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Remote Controlled Potain Cranes Save 10 Days Per Floor During Hotel Construction

The Challenge:

Radio-controlled Potain cranes are lifting 653 structural metal stud and interior load bearing panels onto a seven-story structure and saving a week and a half of construction time per floor

The Players:

Patrinos Painting & Contracting
American Contractors Equipment Company

The Process:

A contractor building a new Hyatt hotel in Pittsburgh, Pa., found that Potain self-erecting cranes can complete its construction work much faster and more securely than it once thought possible. The erection began in May and was expected to finish in August – much earlier than Patrinos had originally projected.

Patrinos Painting & Contracting, Bethel Park, Pa., used a Potain Igo 50 and a HDT 80 to construct the new Hyatt hotel in Pittsburgh. “The Potain cranes, especially the Igo 50, are saving us up to a week and a half for each floor of the hotel we are building,” said Bill Knerr, director of operations at Patrinos.

The Potain cranes lifted 653 structural metal stud and interior load bearing panels – some weighing up to 2,500 pounds - onto the seven-story structure. The U-shaped hotel required Patrinos to place a Potain crane on two of its corners. Knerr says the remote control of the Igo 50 is one of the features that helped complete the work so quickly.

“The operator is on the deck with us, with a remote control pack around his waist,” Knerr said. “He’s able to look at the panel as he’s flying it the entire time. Also, it’s more secure because we don’t have to worry about miscommunication.”

The Igo 50’s small 14.8- by 14.8-foot footprint was also crucial to the job’s success. The new hotel is in a section of downtown Pittsburgh with limited space. The jobsite is flanked by a nearby restaurant, office building and the Monongahela River. The Igo 50 was placed only three feet from the property’s edge.

“The job would not have been possible if we could not have placed the crane where we set it,” Knerr said. “It’s only because of the Igo 50’s smaller footprint that we were able fit a crane where we needed to.”

Patrinos rented the two cranes from Indianola, Pa.-based American Contractors Equipment Company. Chris Witte, an account executive at American Contractors, says the Potain cranes’ small footprints were perfect for the jobsite’s tight space requirements, and that their radio control boosted efficiency.

“With both Potain cranes being radio controlled, Patrinos was able to run the cranes with only one of American Contractor’s crane operators,” he said. “It’s unique because our operator is working on the deck of each individual floor. He’s working right alongside the guys from Patrinos, which makes the work faster and more secure.”

Knerr considered erecting the new Hyatt hotel with the Potain cranes a game changing method. He envisions other large buildings being constructed in the same manner, using Potain cranes to remotely fly in metal panels and traditional wood-framed panels.

“I’ve had conversations with other developers,” Knerr said. “They see us erecting a hotel in such quick time and they’re thinking: ‘Wow. This may be the future of building.’”