Category Archives: Equipment

Ah, the smell of concrete in the morning

Westlake wrkrs with blurred rebarI was out recently on a construction site, doing a little photographic work, when I had another one of those blast-from-the-past moments in which we all, I assume, occasionally find ourselves suddenly immersed. In this case, as best as I could determine, it was instantly sparked by the smell of dust and concrete, with notes (I borrowed that term from a wine label) of something metallic. That had to be it — the unique blend of those elements, in just the right blend, that we apparently only take in on an active construction site.

As it has many times, that scent alone instantly took me back to when I was a little guy, fifty years ago (good lord, did I just say that?), occasionally visiting jobsites with my dad, who ran the Richland, Washington branch of Lord Electric (does anyone remember them?). He was The Boss, of course, which was quite cool, but I also really enjoyed those visits because I got to wear the hardhat and see stuff I sure didn’t see elsewhere: big pieces of construction equipment; the bone structure of halfway-built buildings; lots of different tools, fixtures and materials, and lots of people bustling around. Lots of pickup trucks, conduit, extension cords and cool lunch boxes too, as I recall.

This all made me think about what has, and what has not, changed on a construction site in half a century. For the most part, they still look very similar, but of course the materials, tools, techniques and practices – and certainly the pickup trucks and lunch boxes – have evolved quite a bit. In some ways, the people have changed, too, but in others, they have not; people have always, and will always, simply love to build things. That has to bring about a kind of satisfaction and pride that you don’t often find elsewhere.

And all those thoughts went through my head in a matter of moments.

Somewhere out there today, I’m sure there’s a superintendent or foreman or project manager on a jobsite with a son or daughter tagging along, taking in the sights and smells of all that’s going on around them. And likely creating little snippets of memories that will last — well, as we know now — at least half a century.

        – Sean Lewis

Tower crane at 10,000 feet? You’re going to need a helicopter

Putting up a tower crane can be challenging, but have you ever tried to build one at 10,000 feet on the side of a mountain? Or one that can withstand 174 mph winds and temperatures down to -13F?

That’s just what Liebherr did over the summer on Zugspitze, Germany’s highest mountain bordering Austria. The crane is an integral part to building the new Eibsee cable car, which by the end of 2017 will whisk visitors 14,600 feet to the summit from a station near Lake Eibsee, a vertical gain of 6,400 feet.

Tower crane pieces were flown in by Heliswiss using a Russian-made Kamov Ka-32 helicopter. The 150 EC-B 6 Litronic flattop crane is now the highest point in Germany.

Bayerische Zugspitzbahn Bergbahn AG operates the aerial tramway that was built in 1963. It has two cabins (one going up and one down) that each hold 40 passengers. The new cabin has space for 120 passengers. The new cable system will have a 2-mile span between support pillars.

Check out the video:


Check out what’s happening in the local construction scene

VWDealershipUDistrict

 

The DJC has published its annual Construction & Equipment special section. It’s a mix of industry articles, profiles of local award-winning projects and a few interviews with the contractors who make it all happen.

Read all about it at www.djc.com/special/construct2015

 

Video shows near miss at pontoon construction site

This week, the state Department of Labor & Industries cited Kiewit General Joint Venture for safety violations related to crane operations at the SR 520 bridge pontoon construction site in Aberdeen.

L&I says it started an inspection in June after a 13,000-pound concrete counterweight fell as it was being lowered from a Potain crane. The video below shows the incident where the falling concrete block just misses two workers as its cable snaps.

L&I is fining Kiewit General $170,500 for one serious and three willful violations. The charges include failure to follow several manufacturer’s recommended changes after being notified of problems with flawed or defective lifting lugs on the counterweights.

L&I also says Kiewit General did not follow the manufacturer’s recommendation to use alternative safety rigging on the counterweight.

News reports say Kiewit disagrees with the violations being called “willful” and may file an appeal.

Kiewit General in the spring expects to finish the last three of the bridge’s 21 longitudinal pontoons at the Aberdeen site.

