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How to safely remove air compressor from pallet

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2010-02-06          168431


I bought a new 60 gallon vertical air compressor that weighs 475 lbs. It's bolted to a pallet and it needs to be unbolted, hoisted up and then moved to the mounting location and dropped onto mounting studs.

But... I don't see a safe way to hoist it up and it doesn't have any apparent lift points. Just chaining it up to a hoist would bend various guards and lines. It looks like I could build a custom lift frame to do the job but it doesn't seem like that should be necessary. I sure don't want it toppling over.


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How to safely remove air compressor from pallet

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auerbach
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2168 West of Toronto
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2010-02-07          168438


A strap and/or rope tied fairly snug around it 3/4 of the way to its top, lifted by an FEL or backhoe? ....

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How to safely remove air compressor from pallet

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7141 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2010-02-07          168440


Ken, mine at work are mounted on (bolted to) a steel subframe, a pallet of sorts, it is made of 1/4" angle iron and has two pieces of rectangular tube beneath it for the forks of the lift truck to hoist into position where it is then bolted down by the angle iron.

At home my compressor sounds the same as yours, I left it on the skid but modified it a little. I added two 2"x4" boards down the middle to make 4 'beams' on the skid, then cut out the first couple of 'deck boards' in the center to give me increased clearance to get to the drain at the bottom. The whole skid is then bolted in place using long carriage bolts up on the mezzanine in my shop.

BTW, all my compressors get modified a little to receive two drain valves.

I toss the standard drain cock in the tool box and put a brass T-fitting in it's place. One end of the T gets an auto drain, when the system pressure drops to ~30 psi (weekends) it opens and blows off any accumulated water. This style has a hose barb and we run clear poly tube into a clear container so we can monitor the amount of water coming out.

The other end of the T gets a brass 'toggle drain' like you would find on a truck with air brakes. This has a spring-loaded center pin with a hole in it to receive a pull cord. Moving the pin in any direction causes it to open. The cord from it hangs down beneath the compressor and can be used to bleed off pressure, drain water, or just to check if there is water at all.

Best of luck. ....

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How to safely remove air compressor from pallet

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2010-02-07          168442


This compressor has a ball valve out the bottom side which makes it easy to manually drain but the automatic one sounds like a better way to go when working for an extended period.

Maybe the manufacturer (Quincy) will have some suggestions on hoisting it up. It's rather dumb that they don't have lifting eyes or at least holes for hooks or straps. ....

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How to safely remove air compressor from pallet

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
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2010-02-07          168445


I never took mine off the pallet it came on. Made it easy to move with a pallet hand truck when the junk behind it needed cleaned out, plus it was easy to load when I sold it.
Mine was an el cheapo TSC, when it got below about twenty degrees I left a heat bulb on the compressor or the motor didn't have enough torque to get it going and it would trip the breaker. Hope you bought a better one then the one I had. ....

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How to safely remove air compressor from pallet

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earthwrks
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3853 Home Office in Flat Rock, Michigan
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2010-02-07          168449


Quote:
Originally Posted by kwschumm | view 168442
This compressor has a ball valve out the bottom side which makes it easy to manually drain but the automatic one sounds like a better way to go when working for an extended period.Maybe the manufacturer (Quincy) will have some suggestions on hoisting it up. It's rather dumb that they don't have lifting eyes or at least holes for hooks or straps.


Maybe now's the time to weld on your own lifting eyes. My heavy (500 lb) walk behind concrete saw didn't come with an eye---of course it wasn't intended to be lifted via crane into a dump trailer either. But now I can load unload without help, nor ramps. ....

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How to safely remove air compressor from pallet

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2010-02-07          168450


Quote:
Originally Posted by earthwrks | view 168449
Maybe now's the time to weld on your own lifting eyes. My heavy (500 lb) walk behind concrete saw didn't come with an eye---of course it wasn't intended to be lifted via crane into a dump trailer either. But now I can load unload without help, nor ramps.


You might be right. I've had my eye on a Hobart 187 MIG welder for a few months now... ....

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How to safely remove air compressor from pallet

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earthwrks
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3853 Home Office in Flat Rock, Michigan
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2010-02-07          168453


No lifting eyes? No problem. Just bend a 3/8" rod into a U and weld the legs to the tank side. A few spare U bolts work great too--- just be sure to grind off the plating and try to not use and cut off the threaded portion. The threads make it weaker, and not so professional-looking. ....

