"Superloads" no problem for Kenworth C500s
When loads exceeding a quarter of a million pounds need to be moved, few haulers in the United States possess the kind of equipment operated by Edwards Moving and Rigging.
The Shelbyville, Kentucky-based heavy hauling and rigging company owns several unique trailers to haul 375,000-pound turbines for combined-cycle power plants that use gas and steam turbines to generate more power than a standard plant with a single gas turbine. Or a 194,000-pound demethanizer tower used to extract natural gas from raw hydrocarbon gas at refineries. Instead of using huge 12-foot-wide prime movers — which are not typically equipped to get up to highway speeds and can only be operated on roads and highways under the restrictions of state and local conditional use — Edwards Moving and Rigging relies on several KenworthC500 trucks to haul those payloads.
"The Kenworth C500 offers us the power and transmission combination that can pull our trailers fully loaded with gross combination weights up to 900,000 pounds or more, and can haul empty trailers up to highway speeds in between loads," said Bill Watts, vice president of operations for Edwards Moving and Rigging. Recently, three of the company's C500s were used to haul a 187-ton turbine 230 miles from the manufacturer in New York over the Adirondack and Pocono Mountains to a combined-cycle plant in Pennsylvania. A fourth C500 served as a backup unit to help move the 350-foot-long truck and trailer duo—with a gross combination weight of 900,000 pounds—on long stretches of road with steep grades through the Adirondacks and Poconos. Edwards hauled two others like it earlier this year and in 2016. Unlike larger and wider prime movers, the 8-1/2-foot wide Kenworth C500 can operate on the road without requiring a conditional use permit.
"Because the C500 is an over-the-road compliant prime mover, we can position our equipment much faster. When the move is done, we can stack the trailers and use our C500s to transport them to the next jobs without having to arrange transportation for both the trucks and trailers," he said.
Edwards operates the third largest fleet of Goldhofer THP hydraulic platform trailers in the United States. With more than 200 lines of hydraulic trailers available, the company can arrange them in various configurations to achieve a variety of payload capacities. Edwards is one of only two firms in North America with a 110-ton Goldhofer Faktor 5 trailer, which has a payload capacity five times its tare weight. The Faktor 5 features a beam suspended over two sets of 20-axle hydraulic lift trailers that can be extended to a span of more than 150 feet, or to the length of nearly a football field. It can also be raised or lowered up to 5-1/2 feet.
Edwards also operates Aspen A250 and A500 dual lane trailers, which allow movement of loads across a non-suspension bridge on a divided highway or interstate using both travel lanes and bridge decks.
Edwards hauls several hundred loads varying in size and scope each year using a fleet of about 30 trucks. Before the company bought its first two C500s, Edwards used specialized trucks to haul the heavier loads, Watts said. While the specialized trucks had the necessary power, because of their width, they had to be hauled to the move, along with the trailers, and then picked up once the move was completed. In 2011, Edwards began buying Kenworth C500s after meeting with Duane McDaniel, branch manager of local Kenworth dealer Worldwide Equipment in Middlesboro, Kentucky, and engineers from Kenworth. Since 2014, Edwards Rigging and Moving has bought four more of the C500s.
"We have found Kenworth engineers and the Worldwide Equipment staff, led by Duane, to be quite knowledgeable about the heavy haul industry," Watts said. "They ask all the right questions to get to know the specific needs of our operations and offer expert advice in helping us choose the right specs to meet those needs."
Edwards newest C500s are equipped with 15-litre, 550-hp engines coupled with 7-speed Allison 4700RDS automatic transmissions, two-speed tandem rear axles, and tandem planetary hubs.
"The C500's automatic transmissions allow our drivers to synchronize shifting much more easily than if they were driving trucks with manual transmissions," said over-the-road equipment manager Kyle McAfee. "That's particularly important when we use several C500s to pull and push the load. Our drivers have greater control over the load. Since it's not lurching forward, we can eliminate potential damage to our trailers.
"Our drivers also value the quiet C500 cab; positioning of gauges, switches in the instrument panel as well as the location of the pusher, tag axle and planetary hub controls; and the cab's overall comfort," he added. "The support our company and drivers receive from Worldwide Equipment and the Kenworth dealer network is phenomenal.
"When it can take up to two years to plan, coordinate and obtain all of the necessary permits for a move like the gas turbine transport, it's important that we stay on schedule. In many instances, we have to meet certain timetables outlined in our permits. So, we need to rely on our equipment and equipment dealers. Kenworth and its dealer network certainly deliver with the C500 and continued dealer support after the sale," Watts said.