Crane Rental Blog

12August

San Angelo, Texas Boat Races

Crane Service is proud to be sponsoring this years boat race, the Showdown in San Angelo. This is a super national race for drag boats that takes place in San Angelo, Texas. This years races will begin on Friday September 12th to Sunday September 14th. For more information you can visit the Showdown in San Angelo website

Posted in Crane Rental Blog

18July

Crane Service Top 25 Crane Company AC&T 100

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Crane Service, which is part of the M-L Holdings Company Crane Group, is ranked 25 in this years AC&T [American Crane and Transport Magazine] Top 100 [2014]. Our sister companies, Marks Crane & Rigging and United Crane & Rigging, are also recogized in the top 25 spot.

AC&T 100 Crane Service

Posted in Crane Rental Blog

09July

Crane Service gets Socorro rodeo underway

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steel erection crane rental "US-based Crane Service has completed the erection of steel girders and roof materials for the new rodeo arena located on the fairgrounds in Socorro, New Mexico.

The operated crane rental firm took just three days to complete the project, using its new Link-Belt ATC3210 210-ton (190-tonne) crane and its Link-Belt AT3200 200-ton (180-tonne) crane to hoist and set the 20,000 lb to 24,000 lb (9 to 10.8 tonne) steel girders and roof material." Courtesy of KHL Group - American Crane and Transport July 3rd, 2014

Posted in Crane Rental Blog

09July

A Bright Idea...

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Paseo del Norte Bridge beams
Today, highway construction in urban areas is almost always performed at night. State Departments of Transportation (DOTs) around the country have discovered that night jobsites are safer and more efficient for a number of reasons.

Roadways can be closed at night without major public inconvenience. Traffic is not an issue. Worksites can be expanded. Cranes have more space in which to operate and swing.

OSHA and DOTs have developed comprehensive safety measures for nighttime jobsites, and modern construction lighting systems create a work environment that is as luminous as working in daylight. Crane-owning companies are adjusting to the increase in nighttime work, and crane manufacturers are looking for ways to adapt cranes to these conditions.

At ConExpo in March 2014, Link-Belt introduced its first crane with a standard lighting package, the 210-ton capacity ATC-3210. The lighting package on the new all-terrain crane makes it easier to set up and rig the crane in the dark hours of the early morning or dusk. There are high intensity LED lights on the front of the operator’s cab and at the outriggers. The engine bay now has lighting as do the ground control stations for outriggers and suspension. Other optional lighting includes high intensity work lights above the operator’s cab, lights that illuminate the walkways on the upper, a right-side, forward-facing high intensity work light and left and right high-intensity work lights mounted atop the upper to illuminate the swing area. Plus, remote-controlled single and dual boom floodlight options are available.

Albuquerque, NM-based Crane Service Inc. recently took delivery of a new Link-Belt ATC-3210 and has already seen the value in the new lighting package, according to Bob Warianka, business development manager.

While his company doesn’t do that much night work, he said it is becoming more prevalent. Warianka pointed to a recent job that involved the company’s ATC-3210 and ATC-3275 setting bridge girders at night.

“The contractor had the job lit up really well, with four light plants illuminating the work area of each crane,” he said.

While the crane’s lighting package isn’t really a factor in lighting up the worksite, it’s still a great convenience for rigging the crane.

Rigging asset
“The lights are really an asset when you are rigging the crane or setting it up in the early morning hours, or sometimes we will assemble a crane at night,” Warianka said. “We envision more crane companies offering better lighting packages in the future. I can see them being used on rough terrain cranes too.”

He said crawlers cranes would be the least likely cranes to be equipped with comprehensive lighting packages because the type of work they do at night generally involves a well-lit jobsite, and rigging a crawler is different than rigging a mobile crane.

“Tower cranes have lights on them,” said Warianka. “Tower cranes are sometimes on a job working 24 hours a day and two shifts. With mobile cranes, we can see a need for a lighting package for the short days of winter or when you want to keep working at dusk or during cloudy weather. These lights will also come in handy when doing concrete pours, like on a high-rise job. Sometimes concrete pours go into the night or start early in the morning. The lights you use on a crane will be job specific.”

Remote controls
In a few cases, Crane Service has provided lighting equipment, for instance when the crane might be grabbing on and needs to be tied to the load for a while.

He has been impressed with the remote-controlled lights on the new ATC-3210.