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How to safely remove air compressor from pallet

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auerbach
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2168 West of Toronto
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2010-02-08          168461


I'll support the attachment of a lifting fixture by welding on (or bolting through) a pressure vessel only if it's not located within 20 miles of me. ....

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How to safely remove air compressor from pallet

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2010-02-08          168462


Yep, the idea of welding on the tank gives me the willies and I'm sure it would void any tank warranty.

The manufacturer, Quincy, emailed me a reply that said to just use a lifting strap (not chain) under the U-channel where the motor and compressor mount. It looked to me like that would put pressure on the finned lines from the compressor but I'll have another look tonight. ....

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How to safely remove air compressor from pallet

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earthwrks
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3853 Home Office in Flat Rock, Michigan
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2010-02-08          168465


Oh come on boys. It's done all the time welding to a tank. Look at a 300 gal propane tank---those lugs are like I described. Any good welder can do it. And it wouldn't explode anyway. At the very worst it would leak. My trailer tires take 111 psi, and they don't explode when I get a puncture. ....

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How to safely remove air compressor from pallet

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7141 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2010-02-08          168467


Aside from the possible problems with the HAZ (heat affected zone) or changing the metallurgy, especially if the weld is close to a seam or joint, it would likely void the warranty, the manufacturers liability if it ruptured, and your household insurance if something ever happened to the tank and caused damage or an injury.

Now, having said that, I've welded onto/into/through pressure vessels lots of times myself. However, I'm both a certified welder and an engineer qualified in 2 disciplines.

I would not recommend it for a novice, especially when there are so many better (IMHO) options.

Ken, if you're concerned about the sling and lines, you can make what's known as a 'tethered basket hitch' using slings. You need two slings minimum, 3 is better. The first sling, or two, goes around the compressor tank and then through it self to form a choker, the second (or third) goes from the loop forming the choker down under the bottom (and stuck there by the legs) and back up to the other side of the choker.

In a pinch (and for lighter loads like this) you can use rope to replace the lower sling.

Basically the bottom piece just acts to prevent the choker from sliding up the tank sides.

Best of luck. ....

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How to safely remove air compressor from pallet

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
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2010-02-08          168469


EW;
Next time you weld on an LP tank let us know in advance, you might be the first Michiganite in space all for the price of an LP tank and the rest of us could brag that we knew you. Maybe you should tell NASA before you strike the arc so they don't think you are just another UFO.
I don't know where he got his welding training if he ever had any, but I ask a local welder to weld some chain lugs on a 500 gal. LP tank once and he almost chased me out of the building. He's retired now and still living. ....

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How to safely remove air compressor from pallet

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7141 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2010-02-08          168471


Quote:
Originally Posted by earthwrks | view 168465
Maybe now's the time to weld on your own lifting eyes. My heavy (500 lb) walk behind concrete saw didn't come with an eye---of course it wasn't intended to be lifted via crane into a dump trailer either. But now I can load unload without help, nor ramps.
[QUOTE=earthwrks;168465] Oh come on boys. It's done all the time welding to a tank.

Any good welder can do it. And it wouldn't explode anyway. At the very worst it would leak. My trailer tires take 111 psi, and they don't explode when I get a puncture. [/QUOTE]

Aside from what I've already said, here's a few more points to ponder;

A new steel tank will undoubtedly have a film of oil on the inside to prevent rust since they can't paint the inside. The heat of welding will cause it to vapourize, if it reaches the critical temperature, it's combustion point, while it's within the stoiciometric ratio (a mixture of fuel and air that supports combustion)....... BOOM.

A rule of thumb in engineering is that 40 gallons of compressed air at 100 PSIG, stores the same energy as one stick of straight dynamite. Ken has a 60 gallon tank, 50% bigger. BOOM would be bad.

Now the really scary part. Just for 'giggles' I did a quick thumbnail calculation on what would happen if the compressor did fail.

I don't know if Ken stated how big his shop is, but for my calc. I used an 'average' sized shop that is 20' x 30' x 10' high, basically an over-sized 2 car garage. I also based my calc. on a 40 gallon tank (not 60 like Kens is) was at just 100 PSI, not 125 psi like most compressors use as a shut-off point. If all the doors and windows were closed and the tank suddenly failed, it would raise the interior pressure by 0.1 PSI.

