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Steel cutter heads weighing 6 tons move overseas by air
Have you ever seen a Peacock fly? “Peacock Rock Cutter,” that is.
Florida Machine & Foundry Co. was requested by their customer, Marwell Caribe, to fly a Peacock Rock Cutter to Christiansted, St. Croix, Virgin Islands for use on a dredge.
This Rock Cutter weighs approximately 13,500 pounds and is a little over six feet in diameter and seven feet high. It was mounted on a 7 ft. square wood base to distribute the weight evenly on the plane floor.
It was taken, along with the shaft that it screws on, by a special Ploof Transfer truck. This shaft weighed approximately 5,000 pounds.
Pan American Airways handled it in such routine fashion you would think they do this every day. They do. They handle over two million pounds of air freight per month from Miami.
The shaft was loaded first, then 7,000 pounds of additional freight, then the Cutter was placed. The whole loading took less than two hours. All pieces were secured to the plane to withstand 10,000 pounds thrust. This is done by means of cables to the fuselage.
Marwell Caribe is dredging an entrance channel through a coral reef to the island, then a channel, docking area and turning basin in the island. A large refining plant is being built by Harvey Aluminum Co., of Torrance, California, for the refining of bauxite alumina. The bauxite will be brought by ship to St. Croix, then processed, reloaded and brought to the United States for refining into aluminum pigs.
Cost of air freight for the cutter head was right at $2,200. Total air freight for the cutter head and shaft was approximately $3,000.
With shipment by surface vessel, the cost of shipping the cutter head would have been $350, but down time on the dredge would have exceeded the cost of the additional shipment by air.
Florida Machine and Foundry has supplied another Peacock cutter head to Marwell Caribe at Saint Croix since the air shipment out of Miami.
Florida Machine and Foundry is one of the largest manufacturers of dredge cutter heads anywhere in the world and supplied the essential cutting tool to many of the dredge builders on a world-wide basis.
On May 21, the company shipped the cutter heads from Jacksonville on the Independent Gulf Fine ship Hilversum.
One of these was a 13,500 pound cutter head similar to the one shipped to Saint Croix. It will be transshipped at Rotterdam to Iraq.
Two cutter heads weighing 17,000 lb. each will be used at Rotterdam for dredging and construction work in Holland. It is understood that both of these will be used for construction in the new Europort project there.
Peacock, and his father and brother at the Florida Machine & Foundry, are acknowledged experts on dredging conditions throughout the world. In their office they maintain a “rogues gallery” of rock which is found in various harbors throughout the world. They know from experience the conditions which a dredge contractor will encounter and frequently advise the contractor on the type equipment to use and of course, the quantity of cutter head teeth which will be required to chip and remove the rock material.