Author Archives: John Lukow

Using Synthetic Rope for Your Crane – Custom Truck

A customer inquired about using synthetic rope on our 80-160 Crossover Crane. Custom Truck One Source has experience with synthetic ropes on our insulated and utility aerial products, but we had not installed synthetic ropes on lifting cranes before. However, recognizing this would be a good option for other customers, we decided to explore it further. 

An internet search (don’t we all start there now) turned up a few potential vendor partners. This particular customer decided that synthetic rope was the best option for their needs. However, You should research carefully if you plan to replace the wire rope on your crane with synthetic, and always follow the manufacturers’ requirements for breaking strength, size, etc.  A Load King crane that is purchased with synthetic rope will have full warranty coverage.  Approval is required to continue warranty coverage for a crane retrofitted with synthetic rope. 

Synthetic rope is significant because it is lighter than wire rope, is more corrosion-resistant, and is easier to handle

Our team at Custom Truck also liked the idea that hand injuries could be reduced by contacting broken wires.  In addition, common wire rope issues like kinking and bird-nesting are eliminated. We found the rope did dive occasionally when reaving, but once reversed, we found no damage. 

After some brief discussions with the vendors identified, we chose one to prototype a solution.  The standard wire rope on our crane is 600 feet of 3/4” rotation resistant with a minimum breaking strength of 80,000 lbs. for a single line pull of 16,000 lbs. (with the required 5 to 1 safety factor).  That led us to try a 7/8” rope with a solid core and a breaking strength of 84,000 lbs. 

We wanted to try to keep our single line pull the same and we were concerned about the other rope’s ability to spool properly on the drum.  While this rope was larger than our standard, we thought that there would be no problem with abrasion in our sheaves and guides.  The rope also provides torque-neutral construction. 

We ordered a couple of sets of the rope and tested one of our prototype machines (it’s good to be an OEM) to work with it. We set up a variety of configurations on the main boom with up to eight parts of the line.  We also set up the bi-fold jib including offsets and did a variety of lifts.  We had no issues with binding or abrasion in our tests. Even with a lighter rope, we used the same downhaul weights and blocks with no issues. An interesting benefit that we noticed was that since the rope didn’t need lubrication, the reaving changes were significantly cleaner. 

 

Picture attributed by Samson Rope.

Here are some things to consider. 

The Winch drum attachment must be reviewed to make sure there are no sharp edges that can cut the rope.  This holds true for the entire path of the rope.  The synthetic rope is less forgiving with sharp edges.  If you are retrofitting a crane, you may need to replace sheaves, guides, etc. that have the potential to damage the rope.  Long-term exposure to UV, heat, and chemicals can have a negative effect on the synthetic rope.  Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for inspection, repair, and replacement. 

Some care needs to be taken around the bend radius.  We found that some of our tackle would violate the manufactures recommendations for minimum radius and bits and chocks were not all at the minimum ratio to rope diameter.  Thoroughly inspect all tackle with the machine prior to considering the transition to synthetic rope. 

Care is also required when reviewing the sheaves in the reaving system.  V-groove sheaves were to be avoided according to this manufacturer, and they had minimum recommendations for sheave and groove diameter.  In our case, the standard sheaves were able to be used. 

When speaking with customers, we heard about issues with synthetic ropes being damaged by the Anti-Two-Block (ATB) weight vibrating while on the road.  As a precaution, we added a storage bracket to the boom head for the ATB weight to make it easy to remove and store for transport. 

The last hurdle for us was the minimum number of wraps on the drum.  We have a standard third-wrap indicator on our crossovers; however, the manufacturer was recommending a minimum of ten wraps.  We overcame the situation together with our winch and control system providers. 

Following our testing and evaluation we decided to go with 3/4″ synthetic rope and reduce the line pull on the machine.  The trade-off is a rope and reaving system that better complies with the winch and rope manufacturers’ recommendations and should provide customers with a satisfactory experience. 

A new crane purchased with synthetic rope would come equipped with the LMI configured for the lower line pull.  In the case of a retrofitted machine, a new set of reaving diagrams, hex files, and control system updates can be provided. 

After this successful test, we feel confident in offering a synthetic rope option for any of our Load King Cranes. 

Please contact your salesperson if you would like to know more. 

 

Pictures attributed by Samson Rope.

Evolution of Crane Control

Without the existence of cranes, most of our world as we know it would not be the way that it is. Cranes can be used on any construction site and have the strength to lift heavy-weighted materials such as concrete slabs, pipes, grains, steel, and much more. 

Cranes were first used as irrigation tools, In ancient Egypt, back in 3000 BCE. During the 6th century, the Greeks made the first record of using cranes and changed them by adding pulleys. Fast forward to 1838, when William Armstrong invented the world’s first hydraulic crane.

