Terex Cranes Support Chicago's Revolution | Construction News


With revolution-themed brews like Anti-Hero IPA, Coup d’Etat, and Double Fist, Chicago’s Revolution Brewing is riding the wave of microbrew popularity.

Illinois’ largest and fastest growing craft brewery, producing more than 50,000 barrels in 2014, Revolution Brewery has set its sights on expanding the capacity of its N. Kedzie Ave. facility to eventually reach 300,000 barrels per year.

As part of its expansion, the brewery added a 120-barrel brewhouse and multiple 800-barrel fermenters, among other equipment. “The fermenters were 40 ft. long with a diameter of 14 ft.,” said T.J. Wicklander, crane and aerial lift sales representative 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 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 ft. 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 that location. “We would have had to take down power lines,” Wicklander adds, “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-lb. 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-ft.-wide by 13-ft.-tall door opening. That 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 – major accounts team – for Terex Cranes. Wicklander added, “The lift required a crane with just over 151.6 ft. of main boom and a total rigging weight of approximately 25,000 lbs. at a 58.5-ft. 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, 4-axle crane with a vehicle width of only 8.4 ft. Carrying 9,900 lbs. of counterweight and staying within a 26,500-lb. axle load, the crane is equipped with a 194.9-ft. telescoping boom and is capable of a maximum boom-and-jib length of 268 ft.

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 lbs. of counterweight for the heavy lifts. It took approximately 1.5 hours for the crane and counterweight to make the approximately 40-mi. 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,” mentions Wicklander. “We had approximately 30 ft. 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- x 13-ft. doorway and down the narrow 200-ft.-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,” said Wicklander. “This is why we hire only the best crane operators available.”

Quick Work

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- x 23.6-ft. outrigger footprint helped to work within the parking lot’s confined space, while still delivering the required lifting capacity.

After the last pick, the AC 100/4L crane was de-rigged and the process of carefully driving the crane down the 200-ft long, narrow passageway to N. Kedzie Ave. was completed. Both trips through the building were made without putting a scratch on the crane.

Had Central Contractors not been able to use the AC 100/4L all-terrain crane from the brewery’s back parking lot, the company would have used a larger crane working from the alternate concrete plant location. Wicklander explained that that would have added significantly more work, time, and expense.

“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.