How do you make a houseboat fly?

How do you make a houseboat fly?

At Crane-Tec, we love a good challenge!  We were asked to provide a freestanding crane system that would have two 5-ton hoists and a 90 foot span.  The system was to be installed inside an existing airplane hangar!


Special Considerations:

  • The owner’s application required handling of large loads, some as wide as 20 feet and as long as 80 feet.
  • The building, an existing hangar, was not designed for an overhead crane.
  • The crane needed to be mounted on to a 6 1/2″ thick floor.


The Approach:

Our Engineer designed a freestanding runway system to bolt directly into the concrete slab.  No new crane column footers were required.  Crane-Tec’s Project Manager recommended a five ton single girder crane with two five ton hoists for safe and easy handling of the long, wide loads.  The hoists have load limiters that communicate with each other to limit the total load to 5 ton capacity.


The Result:

The owners turned an airplane hangar into a house boat manufacturing facility in six weeks by installing a Crane-Tec freestanding 5 ton crane system.


View the blueprints here.  Blueprint 1 and Blueprint 2.


Meeting the Needs of Our National Guard

Meeting the Needs of Our National Guard

Crane-Tec, once again, was called upon the National Guard to help them install different size and capacity cranes that can be used to repair a myriad of military vehicles.


Special Considerations:

The National Guard required a long span, precision handling, durable crane equipment that was extremely safe to operate.


Our Approach:

The Owner of the facility had well thought out plans for us to follow.  Working with the General Contractor, our Project Manager recommended a 7.5 ton single box girder crane system and a 15 ton double box girder crane system.

Both cranes were supplied with precision, slow variable speed controls.  A radio remote control feature was included for added safety.


The Results:

The Facility Owner received durable equipment, designed to their strict requirements.  The crane system was tested and then turned over to the customer in excellent operating condition.



An Old Facility Gets a Crane Makeover

An Old Facility Gets a Crane Makeover

Recently a Crane-Tec client offered us a challenge.  An older manufacturing facility was being repurposed to assemble and test plastic injection molding machines and they wanted to upgrade their existing 25 ton crane system.  The question was, could it be done?


Special Considerations:

  • Determine if the the existing 25 ton crane could be brought up to today’s standards and the client’s requirements
  • Consider the current condition of the building runway structure

Team Approach:

  • Crane-Tec’s Service Technician and Project Manager completed a building runway structure inspection and inspected the existing crane system
  • The client determined it would be more cost effective to replace the existing worn out crane
  • Crane-Tec advised realigning the crane rail and repairing the runway structure


Crane-Tec furnished and installed a new 25 ton top running double girder crane with a five ton auxiliary hoist.  The crane was built with a variable speed bridge and trolley that is operated by radio remote controllers.  The Crane-Tec installation team realigned the crane rail and installed new runway electric.  The result?  Our client ended up with a makeover to their facility crane system in their older manufacturing building.



Long Span Cranes

Prefabricated metal buildings are increasingly moving towards widespan bays.  This requires overhead crane systems that have longer spans and heavier lifting capacities.  In addition, many considerations come in to play when designing and engineering long span crane systems in prefab buildings.  We have the knowledge and expertise to guide our clients towards the safest, most efficient solutions.

Here’s a glimpse in to one of our most recent jobs in a prefabricated metal building:


Special Considerations:

  • Overhead crane with span over 60 feet requires fabricated box girders
  • Long span cranes take up a large amount of the height in the building
  • Trucking and installation require special considerations and know-how


Our Team Approach:

  • Our team of engineers developed programs to design box girders for crane spans up to 110 feet
  • Our fabrication facility has the box girder weld tables and automated welding equipment to fabricate box girders to 110 feet
  • The Installation crew developed procedure and safety standards for handling long span box girder
  • Crane-Tec uses low head room trolley design to maximize building height

[Crane-Tec Runway Systems with spans up to 90 feet.]



