Category Archives: Machinery

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.

Low carbon fuel standard could negatively affect construction

Washington State is considering the implementation of a low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS). While some of the effects of such a policy on the construction industry are unknown because it has yet to be tried anywhere, the things that are known about the policy are not good.

The push for a low-carbon fuel standard is coming from two directions: The Governor’s Climate Legislative Executive Workgroup (CLEW) will soon be making its recommendations for greenhouse gas-fighting policies the state could adopt, and the LCFS is one getting serious consideration. Plus, Governor Inslee signed a pact with other western states and British Columbia that promises to enact greenhouse gas policies regionally, including a LCFS. Neither of these actions actually creates new policies; they are more suggestions of what the state could do regarding greenhouse gases. In any event, these are strong indications of upcoming legislative battles.

The draft CLEW report talks about implementing a LCFS of a 10% reduction in the carbon intensity of the fuel mix over a 10 year time period in the State of Washington. It doesn’t prescribe what the fuel mix will be; just that it should have lower carbon intensity.

Keep in mind that for years refineries have been making fuel with 10% ethanol for many markets. But, even a 10% ethanol mix reduces the fuel’s carbon intensity by only 1%. Adding even more ethanol (and it would take a lot more!) has been shown to dissolve seals and gaskets in engines. Fuels with something else – such as agricultural waste products – has never been developed in the mixes needed to reach the 10% carbon intensity reduction.

So without a real-world test, it’s hard to say what the affect would be of a not-yet-developed fuel mixture on construction equipment and vehicles. But as AGC’s Oregon-Columbia Chapter pointed out in battling a similar proposal in Oregon, converting to higher biofuel content fuels would affect truck engine warranties. Currently, there are percentage limits on blended fuels, which when exceeded will void many manufacturers’ warranties. It is very likely that construction equipment and vehicles would have to at least be retrofitted to accommodate blended fuels, as was the case for recent clean air rules and their impact on older diesel-powered equipment.

Other concerns raised about LCFS proposals include:

  • Limited supply of biofuels in the US would likely trigger fuel shortages and spikes in fuel production costs, and industry analysts forecast that fuel costs could go up by as much as $1-$1.50 per gallon as a result.
  • Retro-fitting equipment to handle these biofuel blends is incredibly expensive. The majority of contractors would be faced with making changes they cannot afford, while only some contractors are able to make the necessary investments in biofuels/energy production technologies, onsite fueling depots, total fleet conversions and all of the costs associated with these capabilities.
  • California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard Program was ruled unconstitutional in a United States District Court based on the Interstate Commerce Clause.  The court battle continues.
  • This kind of program is not feasible at the state level- these policies should be a matter of discussion at the Federal level. In fact, there are already federal mandates in place for advanced biofuels technology through the Federal Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS) program.

Vote for wild crane photos

Want to see some cool photos of cranes at work? Check out Craneblogger, which is running its 4th annual crane photo contest. There are three categories:

Coolest Mobile Crane Photos

Coolest Tower Crane Photos

Wildest Crane Photos

You can vote until Oct. 30 and winners will be announced on Nov. 8. The top three from each category will win a Liebherr crane model and the top winner will be profiled in Wire Rope Exchange and Crane Hotline.

 

Could OSHA change course on its proposed delay of crane operator certification?

By Debbie Dickinson

Crane Institute of America Certification

 

 

Just because OSHA has proposed a delay to operator certification, doesn’t mean it will happen. Take notice of recent activity in Washington, D.C.

We recently learned about a different regulation in a similar situation to 1926.1400 Cranes and Derricks in Construction; on Aug. 7, OSHA withdrew a proposed rule to amend the On-Site Consultation Program.

https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=NEWS_RELEASES&p_id=24504

Although not related to cranes and derricks, there are parallels worth noting. Stakeholder concerns that a delay discourages employers from participating was the key reason for moving forward. Many in the crane industry fear the same would happen if crane operator certification is delayed.

OSHA first issued an intent to delay and outlined plans for changing the Consultation Program at the end of July, just a few months after its proposal about crane operator certification. Yet, no such plan has been forthcoming from OSHA for cranes and derricks. The final rule for both are just 8 days apart.

While we remain unsure of what OSHA will do regarding crane operator certification, we do know that:

1. A delay is unnecessary; CIC has offered specific solutions to OSHA that fully solve the concerns raised.

2. According to industry studies, 80% fewer crane-related deaths and 50% fewer accidents occur with certified crane operators.

In addition, Peg Seminario, Director of Safety and Health for the AFL-CIO testified on Aug. 1, 2013 before the Subcommittee on Oversight, Federal Rights, and Agency Action Senate Judiciary Committee on “The Human Cost of Regulatory Paralysis.”

http://www.aflcio.org/Legislation-and-Politics/Testimonies/Seminario-on-Justice-Delayed-The-Human-Cost-of-Regulatory-Paralysis

According to Seminario: “It is inexcusable and shameful that even where there was broad agreement that the cranes and derricks standard was needed and about what the rule should require, that the regulatory system failed to protect workers…During the eight year rulemaking, 176 workers died in crane accidents that would have been prevented.” Seminario’s testimony is clear: OSHA knows that certification saves lives and that delays will mean more people will die, unnecessarily.

Please contact OSHA and express your expectation that the agency remember its mission “to ensure a safe and healthy workplace,” which does not align with OSHA’s recent attitude that the purpose of regulations is to provide the agency with greater authority for imposing citations and fines on employers.

I hope that out of respect for the lives at stake, for the negotiated rule-making process that was fully supported by industry experts, and for the millions of dollars already invested by the industry, that OSHA does not delay. CIC will continue to remain compliant with OSHA and to drive our business based on the safety and needs of the industry.  Employers can rely on CIC to:

1. Conduct meaningful certifications; CIC certified by type and capacity years before the OSHA regulation because this helps employers make sound decisions and gives operators credentials with merit.

2. Assess the knowledge, skill and abilities of operators for the purpose of reducing accidents.

3. Provide affordable, accessible and accredited certifications for crane operators and riggers.


Debbie Dickinson is executive director at Crane Institute of America Certification, which offers NCCA accredited certifications for mobile crane operators (five classifications) and qualified and advanced riggers and signal persons.

Watch equipment operators play poker with skid steers

Ever want to play poker with a skid steer? Or, maybe you’d like to bash a pinata with a backhoe? How about using a telehandler to sling barrels at a giant stack of barrels?

I’m not making this up. The Discovery Channel on Sunday is launching a new reality series that pits three teams of equipment operators against each other in bizarre competitions that include the above and more.

The “Machines of Glory” series starts at 6 p.m. with a backhoe brawl where the teams will be pushing their skid steers to the limits in four challenges. At 7 p.m. crews will navigate a maze with the backhoes and launch projectiles from what’s billed as the world’s largest slingshot.

A third episode at 8 p.m. will have bulldozers flattening cars and excavators dropping bombs.

Twelve grand goes to the winning team.

Tune in or set your DVRs! Here’s a sample clip:

For more information, visit www.discovery.com.