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Butler Machinery Delivers Two Caterpillar Generators for WEB Water

by: Jessica Hoover
Large, 10,000-pound counterweights are placed on the crane to ensure safety and stability while lifting, moving, and installing the generator.
Large, 10,000-pound counterweights are placed on the crane to ensure safety and stability while lifting, moving, and installing the generator.
The crew finalizes installation of the first of two generators at WEB Water.
The crew finalizes installation of the first of two generators at WEB Water.
At the second WEB Water site, the first step in installation is the positioning of the crane that will place the generator.
At the second WEB Water site, the first step in installation is the positioning of the crane that will place the generator.
The second generator makes the final leg of its journey, traveling nearly three miles at less than 5 mph, around a hairpin turn, and down toward the site at the water’s edge of the Missouri River.
The second generator makes the final leg of its journey, traveling nearly three miles at less than 5 mph, around a hairpin turn, and down toward the site at the water’s edge of the Missouri River.
Placement of the intake generator on the concrete pad took patience, accuracy, and extreme safety measures from the team.
Placement of the intake generator on the concrete pad took patience, accuracy, and extreme safety measures from the team.
Final stages of the project included the placement of a side mounted intake/sound attenuator.
Final stages of the project included the placement of a side mounted intake/sound attenuator.
Butler Machinery has successfully delivered and installed two Caterpillar C175 generators to two different jobsites in rural South Dakota, one of its most logistically challenging deliveries to date. The generators, which are each around the size of a railroad car, are 50 feet long by 14 feet wide by 15 feet tall and weigh 120,000 pounds.

The generators will power a water treatment plant and an intake plant for WEB Water, which has a service area that reaches customers in 17 counties, 14 counties in South Dakota and three counties in North Dakota. Each generator will run approximately 300 hours per year.

“The intake plant consists of six pumps, where they pump water out of the Missouri River and then it gets pumped three miles up the hill to the treatment plant where the water is treated,” said Steve Bruce, Customer Account Manager at Butler Machinery. “From there it is fed out down a line to the customers.”

The delivery and installation of the generators took two days total, with the help of six people from the trucking company, four from the crane company, two from the electrical contractor, and four from Butler Machinery.

Special Delivery
On the day of the delivery, two trucks from TJ Potter Trucking carried the generators roughly 300 miles from where they were manufactured to the treatment plant and intake plant.

“Any time you have an oversized load like that, it does require pilot cars, one in the front and one in the back,” Bruce said. “Also, it’s a route that the state of South Dakota dictates which highways they have to take so they don’t have any problems hitting power lines or bridges.”

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TJ Potter Trucking had to use custom-built trailers to be able to transfer the large generators from point A to point B. The weight and width of the trailer could be adjusted to accommodate the load.

“When you get a load like that, there are very few companies that have the equipment to haul that. … It took TJ Potter all day to drive 300 miles, and then we started the loading the following Monday,” Bruce said. “The location at the treatment plant was relatively easy to get them there, but for the intake plant they had to go down a gravel road, down a steep incline next to the Missouri River. Thankfully, the weather was good, so we didn’t have any mud to deal with.”

The truck carrying the generator headed to the intake plant had to be transferred over to a shorter trailer in order to safely navigate the gravel road. The truck traveled nearly three miles at less than 5 mph, around a hairpin turn, in order to get to the site at the water’s edge of the Missouri River.

“The trailer they originally had it on was too long for the roads,” Bruce said. “So they actually had to put it on a trailer that was not as long as the one that they used to haul it up there. So that took a little bit of extra time to transfer it over to the other trailer, but we were still able to do it in a day.”

Installation of the Generators
The following work day after the delivery, Butler Machinery unloaded and installed both generators in the same day. To lift the generators off of the trucks, 70,000 pounds of counterweights had to be hung on the back of the cranes to ensure that the crane would not tip over from the weight of the generators.

“The crane company had to do an eight-point pick, which requires two spreader bars located on the crane,” Bruce said. “From the spreader bars, straps come down, and there are four lifting points on each side of the enclosure. So they had eight total points that they had to pick off of. Once they had that hooked up, they were able to pick the generator straight up and set it on the pad…It was a long day, but we were able to pick both up that day and get them set on the pad.”

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The delivery and installation of the Caterpillar generators was a first-of-its-kind project for Butler Machinery, because of the physical size of the units.

“The length, width, and height of them – these are definitely two of the biggest generators that I’ve been involved with,” Bruce said. “They’re also the first Tier Four Final generator sets that Butler Machinery has done in that size.”

Butler Machinery offers products and services to support a variety of industries, including construction, agriculture, governmental, demolition and scrap handling, mining, landscaping, and power generation. The third generation family-owned company serves North Dakota, South Dakota, and Clay County, Minnesota.

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