Cranetec has mastered the ability to engineer, fabricate, and install long span cranes at a very cost effective price.  We also do complete startup and testing of the installation for maximum efficiency and safety.

Check out some of the big ass cranes we’ve designed and installed!


Transfer Cranes Installation for Large Manufacturer

Transfer Cranes Installation for Large Manufacturer

Crane-Tec was selected by an international engine manufacturer to design, engineer, fabricate and install a 22.5 ton transfer crane system.

With our team approach, we were able to work alongside the customer to address the special challenges of this project.  The result?  A system that meets the stringent requirements of this particular industry.

Special Considerations:

  1. Very large capacity for transfer crane
  2. Independent runway and monorail structure
  3. Large runway spans and loads
  4. Low head room lift requirements required a low headroom hoist


Our Team Approach:

  • Crane-Tec’s team consisted of our design engineer, structural engineer and project manager.  Together, we worked with the general contractor’s team and the structural engineer for this project.
  • The Crane-Tec team designed a 22.5 ton, top running, double girder crane with a single transfer beam and eighteen, 15-ton interlocking transfer monorail beams.
  • Our structural engineers designed the freestanding runway and monorail system.

Need a drawing for your upcoming project?  We can help.


The transfer crane and monorail system was installed, weight tested and adjusted to the customers stringent requirements.

Check out the video below to see the end-result for this project.




Providing Solutions for Plastic Products Industry

Providing Solutions for Plastic Products Industry

Crane-Tec worked our magic again when a large international manufacturing company asked us to build and install a 15-ton top running double girder crane that will operate on an existing 10-ton capacity runway system.  Here’s what we came up with:

Special Considerations:

  • The existing runway system is designed for 10 ton.
  • The lifting height of the new 15-ton crane can be no less than the existing 10 ton crane.


Crane-Tec’s team collected information on the existing 10-ton crane and runway system and our engineer offered two solutions:

  • A 15-ton top running double girdle crane with a low headroom trolley hoist and a 15’-0” end truck wheelbase. The wheelbase was calculated to not overload the existing 10-ton runway system.
  • A 15-ton top running double girder crane with a low headroom trolley hoist. The trolley hoist has load limiters and travel limiters to restrict the 15-ton load to the center one-third of the crane span. The rail-side one-thirds are limited to 10 ton.

[Our engineers design to your specific needs.  That’s what sets us apart!]


The customer selected solution #1.

Crane-Tec furnished, installed, and tested the new 15-ton top running double girder crane with low headroom trolley hoist and a special 15’-0” wheel base on time.


Precision Needed For Railroad Engines

Crane-Tec was called upon to do a project for a Railroad Engine Maintenance Facility.  Our team of experts were asked to engineer, build and install a free-standing, 20-ton crane system in an existing facility.  This new setup would be used to service railroad engines.


Special Considerations:

  1. The customer’s application required precise movement and positioning
  2. Adding a freestanding runway system into an older, existing building.



Working with the customer and general contractor requirements, Crane-Tec engineers designed a freestanding, 20-ton crane system.  We recommended variable speed control for the bridge, trolley and hoist.  We also added a true vertical lift hoist.

[Our engineers design to your specific needs.  That’s what sets us apart!]


Crane-Tec engineered, built, installed, and tested the complete 20-ton top running double girder, heavy duty, radio remote controlled crane and free standing runway system.

Below is a video with images for this recent project.  Enjoy!

Integrating Safety With An Overhead Crane System

Integrating Safety With An Overhead Crane System

When a large aviation client asked Crane-Tec to build an overhead crane system, the safety of their employees was paramount to the design.

34 percent of injuries and many work-related deaths are the result of a fall from height.

We understood that taking a preventative stance to protecting employees from injury or death, and to remain compliant with OSHA standards, was an important element to this job, so we sought out an industry leader to help with the design.


Crane-tec turned to Rigid Lifelines, a company at the forefront of fall prevention safety, to help incorporate a Rigid Track fall prevention system into the overhead crane design.

