Schoellhorn-Albrecht designed, fabricated and delivered two custom cart and rail accommodation ladder systems for use by a Midwest refinery on the Illinois River. The custom ladder system was requested by the customer to provide a safe and efficient transfer from dock to barge.
Each ladder system was built around two W-shape beams for guide rails. These were mounted to the concrete foundation and overhung the dockside by about 4 to 5 feet. Forward and rear rail bumpers were provided as stops for the cart.
The cart assembly was installed between the rails, and the stair assembly was attached to the barge end of the cart assembly. The cart glides smoothly on the rails using high strength forged steel wheels. The ladder system could not have any electric or hydraulic components due to the explosive environment. Due to this, the operator uses two manual hand wheels to deploy and stow the ladder system. One hand wheel is used to move the ladder system along the rails; the second is used to apply a friction brake to prevent the ladder system from moving unintentionally.
The stair assembly section of the ladder system was fabricated with aggressive grip strut treads. These were chosen to provide the greatest amount of traction during the icy months of the year. To accommodate various barge deck levels, the stair system was built with a top and bottom platform positioned at the highest and lowest deck levels, respectively. Spring-loaded gates were provided at each platform, as well as intermediately on the stairs, which allows for dock workers to access the barge safely and easily no matter the deck elevation.
Schoellhorn-Albrecht has received positive feedback from the company’s project manager and dock workers, stating that the ladder system is straightforward, easy to use, and provides them with a safe way of accessing their work on a daily basis. Schoellhorn-Albrecht filled the dock-to-barge requirements by providing a safe access environment for workers, a more efficient method of moving onto the barges, a non-explosive system and a design that worked within the space limitations, all while staying within their customer’s budget.
Caption for photo: Ladder system provides safe and efficient transfer from dock to barge.