Armstrong’s crane was successful enough to grow his company enough to make over 100 cranes. His invention of cranes has evolved into today’s cranes.  

 

Mechanical

Mechanical crane systems are the simplest to understand and run. To run a mechanical crane, you move one of the four levers that are assigned to each crane function either forward or backward.  

Each lever is set up so that the forward and backward movement is associated with the specific function. For instance, winching the cable up and down is associated with pulling a lever forward or backward. Extending or retracting the boom, raising, or lowering the boom, and slewing the crane clockwise and counterclockwise are the other functions. Each is assigned to a separate lever. 

The speed of each function can be controlled in two ways. As you move the lever further from the center location, the valve is opened further, and more oil is sent to the function. You can also adjust speed by using the throttle foot pedal.  

One of the advantages to the mechanical system is its simplicity. Since you are mechanically opening and closing the valve, a technician can easily trace a control problem.  

 

Hydraulic Pilot

The hydraulic crane system uses oil to generate the lifting power needed to pick up heavy materials. A system of hoses and pipes supply the oil to the cranes systems. On a crane controlled by pilots, there are two separate systems – a low pressure system for the controls and a high-pressure system for the crane.  

The cranes controls can either be run with single axis joysticks, each matching the controls of the mechanical system, or they can be dual axis. With the dual axis, multi-functioning is a matter of using the corners of the joystick area opening more than one valve section at a time. 

When the pilot system is activated, it opens and closes the valves for the high-pressure system to activate the crane functions. 

Hydraulic pilot systems were most popular in the 80s and 90s as a transitional phase between mechanical and electric controls. 

 

Today

Today, most cranes are electric over hydraulic. Electric crane systems have been in use for a long enough time now that most experienced operators would prefer an electric system. The reason for this is because there is more adjustability built into the system. Mechanical controls offer no ability to customize the operator’s experience. The operator must learn to smoothly run the crane by use of the levers and throttle. There is a limited ability to adjust the hydraulic pilot controls, however this requires a service technician. 

The three main advantages to an electric over hydraulic system are the ability to fully customize the controls to the operator’s preference, more precise control over the valves, and the ability for the crane control system to react to inputs from both the operator, the crane, and the rated capacity limiter. 

This is how Load Kings new LK-1 control system is designed. To view our LK-1 control system video, please click here. Since Load King developed the control system, we can continuously add features. 

Load King Stinger 19-70 boom truck
Choosing Between a New or Used Boom Truck | Custom Truck

Buying new construction equipment is a direct cost for companies that can cost tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Because equipment can be so expensive, many business owners choose to buy used equipment rather than new equipment to save costs. Do you want to learn how you can choose between a new or used boom truck?

Keep reading this article to see what factors you should consider when looking for a boom truck for sale.

Consider Your Budget

One of the most important factors to consider when looking at new or used boom trucks is your budget. If it is not in your business budget to buy a new boom truck, you can save a lot of money when you buy a used truck.

In fact, you can often find used construction machinery for half the price of a new truck. This is because the value of these trucks depreciates over time. Instead of buying a brand new truck, you can buy one that is several years old to save money.

However, if you have the budget for a new truck, you may want to consider this option to find a truck that will last longer.

If you want to learn more about the pricing for specific pieces of equipment, you can request a pricing quote.

Factor Repair and Maintenance Costs

In addition to the upfront cost of your boom truck, you will also need to factor in the costs of repairs and maintenance. Because new trucks do not have any wear and tear, they require less maintenance and repairs.

While you may save money on the upfront cost of a used boom truck, you may have to pay for expensive parts to be replaced.

One way to avoid expensive repairs is by buying a well-maintained used truck.

Learn More About Boom Truck Technological Advances

Next, you should learn more about the newest models of boom trucks to see if there have been any significant advances in technology.

For example, if there are new models of boom trucks with features that you need, you may prefer to buy a new truck rather than get an old one.

However, the features and design of boom trucks have not changed much in the past decade. While there are upgrades and improvements to newer trucks, quality used and new trucks will offer a comparable level of performance.

An older used boom truck may still have newer features but will often be a much less expensive choice.

Where Are You Buying From?

Before choosing between a used and a new boom truck, you should consider where you are buying it from.

If you buy a used truck from a 3rd-party seller, you will not know how well they maintained it or if there are any serious problems. You will also not have a warranty for your boom truck. In these cases, it may be best to buy a new boom truck.

However, when you buy a used truck from a reputable seller, you can be sure that you do not have to sacrifice the quality of your truck for a better price. These sellers may also offer warranties on their products which can save you even more money.

Make sure you research your sellers to find a professional company that sells construction equipment.