The last of the smaller stability pontoons floated out of a Tacoma casting basin earlier this month. They were built by a joint venture of Kiewit, General and Manson.

Bid now on pink pallet jack

Pink Pallet

UPDATE: Pallet jack sold for $4,150 and there were 11 bidders. The high bidder was John Souza, a principal at J&K Trucking in Pleasanton, Calif. Way to go John!

Raymond Handling Concepts has started the bidding for a pink walkie pallet jack on ebay that will benefit breast cancer charities on the West and East coasts.
Raymond provides material handling equipment on both coasts and has a Seattle-area branch in Auburn. Proceeds from the auction will go to HERS Breast Cancer Foundation of Fremont, California, and The Community Foundation for South Central New York, a partner of the Tina Turner Memorial Golf Classic in Greene, N.Y.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month is October.
The auction for the model 102XM machine started on early Wednesday at $350. As of Wednesday evening, eight bidders had submitted 22 bids to drive the price to $2,000. The auction will close at 11:59 p.m. on Sept. 16.
Here’s a link to the listing: http://tinyurl.com/PinkPallet
Happy bidding!

Watch Atkinson make quick work of SR99 bridge over Broad Street

The state Department of Transportation made a time-lapse video of last weekend’s work on SR99 that required closing the highway for several days.
Crews from Atkinson Construction and subcontractor Dickson Co. took just 48 hours to replace the section of SR 99 that crosses above Broad Street. They demolished the old roadway and then added fill to the now-closed section of Broad to level it up with the rest of the highway.
The highway reopened Wednesday.
Nice work!

Video courtesy of WSDOT

Got some mad crane skills? Show them off at local competition

CraneComp

The organization called Crane Institute Certification is holding a regional crane skills competition in Woodland (southwest Washington) that will send two finalists on expense-paid trips to a championship event in late 2015 at a “high profile” venue.
The regional competition will be hosted on Sept. 5 by Industrial Training International at its training headquarters. It’s the second year ITI has hosted the regionals and the fourth year of the competition.
For this year’s competition, there will be more emphasis on skill and less on speed, and organizers have added new twists such as a rigging challenge.
ITI will also have an open house, vendor showcases and several hands-on workshops, including three staged accident scenes.
Last year, operators from Washington, Oregon and Idaho competed at the Northwest event. Organizers want to get additional operators from western Canada and northern California.
Operators can sign up at www.cicert.com/news/compete. The registration fee is $50.

Ritchie Bros. auctioning die-cast models for charity

Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers on Thursday will sell two dozen die-cast models of construction equipment at its yard in Chehalis, giving the proceeds to Toys for Tots and Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Southwest Washington.

The 1:50- and 1:32-scale models are of rock trucks, dump trucks, truck tractors, bulldozers and other heavy equipment under the brands Caterpillar, Kenworth, John Deere, Freightliner, New Holland, Volvo and Komatsu.

“The items that will be sold as part of the charity auction have been generously donated by our customers from across the Pacific Northwest, and we believe we will receive bids on these items from far and wide, quite possibly from outside our region,” said Ritchie regional sales manager Brad Maas in a release. “This truly is a community effort and our customers are always very generous. We look forward to being able to bring some families in need a little more holiday cheer this season.”

The models will be auctioned along with more than 1,100 pieces of full-size heavy equipment. The charity part of the auction will include an ax signed by Mike Phil from the History Channel’s Ax Men.

Bids can be made in person at the Chehalis auction site, online at www.rbauction.com and by proxy. Charity items (lot numbers 5474T to 5495T) will begin closing at 12:30 p.m. PST in 30-second intervals and will be part of a timed auction, which takes place over several days with online bids prior to the live auction.

UPDATE: A Ritchie spokesman says the auction raised $2,500 and Ritchie kicked in $3,500 for a total of $6,000 that was split between Toys for Tots and Big Brothers. Mike’s ax fetched $375, the highest of any of the charity items.
Good work Ritchie and those who donated!