We engineered the safety equipment right into the monorail system that we designed and then built all of the structural steel and the system to support everything.


  • The installed overhead crane system consisted of a 20 metric ton crane with 15 ton monorail spurs. Fall protection rail was installed on each of the 18 monorail spurs and the bridge crane
  • Each 58 foot long monorail spur had its own fall protection rail designed to support two people
  • On each system there were two, self locking trolleys with retractable lanyards

The purpose of having the fall protection secured into the structural support of the crane and monorail systems is to protect the personnel when they’re working on the large engines.

Read more about workplace safety and rigid track systems.

Check back with us next month.

Next month we’ll highlight this entire project and showcase the cranes and hoists provided by our partners at EMH.  Stay tuned!


Down with the OLD, Up with the NEW




The Challenge:

Remove two old 10 Ton Top running double girder cranes and replace them with two new 10 ton top running single girder cranes.







Special Considerations:

  • The New single girder cranes needed to have the same amount of lift as the old double girder cranes
  • New cranes could not have any painted surfaces that could chip or flake (Note: clean room environment)
  • Precise hook spotting required for accurate hood positioning


Our Team Approach:

  • Our team, armed with existing building dimensions, designed a stooled up single girder crane with a close headroom hoist to meet the lift requirements.
  • The hook and lower block of the hoist were disassembled, sand blasted, and reassembled.  The running surfaces on the bridge beam were kept bare metal.
  • A four light state of the art hook positioning system was installed on the hoist to indicate the exact lifting point

The old cranes were removed and the new cranes installed with little to no interference to the customer production time.


How do you make a frog

The Challenge:

To provide a building supported crane system with two 25 Ton capacity and one 10 Ton capacity long span heavy duty cranes.  The crane system was to be designed into the metal building structure of a regional railroad manufacturer for their “Frog” manufacturing.  Frogs are railroad exchanges that divert trains from one line to another.

Special Considerations:

Owner application required heavy duty high speed cranes.  Independent tie back runway systems were designed to maximize the strength of the pre-engineered metal building.

Our Team Approach:

Working with the owner and the General Contractor we were able to design a building that supported the loads of 3 heavy duty high speed bridge cranes.  We installed two 25 ton cranes, each with a 5 ton auxilliary hoist, and a 10 ton crane.  These allowed the manufacturer to have three work areas which stream-lined their manufacturing.


Crane Tec supplied a turn-key crane system on time and within budget



John Deere Dealer Crane

The Challenge:

To provide our customer, a John Deere Dealer, with an integrated crane system for a new facility in Indiana.
The project incorporated two 5-ton underhung cranes and runway systems.

Special Considerations:

The general contractor needed design loading for the building and runway system. Single girder cranes with low headroom hoists were used to minimize runway and building steel costs.

Crane-Tec engineers using the metal building drawing, designed a cost efficient and space saving runway system using the building frames to suspend the runway system. This maximized the strength of the building.
Both cranes were supplied with radio remote controls for safe and precise operation.


Crane-Tec supplied a complete engineered crane and runway system. The crane system was installed, weight tested, and turned over to the owner on time with a two year warranty.


Wooden Building – Crane Installation

The Challenge

To provide our customer, a custom wooden structure and joinery fabricator, with a system that would improve production times and allow them to move large pieces of material safety and more efficiently.

Special Consideration

The company’s production is located in a very unique and
stunning facility made completely out of wood. They needed the ability to load large pieces into milling machines and move finished products
throughout the building.  Crane-Tec was challenged with designing a structural system that worked within their wooden building framework.

Our Team Approach

Crane-Tec worked closely with the customer to learn
their specific needs and expectations of the new system.
With our combined efforts, and after reviewing several options,
solutions included:

  1. Two 2.5 Ton top running single girder cranes.

  2. Radio control operation for each crane, with the option to operate each crane individually, or in tandem. This feature allows the operator to link both cranes together and operate them simultaneously with one single button push, ideal for handling of long pieces of materials.

