National Crane Tackles Extreme Terrain

Locke Crane Services has added a unique National Crane 800D to its fleet. A customer needed a crane that could travel over very rough terrain to help replace and install power lines in remote areas of New England. While reach was important for this application, the real challenge was the crane’s carrier. The solution involved another equipment manufacturer, Caterpillar. A CAT 574 forwarder was modified to carry a National Crane 800D. Locke, a Raymond, N.H.-based lifting contractor and crane rental company serving the New England area, needed a crane that was able to navigate difficult areas, many without roads. Ken Locke, company owner and long-time Manitowoc customer, said most truck cranes provided the lift capability but were not well suited for the uneven terrain.

“We would usually use our 60-ton truck crane for power line work, but it often got stuck in the sand or had trouble moving through heavily wooded areas,” he said. “So, we worked with Shawmut Equipment, our Manitowoc dealer, to find an alternative solution using a National Crane.”

The CAT forwarder is a type of forestry machine designed to operate in extremely rough terrain. Joe Vergoni, a sales representative for Shawmut Equipment, said the company worked closely with Locke to develop the unique crane. “National Cranes are typically mounted on commercial truck chassis, but this unit was completely customized,” he said. “We removed the racks and grapple from the forwarder and customized the National Crane 800D to fit. Everything from the hydraulics to the operator station was completely re-thought for this project.”

Locke said the crane has been in the field since mid-May and has been performing very well. “We have been very pleased with the carrier’s performance,” he said. “And coupled with the extremely durable and reliable National Crane, this machine is the perfect solution for us.”

The National Crane 800D is a 23-ton crane equipped with a 100-foot, four-section boom. It also features a patent-pending internal anti-two-block design which routes the wire inside the boom to avoid snagging.