Understand Reliability & Performance

Something else you need to consider before you buy a boom truck is its reliability and performance. Luckily, both used and new boom trucks will perform essentially the same. This is because they are built to last many years with the right maintenance.

One way to ensure a used boom truck is reliable is by purchasing from a company that offers warranties. This will ensure that you will be taken care of, even if there are factory defects or other problems with your boom trucks.

How Long Will You Use Your Boom Truck?

Finally, it is important that you consider how long you need to use your boom truck.

For example, some companies may only need to use boom trucks for a few different projects. In these cases, you may be able to rent boom trucks for a much lower cost.

If you are looking for long-term use from your boom truck, both used and new boom trucks are a great option, as long as the used trucks have been maintained properly and are in good condition.

If you need a boom truck for a shorter period of time, a used truck could help you save money. You can also buy a new truck and resell if your requirements are more short term.

Find a Boom Truck for Your Business

Construction equipment is a significant cost for many business owners. To save money, you can consider used options for your equipment instead of buying it new.

To find the best option for boom trucks, you need to consider your budget, repair and maintenance costs, and more. Do you want to find the best equipment for your business? Custom Truck can help!

We offer boom truck rental, new and used equipment, and more. Contact our team today to learn more about our truck sales and to find the best equipment for your business!

 

Custom Truck crane building where they service cranes and replace crane parts
7 Signs You Should Replace Your Crane Parts – Custom Truck

Regular maintenance of your cranes ensures that they perform efficiently. When not maintained properly, they can lead to serious problems for your business. Cranes don’t last forever. Over time, you may have to either fix or replace crane parts to ensure they are in good working order. How do you decide it’s time to get replacement parts for your cranes? Below are some of the signs that you need to call a professional and get replacement crane parts.

1. You Keep Calling for Multiple Crane and Parts Repairs

What is one sign that it’s time to upgrade your crane parts? You likely need to get new crane parts if you keep calling for repairs. Crane parts are also susceptible to wear and tear; they will become damaged over time, leading to more tech calls. Repair costs don’t only add up, but you also increase your facility’s downtime when you perform repairs. Doing this repeatedly can cost your business a lot. It may be more cost-effective to replace the crane parts completely. Newer parts can perform efficiently, leading to more productivity in your facility.

2. Expired Warranties

Manufacturers give out warranties for the crane parts. The warranties are likely also the expected lifespan of the parts. Check them whenever you are having issues with the major components. Are they still under the warranty period? If not, it may be time to get replacement parts. Call a technician so they can determine whether you only need to fix the parts or get a replacement.

3. Accidents

In the construction industry, safety is paramount. When your crane malfunctions, you need to call a professional and have it inspected. If your crane regularly causes minor accidents, it may be time to get replacements.

4. Affects Productivity

Equipment acquisition can be costly. This is why you need to make sure it performs efficiently,  contributing to generating revenue for your business. When your cranes keep having problems while operating, you need to call a professional so they can inspect your machine. If you don’t do something, your business may suffer. It may be time to get replacement crane parts. Don’t compromise the efficiency of your business operation.

5. It Fails Inspections

To ensure safety, you need to evaluate cranes through AME, OSHA and CMAA standards regularly. Evaluation can detect early problems that may lead to accidents or serious monetary losses for your business. When your cranes fail inspections, it may be time to get replacement parts. A complete replacement may be what you need to keep cranes performing.

6. Cranes No Longer Meet Expectations

When using cranes becomes the most important activity, you need to ensure that they work efficiently. It’s time to evaluate whether your cranes can handle difficult jobs. Keep a checklist to help you determine whether it’s time to get replacement crane parts or not.

Use this:

Can it still lift 100% of your crane’s capacity, or has it decreased?
Would you need multiple cranes for the lift of is one enough?
Is it giving your workers problems or issues at work?

Contact a professional when your cranes no longer meet or exceed expectations.

7. Wear and Tear

One of the most obvious signs that you need to get a replacement is when your crane parts are damaged, broken or worn out. Regularly inspect your cranes so you can catch this problem and avoid other issues down the road. When the parts are damaged, you definitely need to get replacements right away.

Never Ignore Minor Problems With Your Crane Parts

Like all other machines or equipment, they may malfunction or cause other problems. Never ignore even minor issues with a crane as it may lead to costly consequences like damaged goods or major accidents. Get in touch with a professional immediately so they can assist you with replacements.

Why Crane Inspections are Important

Crane inspections test the functionality and safety of your cranes. You need this to ensure that you don’t encounter problems during operation. Inspections can detect problems that may lead to serious consequences. You need to get an annual crane inspection not just to extend the lifespan of your cranes but to keep your employees safe.

Contact Custom Truck

We are committed to providing used and new cranes for businesses or crane buyers. This includes crane parts and services as well. Contact us right away if you need help with your trucks or cranes.

