A leading manufacturer of custom-built, heavy-duty specialty chassis, Crane Carrier Company contributes to an operator’s bottom line with durable mobile equipment for refuse collection, freight and container handling and other applications. As Barbara Kram reports, their equipment is the solution for the rugged needs of government and private customers.
Like all baby boomers, Crane Carrier Company was born just after World War II. When military heavy equipment returned from the service and needed to be adapted to a burgeoning post-war economy, the company re-engineered the surplus vehicles to meet the requirements of the construction and petroleum industries. Crane Carrier Company found its niche in 1953 by engineering totally custom chassis, built from the ground up, for heavy-duty applications. The company made a name for itself producing custom chassis for the mobile crane market.
Now a seasoned veteran celebrating 50 years, Crane Carrier Company specializes in custom production of chassis for waste collection, terminal tractors, and OEM equipment and other tough on- and off-road vocational uses.
“We really try to be specialists in the markets we serve,” says President and COO Reg Wallace. “We don’t sell a general-purpose vehicle that somebody has to cut and modify. When we sell a chassis, we know exactly what body is going on it.”
Crane Carrier Company’s 500,000-square-foot facility in Tulsa, Okla. integrates the headquarters, manufacturing facilities and parts distribution operations. Manufacturing capabilities include state-of-the-art, computer-aided design, followed up with expert frame weldment; drilling and assembly; painting; sheet and heavy metal fabrication; cab weldment and assembly; electrical design and fabrication; air systems plumbing and many other operations, along with quality control and inspection. Engineering and craftsmanship separate Crane Carrier Company from the competition. The average tenure of its approximately 200 people is nearly 30 years.
“Custom” is always right
Every Crane chassis fills a void in the market and is engineered for special or extreme operational requirements not met by mass producers of heavy-duty (Class 8) trucks. A custom Crane chassis can cost more than mass-produced products, but Crane chassis typically offer a longer life cycle and reduced overall operating costs. In the vocational markets, most other trucks will run for five to seven years. Crane’s equipment generally runs for seven to 10 years and often even longer because of heavy-duty construction and features like bracketry that do not require replacement.
Refuse chassis are a perfect example of the advantage of custom-built equipment in a field in which durability is essential. Municipalities and regional and private haulers know the importance of durable, reliable equipment in extremely tough, high-cycle use. Crane’s new LET2 (low entry tilt) refuse chassis features the lowest cab step-in height available, 18-19 inches. A conventional chassis cab height is 36-48 inches.
“If you were getting into that cab hundreds of times a day, you can imagine the fatigue, back pulls, workers’ compensation claims and everything that goes along with guys jumping out of the cab,” Wallace says. The lower step height can significantly reduce physical strain on the collection crew, increasing overall efficiency and productivity to make a tough job better.
High-quality cab and chassis design elements add benefits for drivers and operators alike on the LET2 and LCF (low cab forward) equipment. For example, Crane Carrier Company offers the largest radiator available in the industry, located above the engine and behind the cab for improved serviceability, and noise and heat reduction.
Cab configurations – with easy entry and exit and the tallest and widest cab door available – include left hand, right hand, or dual steer with stand up and sit down configurations for the right hand side. Crane Carrier Company even produces a crew cab configuration, unique in the industry.
“We are a large, little company,” explains Glenn Pochocki, vice president of sales and marketing “We’re big enough to do what we do best but small enough to respond quickly to customers’ and dealers’ requests. And we are second to none in the quality and safety of our products.”
For nationwide access to service and parts, Crane chassis include commercial drive trains and the widest choice of engines available, including Caterpillar, Cummins, and John Deere to satisfy customers’ preferences.
Choose the company’s workhorse diesel or alternate fuel vehicles that exceed tough EPA standards.
“We are concerned with emissions and the environment and we want to look at new technology,” says Pochocki. “We were the first manufacturer in the country to build a heavy-duty, Class 8 truck chassis with a dedicated CNG (compressed natural gas) engine and the first to build a school bus chassis with a dedicated CNG powered vehicle.”
Like the LET2, the company’s rugged CNG and LNG (liquefied natural gas) powered vehicles come in various configurations for the waste industry such as front, rear and automated side loading refuse hauling bodies.
The refuse vehicle specialists also focus on design for ease of maintenance. Its EPA/DOT certified, on-highway machines include ground-level fluid checks and fills for periodic maintenance without raising the cab and a convenient front access door for easy heater and electrical maintenance. When engine work is required, the increased forward tilt angle of the cab allows for full engine access.
In addition to specialized refuse hauling, the same proven design and high performance make the job easier for equipment operators of mobile drill rigs, mobile blast hole equipment for mining, mobile aviation refueling, and OEM, specialty, and other demanding on- and off- highway vocational applications. Customer-focused sales reps, dealer distributors, and service and parts pros are also vital to their multi-dimensional operations.
Another ideal platform for Crane Carrier Company’s robust, extreme-duty chassis is in the container handling industry. Picture its heavy-duty, terminal tractors hauling freight and cargo for military or commercial applications in shipyards, rail yards and warehouse terminals.
It’s no wonder the U.S. Army chose Crane Carrier Company as a major supplier for its M878 yard tractor. According to the Army, the vehicle “provides soldiers with the truck fleet regarded throughout the Army for setting the standards for operational readiness, safety, reliability, and low sustainment costs.”
Looks like the Crane Carrier Company has come full circle and the baby boomer is in the Army now.