Perkins STC moves massive fractionator

01 November 2018

Based in Northfield, MN, Perkins STC hauls huge, oversized loads throughout North America. But it’s always special when the company gets to take pride in moving something from its home state within its home state.


Perkins STC hauled the fractionator over the 545-foot-long Hastings Bridge in St. Paul, MN.

Such was the case back in September when the Perkins team moved a huge fractionator that was built in Minnesota by a company owned by a Minnesota family and hauled to a Minnesota refinery. Perkins’ Minnesota team coordinated the work of many supporting entities, including the Minnesota DOT, Minnesota Highway Patrol, state utility personnel and even Minnesota crane company Vic’s Crane & Heavy Haul.

Hauling the fractionator involved two night moves and 15 hours of travel time over a 105-mile route that included county, city and state roadways.

The most challenging part of the project was planning the move of such a large piece of equipment. The fractionator itself weighed 357,000 pounds and measured 142 feet 7 inches wide by 20 feet 7 inches tall.

The Perkins team engineered a transport system that involved 16-dual lane loading axles (eight tires per axle) set at 16 feet wide. A push and pull truck were required due to the weight of the cargo. Planning ahead, the Perkins team brought a spare push truck in case it was needed for extra power.


Installed at a Minnesota oil refinery, the loaded out fractionator measured 215 feet, 7 inches long, 21 feet wide, 24 feet 10 inches tall and weighed a whopping 670,000 pounds.

Back up push truck

The pull truck was a Kenworth C500 and the push truck and spare push truck were both Mack Titans with automatic transmissions with planetary rear ends.

Loaded out, the fractionator measured 215 feet 7 inches long, 21 feet wide, 24 feet 10 inches tall and weighed a whopping 670,000 pounds.

With the push and pull truck, Perkins’ escorts, the Minnesota Highway Patrol and the bucket trucks, there were 16 vehicles in the convoy.

While bucket truck teams ahead of the load were lifting, lowering and removing overhead power lines and other obstructions, other teams were behind the load, putting wires, signs and signals back into place.

In total 18 bucket-type trucks were required to remove and replace obstructions. Several were used to turn or remove overhead stop lights while others removed signs for cornering. One bucket truck was used just for tree trimming. The route was full of obstructions including trees, electric lines, television cable lines and phone lines.

The shipper/fabricator moved the vessel outside of its shop to load it onto Perkins tranport system using its yard crawler cranes.

Bridge crossing

The first night the Perkins team travelled 73 miles, departing at 8 p.m. and parking for the day at about 4 a.m. The second night the team departed at 8 p.m. and arrived at the refinery by 3 a.m.

Vic’s Crane offloaded the vessel with 350-ton and 550-ton all terrain cranes. The vessel was staged on pipe stands to be dressed out and later lifted into place using a 660-ton crawler crane with a 300-ton crane tailing it to vertical.

The project was completed on time, safely, legally and uneventfully. A division of TJ Potter Trucking, Perkins STC got its start 50 years ago hauling oil. Today Perkins hauls huge refinery equipment and many other specialized loads.


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