Now 0.1 PSI doesn't sound like much, but on a 20' x 30' ceiling that equates to 8,640 pounds upward pressure. If it had no ceiling and a 6/12 pitch roof, it would be 11,500 pounds of upward force on the roof.

According to the Government 0.2 PSI pressure from a nuclear explosion would reduce a typical wood frame home to toothpicks.

Air pressure is very deceptive, it's amazing how much punch it packs. Just ask anybody who lives in tornado country.

Best of luck. ....

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How to safely remove air compressor from pallet

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2010-02-08          168472


Thanks for the tips Murf, I'll stop and pick up a few sling straps. Regarding tank welding, I just don't want to void the warranty but your numbers are eye opening. The garage is a good sized 3-car, maybe 40x20 and the compressor is rated at 175psi with the switch preset to 135 IIRC. Me no want go boom.
....

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____________________________________________________________________________________
How to safely remove air compressor from pallet

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7141 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2010-02-08          168473


Quote:
Originally Posted by kwschumm | view 168472
Me no want go boom.


Me thinks that's a wise idea!! LOL

BTW, with sling straps, there are always three ratings given to reflect the "SWL" (safe working load), they are for Vertical, Choker, and Basket. For what you are doing you will be using the "choker" figures. Don't worry too much about it though, a single Type 1, 2" sling is rated at 2,400 pounds as a choker, and that is ~1/7th the MBL (mean breaking load) so it would take 16,800 pounds to snap it.


Best of luck. ....

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How to safely remove air compressor from pallet

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 5219 South Carolina
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2010-02-08          168474


Ken, to me the danger is tipping but I left mine on the pallet as it is sitting on dirt under my shed.

Without looking at my unit it would seem you could run a strap under the mounted they welding onto the tank to lift it by and just being careful with placement of the straps be fine. If it will be against small tubing then could you not remove it? OK what does that do to warranty, well don't mar the fittings or be sure you remember they are marred from checking to be sure they are tight. If that still does not work you probably could run one or two pieces of metal that would be sufficient for the weight and clamp it so it can not move but also long enough to get the sling, ropes clear of the unit.

However the choker method Murf has mentioned should be fine just be sure your sling is set high enough there is not more weight above a pivot point than below it. It is tempting to say to prevent that just fill the tank with water to offset the compressor but that is not a good idea.

As with any such move you need a strong heavy helper to control the unit with being moved.

Hope this does not become of value to you or anyone else but came to my memory here. A few years back a developer had a large water tank some shot a hole through one side of it. His method to fix it was neat, drilled a hole in it and taped it and then plugged it. ....

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How to safely remove air compressor from pallet

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 5219 South Carolina
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2010-02-08          168475


Hey, don't be so hard on Jeffrey, he learned how to weld on filled tanks while doing work after Katrina. Think he said it was a blast.

Oh come on Jeff, give every body a hug. If you begin in Iowa it will be fine with me.


I have no doubts many many tanks of all kinds have been welding on and possibly worse that to date has not killed anyone. Yet as insurance agent fully agree with the liability issue if one were to. ....

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How to safely remove air compressor from pallet

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7141 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2010-02-08          168476


Quote:
Originally Posted by kthompson | view 168475
I have no doubts many many tanks of all kinds have been welding on and possibly worse that to date has not killed anyone.


I look at the same way as lottery tickets, my chances are really pretty slim, but you always hear about somebody's number coming up.

I just don't like the 'prize' when your number comes up in this one.

Best of luck. ....

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How to safely remove air compressor from pallet

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2010-02-13          168591


Thought I'd post back to close this thread out. It turned out to be no big deal. The cherry picker legs wouldn't go around the pallet and I didn't have a helper so I muscled the compressor off the pallet onto the floor by myself. Then a nylon lift strap through the "saddle" of the compressor allowed the picker to lift it right up. There is one path for the nylon strap to thread through the pipes so it put no pressure on the piping. Four concrete anchors and some rubber pads and she's good to go. Now to run the pipes, regulator, filters and wire it up. ....

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How to safely remove air compressor from pallet

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 5219 South Carolina
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2010-02-13          168593


Quote:
Originally Posted by kthompson | view 168475
I have no doubts many many tanks of all kinds have been welding on and possibly worse that to date has not killed anyone. Yet as insurance agent fully agree with the liability issue if one were to.



You know Murf, looking at this when you commented on it, I fully agree with your comment. Just because many get away with something dumb does not make it safe. ....

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