Milwaukee Crane & Equipment has installed a custom, 10-ton capacity overhead crane at Papé Machinery’s new construction and forestry equipment dealership in Ponderay, Idaho. The lifting equipment, manufactured by R&M Materials Handling Inc., had to accommodate extremely low headroom and satisfy the specifications that manufacturing giant John Deere requires of its distributors and regional partners.
Lead-time, equipment reliability, after sales support, cost, and renowned quality of service presented Milwaukee’s R&M package as the standout solution. Milwaukee conducted extensive dialog with Papé to get an overview of the demands the crane would be subjected to. Information gathered included how many lifts would be completed per hour and how close they would be to the crane’s rated load capacity. Crane professionals call this the “duty cycle”. It was determined that a two-speed hoist would be adequate and an inverter-driven (VFD) trolley / bridge was a welcome addition.
After the crane was installed Milwaukee adjusted its settings to give the end user a faster response time when ramping up to speed and braking. The top running double girder crane with an underhung nested trolley was supplied with a foot-mounted, four-part single-reeved wire rope hoist that had to offer at least 20 ft. of hook height, a further John Deere stipulation. RTN25-32 end trucks, RU13-23 underhung end trucks, and a three-in-one control panel completed the crane package. Milwaukee and R&M had to improvise during the latter stages of the building’s construction project, as it became apparent that the runway dimensions, direction of travel, and coverage area of the crane were altered versus the original plan.
Dylan Howard, sales manager at Milwaukee, explained that this amounted to the building corbels being raised by 6 in. Instead of 30+ in. of headroom for the crane, only 23 in. was available, minus 3 in. to conform to OSHA requirements.
Howard has a long-standing relationship with Quinn Closson, senior project manager at Papé Machinery, and installed a previous custom crane system at another Papé facility in Portland, Oregon. There, Milwaukee removed an existing 5-ton capacity crane and runway system and replaced it with a new freestanding runway with a 55-ft. span, 10-ton crane. Howard said: “Quinn was very pleased with that system, and when he asked if we wanted to tackle an out-of-state project, we welcomed the opportunity.”
“For the Ponderay site,” Howard said, “we started with the intent of replicating the earlier job as closely as possible. We were involved from early in the building’s design process so we requested 30 in. 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, which has been operational since January 2018, incorporates custom lasered girder connection side plates and an enclosed track conductor bar, which permitted only 9 in. of horizontal cope in the beam. It is the only crane in the building and it serves the three northern bays (four, five, and six) of the workshop. This floor coverage increased the value of the crane and lowered the initial cost owing to a shorter length runway system.
Closson 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.”
Structure supported overhead cranes continue to be the top solution for material handling in most facilities.