  3. Special anchors to attach the crane’s steel runway beam to the wooden building haunches.


Crane-Tec delivered a system that exceeds the customer’s expectation and allows them to easily and safely move products throughout their amazing facility.


Dual 25 Ton Cranes Case Study

The Challenge

 To provide a crane system to help our customer in their manufacturing of large concrete building panels.

Special Consideration

Our customer needed to move large concrete panels through their high capacity manufacturing process.

Our Team Approach

We worked closely with the customer to learn their manufacturing process, their material handling frequency and their performance expectations.  This resulted in the following:

  • Engineering, design, and installation of

    – Crane runway beams and crane rail on their existing concrete column haunches

    – Two (2) 25 ton top running double box girder cranes

    – Engineered lifting beams to facilitate movement of the large precast panels

  • Cranes were sized for heavy duty usage with high speed hoists, trolleys and bridges.

  • Cranes were equipped with radio remote controls for safe and efficient material handling. The remotes allowed the customer to operate the cranes individually and in tandem.


Crane-Tec provided our customer with a complete turnkey crane system that was customized to their manufacturing needs.


Warehouse Expansion Case Study




The Challenge:

To provide our customer, an electric motor manufacturer, with an array of lifting solutions for a large expansion of their facility.


Special Consideration

Our customer needed to be able to move large scale electric motors throughout their facility interacting with multiple workstations.


Our TEAM Approach:

We worked closely with the customer to learn their specific needs, workflow and expectations, which resulted in the following:           

  • Installing Two 25 Ton top running double girder cranes with a radio control system that allows the cranes to be operated in unison, or individually, with only one hand held remote.
  • Installing eight 1-Ton column mounted jib cranes with electric two-speed chain hoists.
  • Installing a 2-Ton floor mounted jib crane with an electric two-speed chain hoist.


We provided our customer with a state of the art lifting system solution that maximized their workflow and productivity and was installed on-time and within budget.


Vacuum Lifter Case Study


The Challenge:

To provide our customer, an industrial metal parts stamping facility, with a safer and more efficient way to load their laser cutting machine.

Special Considerations:

Our customer needed to be able to load the machine with a large piece of sheet metal quickly and safely.  The machine was in a current manufacturing facility which had low ceiling clearance.

 Our TEAM Approach:

Crane-Tec worked closely with the customer to learn their specific needs and expectations of the new system.  With our combined efforts, many options were presented, including:

  • Using the existing building trusses to support a Spanco underhung push-pull bridge, trolley and runway system

  • Installing an R&M electric two speed chain hoist

  • Using an Anver vacuum air lifter with built-in air compressor to lift the sheets with ease.


Crane-Tec’s highly skilled installers installed a state of the art lifting system in just under 24 hours, keeping our customer’s production staff with minimal down time. They are now able to load the machine more safely and efficiently.


Injection Molding Facility Case Study

The Challenge:

To provide
our customer, an injection molding facility, with a larger capacity crane to fit an existing runway system. The customer was upgrading their facility with larger machines and wanted to add  a 7.5-ton top running crane to their existing 5-ton system.

Special Considerations:

The existing crane, being lower capacity, had a shorter stature on the runway rail. With the customer needing a specific lifting height capability, and the building having a low roof, our engineers and staff were up to the challenge.

Our TEAM Approach:

Crane-Tec worked closely with the customer to learn their specific needs and expectations of the new system. With our combined efforts, many options were presented, including:

  • A double girder crane, which allows the use of smaller beams to achieve the low headroom hook height.

  • Radio control operation which allows the operator to stand at a safe distance from the load and move through the factory freely. 

  • A goose neck connection from beam to end truck to maximize lifting height.

  • Duel hoist to aid in larger lifts and rotating molds for service.

  • A warning light and buzzer to alert others in the building the crane is in motion.


Crane-Tec delivered a custom built, state of the art crane.  Following up with our customer, our staff was told with this new system, mold change down time has been cut by 2/3.




