The Customer’s Business
Crane Service Inc., a full-service crane rental and rigging company serving Colorado, New Mexico and Texas, owns a fleet of more than 130 cranes ranging from 8.5 tons to 550 tons. Since 2005, the company has used SafetyTech® outrigger pads with cranes rated at 75 tons or less.
Safety is the company’s No. 1 core value. “All of our equipment is maintained to exceed manufacturer and industry standards, which includes a regular third-party inspection. Our safety record is one of the highest in the industry,” says Bob Warianka, Business Development Manager.
The Need for a Solution
Twelve years ago, Crane Service was looking for a solution to replace wood reel ends and plywood for weight distribution under outriggers. “We were frustrated by the fact that wood breaks, gets stuck in the mud, is difficult to handle, and looks unprofessional,” said Warianka. While the operations team at Crane Service was looking for convenience, in hindsight, they have also realized the improved safety benefits of switching from wood products to engineered thermoplastic SafetyTech outrigger pads.
They now make it a standard practice to set outrigger-enabled cranes up on outrigger pads or crane mats. They own a set of SafetyTech outrigger pads for each crane under 75 tons in their fleet, which includes at least 60 different cranes. Larger cranes are setup on steel mats the company has engineered for their fleet.
The Decision Process
“At first we considered making our own purpose-built wood outrigger pads. But we soon realized that we would be re-inventing the wheel. Plus wood still wears out, and absorbs water making them weigh more and deteriorate,” said Warianka. Active in the Specialized Carriers & Rigging Association (SC&RA), the crane rental company had been introduced to DICA and its products at the association’s annual Products Fair. It was during one of these conferences that Warianka first heard DICA’s story.
In the early 1980s, DICA founder Dick Koberg was tackling the same questions Crane Service was beginning to ask. He began developing an engineered outrigger pad that would ensure proper load distribution on a range of ground conditions and provide unbreakable strength. The company delivered its first of these outrigger pads in 1988 and has continued to lead the way in outrigger pad product innovation since.
“At the time, we had just purchased a 50-ton Grove truck crane, so we bought our first set of SafetyTech outrigger pads to use with this crane,” said Warianka. Initially, Crane Service bought square pads, but later switched to round outrigger pads, which were easier to move around the job site. According to Warianka, the reaction from crane operators was immediate. “Our crews are happier because they see we are investing in tools that make life safer, simpler, and easier for them.”
“The crew likes that they are lighter weight than wood, but we learned the hard way how to tie them down for transport,” said Warianka. After losing a set that flew off the trailer, the company designed a rack to secure them with the trailer or crane.
In addition to their lightweight, SafetyTech outrigger pads feature TuffGrip® handles that provide increased ergonomic safety for operators handling the outrigger pads. “We’ve never had a SafetyTech outrigger pad break, but the older handle design would wear out. DICA’s customer service is great. They would always replace the handles, and now they’ve improved them,” says Warianka.
TuffGrip handles have a length specifically designed to encourage proper lifting that requires bending and lifting with the legs, without being so long as to cause trip hazards. In addition, recessed handles are a key innovation on all round SafetyTech outrigger pads. The design allows for easy rolling of larger pads which reduces lifting stress and the potential for back injuries. The TuffGrip handle material itself is an incredibly strong, yet comfortable, engineered thermoplastic. Lastly, TuffGrip on SafetyTech pads are patented in the United States and Canada are backed by DICA’s unbreakable guarantee and resistant to UV degradation and chemical or water corrosion.
The Solution in Action
“Every time we buy a new 75-ton or smaller crane, we buy a set of DICA outrigger pads to go with the crane. When we show up on the job site we look like professionals, not junk-yard dogs,” said Warianka. In fact, he says that using an engineered outrigger pad has been useful for satisfying the scrutiny of some customers in high-risk industries, such and wind energy, refineries, and power plants. These are applications where load bearing tests of the ground are often performed. Using a product that is proven, tested, and labeled with specification data provides customers with assurances that the crane is setup properly.