 

construction worker in summer heat
Summer Crane Safety: 7 Tips to Beat the Heat – Custom Truck

The weather can affect your crane’s operation — when the temperature hits below zero, some crane components can freeze, causing issues when you try to operate them. During very hot summers, a poorly maintained crane may be dangerous as well. Heat can also severely damage some components of  your cranes. It’s incredibly important for crane operators to properly take care of the cranes, especially in extreme weather conditions. In the summer, you need to take extra precautions to ensure safety at the site. Below are some helpful tips to keep your cranes running efficiently and safely.

1. Keep Them Out of the Sun

UV Rays don’t only damage the skin; they can also damage your cranes. When not being used, ensure that the cranes are safely stored out of the sun’s damaging rays. It can damage the crane’s seat and other components.

Keeping them in the sun for a long time increases the truck’s temperature, and then it may be too hot for your worker too. Find a way to store them out of the sun as much as possible to keep both your employees and cranes safe. Park the crane properly so it’s not directly facing the sun.

If it’s not possible to keep them out of sunlight, the best thing you can do is cover your cranes so they are not directly exposed to the UV rays. You may use tarpaulin as it is heavy-duty, fire-resistant and also waterproof. It’s very useful in protecting cranes during summer.

2. Periodically Check Components

Not all cranes are the same. Some of them have heat-resistant components, making them ideal for working with during summer. Other cranes are not made with these same materials. You need to cool your cranes first before operating them to ensure safety at the site. You can still work in extreme weather conditions so long as you implement the necessary cooling options.

3. Regular Inspections

Before using the cranes, ensure that all of their components are inspected properly, and that they’re safe to use. Crane operators need to check the wires, reservoirs, and hoses for wear and tear. They also need to make sure that the radiators are in good condition. Finally, the coolant levels and the hydraulic fluid should be checked.

When performing inspections, it’s crucial that the operator do it properly to ensure safety. Apart from daily inspections, it’s also important to hire a professional to inspect the cranes thoroughly. With professional inspections, problems are identified and resolved immediately. Let us know if you need help, as we can also provide crane inspections for your business.

4. Work With Trained and Certified Inspectors

When doing routine maintenance with your cranes, ensure that you’re only working with reliable and skilled inspectors. Ensure that they have enough experience and knowledge to do routine inspections properly. You need to hire an expert because dealing with cranes requires special attention and expertise. By working with an expert, you can assure workers that they will be safe operating the cranes.

5. Crane Operators Should Be Skilled

It can be difficult to operate cranes in hot weather. This is why workers should be informed of the potential hazard of working under the heat. Workers who don’t take breaks may have a heatstroke. Apart from wearing the appropriate clothing, they need also to wear sunscreens to protect themselves from the sun’s damaging rays. Drinking water will keep them hydrated, while frequent breaks reduce stress. Most importantly, your crane operators must know how to operate them to ensure safety.

6. Fix Minor Problems

If a minor problem arises while operating the cranes, call for help right away. Don’t wait for the problem to escalate to something bigger. You may compromise the safety of your workers when you don’t call for a technician to help you alleviate the problem. So no matter how small the problem is, it’s crucial that you call for help right away. Otherwise, that may lead to serious accidents or very costly consequences.

Additionally, make sure that your workers are aware of this and know who to contact when issues arise. Do this, especially when you’re using old cranes or when you fail to perform routine maintenance.

7. Ensure that the Crane Can Do the Job

Do make sure that the crane can get the job done. You can’t carry a 130-ton load when the capacity of your crane is only 75 tons. Before operating, you need to know what the job entails to avoid issues that may lead to emergencies or costly repairs. You may damage the crane if you don’t use it properly. Speak with your workers about this and make sure that they are aware of it.

Make Sure Everyone Knows These Safety Precautions

Those who own businesses should ensure that everyone is aware of the necessary safety precautions during summer. In addition, all crane operators must know how to properly take care of the cranes to avoid problems down the road. Keep in mind that issues that may arise due to crane failure and that may cost you a lot of money, but you can keep everyone safe so long as you adhere to the safety precautions we provided above.

Also, your workers should have the proper safety gear before operating the equipment.

Avoid Delays and Keep Your Equipment Running Efficiently

Do you need help with crane maintenance or with replacements? Don’t hesitate to give us a call. We can help you maintain your cranes and replacements to keep them running smoothly. Custom Truck also sells cranes and other construction trucks. Get in touch with Custom Truck today!

LK Stinger boom truck, deemed safe via a crane inspection
Crane Inspections & Why They Are Important? – Custom Truck

Cranes are extremely useful equipment, but they can also be dangerous if not operated and maintained properly. According to the CFOI, also known as the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, there were almost 300 deaths from 2011 to 2017 that were crane-related. This is one reason it is vital that they are regularly maintained and inspected. Do you want to learn more about crane inspection, why it’s important, what they look for during inspections, and more? Keep reading our guide to find out!