“The light on the boom can be operated by remote control so that you can actually rotate the light and spotlight something below the crane,” he said.

Courtesy of KHL Group - American Crane and Transport Magazine - July 3rd, 2014

Posted in Crane Rental Blog

09July

By the Numbers...

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Bridge beam hoisting
"Crane Service specializes in heavy hoisting, and heavy hauling in the southwestern United States and has been in business for over 54 years. These photos show the company installing the massive bridge beams over Jefferson NE in late May as part of the Paseo del Norte/I-25 makeover. The national company has operations in Albuquerque, and Bloomfield in New Mexico. Crane Services' fleet serves a wide spectrum of clientele, handling 8.5 tons to 550 tons." Courtesy of the Business Outlook in the Albuquerque Journal - June 16, 2014.

Posted in Crane Rental Blog

18March

Crane Service Purchases Grove GMK6400

Crane Service is proud to announce the purchase of the Grove GMK6400 [450 ton crane] at ConExpo.

Crane Service Purchases Grove GMK6400
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The Grove GMK6400 will help Crane Service better serve our Texas divisions. We purchased the GMK6400 with the Mega-wing package. The Mega-wing package not only adds capacity to the crane, but is logistically easier and safer to install. This will help us and ultimately our customers who will require heavy lifts, far away lifts, and specialty rigging projects.

Pictured are (left to right) Don Himelfarb of McClung-Logan Holdings, Joe McKeehan of H & E Equipment Services, Crane Service Inc. President Scott Wilson, Robert Matz of Power Equipment Company, Brandon Turner of McClung-Logan Holdings, and Cary Burr of H & E Equipment Services.

Posted in Crane Rental Blog

18March

First Link Belt ATC3210 delivered

Crane Service takes delivery of Link-Belt ATC-3210

First Link Belt ATC3210 delivered



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LEXINGTON, Ky. – Mar. 05, 2014 - Crane Service Inc. recently purchased one of Link-Belt’s all-new 210-ton (185 mt) ATC-3210 during ConExpo 2014. The purchase marks the seventh Link-Belt all-terrain the Albuquerque, New Mexico-based company has purchased. Pictured above are (left to right) Don Himelferb of McClung-Logan Holdings, Tom Logan of McClung-Logan Holdings, Skeeter Collins of Link-Belt Construction Equipment, Crane Service Inc. President Scott Wilson, Robert Matz of Power Equipment Company and Kelly Fiechter of Link-Belt Construction Equipment.

The Link-Belt ATC-3210 fuels up, as it arrives to the Albuquerque Crane Service location. Link-Belt ATC3210

Posted in Crane Rental Blog

08July

"Carrying their weight"

Check out our company profile in Gas Oil and Mining Contractor Magazine.
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When a customer in a jam sought help on short notice to install a slug catcher at a Texas petroleum compressor station, Crane Service Inc. employees swung into action. In just two weeks, the company mobilized to generate detailed engineering drawings, transport 36 semi-trailers of equipment from a satellite facility and assemble a giant Manitowoc 2250 crawler crane — a four-day job in itself.

Then crews lifted the high-pressure gas vessel — all 341,845 pounds of it, including rigging — atop a roughly five-foot-tall, 20- by 20-foot concrete foundation and secured it on anchor bolts.

“It was a challenge,” says Scott Wilson, company president, noting the project’s compressed timeline. “Another company’s crane wasn’t available at the 11th hour, and there aren’t many cranes around with that capability. Plus the company that transported the slug catcher was on a tight schedule, so we couldn’t just leave it parked there.

“In the end, it was just another day in the life of a crane-and-rigging company — Mach 5 with your hair on fire.”

A modest beginning

Providing that level of customer service, combined with a strong emphasis on employee safety and a $45-million, ever-expanding fleet of equipment, goes a long way toward explaining Crane Service’s substantial growth. Emmet Storks started the company in Albuquerque, N.M., in 1960 with just two cranes. Now a subsidiary of M-L Holdings Inc., the company generated $33 million in gross revenue in 2011, and serves customers in four major sectors: energy (primarily gas, oil and coal), mining, general construction and government.

“But energy is by far our largest market,” Wilson says. “It’s the lifeblood of what we do.”

