Manitou Rotating Telehandler Boosts Mason's Production

Henry J. Knott Masonry Inc., a third-generation masonry contractor, has been in business since 1936, when it was founded by the grandfather of current president Henry Knott III.

Knott Masonry is known for producing award-winning projects throughout the Baltimore and Washington D.C. area. Some of its awarded projects are: Loyola College - Center East Student Center; State of Maryland - Annapolis Data Center; Johns Hopkins University - Decker Quad, and Mason and Hackerman Halls; and the Holy Cross Hospital in Germantown, Md.

The company's newest masonry project is waterproofing, repair, and colonnade restoration at a major university's historical building in Baltimore. The work consists of digging approximately 20 ft. wide, 27 ft. deep, and 200 ft. long in order to reach the lower foundation levels of the building. The general contractor will then install a new foundation with a drain-and-pump system, as well as waterproofing the building's exterior wall and plaza.

Contractors will make structural improvements, install waterproofing, and then reconstruct the colonnade to eliminate cracks in order to ensure future stability.

H.J. Knott Masonry Inc. is tasked with removing all the marble and other stone while identifying each individual piece so it can be reinstalled in exactly the same position later in the project.

The project's main challenges are space constraints, a tight deadline, and completing the construction with the least amount of disruption to students and staff. In addition, the workers are operating in a small area due to a large trench dug out around the building, leaving them little room to place material and maneuver equipment.

Most contractors would use an 8,000- to 10,000-lb. fixed-body telescopic handler to carry material around the job site, and rent a crane for the duration of the project to assist with the removal and re-installation of the masonry.

Most telescopic handlers can reach up no more than 56 ft., requiring a crane–rented at almost $500,000 per year–to reach additional heights. That approach requires extra people to operate equipment, additional cost to rent it, and results in loss of productivity as well as increased time on the job.

Knott Masonry operates a Manitou MRT 2540 rotating telescopic handler that can reach up 80 ft., 24 ft. higher than a standard telescopic handler.

The MRT 2540 also offers a maximum lifting capacity of 8,800 lbs. The machine was added to Knott's equipment line-up more than two years ago when the company was looking at ways to be more efficient and effective.

“Ever since the purchase of the Manitou, we’ve never looked back, it was a no-brainer for us.” said Paul Contrino, senior superintendent at Knott. “The increased lift height and the cost savings benefit for not needing to rent a crane on the job site justified the purchase of the MRT 2540.”

The MRT 2540 not only provides versatility by adapting easily with a wide variety of available attachments. It also can be operated with a wireless remote control.

“The remote control lets the operator stand right next to our mason, giving him much more control coming close to the building without a spotter, versus operating inside the cab. This allows us to work much faster with less people, dedicating our focus and financial resources to our masonry work,” said Contrino.

The remote control also allows more masons to work on the wall, instead of having someone just operating a machine.

“Before the Manitou MRT, my bricklayers would be waiting on the operators to feed them the material,” says Karl Kress, foreman at Knott. “Now, as soon as the MRT machine is set, it will just pick and place material for our crew operating much faster, as the machine operators are now waiting on my brick layers to complete the work versus the other way around.”

On this university project, the Manitou MRT 2540 allows the crew to work in a tight area. Even with its outriggers fully extended, its overall width is just 16'9". The telehandler sits to the side of the work site, as it can rotate 360° continuously. The boom extends up to 67 ft. while carrying 800 lbs., and the machine can lift 1,322 lbs. using the jib with winch.

“If we didn’t have the MRT, we wouldn’t be able to stage as much material in front of a 10K rough-terrain telehandler and reach as many points on the building to feed the material to the brick layers,” says Contrino.

Safety features on the Manitou MRT are another key benefit and time saver for Knott. When an attachment is properly hooked up to the MRT, the standard E-RECO attachment-recognition system sends a message to the cab or remote control console, loading the right load chart for the specific attachment automatically. The MRT will sound an alarm and stop automatically if the operator is out of range, unlike most telescopic handlers where the operator will feel the wheels lift off the ground when they’ve gone too far.

“The safety features and the E-RECO system make the MRT easy to use for our operators as they don’t have to spend time figuring out specification parameters with our attachments and material capacities around the job site,” says Contrino. An operator of the MRT can also set “lock out” points on the machine, limiting the side to side movement in case of building congestion, or even height restrictions while working indoors or close to overhead cables.

“This project is very critical for us as the building is near a century old, located on a high traffic area on the university’s campus,” said Contrino. “We are very happy to count on Manitou and the MRT 2540 rotating telescopic handler to get this project done faster at less total cost to us.”