Structurally Repaired Crane Components: Can They Be Better Than New?

Can a structurally repaired crane component ever be considered better than the original?  Yes! Is it possible to take a damaged crane component like a boom or jib section or even a major weldment like an outrigger box, beam or superstructure and make it “better than new”?  We think so and here’s why.


Most manufacturing is automated and processes driven.  Machining operations, robotic welders and fixtures are normally set up for a manufacturing “run”.  That is, they are set up to manufacture the same crane component using the same manufacturing process with the goal of producing parts and components that are within design specifications and tolerances.  That works great if the set-up is precise and more importantly that no variation occurs during the manufacturing process.  However, if any variation should occur the process will be compromised and most likely change the final result.  Some errors can be caught during the manufacturing process through periodic quality checks where samples are pulled or final products are lot tested.  Since it is not practical to test every individual component the possibility remains for some non-conforming product to get through the manufacturing process and quality control system.


We know this to be true because we buy a lot of new OEM (original equipment manufacturer) crane parts and crane components and it is not uncommon to receive an “out of specification” part.  Sometimes the problems are clearly visible, but most often the deficiencies do not reveal themselves until you are trying to put things back together.  It is when things don’t fit or function that you realize the problem.


So, why would a repair to an out of specification or a damaged component make it better than new?  First, when we receive a damaged crane or crane component we are careful to survey not just the damaged area, but the entire part or component.  A comprehensive survey can reveal not only normal wear and tear but also additional damage, previous damage and repairs, and sometimes OEM manufacturing deficiencies.  The most common issues are welding/penetration issues and out of tolerance specification due to camber and twist.  We sometimes find where unauthorized modifications have been made or some sub-standard factory field campaign work has been performed.


Second, once the survey is complete you can develop a comprehensive scope of work.  The scope of work must assure that all deficiencies are addressed.  Third, it will then be the performance to that scope of work, oversight of the repair process, inspections, testing and documentation that will assure that the repair was completed correctly and is compliant with OSHA, Cal-OSHA and ANSI standards and regulations.  You can view an example of a comprehensive documentation package here.


So we would contend that because of the depth and specificity of a WHECO survey and repair, our over-sight, post-repair inspection, testing and documentation process that a structurally damaged component repaired by WHECO will meet or exceed all OEM manufacturing criteria as well as all federal standards and regulations.  All repairs are warranted and guaranteed, and perhaps better than new!


This article originally appeared on the WHECO Blog, your premier source for crane repair information and news.

About the Author: 
jay shiffler

Jay Shiffler

Jay K. Shiffler is Vice President of Business Development for WHECO Corporation, specialists in the turn-key engineered structural repair and restoration of accident damaged and aging cranes and related construction equipment.  With more than 30 years in the crane and heavy equipment industry, Shiffler is a seasoned sales and marketing executive who has worked for three major manufacturers.  Shiffler is also active with several equipment and insurance industry trade associations.