Case Study: Unique Free-Standing Crane System

Overhead crane system and workstation crane designed to spec for leading fabrication and engineering firm


Throughout its 35-plus years in business, Crane-Tec has been equipping a wide range of industries with a wide variety of overhead crane systems, including runway systems, monorail hoists, and jib cranes. Crane-Tec has been a leader in furnishing, installing and servicing such systems. Its diverse customer base includes general industry, power plants, the aviation industry, concrete products manufacturers, the automotive industry, machine shops, place injection mold facilities, metal service centers, tool and die facilities, general fabrication facilities and waste water treatment facilities. In addition to designing overhead crane systems, Crane-Tec also does the fabrication and installation.

Often times, Crane-Tec is presented the opportunity to design a freestanding overhead crane system. Although overhead cranes are custom designed to an extent (since the span and capacity are determined by the customer’s needs), a freestanding runway system is completely custom-designed. These customizations are sometimes the result of a building not designed for overhead cranes, which was the situation Crane-Tec faced when a leading fabrication and engineering firm in Indiana needed multiple overhead cranes and runway systems in a building that was designed for a different use.


Custom design of an overhead crane system for this customer presented some unique challenges for Crane-Tec and its engineers. When Crane-Tec surveyed the building purchased by the end user, it was confirmed that the building was not designed with overhead cranes in mind. In this situation, Crane-Tec needed to design free-standing runway systems that were completely independent from the building structure.

Another challenge was meeting the scope of work performed by the end user. As an integral part of the fabrication process, the user needed cranes to move components throughout fabrication, assembly, and loading the finished machines onto trucks. The cranes also needed to move machines in various stages of assembly from workstation to workstation within the building. In addition, the customer needed a crane system that would allow constant reconfiguration of work areas depending on what was being fabricated.

These requirements led to a unique and complex runway system that featured:

  • A very large span for the cranes to keep the building’s floor clear of columns that would interfere with workflow.
  • Jib cranes supported from the runway columns, which differs from typical jib crane installations where the jibs are usually hung from the building or stand independently.
  • A multiple crane system to accommodate a workflow where heavy components are constantly moving.

After multiple site visits, Crane-Tec determined that a 20-ton freestanding runway system was needed, which presented its own unique challenges. First, 20 tons is a rather high capacity for a freestanding runway system being designed to fit inside an existing building. Secondly, adding jib cranes to runway columns requires special columns and footers specially engineered for this project.

The Solution

After addressing the needs and challenges of the steel fabrication and engineering company, Crane-Tec arrived at the solution of a 20-ton freestanding runway system; two  10 ton, 70-plus foot span single box girder cranes; multiple 2 ton jib cranes; and a 2 ton freestanding workstation crane. The solution was a result of Crane-Tec working with the customer to assess their needs, price out multiple options and determine the most cost-effective avenue for the customer.

It’s common for customers to compare the cost of a number of different configurations since crane availability and the location of the runway columns will impact workflow. Many other factors come into play when deciding on the best overhead crane system for the application. In this case, however, functionality, workflow and cost were the three main driving factors.

The Design Process

Once a solution was identified, Crane-Tec worked with the customer and the general contractor to design the customized overhead crane system. Since the freestanding runway system was being installed in an existing building, a site visit was needed to take accurate measurements and assess the structure’s layout.

Runway layout is the most important aspect of an overhead crane system. Generally, the customer knows the required capacity of the crane. Crane-Tec then discusses with the customer how frequently the crane will be used and the size of the loads it will be picking up to determine the classification of the crane. With this detailed information, Crane-Tec engineers design, fabricate, and install the crane system.


Installing such a complex freestanding crane system is no easy task, which is where Crane-Tec’s 35+ years of experience pays off. For the 20-ton freestanding runway system, the general contractor modifying the building had to install concrete footings. The Crane-Tec installation crew was also on site with the necessary installation equipment, including man lifts and a carrydeck crane. The Crane-Tec crew installed anchor bolts for the columns in the footing and then the columns were installed and shimmed to level. Next, the runway beams and crane rail are bolted to the columns and adjusted to meet exacting tolerances. The entire installation process took about 2-1/2 days.