Aside from its headquarters in Albuquerque, the company operates facilities in Bloomfield, N.M., and El Paso and Sweetwater, Texas. It serves customers in a large geographic area encompassing Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and Wyoming. It may sound counter-intuitive, but most of the geographic expansion of facilities occurred during the recent recession; after the Bloomfield office opened in the mid-1990s, Sweetwater opened in 2007 and El Paso in 2009.

“During a downturn, you can have excess equipment and downtime, so sometimes it’s a good time to make a transition … you have more freedom,” Wilson explains. “I attribute our success to the employees in those branches and that we’ve been able to carve out niches in new markets. In Sweetwater, for example, we started out with a couple cranes and a shed, and now we have 22 cranes and 56 employees.”

The company performs a wide variety of work. One day, crews might hoist an articulating walking arm for a giant dragline at a mine, or lift compressor skids for energy companies. Another day, crews might hoist haul-truck beds and loaders for mining companies, or lift giant transformers, conveyors and shunt reactors at power plants. Or they may help erect wind generators and lift giant beams for bridges.

Safety matters

A lot hangs in the balance during lifts of extremely heavy loads. To give an idea of what’s involved, it’s not uncommon for a Crane Service operator to lift a load that weighs hundreds of tons 300 feet high, then set it down on a space with less than a half-inch tolerance in all directions. Or the load might be extended 280 feet out from the crane with the same minute tolerances required, Wilson explains.

“And many times, the crane operator can’t see where the load is going, which we call ‘working in the blind,’ ” he says. “So you need a skilled, trained operator with enough finesse and who knows the crane’s functions well enough to know what’s going on. Depth perception and hand-eye coordination are all important. Sometimes they’re using both of their feet and both hands to make the crane function correctly.”

As such, Crane Service emphasizes employee safety and comprehensive job planning. First and foremost, the company values employees’ health and welfare. But safety is also critical to business fortunes; just one accident could bar Crane Service from bidding lists, or prompt a customer to never use the company again, Wilson says.

A typical crane operator spends two to four years in an apprenticeship program, working around the cranes as an “oiler,” or assistant, to learn and understand best practices within the industry. While doing that, they’re also educated about safety regulations, which are updated regularly.

Years ago, crane operators started out on small rigs and moved their way up to bigger units. But during the last 10 years, a new trend has emerged, with new operators starting their training on larger cranes.

“That’s because larger cranes need so many people to operate them, as opposed to your typical 25- or 40-ton boom truck crane, which one person can run,” Wilson says. “Now an employee might train or apprentice on a 400- or 500-ton crane and go straight to operating that size crane. For a 550-ton crane, you need a minimum of three employees at all times, and sometimes up to 16 people for mobilization, disassembly and assembly.”

Related: Manitou Americas and Gehl welcome Kirby-Smith to dealer network

Big fleet for big jobs

Crane Service offers a huge fleet of cranes over multiple locations. Having many types of cranes at different locations gives the company flexibility in scheduling, and because equipment is newer and well maintained, there’s less downtime.

“In addition, with newer equipment, we’re less prone to things like oil leaks on job sites, which can cause environmental issues,” he says. “And newer cranes have greater boom lengths than older cranes, so we might be able to do a job faster and easier.”

Overall, the company owns about 90 different cranes. That includes about seven crawler and truck lattice-boom cranes — ranging from 70- to 300-ton lifting capacities — made by Manitowoc Co. Inc., Link-Belt Construction Equipment Co., American Truck Crane Inc. and Harnischfeger Corp., and the defunct Lima Locomotive Works. Wilson says the company’s five American 8460 truck cranes represents the largest fleet of such units in the southwestern United States.

The company also owns roughly 37 hydraulic truck cranes, with lift capacities ranging from 25 to 550 tons and manufactured by Grove (a brand owned by the Manitowoc Co.), Harnischfeger, The Liebherr Group, Link-Belt, Manitex International Inc. and Terex Corp. In addition, it relies on about 20 hydraulic rough-terrain cranes, with lift capacities ranging from 25 to 100 tons and manufactured by Grove, Harnischfeger, Link-Belt and Lorain (a brand owned by Terex). Other equipment includes numerous heavy-haul semi-tractors and trailers; industrial deck cranes made by Broderson Manufacturing Corp. and Grove; forklifts made by Caterpillar Inc. and the Gehl Co.; and Grove telescoping man-lifts.