What is a Crane Inspection?

A crane inspection tests the safety and functionality of a crane. Because cranes lift and lower such heavy loads, using a crane daily on a job can wear down parts quickly. Having a trained inspector look at your crane will help you identify things that are not up to standards and issues that need to be fixed.

How Often Do You Need a Crane Inspection?

Crane maintenance needs to be scheduled regularly. Generally, you are supposed to have an annual crane inspection. The operators manual for each crane will also specify a set of daily, weekly and monthly inspections to make in addition to the annual.  There are also longer-term inspections that require partial disassembly of the crane.

You need to have an initial inspection of your crane, as well. This means that before you use it or change it in any way, OSHA requires you to get your crane inspected. They even have crane inspection regulations. These regulations ensure that your crane is compliant and safe to use!

You also must get your crane inspected whenever you make any large changes. If you have had any extensive repairs, alterations, or large parts replaced, like a hoist, you need to get a new inspection. This inspection will ensure that any modifications you made to your crane are authorized and safe to begin using.

Depending on how often you use your crane, there may be more wear and tear that needs to be inspected more frequently. This inspection is both a visual and operational inspection to make sure everything is up to par. If you have any noticeable issues with your crane, including cracks, corrosion, unusual noises, or anything else out of the ordinary, it is important to get your crane inspected immediately.

What Does a Crane Inspection Check? 

There are many common problems with cranes that a crane inspector will look for during an inspection. In a crane inspection, there are often two parts.

First, your inspector will do a visual inspection. In this part of the inspection, they will look for any parts that are cracked, broken, or worn down. They often check parts such as the pins, bearings, rollers, and locking devices. They will see if there are any visual signs of wear on the breaks or other parts of your crane. Inspectors will also look for parts that are loose, like bolts and rivets.

In the second part of the inspection, they will check all the operational mechanisms. This allows the inspector to determine if everything is working properly. They will check the ropes, the hoists, the breaks, the load chains, and more. While they are doing this operational inspection, the inspector will also check for abnormal sounds that may be a sign of bigger problems.

By doing both inspections, a professional inspector will be able to tell you what needs to be fixed or replaced to keep your crane working properly.

Why Do You Need a Crane Inspection? 

There are many reasons you need to get a crane inspection at least once a year. While most of these reasons are to keep others safe and to stay OSHA compliant, there are also other benefits that come from getting a regular crane inspection.

They Keep Your Employees Safe

One of the main reasons you need to get regular crane inspections is to keep your employees safe. In fact, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, also known as OSHA, requires regular crane inspection to prevent workplace accidents.

Regular Maintenance Leads to a Longer Lifetime

Crane inspection is required to keep others safe, but it is also beneficial to the owner of a crane. While you are required to pay to get your crane professionally inspected, it can save you money in the long run!

Having regular maintenance will make sure your crane stays in pristine condition for years to come. It ensures that your crane stays reliable and has a longer lifespan. It is also beneficial because it saves you time and money. If you do not have regular maintenance on your crane, you will likely experience more breakdowns and issues with parts failing. It takes much longer to repair equipment and it is much more expensive to replace a broken part than it is to get an inspection once a year. Inspections find small problems before failures show big problems.

Ensure OSHA Compliance

You also need to inspect your crane to be compliant with OSHA’s standards for safety. Because you must work with OSHA as a business leader, it is required by the law that you ensure compliance. If you are not compliant with OSHA’s regulations, you are likely to experience more workplace accidents and you will have to deal with expensive fines.

Get an Annual Crane Inspection Today!

Because crane inspections are so vital to maintaining workplace safety and for extending the lifespan of your commercial vehicle, you should book an inspection before the upcoming busy season!

If you need help with a crane inspection or any other commercial vehicle, Custom Truck Source can help! Contact a member of our team to learn more about our services, crane inspections, and more!

 

several boom trucks and truck cranes parked in front of an industrial building
Crane Operator Certification | Custom Truck One Source

A crane operator is someone that works with cranes on a job site. They do a variety of tasks to ensure things get built properly. Unfortunately, many people aren’t aware of the requirements to become one.

Before becoming a crane operator, you must go through a certification process. To get certified, you’ll go through a course and learn everything you need to know about a specific type of crane. Upon getting certified, you’ll be ready to look for employment opportunities!

Keep reading to learn more about crane operator certifications.

What Does a Crane Operator Do?

As a crane operator, you’ll be responsible for inspecting and maintaining cranes. Aside from that, you’ll control them to place materials and equipment around a site.

