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At the Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, Texas, a Maeda minicrane is used to hoist steel beams onto the roof of the building. If a steel erection crew chooses to hoist a mini-crane to the roof of a building to work at height, the surface must be solid, and the crane must be set up within 1% of level.

By Lucy Perry

Steel Work offers Major Role for Mini-Cranes

Equipment selection should include job parameters, setup, and certification requirements

Photo provided by Maeda USA.


f you’re considering a mini-crane for your next steel erection project, know your jobsite and how you’ll be using the crane before you call your crane provider. Determine ground bearing pressures for the crane setup location, and know the weight of the loads you’ll be handling. Figure out whether the crane will be hoisted to height, and whether it’ll be traveling through any doorways on the way up. These factors will determine the size and capacity of the crane you choose. Dan Swiggum, business development manager at ATS Specialized Training in Sun Prairie, Wis., says “because they don’t run Lucy Perry operates WordSkills Editorial Services in Kansas City, Mo. She has spent 25 years following the North American construction industry. She can be reached at wordskillseditor@gmail.com.

cranes on a regular basis, ironworkers need a very operator-friendly crane. That’s the minicrane.” He says his steel erection customers like mini-cranes especially for sports stadium construction sites, “where they can hoist the machines to the upper deck of a structure to work from height.” Customers choose a mini-crane for applications where a big crane would be impractical, so the first step is to assess jobsite access, says John Carpenter, sales manager for Maeda USA, Houston, Texas. “The process begins when they decide why they need a mini-crane. If they can do the job with equipment they’ve already got, of course there’s no need for a mini-crane, but nine times out of ten they actually need a smaller crane because of access issues, or work space constraints and obstructions.” He has a list of standard questions he asks customers:


• How is the mini-crane getting to the workspace? Will it be hoisted with another crane? Will it travel through single or double doors? • Are there stairs, curbs, or other obstructions to navigate? • Will the work take place inside a building or confined area? • Will it matter if the machine produces emissions? • Is propane or electric model required? “Once we help the customer determine the appropriate model, power package, and accessories, we then discuss details such as ground bearing pressure on tracks and outrigger reaction forces (commonly referred to as point loads).”

Profile for The SEAA Connector

Connector magazine - Spring 2020