H&N Crane Service Inc. is utilizing Caldwell’s 2.5-ton capacity, radio-controlled Rig-Release, below-the-hook of its fleet of mobile cranes. Owner-operator, Jeffrey Noss, explains why.
When you own and operate a small fleet of cranes—we have a 70-ton capacity Link-Belt and two 40-ton capacity Terex mobiles—it’s important to maintain healthy utilization and give our customers an efficient, safe, lifting service.
That means we’re always looking for methods and rigging tools that might enhance the way we work—and Caldwell’s patented Rig-Release is a perfect example. Further, bringing it to jobs makes us look like a trailblazer in our sector.
But why does our opinion matter? My business partner, Steve Hoff, and I know a thing or two about cranes and rigging. We have over 30 years of experience and have run a successful crane rental business ourselves since 2005. We are NCCCO (National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators)-certified operators and have seen it all—from the cab to below-the-hook, and everything in between.
Caldwell offers two different ranges of the patented Rig-Release, both are designed so they cannot release the rigging while loaded:
We hear that the first one is also easy to rig, lift, set, and release, and comes with a lock-and-capture feature that can engage with very small load weights for optimal safety. But we have the second version, in 2.5-ton capacity, so this is the one I’ve been asked to tell you more about.
First, it’s designed for rugged, outdoor use, which is necessary for our type of work. Safety is immediately enhanced because it allows rigging to be released from a safe distance at the push of a button. Along with the lock-and-capture feature, our Rig-Release arrived with two rechargeable batteries, a charger, and a vehicle adapter, for standard 12VDC vehicle outlets. Caldwell explained that the batteries are designed to last an eight-hour shift, depending on the frequency of operation.
Once out of the box, set-up on the crane was easy and you can attach it to the hook or spreader beam, without difficulty. From there, we attach slings directly to the hook and rig the load. Most of the time, we operate it from the crane cab.
We’ve had the Rig-Release for a little while and have used it primarily on residential construction sites, often to set trusses, but general contractors have also benefited from its use. We recently used it to lift 3,200-lbs. of roofing truss—no problem. It’s not unusual for us to be called in to lift heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) units too. In fact, this small-scale construction represents the bulk of work for our Link-Belt and Terex mobiles.
Feedback is always good when the Rig-Release is used, and time and safety are enhanced. What we’re now investing our resources in is raising awareness about the benefits of using the product and making its use profitable in an industry where taxi-crane companies like ours are typically billing our customers per hour.
More and more contractors have realized its benefits over time. In one recent project, the customer said, “You can bring it along every time and charge me extra for it, if you need to.”
That’s the type of conversation we want to be having. Once people understand that being able to release rigging from a safe distance at the push of a button is a good thing in many scenarios, utilization can only grow, perhaps to the point where its use could become ubiquitous.
We’re in ongoing dialog with the manufacturer, Caldwell, because we must combine our outreach efforts to make sure that our potential customers and their peers, in addition to crane rental firms, understand the advantages of using Rig-Release. Anyone in the crane and rigging industry will see it once and become a supporter of its use, and that trend is now being replicated among the people making purchasing decisions on our type of service. But we’ve got to keep driving that message home.
H&N Crane Service Inc. operates out of Janesville, Wisconsin, but sends cranes to projects in Illinois too. Look out for them—and Caldwell’s Rig-Release—at a jobsite near you.