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Cranes & Equipment: We’ve All Come a Long Way

By: Joan E. Ausbury, President Cranes & Equipment Corp. Peoria, IL

It was July 18, 1986, Kansas City, Missouri and the vision is still clear in my aging mind. The hole is dug, the footers are in, and there’s a busload of CFA members milling about the typical mounds of dirt around an excavation. The building site is on a slight hill in a wooded area. The entrance drive gently winds around the hill.

You could hear it coming and you could see the puffs of smoke from the exhaust as the truck works its way up the hill. It’s a tandem axle chassis full of concrete forms in baskets with a 35’ knuckleboom crane on the back. What a site!

The truck backs into a cleared area at which time the driver gets out, sets the outrigger booms and starts to unfold the goliath. It looks just like a giant arm booming up, knuckling under and picking 3,400 lb. loads of 34 – 3’ x 8’ aluminum panels off the truck and into the hole. All this in just a matter of minutes. The laborers are already in the hole unstrapping the panels and setting them in place as the crane repeats the process, emptying the truck of its load and providing enough forms to set a complete foundation.

Although I had sold my first crane into the poured concrete wall industry two years earlier (spring of 1984), this was the first mass demonstration of a form handling boom truck that I recall. Handling wall panels in baskets with a crane was in its infancy. The past two decades have brought about considerable changes: changes in the types/size of forms – how to handle 10’ forms and gang forms; building sites have changed – impossible to build on; foundation footprints have changed dramatically – no more rectangular homes.

It was in 1986 that we, The Supply House, Inc., became a member of the CFA. Our first year at the World of Concrete was 1988, albeit in the parking lot of the Las Vegas Hilton. 1992 brought about a name change to Cranes & Equipment Corp. but our dedication to this industry only intensified. As a specialist in providing form handling boom trucks and working closely with contractors and fellow CFA members, our business grew tremendously and in turn, I believe, has had a dramatic effect on handling forms and allowed contractors to grow.

Only by knowing and understanding the poured wall industry can one provide a reliable and safe product that will work in this industry. Networking with fellow CFA members during summer meetings and workshops has helped not only educate ourselves, but also given us the opportunity to inform its members about equipment that is available to assist them in their business.

And to think 20 years ago a crane with 35’ of reach was the cats meow. It’s not only job sites and the size of forms that have changed. Today one needs binoculars to see to the end of the boom tip with reaches pushing 100 feet. Where will it all end? I don’t know, but with constant communication with fellow CFA members, we’ll continue to pave the way for bigger and better solutions.

A total of 22 contractor member firms were represented at that 1986 sumer CFA meeting in Kansas City..



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Concrete FACTS, a publication of the Concrete Foundations Association, is THE voice for residential concrete industry news, market intelligence, business strategies, technical solutions, product information, and other resources for professionals in the cast-in-place concrete industry. Subscriptions to Concrete FACTS is available to anyone involved or interested in the residential concrete industry as a service to your industry. Please contact CFA Headquarters to find out more about your free subscription or Email Us