Equipment review

12 April 2011

Crane mats are used to provide machine access and stability in areas with difficult ground conditions. They also help to spread axle weight pressures evenly across the ground. Cranes Today takes a look at a selection of environmentally-friendly crane mats.

Marwood Group
Marwood are a UK rental firm specializing in the hire of non-mechanical plant hire. They also stock a number of niche items and crane accessories, including light and heavy-duty application crane mats.

Marwood Group crane mats are suitable for use with both rubber-tyred and tracked vehicles, capable of supporting weights of several hundred tonnes, dependent on the ground conditions on site.

However Marwood do advise that any areas for which the mats are intended for use should be graded, with any ruts filled to allow as much ground contact with the underside of the mat as possible.

However timber used in Marwood mats is not graded, meaning that stress calculations cannot be provided.

Also the weights listed on the Marwood website must only be used as a guideline, as varying timber densities can alter the wood’s level of water absorption, and hence the weight.

Smaller heavy-duty mats, with dimensions measuring 6m x 1m x 200mm weigh approximately 1.5t, with the larger 6m x 1m x 300mm mats weighing 1.9t.

When less severe crane support is needed, i.e. for cranes weighing no more than 60t, Marwood’s light-duty crane mats should suffice.

When used in the same manner as the heavy-duty mats (on graded areas with ruts filled in) these mats cover an area 5,000mm x 1,000mm x 150mm and will only be effective with plant where the weight is evenly distributed throughout the carrier.

Beasley Forest Products
US firm Beasley forest products manufacture 12” x 12” crane mats at the respectable rate of 500 crane mats a day.

The firm uses either mixed hardwoods or solid oak for all of its crane mats, and Beasley products suffer from very low wood wane. However if wood wane is a requirement of the design, Beasley Forest Products are capable of tailoring their offerings to suit.

Mats can be fabricated up to 5m in width, although 4m is the standard size.

Crane mat lengths are available anywhere between 8ft and 24ft.

Beasley also uses customised 1.25” bolts inscribed with the company name and logo to hold the mats together, with the nuts and washers countersunk into each mat.

The ends of the mats are protected from splitting using a chemical protective sealant for extended mat longevity.

As with with other timber crane mats Beasley products are also reusable and environmentally friendly.

Mississippi-based DixieMat has manufactured crane mat products for 35 years, and has in that time become the largest US provider of heavy-duty crane mats.

DixieMat crane mats are made solely from dense Mississippi mixed hardwoods for enhanced durability, and feature chemically coated edges to provide protection against decomposition.

According to the manufacturer, the enhanced durability of Dixie crane mats means that they can be reused several times, making them more cost-effective.

Each mat is constructed from a series of four 8” to 12” thick timbers that are 4ft wide and can vary in length from 16ft to 40ft long, dependent on function and transportability issues.

They also feature notched lifting eyes for ease of handling, with cable loops available as an option if required.

All crane mats are constructed using precision machine drilling and notched rods for added security and safety, as well as to ensure compliance with standards.

These heavy-duty mats can also be used for bridging duties and are strong enough for many types of equipment.