A day in the life of an
HTC-8670 Link-Belt truck crane

Lexington, Ky. (November, 1999)  – When their new truck crane arrived, its owners, Commercial Steel Erection of Madison Heights, Va., didn’t wait long to try their new Link-Belt crane. In fact, it was put to work shortly after its arrival.

"We purchased our new Link-Belt HTC-8670 LB crane to fill a need in our extensive crane fleet. More specifically, it fills a need we had for a machine with a long boom reach like it has. The fact that it has the capacity to pick heavier loads at shorter reaches was not overlooked either," said Robert W. Moon, vice president, Commercial Steel Erection.

One of the first jobs that Commercial had for the new crane was at an industrial site. The crew had to lift and load out a sealed classified cargo container with only an approximate weight. Upon moving in, one of the first things the crew did, after timber cribbing the pontoons and raising the machine on its outriggers, was to add the three-section removable counterweight. "We do not travel our crane over the road with the counterweights in place. To traverse the steep hills and valleys, and negotiating the hairpin curves of the Blue Ridge Mountains we need all the power and speed that we can get. We also carry the counterweights on a truck because of the potential for additional, unwanted, wear and tear on the machine. We always carry the counterweights, cribbing and heavy lift block on the flat bed service truck," said Moon.

The second job of the day for the new HTC-8670 LB Link-Belt was to load out a large machine press. The thing that took the longest here was that the riggers had to weld some lifting "ears" on the steel box to assure safe lifting points during the pick. That lift, too, was well within the load chart limits.

The third lift on the same day was precisely what the new long boom Link-Belt crane was designed for; reach high and long. Commercial was tasked to place and position an air conditioning unit that weighed 2,200 pounds on the roof of a building. The lift was not all that high as might be the case with the erection of a cellular or microwave towers. But the reach, or load radius, combined with the height of the building and the weight of the unit took every bit of the machine's capability. The boom was out 127 ft. with a 67 ft. jib. The load radius was 125 ft. with a 64° boom angle. On top of that, the jib was offset 40 degree to facilitate placement of the load well into the center of the existing building.

"The environmental movement in this country has given our industry a needed shot in the arm. We set and service all manors of pollution control devices. Papermaking plants, power plants and many other businesses require them. When any of these clients have a planned maintenance shutdown, they also have a need for our services. And the key word here is "service."

Another recent need in our area is a cellular tower and antenna located on the top of a nearby mountaintop. The reception in the valley is lost quickly if a tower at the top of the mountain can't be transmitted. Cellular service is in great demand here.

"Typically they plan these shutdowns well in advance, so we can plan for the equipment we are going to need. Occasionally, however, that unanticipated accident happens.

"In one instance there was an accident at a paper mill. They estimated that the downtime was costing them about $600 a minute. So they called us for help. Those are the type of operations in our business that truly separate the men from the boys, " said Moon.