How one self-erecting crane replaced a fleet of telehandlers
By Jenny LescohierApril 11, 2022
How would you like to reduce the number of machines on your job and make the most of your workers’ time too? If it seems too good to be true, one Pennsylvania contractor says it’s possible, with the help of the right machine.
Camp Hill, a new five-story hotel near Harrisburg, PA, is the latest in a line of projects undertaken by contractor Cedar Run Construction and is noteworthy for its efficiency in using a self-erecting tower crane in place of the usual fleet of telehandlers.
In this case, a Potain Igo T 85 A streamlined the job site by reducing the volume of equipment activity and maximized the laydown area for use by other subcontractors working on behalf of Benchmark Construction.
“The footprint of the hotel project is a long, thin rectangle with limited perimeter space, so with the crane on one side of the building and our staging area on the other, we’re able to allow other machines to go in a full circle around it,” said Brent Droege, financial director at Cedar Run. “Without the crane, one of these sides would be completely impassable.”
The Lititz, PA-based company acquired the Igo T 85 A two years ago as its focus shifted from providing labor on smaller residential builds to offering turnkey wood framing packages to general contractors on commercial projects.
“As our projects grew larger, it became obvious that rotating telehandlers were no longer providing the efficiencies they once had,” Droege said. “So, we decided to look for machinery that could handle our increased demands. The Igo quickly presented itself as being the best solution possible, offering all the
necessary capabilities most cost-effectively.”
The Potain self-erecting crane makes Cedar Run’s crew more efficient by placing materials precisely where they are needed.
Self-erecting tower crane ROI
Chad Jacobs, self-erecting tower crane specialist at local Potain dealer Stephenson Equipment, suggested the crane to Cedar Run. His experience in helping contractors calculate their return on investment with self-erecting cranes persuaded Droege to trial a rented Igo for use on a congested apartment build in the Philadelphia metro region.
“There were restrictions like power lines, roads and railway tracks almost completely around the building, so the general contractor had given them pretty strict rules on avoiding those areas,” Jacobs explained. “But we were able to show, using print and 3D drawings, how we could make that project work for them. After its successful conclusion, Cedar Run bought its first crane, and we set about drawing up plans for using it on their next job, too.”
Greater efficiency leads to labor savings
Aside from the financial savings stemming from reducing the amount of equipment Cedar Run needs on a job site, additional economic and operational advantages are generated by replacing telehandlers and their limited reach with a self-erecting crane that can lift 13,228 lbs up to the eighth floor.
“You are putting material right where you need it,” Jacobs said. “You’re able to stockpile material near the crane, before hoisting it and placing it anywhere from 10 ft to 148 ft away. And it has wireless remote control, so the operator doesn’t need to be in the cab. They can even stand right next to where the load is being set down.
“The labor savings is another of the huge benefits of this machine. Just think what placing materials exactly where you need, as opposed to where you can manage, will save you over the course of a year.”
The Igo further promotes good operating practice by allowing for clearer communication on the ground. It streamlines job sites by maximizing the laydown area for use by other subcontractors. The crane is electric, so there are zero emissions and noise is reduced down to the level of a passing car.
“Probably the coolest thing about the crane is the way it folds into itself and basically becomes a tractor-trailer,” Droege said. “It’s pretty amazing how quickly it can be disassembled, transported a few hours away, and be up and running again.”
In fact, the Igo T 85 A’s sub-50,000 lbs highway axle packages can be hauled at highway speeds. It was at the Camp Hill job site and ready to lift within 48 hours of leaving its previous project.
With another apartments project on the horizon for Cedar Run, the crane will be on the road again soon.
Droege said, “If you look at the efficiency and savings the Igo provides over time, the use of telehandlers and other machines suddenly seems very expensive in comparison.”