The National Crane Modification Center provides National Crane customers boom truck and crane knowledge, expertise and customization. This new service from Manitowoc reinvents the boom truck modification process, streamlining the process and producing faster turnaround times.
A team of application engineers make up the Center’s core team. Every job is documented for the future, creating a trove of data and solutions that will further refine modification processes and speed up turnaround times for customers.
“The Modification Center really takes the guesswork out of modifying boom trucks,” says Brian Peretin, vice president of National Crane. “We can get involved so much earlier in the process, which helps us provide expertise and options for customers. They can bring us a goal or a challenge, and our engineers can come up with solutions long before the machines are purchased or the wrenches start to turn.”
Modification Center customers will have a knowledgeable point-person handle their job; modification turnaround will be faster; and eventually. customers will have a menu with truck, crane and modification options to choose from.
For example, a customer may need a certain amount of horsepower from a truck combined with a specific crane capacity. That customer would call the Modification Center, speak with an expert that presents them with options, names the business that stocks the machines and needed parts, and quickly quotes modification pricing and assesses the legal requirements for the state in which the crane will work.
Meanwhile, application engineers search the Modification Center’s knowledge bank for solutions. If the modification had been performed in the past that met the current customer’s goal, they recommend a course of action. If it’s a new type of modification, they mock up engineering solutions, such as where to move the truck’s axles or adjust the crane’s cross members. When the customer and the application engineering team agree on what’s best, the customer can move ahead, buying the necessary machines and proceeding with the modification knowing that it is the best solution possible.
“A decade ago, this type of center wasn’t really needed. But trucks are becoming more complex, cranes are getting bigger, emissions laws are evolving and each state has its own legal requirements,” Peretin said. “The Modification Center will save customers time and money."
The Modification Center is the product of an 18-month, multi-million dollar investment from Manitowoc. The physical location has the latest improvements in safety, ventilation and lean processes. Among the Modification Center’s features are truck modification bays, inspection bays, hydraulic installation bays, an overhead crane, a jib crane, a jib welder, Huck hydraulic fastener tools and a Flowtron air cleaning system, among others.
John Brockway, senior vice president of H&E Equipment, recently took a tour of the new Modification Center and was very impressed.
“The Modification Center is truly cutting-edge and a reflection of where the industry is going,” he said. “It shows that National Crane and Manitowoc are effectively pushing the boundaries of innovation in our field.”
Standard work at the Modification Center will include wheelbase changes, lift axle installation, racks and cribbing, hook block stowage, custom trailer hitches, trailer brake controls, custom vehicle programming and specialty beds.
Says Matthew Knoll, truck modification manager: “The folks with the torches and wrenches always had the skill set to perform these types of modifications. The real difference with the Modification Center is our expertise — now customers can liaise with engineering, sales, marketing, purchasing, design and modification professionals through a single contact at National Crane.”