ASHTABULA — After weeks of taking apart the giant stacker-reclaimer so it can travel by barge from the Ashtabula Harbor to Mobile, Alabama, the work is almost done.

The Alabama State Port Authority bought the Krupp Stacker Reclaimer at the Ashtabula Dock Company for its McDuffie Coal Terminal in Mobile.

Capp Steel in Ashtabula was in charge of preparing the massive machine for shipment.

Capp worked with Broad Street Electrical Contractors of Ashtabula, Richmond Engineering of Pittsburgh and PSC Crane and Rigging of Columbus, to complete the project, said Andy Kaschalk, project manager for Capp Steel.

“All the companies had an equal part and worked together to make it happen,” he said. “Every company knew what they had to do, and did it.”

The barge leaves in a few days, he said.

A stacker is a large machine used in bulk material handling. Its function is to pile bulk material such as limestone, ores and cereals on to a stockpile. A reclaimer can be used to recover the material. In Ashtabula, it was used to move coal.

“McDuffie Coal Terminal is capable of loading and unloading just about any form of transport,” said Daniel Gill, docks maintenance superintendent. “It’s a 550-acre terminal with about 16 miles of conveyor belt, two ship loaders, three ship unloaders, two barge unloaders, two bi-wing stackers, two rail car dumpers [one tandem and the other a single car dump], five stacker reclaimers, as well as a rail car loading station.”

The Krupp machine was built around 1991-1992, according to the manual. The machine weighs about 950 tons, and measures from the top of  the rail to the top of the machine at 93-feet. If the boom is raised 16 degrees it is 99 feet high. The overall length is 334 feet, according to the manual.

Its specification for operation is reclaiming coal at 5,000 tons per hour and stacking 3,000 tons per hour.

It was originally purchased by the Consolidated Rail Corporation in 1991 or 1992, Gill said.

Ron Capitena, owner of Capp Steel, said he was impressed by how well the four companies worked together on the project.

“It went pretty smooth,” he said. “I try to use the same people as long as they work out.”

Kaschalk said Richmond Engineering did all of the engineering work.

“They were the brains behind the labor,” he said. 

The stacker-reclaimer was disassembled into six large pieces and placed on the barge. As of Thursday, one more piece had to be lifted onto the barge, Kaschalk said.

The journey from Ashtabula to Mobile will cost $8 million and will take the stacker-reclaimer on an ocean-going barge through the St. Lawrence Seaway and then on 12 over-the-road trucks. The smaller parts will travel on another seven or eight over-the-road trucks.

It should take about 30 days for the barge to get to McDuffie and the trucks will begin unloading the barge in the following weeks.

Come January, Kaschalk hopes Capp Steel gets the reconstruction job in Alabama. 

“Right now, our main focus is on the barge,” he said. “Next year we hope to start working on it at the port.”


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