In 2005, Midwestern commenced the development of its new big inch hydraulic sideboom, utilising over 50 years experience in design and manufacture of smaller size sideboom attachments. Earlier this year, Midwestern completed the design, installed the attachments on three D9H tractors purchased by Midwestern and, with the assistance of two major US pipeline contractors, field tested this big pipe laying machine. The result of this long engineering process resulted in the availability of big inch pipe laying machines that have been field tested and have performed at or above industry standards with a maximum lift of 200,000 lbs (90,720 kg) and a maximum working load of 117,600 lb (63,343 kg).
Midwestern’s design process included consideration of all factors to produce a pipelaying machine that would match up as close as possible to the overall operation of a purpose-built pipelayer of equivalent size. Close scrutiny was given to modifications to the D9H tractor platform body itself, not just to the sideboom, counter weights and draw works. The new Midwestern M594C includes hydraulic pilot controls, an upgraded hydraulic system with load-sense pressure compensated piston pump, an off-set 35 inch track shoes (9,240 square inches of ground contact area), a gross machine weight of 128,300lbs, a good weight to HP ratio, and a 132 inch track length. Modifications were also made to the D9H case and frame by the addition of rear “˜track to frame’ supports, a stiff bar and the addition of fish plates to strengthen the sideboom mounting structure. Winches are planetary with two-speed high efficiency piston motor and dual brake system. The load winch has free fall function. The result of this process is a comparable machine with high performance for the big inch pipeline construction industry.
Since the 1950s, when Midwestern first introduced the world’s first hydraulic operated sideboom attachment for small tractors (“˜Baby Boomers’) the company has continuously designed, engineered, manufactured and tested new and ever larger sideboom attachments for the worldwide pipeline construction industry. In 2006, it introduced its then new sideboom attachment for a D8N and D8R Caterpillar tractor and later that year its new sideboom attachments for a John Deere 750J and 850J. These units have been tested and accepted as an alternative to a purpose built pipelayer.
The new M594C attachment at 200,000 lbs is the largest ever produced by Midwestern in its 50 year history. The use of older/used crawler tractors for conversion into pipelayers by retrofitting with a Midwestern sideboom is a cost effective, environmentally responsible alternative for the pipeline construction industry and to Midwestern’s many customers. This conversion process contributes to material re-use and resource efficiency. In essence it represents advance recycling and cost effective salvage that supports the sustainability goals of the pipeline construction and equipment industry.