Unique project calls for unique skill sets…
Lee Danley, EDD, MS, BS
McGhee Crane Services; Executive Director
When you have a 6 ton water chiller to remove that is roughly 4 feet around and 12 feet long who do you call? What if the unit has to come through a 6 foot opening that is located 8 feet above the level the old chiller rests? Then who do you call? Those of you who have worked in the Memphis Metro area for any length of time know to call McGhee’s Crane Service (MCS). Several weeks ago, this became the challenge, and yes, MCS got the call.
After several meetings with the contractor and Memphis City School Facilities representatives, a plan was put into effect. The contractor built and installed a custom ramp based on the agreed upon plan with exact angles and dimensions in preparation for the day of removal. As the electrical and plumbing specialists removed all the hardware, the chiller was as unstable as most of the workers standing around in the confined space. Enter the McGhee crew to stabilize the scene. As the unit was secured to the ceiling with chain hoists, an amazing sense of calm came about. You could feel the stress being released from the numerous personnel in the basement area. Now it was time to go to work and get this thing out of the building.
“Now it was time to go to work and get this thing out of the building.”
The extraction called for a very unique set-up including 2 cranes and a 10 ton forklift. One crane to help stabilize, another to pull (as opposed to hoisting) and the forklift to make very minor adjustments to the angles of direction. Once everything was set-up, checked for accuracy, and safety concerns, the chiller began to inch its way toward the ramp leading up to the opening in the side of the building. Using the typical rigging equipment, rollers, jacks, crow bars, and chain hoist come-a-longs, the McGhee team slowly but surely brought the unit to the critical point of the ramp. To the amazement of the audience of workers on the scene who stood in awe, the 10 ton chiller slowly worked its way up the ramp and out of the building.
An enormous sigh of relief came over the contractor crew and the other spectators. However, for the McGhee Crane Service crew, it was just another job, another day in the life of an experienced and uniquely qualified team. Yes, it was a challenge, but there was never any doubt in their minds because of the confidence, trust, and belief in the team leadership. Everyone knew their role, everyone knew the goal, everyone was well aware of the process that ensued, and with effective communication and teamwork, the mission was accomplished.