By: Seth Skydel
An exclusive series illustrates the highly effective and innovative ways cranes are being used across many industries and vocations.
Knuckle Boom Cranes
Someone who knows firsthand about the versatility of knuckle boom cranes is Pinchas Leitner, the owner and operator of Lifting Solutions. The Brooklyn, New York-based provider of knuckle boom services specializes in serving general, HVAC and window contractors, interior decorators, designers, architects and homeowners, and large appliance and heavy manufacturing equipment delivery companies in New York City, northern New Jersey, Long Island, and in nearby Westchester County.
“Knuckle booms are the perfect machine when you’re in a tight spot,” Leitner said. “Other types of cranes often require long setups and street closures. With these cranes we can work next to a wall or short rig on the non-working side because of their designed-in stability. Combined with our staff that has extensive background with cranes, rigging and mechanical experience, we can handle routine and difficult jobs every day.”
Lifting Solutions, in fact, has earned a reputation for handling unique jobs with its knuckle boom units. For example, it has lifted large items like safes, artwork, countertops, and high-end furniture through upper-floor windows in New York City. Other uses of its cranes have included hoisting landscaping materials to roof top gardens and even an air conditioned doghouse. Last year, the company was contracted to put a large sculpture that had been loaned to a museum by the Vatican in a city plaza.
The fleet of truck-mounted knuckle boom cranes at Lifting Solutions is supplied by three manufacturers, including Effer, Palfinger and Fassi. The units, which range in capacity from 33 tm to 265 tm, are mounted on Kenworth and Western Star chassis. The trucks, powered by 500- and 565-HP engines and driven by Allison automatic transmissions, feature twin steer systems and steerable tag axles at the rear for maneuverability, tri-drive axles for carrying capacity and Simard suspensions.
Rough Terrain Cranes
W.O. Grubb Crane Rental, a Richmond, Virginia-based company with 11 locations throughout Virginia, Maryland, and North Carolina and Pennsylvania, operates a variety of rough terrain cranes, including its latest additions of Grove GRT8120 and GRT9165 models.
“We had a project where the customer needed a crane to set bridge segments on a bridge-tunnel expansion project,” said Doug Adkins, director of fleet operations. “Initially, they preferred a crawler crane, but we realized the tracks did not provide the flexibility needed to walk between the existing bridge segments or to cross sections of roadway.”
For that job, which had a safety threshold that required working within 75% of the chart, W.O. Grubb determined that the GRT9165 had about 15% better capacity in the range that was needed than the next best alternative.
“It was the only rough terrain model that could make the pick,” Adkins stated. “In addition to more stringent safety factors written into project specs, bridge components are getting bigger. Materials are being produced as modular units because it’s more cost effective, which requires larger capacity cranes to set them in place.”
All Terrain Cranes
Jeremy Lichtenberger, who serves as a crane inspector, rigger and load test supervisor with California-based Doc Bailey Cranes in its Hawaii and Pacific islands operation, reported how the company’s Link-Belt 175|AT is being used in a number of ways. Included are lifting large boats at shipyards and water rigs for movie sets, placing HVAC units on buildings, and loading and unloading ships for the military.
“One of the most stressful lifts we’re doing with the Link-Belt 175|AT is to move protected trees,” Lichtenberger related. “There are indigenous trees in Hawaii that have to be carefully placed on trailers at development sites and put back in the ground elsewhere without letting the rigging damage the tree.
“This crane has the portability and drivability, and the outriggers for tight job sites,” Lichtenberger added. “The ability to have flexibility at any configuration and still get a load chart is irreplaceable.”
Seth Skydel is an editor, writer and subject matter expert with more than 38 years of experience covering commercial asset management subjects in the trucking, transportation, logistics, utility, construction and related markets.