Tractor beams

10 December 2018


R&M Materials Handling has manufactured a customised 10t crane for a forestry equipment dealership in the US.

The crane was installed by Milwaukee Crane & Equipment at John Deere partner Papé Machinery’s new construction and forestry equipment dealership in Ponderay, Idaho.

The project required the crane to accommodate extremely low headroom, as well as satisfying the specifications required by John Deere of its distributors and regional partners.

Milwaukee Crane & Equipment and Papé Machinery discussed the demands of the crane extensively prior to the installation, including how many lifts the crane would complete per hour, and how close the lifts would come to the crane’s rated capacity. Based on this information, the distributor selected a two-speed hoist with an inverterdriven trolley/bridge. After installation,

Milwaukee Crane & Equipment adjusted the settings of the crane to increase response time when ramping up to speed and braking. The top running double girder crane with underhung nested trolley was supplied with a foot-mounted, four-part single-reeved wire rope hoist that had to offer at least 20ft of hook height, a further stipulation of John Deere. The crane package was completed with RTN25-32 end trucks, RU13-23 underhung end trucks, and a three-in-one control panel.

A change to the construction of the runway produced a challenge during the installation, said Dylan Howard, sales manager at Milwaukee Crane & Equipment. The runway dimensions, direction of travel, and coverage area of the crane had been altered compared to the original plan; this amounted to the building corbels being raised by 6in, said Howard, resulting in only 23in of headroom being available for the crane, three inches short of OSHA requirements, rather than the planned 30in.

Howard had previously worked with Papé Machinery to install a customised crane system at the company’s Portland, Oregon facility, where an existing 5t crane and runway system was removed and replaced with a free-standing runway and a 55ft-span, 10t-capacity crane.

“For the Ponderay site we started with the intent of replicating the earlier job as closely as possible,” said Howard. “We were involved from early in the building’s design process so we requested 30in of headroom. When it was apparent that the runway construction was altered somewhat we had to use our ingenuity to provide a solution at what had become a short lead-time. R&M was able to accommodate our custom requests and the equipment was delivered to us ready to install within six weeks of placing the order. Our engineer Bem Walker, with over 40 years of experience in material handling, accepted the challenge and designed a system to meet specifications.”

The crane incorporates custom-lasered girder connection side plates and an enclosed track conductor bar, which permits only 9in of horizontal cope in the beam. It is the only crane in the building and serves the three northern bays of the workshop—this floor coverage increased the value of the crane, and lowered the initial cost due to the shorter length runway system.

Quinn Closson, senior project manager at Papé, said: “We took a lot of faith from the custom requirements of the earlier Portland project so when it was apparent that Dylan and his team would have to deviate from Plan A, we weren’t anxious, but it was a relief when they confirmed they could meet our capacity requirements even with the restricted headroom. The crane has performed without fault for two months, lifting everything from John Deere combine harvester engines to excavators. Cranes are integral to our business so the Milwaukee partnership is, and will continue to be, of tremendous value.”