Throughout the construction process, you must regularly perform safety checks to ensure that the crane is operating correctly. If you run into any issues, you’ll report them to the supervisor.

Whenever you move something, you’ll be responsible for recording the changes. This will make it easier to clear routes for other crew members.

During the crane operator certification course, you’ll learn about how to perform and read crane signals. With this knowledge, you can work on the busiest sites without any problems.

Skills Required

Operating boom trucks and cranes requires a variety of skills that many people overlook. However, employers will have you go through an application process to ensure that you’re capable of becoming a crane operator.

All construction workers must have dexterity, flexibility, and strength. They must also have good depth perception and reaction time. Without these, you won’t be able to do most construction-related tasks.

As a crane operator, you must have all of these skills and more. Unlike building supply workers or other crew members, you must have mechanical knowledge.

Getting Certified

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is the organization that oversees job rules and regulations. They require crane operators to be licensed and certified before legally working.

They also require employers to thoroughly vet employees to prevent them from hiring someone without adequate credentials. As soon as you’ve received the proper certification for a crane, you can begin working after being evaluated.

If you look at the NCCCO’s website, you’ll find all the info you need about crane operator certifications. There are different certifications for things like mobile cranes, boom trucks, tower cranes, articulating cranes, and more.

All crane certifications require that you know how to operate a crane. Depending on the crane operator certification you want, you’ll learn about different things. You may learn about several types of cranes, but your course will focus on one.

The NCCCO’s website outlines all the necessary certifications for different crane operating roles. You can expect to take both written and practical exams.

The written exam will ask a variety of questions whereas the practical exam will require you to operate a crane. Both will have time limits and the practical exam will have a pre-test briefing so you can understand which tasks are to be performed.

All equipment used in a practical exam will replicate standard equipment used in the field. If you commit an unsafe act, you’ll automatically fail the exam. An unsafe act is anything that could cause damage to you, another person, or equipment.

Determine Whether It’s for You

If operating large equipment and playing a major role on a job site is something you want to do, becoming a crane operator can ensure you do that.

When it comes to deciding whether it’s something you want, consider all your options. If you don’t have time to attend school, you may want to look for another position. Keep in mind that a crane operator school will offer several classes so that you can fit them into your schedule.

Your certification will be renewed every few years, giving you plenty of time to think about whether you want to keep working.

Become a Crane Operator Today

Go to the NCCCO’s website and look at all their certifications. You can see what the processes entail so you can figure out which certification you want. From there, you can find out where to go to take the course and test.

Contact us to learn more about various types of cranes from a reliable source!

 

Load King Stinger 19-70 Boom Truck, 19 ton crane mounted on a chassis
The Difference Between a Truck Crane and a Boom Truck

The construction industry creates roughly 1.3 billion dollars worth of buildings every year in the United States. One of the most common pieces of equipment used on construction sites is the crane.

Amongst all the different types to choose from, crane trucks make transportation easy. Not to mention they help speed the building process along. However, within the crane truck category, there are many different options—including the truck crane and the boom truck.

These two terms seem interchangeable on the surface, but they are not the same. To learn about the difference between a truck crane and a boom truck, keep reading.

The Boom Truck

A boom truck is a commercial truck with a hydraulic crane attached to its chassis. This structure gave manufacturers plenty of room to create several variations of the boom truck.

The fixed cab is a standard truck with the boom lift on the back. The driver can operate the boom from the front. The downfall of this option is that the person operating the machine cannot see where it is going.

With the swing cab, the operating booth attaches to the lift and, therefore, moves with it. Some have open riding seats, which don’t protect a worker from the outdoor elements. However, they also shift in the same direction as the crane, making it easier for the operator to see what they are doing.

Furthermore, there are fifth-wheel tractors with a boom lift mounted on the back. Sometimes the boom lift faces the front of the vehicle, and the machine sits in the back. Manufacturers refer to this placement as a rear mount.

Boom Truck Crane Types

There are a couple of different types of booms too. Telescopic booms work well on uneven terrain or when there’s a tough spot that workers need to access.

The second type is the articulating lift, which is known for its ability to bend, not so much for its height. The joint in the extension makes it easy to adjust the crane to a precise size and place. It is also useful for workers to get around objects.

Both types of cranes come with the option of having a man basket at the end.

Industries Commonly Using Boom Trucks

The industries that use boom trucks include power and electricity, oil and gas, and commercial roofing.

These lifts come in handy when checking the pressure and the depth of an oil well before drilling occurs. Powerline companies will use boom trucks to keep branches from interfering with electricity and landlines. Even treescaping companies will use them to remove dead limbs.

Construction sites need lifts when putting gravel on flat roofs. This method prevents heat and water exposure, which helps it last longer. It’s also common for drywall companies to use them when building high-rise structures.

