With revolution-themed brews like Anti-Hero IPA, Coup D’ETAT and Double Fist, Chicago’s own Revolution Brewing is riding the wave of craft beer’s popularity resurgence. Illinois’ largest and fastest growing craft brewery, crafting over 50,000 barrels (bbls) in 2014, Revolution has set its sights on significant capacity expansion at its N Kedzie Avenue facility, eventually boosting plant capacity to 300,000 barrels per year.
As part of its expansion efforts, the brewery added a 120-bbl brewhouse and multiple 800-bbl fermenters, among other equipment.
“The fermenters were 40-ft long with a diameter of 14 feet,” said crane and aerial lift sales representative TJ Wicklander, for Central Contractors Service Inc., Chicago, Ill., a division of the ALL Family of Companies. “With a 70-ft-long parking lot as a work space, this does not leave much room for our crane equipment.”
The Kedzie facility is located in Chicago’s Northwest Avondale neighborhood, so space around the building was at a premium. From the street entrance to the concrete business behind the building to the storage facilities flanking both sides of the business, space was extremely tight for positioning the tanks. It was a major challenge just to find the right crane capacity and the space to make the fermenter picks.
“To one side of the building, ground elevation was about 20-feet higher than where the expansion lifts took place,” said Wicklander. “There were fences and power lines surrounding the property and not much room to work.”
The concrete plant site, behind Revolution Brewery, was considered as an option, but there were serious and expensive drawbacks to this location.
“We would have had to take down power lines,” Wicklander added, “which would stop the brewery’s production for one to two days, and we would have had to mobilize a 600-ton crane to work at the extended radius to position the 24,000-pound tanks.”
The only way to get to the back of the brewery was to drive straight through the building. And the only way for that to happen was to select a crane that was compact enough to fit through the narrow 9-foot-wide by 13-foot-tall door opening. This meant there was only one option for Central Contractors: the Terex AC 100/4L all terrain crane.
Terex tunnel vision
“Only the AC 100/4L could physically drive through the building, due to its compact size, and still offer Central Contractors enough capacity to make all the necessary lifts,” explained Dave Kuhlman, senior sales manager of the Major Accounts Team for Terex Cranes. Wicklander added: “The lift required a crane with just over 151.6 feet of main boom and a total rigging weight of approximately 25,000 pounds at a 58.5-foot radius. We could have brought in a 70-ton class crane to fit through the building, but it would not have offered enough capacity for the lift.”
The AC 100/4L all terrain crane is the only 120-ton capacity class, four-axle crane with a vehicle width of only 8.4 feet. Carrying 9,900 pounds of counterweight and staying within a 26,500-pound axle load, the crane is equipped with a 194.9-foot main telescoping boom and is capable of a maximum system length of 268 feet.
Mobilizing the crane for the two-day job required only the crane operator and a truck driver to transport two loads of counterweight. Crews equipped the crane with its full 57,000 pounds of counterweight for the heavy lifts. It took approximately 1.5 hours for the crane and counterweight to make the approximately 40-mile trip from Central Contractors’ downtown yard to Revolution Brewery’s N Kedzie Ave. facility, which is standard for navigating busy Chicago streets.
“With the travel restrictions we have in Chicago, traffic is always a factor,” said Wicklander.
Once on site, the operator took advantage of the crane’s all-wheel steering to position it for entering the tunnel.
“It had to be a straight-on shot to make it through the narrow doorway,” mentioned Wicklander. “We had approximately 30 feet of road in front of the building to get the crane into position.”
Central Contractors’ skilled crane operator carefully drove the AC 100/4L crane through the 9- by 13-foot doorway and down the narrow 200-foot long tunnel to get to the back of the building. The crane’s suspension was lowered and the side mirrors were drawn in, so it could slip through the passage.
“He literally had only inches to spare on the sides and at the top of the crane,” commented Wicklander. “This is why we hire only the best crane operators available.”
Once exiting the tunnel into the back parking lot of the building, the AC 100/4L crane was quickly prepped for the lifts. A crew consisting of the crane operator, oiler, truck driver and four workers from the construction contractor, Corcoran Fabrication, had the crane rigged and ready for lifting in just over an hour.
In less than two days, Central Contractors lifted and positioned four 800-barrel fermenters and one each silo, chiller and carbon dioxide tank, along with supporting structures. The crane’s compact 26.7- by 23.6-foot outrigger footprint helped to work within the parking lot’s confined space, while still delivering the required lift capacity.
After the last pick, the AC 100/4L crane was derigged and the process of carefully driving the crane down the 200-foot long, narrow passageway to N Kedzie Ave was repeated. Both trips through the building were made without putting a scratch on the crane’s body. Had Central Contractors not been able to use the AC 100/4L all terrain crane from the brewery’s back parking lot, the alternate concrete plant location would have been used. Wicklander explained that this would have added significantly more work, time and expense to the project.
“Not bringing in the 600-ton capacity crane to lift the tanks from the other lot, saved us and the customer a minimum of $11,000 in trucking costs alone, not to mention the expense associated with taking down the power lines and the lost production for the brewery,” he said.
By using the Terex AC 100/4L crane, Central Contractors supported the Revolution and helped to cost-effectively fulfill the brewery’s vision of significant expansion to grow its brand.
President of Z-COMM, Rick Zettler is a writer, photographer and PR and marketing consultant for the construction, material handling, mining and road building industries.