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Moving Two Grain Dryers – Unique Relocation Project Takes Us To Hinton, Iowa

The unique moving project takes DeVooght to Hinton, Iowa

In early July 2016, Tom Hummel of Hummel House Moving, Jefferson, South Dakota, was contacted by McCormick Construction about the possibility of moving two Brock Grain Dryers located in Hinton, Iowa. Tom got Jason DeVooght of DeVooght House & Building Movers of NJ, LLC, and they agreed that it would be a joint venture if they won the job.

An onsite meeting was scheduled for the bidding companies. Jason flew to Iowa from Newark, New Jersey, and met Tom on-site. Also attending was Orville Vant Hull from Berghorst & Son, Inc, of Hull, Iowa.

Looking at the dryers was a little overwhelming, to say the least, as the height of these dryers were 112 feet and 100 feet, with a width of just 18 feet each. Therefore, the dryers would need to be moved about 200 feet … not a great distance, but in terms of the scope of the job and the timeframe, it might as well have been a 2-mile move!

DeVooght had moved a similar corn dryer about six years earlier, though that dryer was shorter and broader than these two dryers. And, for this job, McCormick Construction needed these dryers moved and fully operational by September 1, 2016 … in time for the fall harvest season.

After being on-site, we concluded that moving these dryers would be no problem.

Upon returning to New Jersey, our team finalized the project bid and sent it off to McCormick.  We were thrilled to learn a few weeks later that we secured the job, though based on their target dates, we also knew that we would have just over two weeks for planning, equipment delivery, and completion, as the target move date was set for August 8, 2016.

We would use our Buckingham power dollies to lift and move the structure.

With the target move date established, DeVooght began loading trailers of equipment for delivery to Iowa. The first load came out of our Wisconsin equipment yard, and two additional shipments were delivered from our Brick, New Jersey equipment yard. In addition to setting up the rental equipment on-site, Hummel also provided blocking and equipment from South Dakota.

Zach Vogel, DeVooght’s significant projects team leader and part of his New Jersey team, got on the road bound for the Midwest after they finished loading the last piece of equipment. They had a long drive ahead of them, but they ran on adrenaline and anticipation of beginning this exciting project.

Tom Hummel and David DeVooght arrived in Hinton on August 3 and began to execute the plan, unloading all the equipment and setting up the site. They would start the following day with prep work.

Jason had planned the job using design software, and Tom, David, and Zach reviewed the drawings on-site, adjusting as needed. The first step was to build up crib piles on the driveway side with a four-foot difference in elevation.

Two Holland coaster dollies and two Buckingham Smart-Steer power dollies were set up. Two 35-foot 8×16 duplexes @ 80 lbs./foot Rocker Beams were placed on top of the dollies. Two 10×20 duplex @ 176 lbs./foot Main Beams were placed and then cross beams were placed; eight 30-foot 10×10 @ 60 lbs./foot, and four 35-foot 10×10@60 lbs./foot.

Two 35-foot 10×10 @ 88 lbs./foot Strong Backs were placed on top of these to hold it all together.

Finally, a row of four to eight-foot 6×6 20 lbs./foot Needle Beams were placed with 20 of the angle brackets placed on top. Each bracket was then drilled and fastened to the first structure’s 12 support legs. The steel was all set to a level so it could be monitored during the move. Inside the lower interior of the dryer, two 17.4-foot 6×6 @20 lbs./foot were drilled in and bolted, creating a middle x-brace of the dryer legs. All the steel was clamped tight using a combination of Buckingham, Armstrong, and Tom’s custom-cut clamps.

While the steel was being placed, Tom graded the site with a Bobcat S-750. The site on which the dryers would move needed to be the same level before we laid out a semi-load of 5/16” 8-foot-by-10-foot steel plates that would become a “designer” roadway for the dryers to move across. Tom made sure the grading was perfect to match up with the new foundation seamlessly.

The dryer was tied down with 36 brackets bolted to the dryer, 24 of which needed to be built and painted overnight by Tom and his sons Devin and Tony Hummel. The tie-down brackets were placed with a Genie S-40 with a telescoping boom. Once all the brackets were in place, the chains were tightened. Overall, 100 chains held the dryer down.

The Buckingham 173 diesel-powered power unit was placed on top of the support structure, and all the hoses were connected to the four dollies. This unit powered all lifting, steering, and driving via wireless remote.

The equipment was completely set for the first dryer at the end of the day on Saturday, August 6. The team made a few adjustments on Sunday and waited for the 11 am Monday morning move time. This time was pre-set, as the railroad company needed to be on-site to monitor our work due to the proximity of the corn dryers to the on-site railroad system.

Monday, August 8, arrived, and the structure and site were inspected. First, David tightened up the dollies using the wireless remote control unit. Next, the dryer legs were unbolted. The dryer was then lifted in a three-zone configuration with the remote. After the structure was lifted four inches, all the bolts were cut off. Finally, BNSF Railway gave us the go-ahead, and we were ready to go!

We inched the dryer forward slowly on the steel plate road Tom had built towards the new concrete pad. McCormick marked the location of the dryer legs on the concrete pad. We drove and steered using the remote and placed the towering structure perfectly on the marks. Next, we lowered and leveled the frame onto the pad using the hydraulics in the dollies. Once the dryer was leveled, the McCormick team started drilling holes to fasten the dryer to the concrete pad.

At the end of the day, after the fastening was done, we released the pressure and removed the chains … the dryer was now resting safely and securely at her new home just 200 feet or so from its original location.

The following day, August 9, we returned to the site and began pulling the steel out and removing equipment. The second dryer was scheduled to move in less than 72 hours; plenty of time to start the process all over again … or so we thought.

At around 2 pm that day, we received a weather report indicating that severe storms were coming on the very day the second move was scheduled. The team talked it over and agreed that we would do whatever it took to get the dryer moved before the impending storm, which had the threat of high winds … not what we needed to get this 100-foot tower to its new location. Our goal was to prep the second corn dryer a little over a day and moved it on August 10.

We put the team into high gear… it was a sight to see. Tom stayed on the skid steer leveling the path, just as he did with the first dryer, and we finished the steel roadway in record time.

Around 9 pm, August 9, all the holes were drilled, and the dryer was just about ready to go. However, the expedited move would hinge on BNSF Railway to adjust their schedule by a day sooner than initially planned. So we all went back to our hotel that night, praying to move the next day.

The following day BNFS Railway agreed to move up the time. So we powered the dollies up and started moving! This dryer moved out 40 feet. The dollies were then turned, and we headed toward the new concrete pad.

This was indeed a fantastic sight to see, being a part of moving a structure so tall.

We steered dryer two into place. McCormick signed off on the positioning of the structure on the pad, and we released the pressure, removed the chains, and turned it over to McCormick to bolt down the structure.

The site was cleaned up. Trailers were loaded up, and we began the journey home.

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