The Truck Crane

Unlike the boom truck, the truck crane was specifically built to transport the hydraulic crane using its purpose-built carrier. To fully understand a truck crane’s capabilities, though, one needs to know the different types that are available.

Truck Crane Types

The construction industry uses tower cranes for many of its projects. These are popular because they can reach heights of over 100 feet and carry objects that weigh thousands of pounds.

The crawler crane is unique because instead of wheels, it has tracks, which help it maneuver around the construction site with ease. Because of its traction capabilities, it can move around sandy sites without getting stuck. Not to mention, it has impeccable stability.

Just like its name states, the all-terrain crane excels on paved roads and uneven surfaces. Their multiple axles allow them to do so, and when they have crab steer capabilities, the operator can move in any direction. Additionally, they can withstand harsh weather conditions so that workers can use them at any time of the year.

With all-wheel steering and a low center of gravity, rough-terrain cranes remain steady and secure when navigating through snow, mud, or gravel-covered grounds. Due to its large tires and slow speed, workers cannot drive down public roads in one like they can with the all-terrain crane.

Industries Commonly Using Truck Cranes

Because truck cranes serve many purposes, numerous industries use them. In addition to industrial construction companies, chemical plants, oil companies, and agricultural sectors all need these cranes to handle their equipment and products.

What They Have in Common

When it comes down to it, the thing that boom trucks and truck cranes have in common is that they can access high locations. They lift and place heavy-duty equipment to and from those areas. Additionally, construction sites all around the world use them both because of their versatility and efficiency.

Need To Purchase a Crane?

Knowing about different cranes and the conditions in which they best operate helps make the construction process a lot smoother. No matter what kind of project you are doing or what type of crane you need, Custom Truck One Source has got you covered.

With twenty-six locations across North America and plenty of sales and rental options, it’s easy to get top-notch truck cranes and boom trucks. Fill out this form today and get a quote.

 

Load King Stinger 340-105 truck crane
Finding the Right Crane for You

Whether renting, leasing, or purchasing a crane, the number of options available to you can be overwhelming. Don’t worry, there are some simple ways to narrow down your search. Like most things, what will lead you to the right answer is asking the right questions. Read below for the questions you should ask yourself while trying to find the right crane for you and your business.

What type of crane do I need?

In order to make this determination, we need to first define the types that are available.

  • Crawler Cranes – These have tracks, allowing them to navigate easily throughout a job site, even while carrying a load. They are ideal for jobs that require long, vertical reaches, high-capacity work, or long-term work.
  • All-Terrain Cranes – All-terrain (AT) truck cranes are able to travel at speed on public roads as well as on rough terrain job sites. That makes these well-suited for both on and off-road construction and industrial projects.
  • Rough-Terrain Cranes – Like their name implies, these are built to traverse rough and uneven terrain. This offers versatility for use on work sites, however, their low speed typically restricts their driving capabilities to the work site only.
  • Tower Cranes – Tower cranes are commonly used in the construction industry. They sometimes rise hundreds of feet into the air and can reach out just as far, so they will typically be used at any major construction site.
  • Truck Cranes – Truck cranes offer superior mobility and versatility while still having impressive lifting capacities.

Once you’ve narrowed down the type of crane that should be part of your fleet, the question of size comes into play. Check out our graphic that breaks down the three things to ask regarding the size of the crane you’ll need. And read further for a deeper dive into each of these essential queries.

How much do I need to lift?

Not considering any one particular job, think about the types of markets the crane will apply to. Are there lifts where you are routinely renting a crane, and want to bring those in-house? You should always remember that you can send a larger crane to pick smaller load, but the opposite will never work. Also take into consideration the type of rigging equipment that is necessary:  blocks, spreader bars, straps, etc. as these must be counted in the total load.

How high in the air do I need to go?

The necessary boom length is actually the function of this question and the following one, but it is easier to understand one at a time. Working around residential housing requires a different tip height than working on cell phone towers.  Small commercial buildings up to five stories are quite common, requiring at least a 70 foot tip height to allow for rigging and handling. Man-basket work is also quite common and working heights continue to grow. Nearly all cranes can be equipped with a jib or lattice inserts to increase working height, however this usually adds time to the setup and tear-down of the crane, and any terrain issues make erecting the jib difficult. The point is to try to do as many jobs as possible on the main boom, saving the jib for unique situations.

 

How far away do I need to lift or place the load?

This is the second part of the question that helps with boom length. As the load moves further from the centerline of rotation, the amount of leverage increases. Hold your beer out at arm’s length for a while, and you will see what I mean. Higher boom angles are more efficient for lifting. The longer the boom, the higher the angle when lifting at the same radius. Many cranes have some capacity at low boom angles, especially a knuckle-boom loader, but most cranes take advantage of the higher boom angles to lift.