Large cranes can cost upwards of $5 million. Transporting such large and heavy pieces of equipment is expensive, so Wilson says crane manufacturers now are using lighter steel that retains strength, reducing transportation costs for end-users like Crane Service. In addition, they’re striving to make crane assembly and disassembly easier and faster, which also helps end-users reduce operating costs.

Boosting efficiency

To that end, Crane Service has reduced crane-setup time by manufacturing a custom trailer system for large counterweights, and established dedicated assembly/disassembly directors for its crawlers and American 8460 cranes. These steps enhance efficiency and safety during crane assembly and disassembly.

Because cranes have long life cycles — ranging from 10 to 15 years up to 30 years — productivity gains are difficult to come by via technological advances in equipment. So to boost efficiency, Crane Service instead looks to computer software that allows employees to create engineering drawings faster, for example, or improve how equipment is scheduled and tracked. The latter is particularly important because the company’s facilities often “borrow” equipment from each other as needs dictate, Wilson notes.

“They keep making software easier to use, too,” he says. “Now a non-engineer can design a job, where before it took an auto-CAD engineer. The programs are more user-friendly, so we gain some efficiencies because more people can plan a lift. When I started in this business, we used an engineer’s scale ruler and drew plans. Now we can do three-dimensional drafting and see boom and building clearances a whole lot easier.”

Forward thinking

Wilson says Crane Service is strongly committed to growth, both internally via more geographic expansion and externally through acquisitions. He notes many second- and third-generation, family-owned companies in the industry don’t have another generation interested in running them, which should create acquisition opportunities.

“There still are a lot of needs to be met here in the United States,” he says. “Geography won’t hold us back. The only thing holding us back is getting enough people who want to work and get dirty out in the elements.”

Wysocky, Ken. "Carrying their weight." Gas Oil & Mining Contractor. July 2013. 14-18. Print. Published 2013.

Posted in Crane Rental Blog, Current Events

25February

"Showing what Sweetwater is made of"

"The Sweetwater Chamber of Commerce and Crane Service Inc. have installed Sweetwater's new welcome signs on Interstate 20 at the east and west main exits. Installation began on Thursday, as Crane Services put the blades into place. Creative Graphic Solutions will be creating the blade wrap that will say, "Welcome to Sweetwater — Wind energy capital of North America.""

Written by Melissa Winslow.

Taken for the Sweetwater, Reporter. Monday February 11, 2013

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Published 2013.

Posted in Crane Rental Blog

31January

Crane and Rigging Hotline - RT Cranes

Crane and Rigging Hotline - RT Cranes

Crane Service, Inc is featured in this month's Crane and Rigging Hotline magazine. Check out the front cover to see one of our new rough terrain cranes, as we load it. We are also, mentioned in their RT article, as we discuss the rough terrain sector of our business.

Rough terrain cranes are an interesting breed of crane. They have a wheels, like most cranes, but they don't really have an "upper" or "lower." The have an all inclusive operating cab. Meaning the operator will operate the crane and driving functions from one area [shown in the picture is the operating cab our new Link-Belt RTC 8050 rough terrain crane].

Unlike most cranes, rough terrain cranes have what is called a "pick and carry" chart. This allows them to move a load that they hoisted around a job site, without having to use their outriggers. While the pick and carry chart is a reduced chart, the rough terrain crane is still a viable option for many refineries, plants, and wind parks.

The rough terrain crane has cut out a niche market and isn't for every job site. But for the right job site you can't beat them. With a low working foot print, the rough terrain crane can get it into areas of a plant or site, as if by magic.

Check out more in this months Crane and Rigging Hotline to see what we think the rough terrain sector has in store for 2013.

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Published 2013.

Posted in Crane Rental Blog

16November

Importance of Crane Outriggers

Crane outriggers are very important, both structurally and placement wise. Crane manufacturers have designed the cranes to function in certain controlled conditions. The load-charts have been designed to keep the crane uprightThe load charts can vary from fully extended, half extended, to on rubber charts. It is crucial for crane integrity to work only within the engineered chart limits. Never should an operator operate the crane outside what a load chart states or disregard the load chart. Believe it or not, but they were designed for a reason. Staying within those limits is crucial for you and crew to stay safe.

