Cianbro has a bright, shiny new giant to add to the company’s fleet of cranes. It’s a Manitowoc model 16000, a crane that is designed specifically for the wind industry. It comes with a WA, or wind attachment, which allows the crane to maneuver close to a tower while lifting practically any sized turbine that is currently manufactured. The crane can set a turbine on towers that stand as high as 85 to 90 meters. Cianbro selected the 16000, knowing that the company’s clients have a variety of turbines that will need to be lifted. The WA on Cianbro’s crane is the first of these attachments to be released for commercial use — an indication of Cianbro’s commitment to cutting edge wind technology.
“In addition to the wind topper, or the wind attachment, we also bought what’s called a Maxer,” says Cianbro Corporation President Andi Vigue. “And basically, this is additional counter weight that rides behind the crane, which allows us to use it in a variety of settings, particularly in heavy civil or heavy industrial settings, and gives the crane additional chart at a further distance. Such a project would be the project at SAPPI paper mill in Hinckley, Maine, on the boiler. This crane would be a perfect application there, with the Maxer to do the work there, considering the confinement of the area and the amount of weight that needs to be lifted. The crane’s capacity is around 440 tons, and it can go in a variety of configurations.
Cianbro owns more than 120 pieces of hoisting equipment, and the Manitowoc 16000 WA will be the largest of them all. In fact, the crane sets many records for Cianbro: it’s the largest company-owned crane in the history of the firm, it’s the newest, and it’s the first brand new Manitowoc ever bought by Cianbro. Recently, company representatives headed for the manufacturer’s plant in Wisconsin to approve the acquisition.
“What’s unique is that we have a very long, strong history with Manitowoc,” Vigue says. “We have cranes that were manufactured by them dating back into the Fifties. So their product is a strong product. We’re able to service it ourselves and rebuild it. And it has a long life span. And we’re very optimistic this new crane will do the same. We did a lot of research on the crane. And the pictures don’t always do it justice. And when we went out to the factory to take receipt of the crane on the final test, it was kinda breathtaking to see the crane. It’s a lot larger than the pictures really make you feel how big it is. And what made us really proud was it’s already painted Cianbro blue and gray. And this is the first new crane that we’ll take receipt with our colors already on it.”
The purchase is a major step for Cianbro in the field of wind energy. The crane is an operational symbol of Cianbro’s commitment to be a leader in wind turbine construction.
Says Vigue, “In the wind industry, customers want to see that you own a wind crane…that you’re not leasing. That means, depending on how their schedules fluctuate, you won’t be held hostage to a rental piece of equipment. And that’s very important. The fact that we’ve bought one and painted our colors shows our commitment to the industry, long term, not just for a project. And in the industrial and civil side, obviously, owning it allows us to be very competitive because the ownership costs can be significantly less at times than the rental costs in the market.”
The company is currently negotiating on two wind projects. The crane will go to the first of those projects that chooses Cianbro. But who will get the honor of sitting in the operator’s seat for the first time? Since Cianbro is a leading proponent of the National Commission for the Certification of Crane operators, there is no shortage of qualified operator candidates within the company.
“We’ve done two things…we’ve taken some mechanic and assembly guys, part of our team currently, to get some training,” says Vigue. “And we’ve also talked to two individuals, who won’t be named now, to see what their interest is in traveling with the crane and operating the crane in the future. And I can tell you, it’s a very impressive rig, has a lot of computer components to it, and it will be like every other piece of equipment in the company, taken care of, it’ll have an operator’s name on it once we take receipt of the crane. It is an honor, but we have a lot of competent crane operators in the company. And I believe that over time, we’ll have a good group of guys and gals that will be capable of running it, trained and willing to do it. And obviously, the first one to sit in the seat will definitely have a great honor, as will others that follow.”
The operator who gets that honor will have state-of-the-art technology at his or her fingertips. The Crane-Star computer system is part of the model 16000’s equipment, which will help in the maintenance of the crane, as well as providing an extra safety-edge for team members working in and around the new Manitowoc.
Vigue says, “This crane, like some of the other pieces of equipment that we have, has what’s called “Crane-Star” in it. It’ll allow us to monitor the crane’s engine activity remotely. So, for service and upkeep, we’ll be emailed updates of what needs to happen. It’ll tell us when certain things that are out of compliance are happening with the crane so we can make adjustments. And it gives a lot more security to the people working around the crane, and the operator, because the computer is monitoring different things to give them information to make timely, and very important, decisions.
Cianbro’s equipment group will be able to take receipt of parts beginning in late April. The crane is expected to be “on the job” sometime in June or July.