistics person with the preliminary design with all the necessary details of the vessel to get his confirmation. We have asked the logistics to submit a Study report for the road transportation and constructability review report for inside the refinery.
Body flange option as a "Knocked-down" condition has been considered, but due to the Internal piping arrangement throughout the length of the vessel, we have not considered (or else, we need to change our Technical specification which has already been passed on to our EPC contractors).
Anyway, we will wait for the Logistics to respond. Thank you for your reply.

RE: Transportation of 50m (160') Pressure vessel

noltenmetal - that's a beautiful set of pictures on your link. (BTW, I was involved in the design analysis of the transportation of that behemoth. Even was one of the co-authors for a Journal Article about it - http://pressurevesseltech.asmedigitalcollection.as...).

RE: Transportation of 50m (160') Pressure vessel

Search in the internet "Bechtel Rigging Handbook".


RE: Transportation of 50m (160') Pressure vessel

All I can say is, be very careful assuming that there is no feasible plan by. If you start with that failure of imagination, you are more or less sealing your fate. You always need to compare any extreme action against alternatives to know if you're doing the right thing, and if you're clever enough and think hard and creatively about it (and engage the right team to help), there usually is one.

RE: Transportation of 50m (160') Pressure vessel

I was actually heavily involved in the designing, construction and commissioning of the railcar show in the pictures, CEBX-800. I did a preliminary design on the entire original shipping system, the railcar included, for the original purchaser of the car. That prelim. phase lasted several years as they developed their shipping needs for nuclear power plant components. The primary shipped components where to be nuclear reactors and high pressure steam generators, not unlike the Hopper load in shape and size. The company at which I was the Chief Engineer chickened out/backed out of the final bidding. I started my own consulting firm and worked with the original buyer, in selling the system to their own company brass, in evaluating the final proposals, picking a builder, and picking vendors for various components. Then, I went to work with the builder in Germany, on behalf of the buyer to help in the early design and purchase of specialty components for a railcar which the AAR and American railroads would allow to run in North America. Those types of cars and loads require considerable blessing and approval from the AAR and the handling RR’s before the load even begins to move. And, I have/had a long and good history with the AAR and the various RR’s on these kinds of loads, design of the shipping systems and the design of these types of railcars.

RE: Transportation of 50m (160') Pressure vessel

dhengr- that's an amazing story and an amazing accomplishment!

RE: Transportation of 50m (160') Pressure vessel

dhengr - what a small world. This Hooper vessel was not the first vessel that I've analyzed that was transported on a Schnabel Car. Impressive engineering, that's for sure. The next time that I have a project involving transport with that car, I will know who to contact.

RE: Transportation of 50m (160') Pressure vessel

Moltenmetal & TGS4:
Your types of loads are usually strong enough to tolerate the imposed loads of shipping by Schnabel car. They are well suited for this means of shipping, or with a little extra effort can be modified to accept the transport loads, as long as you are aware of these loads when you start the vessel design. With a Schnabel car, we can pick up about 3' of vert. clearance for increased vessel dia. or for nozzle clearances here and there. One of the interesting features of many of those cars is that they can shift the loads laterally and vertically, on the go, so as to clear lateral and vert. obstructions, and to improve the swing-out on horiz. curves, or to adjust underside clearance on vert. curves, etc. If the load is placed, on cribbing/saddles, over a track in the shop, the two halves of the car are brought into each end of the load, the Schnabel frames are pinned at the lower tension members, and the compression structures are brought into play up at the top, we just pick it up and are ready to go. That car was parked in Duluth, MN for a couple years, primarily hauling loads from the Duluth/Superior port to the sand tar/oil fields up in Fort McMurray, AL,CA. I’m in St. Paul, MN, so this is only a couple hours from the office. Other than the sheer physical size of the load, that car is designed and arranged in such a way that it really runs, and acts, essentially like a string of 9 coal unit train cars. There are some interesting You Tube videos of various moves of Hooper loads and others if you Goggle You Tube and/or CEBX-800.

RE: Transportation of 50m (160') Pressure vessel

What Hooper does is absolutely amazing. Of course now they have their Hamilton shop with direct access to the Seaway, so the ocean's the limit more or less.

RE: Transportation of 50m (160') Pressure vessel

Maybe not in the same league, but one of my past projects involved several heat exchangers, 40 ft tubes, 13 ft dia. distributor belt, 125 ton. Shipped by road in the US. As I recall the railroads had a 12 ft max dimension limit. I was told it was 800 miles just to cross Kansas :)



The problem with sloppy work is that the supply FAR EXCEEDS the demand

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