Once you answer these questions, you can roughly judge the size of crane you need.  Keep in mind that a 50-ton crane would almost never be used to lift 100,000 pounds, because the radius is so close to the crane as to make it impractical.  You will need to gather some load charts for the target class of crane and use the values from the three questions above to see what minimum specification you will need.

This may sound a little complicated, but you don’t need to be an expert or do this all on your own. At Custom Truck One Source, we have a knowledgeable crane team that’s available to help you with each step along the way.

 

A-Frame outriggers on a Load King Stinger 19-70
Outriggers for Crane Trucks and How to Safely Operate Them

Any industrial job that needs material or workmen to be lifted off the ground requires the services of a crane. Crane trucks are heavy-duty vehicles outfitted with different kinds of cranes — stiff booms, knucklebooms, grapples, aerial buckets, etc. — and transport the lifting equipment to and from a jobsite. Some trucks also have payload-carrying capacity.

Once the truck-mounted crane has been positioned to work, the crane must be leveled.

This is where outriggers come in.

What Are Outriggers?

Outriggers (sometimes called Stabilizers) are retractable hydraulic `legs’ that extend, like a spider’s legs, away from the truck before they make contact with the ground.

Hydraulic outriggers commonly come in two shapes. There is the H style, with a pair of square or round legs positioned at the end of an extendable horizontal beam. The other is the A frame. Instead of extending out and down like an H-style, these extend down at an angle.

Regardless of their style, their purpose is to provide a solid, stable base by distributing the crane’s load over a wider area. Without them, crane trucks’ lifting capacity would be be significantly limited. (Think about trying to hold a bowling ball out to your side without spreading your legs).

Improper or careless set-up of the outrigger legs can cause serious accidents. In fact, according to OSHA, 80 % of incidents of cranes tipping occur due to human error, when the operator exceeds the crane’s lifting capacity. And over 50 % of these accidents are due to the improper use of outriggers. It is important, therefore, to make sure that the outriggers are properly deployed before activating the crane.

Outrigger Safety Checklist

#1: Inspect the Ground

When working with equipment that requires outriggers, the condition of the ground on which the outriggers will sit is the first concern.

When cranes exert hundreds of thousands of pounds of force over a small patch of ground area – be it asphalt, concrete, gravel, or loose, sandy, or wet soil, the concentrated pressure under the stabilizer legs can easily exceed the strength of the ground below, called the Ground Bearing Pressure.  If the load exceeds the strength of the surface, the equipment can sink, damage surfaces and sub-surfaces, or topple over.  One can measure the Ground Bearing Pressure with an inexpensive tool called a Penetrometer.

Additionally, the ground has to be inspected for slopes, depressions, voids, trenches, or any other irregularity that could compromise the equipment’s stability. If found, the area must be prepared until you are confident your equipment can safely operate on it.

#2: Be Aware of Your Surroundings

When setting up a crane truck in a busy, congested area, make sure the outriggers are not interfering with traffic. If they are, redirect the flow of traffic or readjust the position of the equipment to operate from a safer distance.

#3: Know the Maximum Outrigger Reaction Force

The manufacturer can provide outrigger force calculations following the creation of a lift plan. The outrigger reaction force applied through the outrigger feet is compared to the Ground Bearing Pressure to determine if the lift can be performed or if additional outrigger pads are required.  The force calculated often surprises even experienced operators. Think about the bowling ball experiment. As you reach out further, your entire weight plus the weight of the ball will be on one foot. This is, in fact, the simplest approach to take in estimating the maximum outrigger reaction force. The entire weight of the crane plus the entire weight of the load applied to one foot. It’s often not as overly conservative as it sounds and can be done quickly on-site.

#4: Inspect and Position Outrigger Pads

Outrigger legs may be positioned on outrigger pads. These pads, or mats, increase the ground surface area over which the stabilizer force is distributed. They provide a firm, level surface on which you can perform your lift safely.

Before placing the pads down, make sure they are smooth and free from soil build-up and other debris. They should sit solidly on the ground. The entire surface of the pads should sit in contact with the ground. If there are depressions and voids, don’t set up your pads over them. Don’t use outrigger pads that are smaller than the outriggers’ feet. And finally, double-check to make sure that the outrigger foot is placed precisely in the center point of the outrigger pad.

#5: Be Alert to Signs of Instability

Always be on alert when the crane is at work. Watch every lift for any anomaly that may signal a problem. Watch the outrigger feet and/or pads for indications that they are sinking into the ground.  Lifting of outriggers on the side opposite of the load is allowable on some equipment.  Consult your operator’s manual.  If you suspect something is amiss with the functioning of the equipment, stop the lift immediately, investigate the problem, and correct it before a serious accident could occur.