The crane hiring industry is fraught with challenges, especially in densely populated, urban areas. Cranes Express, Inc. is a family business that has forged a name for itself in the industry, despite the odds.
Cranes Express, Inc.’s website describes the firm as “the largest non-union crane company in New York City.” Situated on 3625 Richmond Ave, a leafy street on Staten Island, New York, Cranes Express offers a lot more than its name suggests. The tenacious team also prides itself on its rigging and trucking services in and around New York and New Jersey, with a fleet that spans 40- to 400-ton mobile and crawler cranes with boom lengths reaching upwards of 41 feet.
In addition to its heavy-duty cranes, the company offers rigging, complete with the services of licensed master riggers. It also offers trucking and storage facilities in the area. According to its website, its team of industry experts works side-by-side with general contractor partners as well as project owners, providing them with best-in-class service. After 14 years in the industry, Cranes Express is currently serving customers under the leadership of Billy Sitaras, the company’s president.
Crawlers vs. mobile cranes
While crawler cranes and mobile cranes are birds of a feather, choosing the correct industrial crane for any specific project is critical. The exact type of crane needed is mainly determined by the terrain that the machine will need to cover, as well as the height range it will have to reach plus the weight of the loads that it will be moving. While crawler cranes ultimately fall into the same category as mobile cranes, these gargantuan machines typically perform much tougher functions than the standard mobile crane.
The sheer bulk and custom design of crawler cranes allow these powerful haulers to shift super-heavy weights to much greater heights than ordinary mobile cranes. This characteristic makes them ideal for genuinely heavy-duty functions on more demanding job sites. Crawler trucks literally run on raised metal treads rather than wheels, making them vital for navigating heavy hauls across particularly rocky, virgin terrain. Naturally, these specialized vehicles need qualified operators who have the experience it takes to perform heavy hauls satisfactorily and without incident.
Getting these crawler cranes from one location to another is no Sunday afternoon cruise, however. This is because the same metal treads that help make these titanic vehicles so tough also prevent them from being driven on ordinary asphalt. For this reason, crawler cranes are typically hauled to job sites on flatbed trucks, adding time and cost to projects. In light of these added considerations in employing heavy-duty crawler cranes, these vehicles are only contracted when absolutely necessary.
In contrast, standard mobile cranes tend to be either truck-mounted or complete, self-contained vehicles that run on large tires. This means that they can be driven on asphalt and are easier to get around in. It also means that no custom carrier vehicles are required to transport these comparatively more nimble units to and from job sites. This makes these machines easier to relocate without the added costs and concerns involved in transporting crawler cranes. Not surprisingly, this is often a deciding factor on smaller projects that only need the services of a basic mobile crane truck without the height range and weight hauling capacity that heavy-duty crawlers offer.
Mobile cranes vs. boom trucks
To make hiring cranes even more interesting, project managers also get to choose between a host of different types of mobile cranes, one of which is the boom truck. The most obvious difference between a standard, traditional mobile crane and a boom truck is its configuration. Whereas a mobile crane tends to be a self-contained unit with an engine and wheels, a boom truck is exactly what the name suggests – a truck that has a boom mounted on the back. These booms can haul and relocate comparatively lighter loads, but can also be equipped with a basket that lifts workers to complete tasks at higher levels.
How to choose a crane
Choosing the correct crane for any project is, therefore, an important task that must ultimately ensure the safety of all involved when executed thoroughly and correctly. There are a number of factors that must be considered before a final selection is made. Some of these factors include determining whether the site can handle the weight of the selected crane and whether there is access to and from the site for a vehicle of its size.
Before choosing a crane, it must also be ascertained whether there are immovable obstructions on the site that must be considered. Obstruction-free maneuvering space must be confirmed and secured. This includes looking at factors like the radius the machine will need to operate in, the overhead clearance, as well as the overall height of all the parts that constitute the lifting equipment.
Once these calculations are complete, the boom length is determined. The width of any possible counterweight and the space needed when it is in full swing is another important factor that must be investigated. Then, the total weight of the load that is to be lifted and lowered must also be calculated – preferably by an engineer.
Booms and counterweights
Selecting the correct counterweight for the load in relation to the boom configuration is crucial to preventing mobile cranes from keeling over. According to Cranes Blog, cranes can flip backward if the counterweight is too heavy or when insufficient support is provided under the counterweight when the crane is on soft ground. The same can happen when the boom is overextended without enough weight countering its configuration.
According to the same site, the best counterweights for mobile cranes are cast iron thanks to the perfect weight-size ratio that is created by the material’s high density. But concrete is also commonly used. In fact, concrete is quite popular thanks to its comparatively lower cost versus its relatively high density. As concrete is not nearly as dense as cast iron, however, counterweights made from this material are often enhanced with limonite, hematite, magnetite, or metal offcuts and micro waste to improve its weight.
Regardless of the mass of the counterweight, it is still imperative that crane operators are aware of their machine’s structural and mechanical limits to ensure site safety.
Forewarned is forearmed
Knowledge is power. And, armed with the hard-earned experience of a seasoned industry professional, Cranes Express has no doubt become a prime example of the importance of taking all possible precautions in accident prevention. This is a team that has truly earned its stripes and we look forward to watching it pass on its valuable knowledge to the next generation of industry professionals throughout America.