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  • Last modified 9 days ago (Sept. 13, 2018)

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Moving on down the road

Staff writer

A strange-looking and oversized piece of equipment parked on a roundabout bypass at US-56 and US-77 Monday evening might have appeared headed north to Diamond Vista wind farm, but actually was on its way to McPherson.

The 12.6-foot-diameter tube-like fractionation tower headed to CHS Refinery was long enough it was transported on two trailers, one with 48 tires and the other with 68. Weighing 185 tons, it was pulled by one tractor and pushed by another as it traveled 40 miles per hour down the highway.

The two trailers are 18 feet wide by 195 feet long. The tractors to pull and push the trailers bring the total vehicle length to 260 feet.

It was made by Sauder Custom Fabrication in Emporia.

“We make maybe a couple of these in a year, given the amount of man-hours,” said company vice president Carl Morgan.

Sauder, in Emporia since 1956, specializes in refinery equipment, Morgan said.

The tower’s trip through Emporia took four hours, Morgan said.

The transport vehicles and tower were parked for the night on a bypass for oversized vehicles that cannot maneuver through the roundabout.

A CHS employee who declined to provide his name said the tower is used to separate crude oil into components that will be used to make diesel fuel, gasoline, and other petroleum products.

Marion resident Dylan Carpenter, a welder for Sauder Fabrication in Emporia, said the vessel is the largest he has worked on in his two years with the company. He welded the nozzles and heads of the equipment.

The trip from Emporia to McPherson had been estimated at eight hours, but Marion is as far as the drivers made it Monday, Carpenter said.

Traffic lights and utility lines in Emporia had to be cleared from the vessel’s path and drivers had to go around some bridges along the way, he said.

Coincidentally, his brother, Levi Carpenter, works for a CHS subcontractor and worked on the oily water sewer system for the vessel.

It arrived in McPherson at noon Tuesday, the refinery employee said.

“We will probably have it in place and erect in a couple of weeks,” the refinery employee said. “We do not figure to have it in service until around the first of May.”

Last modified Sept. 13, 2018

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