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Economic and dam related articles

K&N Wins $8 Million Job Rehabilitating Dam Cranes

by Mike McLean
Spokane Journal of Business, November 21, 2012

Industrial contractor to upgrade equipment at two Snake River sites

Little Goose Dam, one of the supposed culprits contributing to the decline of Steelhead and Salmon in the Snake River. K&N Electric Motors Inc., of Spokane Valley, doing business as K&N Industrial Equipment, has landed an $8 million contract through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to upgrade heavy equipment on two Snake River dams, says Janet Schmidlkofer, the company's CEO.

In a two-year project, K&N will rehabilitate bridge cranes on Lower Granite and Little Goose dams, Schmidlkofer says.

Lower Granite Dam is about 80 miles south of Spokane and about 60 miles downriver from the inland seaport of Lewiston, Idaho. Little Goose Dam is farther west, about 50 miles downstream from Lower Granite.

The bridge cranes, which are rated to hoist objects weighing up to 600 tons, are used to move massive hydroelectric turbines for maintenance and repair, Schmidlkofer says.

Lower Granite and Little Goose dams each have one crane with an overhead bridge that travels along two parallel rails. The hoisting mechanism moves along the bridge perpendicular to the supporting rails.

Each crane is controlled by an operator in a cab that's mounted on the bridge, Schmidlkofer says.

"We'll remove the cab and all electronic features, control panels, motors, and brakes," she says. "Then we'll redesign, manufacture, and install them."

A sister company, Industrial Support Service LLC, of Deer Park, will perform the steelwork on the project. Intermountain Electric, of Spokane Valley, which also is a K&N affiliate, will install electrical connections, she says.

The contract calls for work to be completed by fall 2015, she says.

K&N has performed such rehabilitation work on a similarly sized bridge crane at Lower Monumental Dam, another Snake River facility, about 35 miles downriver from Little Goose Dam, Schmidlkofer says.

The company, which is more than 50 years old, was "born to work on electric motors" and provides service and replacement parts and components to repair and upgrade electric motors, pumps, and control equipment, Schmidlkofer says.

K&N has been redesigning and manufacturing components for heavy equipment for more than 20 years, she says, adding that the company's crane division has specialized in rehabilitating cranes since 1991.

"We've been on just about every dam in the Pacific Northwest over the last 20 years," Schmidlkofer says.

Mike McLean
K&N Wins $8 Million Job Rehabilitating Dam Cranes
Spokane Journal of Business, November 21, 2012

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