Outrigger placement is also important. Many surfaces were not designed to withstand the pressures that an outrigger jack can put down on the ground. For instance, our Grove GMK-7550 can put down upwards of 300,000lbs of pressure on one outrigger jack. If you concentrate that load on uncompacted or expanding soil, you could find yourself in a bad position. This brings another up point. Outrigger placement is just as important as having proper outrigger pads, whether they are engineered for one crane like our Grove GMK-7550 or our purchased from a mat company, like Dica Mats, they are always needed. It is important to know what type of soil you are setting up on and what may lie beneath you like cavities, vaults, septic tanks, etc.

The importance of understanding your outrigger position and chart, as well as, outrigger placement cannot be understated.

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Published 2013.

Posted in Crane Rental Blog

14November

A CDL is now easier to obtain for veterans.

The Military Commercial Driver's License Act of 2012 made it past Congress and was signed by the president last month. The act attempts to make the process of obtaining a CDL easier for Veterans.

To obtain a CDL a veteran would have to establish residency, which takes a year before they could apply for a CDL. That has changed. It is now easier to obtain a CDL where the veteran is currently stationed. Couple this with the Military CDL skills Test Waiver and the CDL is now very obtainable. The test waiver allows a veteran to opt out of the skills test if he or she has safely operated military equivalents of a commercial vehicle for two years.

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Published 2013.

Posted in Crane Rental Blog

05November

The Rigging Blueprint

The Rigging Blueprint

We have officially started our own video series focused on rigging issues pertaining to the crane rental industry. In our inaugural episode rigging expert, Fred Hamby, discusses the importance of keeping the angle of your slings close to our below 60 degrees. Follow this link to see our Rigging Blueprint video.

Once your sling angles pass this "magical" mark you raise the load the on your slings immensely. You can increase the load of your slings past what the manufactures recommendations easily by increasing the angle and you may not know you are even doing it. A general rule of thumb is to never exceed the 60 degree mark. You may be thinking, well my load only allows for a 45 degree angle or so on. That is only partially true. One way to get past this is include a spreader bar in your rigging plan. This will allow for your rigging to be at a 90 degree angle which is close a load angle multiplier of 1. Then your rigging from your hook to your spreader bar can be at 60 degrees. Another solution, which sometimes is not feasible, is to come back in and use two cranes for the pick.

Whichever way you chose to rig your load make sure it is safe. An unsafe load puts everybody on the job site in jeopardy.

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Published 2012.

Posted in Crane Rental Blog

30October

New Link-Belt HTC-86100 for Crane Service, Inc

New Link-Belt HTC-86100 for Crane Service, Inc

We have received the new Link-Belt HTC-86100. The HTC sits above Link-Belt's trusted and strong hydraulic truck chassis. The HTC series has proven to not only be a reliable crane, but a very strong and maneuverable crane. In our fleet we have multiple HTC class cranes, including the HTC-8675 and HTC8690. Now we are proud to add the HTC86100 to the family.

Here at Crane Service, Inc we are only as good as our family is. There are many different crane manufactures and equipment companies to chose from. Link-Belt has delivered an amazing crane. We are excited to get past the PDI (post delivery inspection) phase and get to work. Aiding us with this crane are four strong and reliable outrigger pads, supplied by DICA. Rigging wise we went with Rope Block with a bullet type headache ball, thanks to Associated Wire Rope.

We are excited to have one of the first revolutionary cranes by Link-Belt. We are also very thankful to have companies like DICA USA and Associated Wire Rope that are willing to help us be successful. We really cannot say thank you enough.

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Published 2012.

Posted in Crane Rental Blog

16October

Used Cranes for Sale

Used Cranes for Sale

Buying used cranes can be difficult. There are many factors that will make or break the deal. Once you have found the used crane that you are interested in there are some things to keep in mind.

  • Hours on the crane upper and lower
  • Condition of the tires
  • Any accumulation of dust - this can mean there is a leak present
  • Operate the crane (if possible)
  • Condition of equipment - outriggers, axles, frame, engines (both upper and lower), planetary gears, etc
  • Seller - Is the seller credible?
  • Past years maintenance records
  • Past years crane inspection paperwork
These are just a few items to look at when you are buying a used crane. To ensure you are getting a proper price you can look around Crane Network, Machinery Trader, Ritchie Brothers auction records, or other sources. Here at Crane Service, Inc when we place a crane for sale we have all the above material checked, inspected, and provide maintenance records for our cranes. Typically the cranes are coming just coming out of our crane rental fleet and are inspected and certified.
If you have any questions contact us at [email protected]
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Published 2012.

Posted in Crane Rental Blog

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