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H&E Equipment Gives Second Life to Manitowoc Crawler Crane

Under Manitowoc Crane Care’s EnCORE Partners program, H&E Equipment Services remanufactured and upgraded a used Manitowoc 3950 crawler crane. The crane was originally manufactured in 1994 and is used by a large steel manufacturer to load and unload barges with steel coils and other metal products.

The crane owner considered several options, including buying a new or a used crane. But several factors led the owner to work with H&E Equipment Services to rebuild the existing crane.

The 3950 has a custom-built right-side cab. Because left-side cabs are standard, a new crane would have required significant expense to modify the cab and for special fabrication. The cab is also larger than a standard cab to accommodate training and additional electronics needed to operate the dock-mounted crane. It was used significantly throughout 2010, therefore avoiding unplanned downtime was a key motivator in the decision to remanufacture rather than replace the crane.

Frank Arthur, branch manager at H&E Equipment Services, Birmingham, said, “When looking at the numbers, it made the best economic sense for the customer to rebuild the crane. They had a number of investments in this crane already. Not to mention, their operators were very comfortable with the crane.”

A Complete Revamp

Through the EnCORE Partners Program, H&E developed a plan in conjunction with Manitowoc engineers to not only completely rebuild the crane, but to also upgrade and enhance many of its systems, particularly to benefit the crane in its marine environment.

The EnCORE Partners-approved rebuild process includes a complete tear-down and refurbishment of the major crane systems. Each crane undergoes a 230-point inspection prior to starting work to determine what components need updating or replacing. Manitowoc calls this the Remanufactured Crane Quality Assurance Program. By following these strict guidelines, H&E can make structural repairs to the crane, which Manitowoc then certifies.

In addition to these standard refurbishments, H&E made several upgrades and modifications to this particular crane, including:

  • Enlarged the operator cab by 12 inches to accommodate a new control console designed and manufactured by H&E to house radios, safety and auxiliary production equipment.
  • Added close-circuit video monitor screens in the cab. Two cameras, one from the counterweight (rear view) of the machine and one offering a wide-angle view from the boom tip, look down to the load.
  • Added the latest drum rotation indicators.
  • Replaced the front glass with a new wide-view glass pane, which included 12 additional inches of glass to increase operator visibility.
  • Enlarged the side operator glass pane an additional 12 inches to provide greater visibility over the right side of the crane, so the customer can more easily view his dock.
  • Removed the front glass “cleaning” portion of the catwalk to provide an unobstructed view to the front of the crane.
  • Installed a full walk-around catwalk on all three remaining sides of the operator cab.

Tom Fox, service manager at H&E Equipment Services, Birmingham, said the rebuilt crane represents tremendous value for the customer.

“We were able to refurbish a machine that already had a fair amount of custom work done on it, which saved both time and money. Ordering a new crane would have taken much longer than the five months it took us to complete this project.”