A delivery of six components to PotashCorp Rocanville from manufacturer SaskArc in Oxbow was a complicated logistical process that took two days, and required 31 power lifts and 10 line cuts, a squadron of pilot vehicles, and around 20 SaskPower employees.
The massive components were transported from Oxbow, up Highway 8 almost as far as Fairlight, and then over back roads to the current PotashCorp Rocanville minesite, where they will be used in the mill.
The largest component moved last week is 25’7” tall, 38’ long, and 36’ wide and 122,000 lbs.
Saskarc is an Oxbow company which has been around for three decades and has about 65 employees.
“Our fabrication group does the manufacturing of steel for the oil and gas, petrochem, and mining industries,” explains Danielle LaRochelle of Saskarc.
“We also have an equipment group that targets those industries plus construction.
The components moved Thursday and Friday are part of an electrostatic precipitator (ESP) for PotashCorp Rocanville, which is in the final year of a $2.8 billion expansion.
Saskarc assembled, insulated and cladded the components. The ESP is used in the drying circuit of the potash mill to reduce the release of particulates to the environment.
LaRochelle said the planning and manufacturing of the components took a couple of years, and the logistics of the delivery took a few months to nail down.
The 122,000 pound component is one of the largest pieces Saskarc has fabricated—although it was the largest piece when it was built, it has since been surpassed.
“We just recently sent two pipe modules to K+S Potash, and one of those was our largest piece to date,” said LaRochelle. “We continue to push the limits.”
When the Rocanville component was built, the shop door had to be expanded from 30 feet wide to 40 feet wide to get it out of the building.
She said the logistics of moving massive pieces of equipment can be complicated.
“We do onsite meetings, test fittings, have the transport companies come here and do the measurements and do the road routes,” she said.
Project manager Ryan Griffin handled the logistics of delivering the PotashCorp Rocanville components.
“We’ve been working with the trucking company that’s doing the move and SaskPower for a good three months now,” he said.
“We’ve been working with the transport company to make sure they can get over all the roads, and talking to SaskPower to ensure we can get under all the power lines.
“Coming up with the route is one of the most challenging parts. Crossing rail lines poses challenges—CP have their own lines. And in a few of the towns we had to move pedestrian lights for this move.”
The move involved a lot of people.
“There were at least 10 SaskPower trucks here this morning when we started the move,” said Griffin.
“They have multiple crews on the job—they’re ready to cut the next line so the truck can somewhat keep moving.”
Traffic was stopped by pilot trucks to allow the massive cargo to pass.
“There are three pilot trucks with each load,” said Griffin. “The pilot trucks will stop the traffic. Sometimes the police are involved in the major crossings.”
The PotashCorp component is among the largest items delivered by Saskarc.
“It’s the widest and almost the tallest we’ve done,” said Griffin. “We’ve done longer loads than this, but never anything wider.
“We just moved a lot longer pipe module up near Bethune, and we moved a lot to SaskPower near Estevan, and we will be moving more modules up to Rocanville.”
Not every move goes perfectly smoothly.
“There are always hiccups,” said Griffin, “but we’ve never had anything extremely significant happen. Sometimes truck drivers have a hard time making the curves.
“We contacted a few rig moving companies,” he added. “They have to pull into side roads for us to get by.”