Decades Old Truck Crane Still Works 1,500 Hours Per Year

Decades Old Truck Crane Still Works 1,500 Hours Per Year
Decades Old Truck Crane Still Works 1,500 Hours Per Year

Patrick Lansu, owner of Colorado Crane Inc., still puts his company's 33-year- old Link-Belt HC-218A lattice-boom truck crane to work consistently. “We put about 1,500 hours a year on that machine, probably almost 41,000 hours since we bought it used 27 years ago,” Lansu said.

Owning Link-Belt equipment has been a constant for Lansu since he founded his Morrison, Colo., crane company in 1986.

Growing up in the steel erection business some 40 years ago and raised on Link-Belt cranes, Lansu knows the crane features that benefit the company's  steel-erection specialty. “When it comes to pure production, it’s really hard to beat these lattice truck cranes,” he says.

Lansu and Colorado Crane Inc. have updated and retrofitted their 1981 HC-218A to comply with the latest industry requirements. Getting parts has not been an issue. Link-Belt still carries them. According to the crane's operator, Rick Witmer, “If something does come up on the 218A, it’s easy to fix. It’s an efficient machine, fast, and the two-speed hoist is a nice feature. It’s very productive for us, which is why we still have it and keep it working.”

Lansu also recently bought a new 2014 model HTC-86100 hydraulic-boom truck crane for taxi-crane work throughout metropolitan Denver. The company also owns a second Link-Belt lattice-boom truck crane and a smaller-capacity Link-Belt rough terrain crane.

Lansu says the HTC-86100's ability to travel around Denver with full counterweight makes it ideal for smaller taxi-crane jobs because it needs no extra trucks. "Within 45 minutes, I’m ready to work, with the swing away jib on the boom tip,” he said.

On most steel-erection projects, Lansu configures the crane with 32,500 lbs. of counterweight and uses 140 ft. of boom and 35 ft. of swing away jib. “It is so comfortable to drive, it’s almost like driving a truck,” he said.

Recently, two projects have kept the old HC-218A and the new HTC-86100 busy for several months.

In the Denver suburb of Englewood, the HC-218A is building retaining walls around the Denver Broncos' new indoor practice facility. The new facility will be 150 ft. wide by 400 ft. long. The first step in building it was outlining its footprint with 20-in.-thick, 20-ft.-tall retaining walls to hold back two sides of the nearby terrain.

The HC-218A also helped place the prefabricated panels that form the shell of the new building, which will include locker rooms, media suites, and a gift shop. The new practice field is scheduled for completion by this fall.

On a job near Colorado Springs, the company’s new HTC-86100 has been helping build a 66,000-sq.-ft. nursing facility. “The HTC-86100 is the nicest crane I have ever driven, and I have been doing this a long time. It’s a Cadillac with that ZF AS-TRONIC automatic transmission. It downshifts through Monument Pass going to Colorado Springs with ease. I am really impressed with it,” said Witmer.

At the nursing facility jobsite, the HTC-86100 is on a demanding pace to place 100 pieces of steel per day. It will ultimately set more than 300 tons of columns, girders, bar joists, angle iron, and decking.

“I have a business to run,” said Lansu. “But if I get the chance to run a crane, it’s a holiday for me, especially running this 86100.”

“My grandmother worked for Link-Belt Speeder in the 1950s and '60s in Indiana when they were making farm equipment. She eventually retired from there, so I guess you could say it’s all in the family,” Lansu added.

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