The 2-ton freestanding workstation crane was installed in the same manner as the freestanding runway system. The installation time was about two days.

For the two, 10-ton, 70-plus foot span single box girder overhead cranes, the Crane-Tec crew installed the hoist and festooning on the crane girder, which is the main horizontal beam of the crane bridge that supports the trolley and is itself supported by endtrucks. Once in place, the crane girder, including endtrucks (or the wheels that support the bridge girder), was set on the runway. Assembling and setting the 10-ton cranes took about one day.

The multiple 2-ton jib cranes were cantilever style, consisting of a steel beam with a hinge on one end. The hinge was bolted to the runway column. Then a hoist was installed on the jib crane beam. Each jib took one to two hours to install.

Once all the cranes and supporting equipment were installed, the Crane-Tec crew spent a day starting up and testing all the cranes. Crane-Tec provides an overview on how to operate the equipment and safe operating procedures upon request. This is in addition to an operational and maintenance manual provided with each crane.


The Crane-Tec freestanding crane system is already making a big difference in workflow and production levels for the steel fabrication and engineering firm. The two overhead cranes allow the company to move and position materials before and during fabrication, thus improving time efficiency. The overhead cranes are also utilized for unloading raw materials from trucks, loading fabricated goods on trucks, and moving steel/machines during fabrication from one work area to another.

Without the freestanding crane system, none of this production work could have been performed in the building. The only other option was for the steel fabricator and engineering firm to free up considerable space in the building so materials could be moved by mobile cranes and large fork trucks, a consideration that was not feasible from a cost or work efficiency standpoint.

The Crane-Tec crane system is providing time-saving processes and an easier workflow. The company has already justified the expense of installing the freestanding runway system, single box girder overhead cranes, jib cranes, and freestanding workstation cranes, and is well on its way to realizing its return on investment.


Plastic Parts Overhead Crane

The Challenge:

To provide our customer a plastics part manufacturer with a freestanding 10 ton crane system over existing plastic injection molding machines.


Special Consideration:

1)       Limited clear height in building.

2)      Spacing of machine limits location of freestanding runway columns.

3)      Delicate handling of dies.

 Our Team Approach:

Our project manager precisely measured the building and location of plastic injection molding machine.  We located the runway column between the existing machine; this required different lengths of runway beams.  The 10 ton single girder crane was supplied with a low head room hoist to overcome the low building height.  We recommended a two-step variable speed radio controlled crane for precise handling.   


The customer located a new machine in a different location.  During the installation, Crane-Tec relocated two columns at no addition cost to the customer. 

The customer is able to change large dies in the machine safely and quickly.


Steel Warehouse Cranes

Steel Warehouse Facility 10 ton cranes with dual 5 ton hoists.


Crane-Tec supplied (2) 10 ton dual hoists cranes to a steel warehouse facility in South Dakota.  Considering the customers business and expertise the customer supplied steel for the project and saved thousands.

Crane-Tec crews installed the crane, crane rail and electrification successfully without a hitch.

The cranes were equipped with hoist summation overload limit devices, bridge travel limit switched and radio remotes with hoist A – hoist B selector switches for simultaneous and independent control.  This is the second set of cranes the customer has purchased from Crane-Tec and we look forward to continuing to work with them as they grow.


Midwest Mine Maintenance Facility 25 Ton Crane

25 ton Top Running Double Girder Crane for Mine Maintenance Facility


Crane-Tec just completed the turn-key Design, Fabrication and Installation of a 25 ton long span crane for a mine maintenance facility in the Midwest.  Crane-Tec was contacted by the General Contractor to supply drawing and assist I in the design phase.


Crane-Tec supplied and installed the overhead crane, crane rail and electrification on-time and to a satisfied customer.