Locke Crane Services added a unique National Crane 800D to its fleet.

Locke Crane Services added a unique National Crane 800D to its fleet.

Locke Crane Services recently added a rather unique National Crane 800D to its fleet. A customer of Locke's needed a crane that could travel over very rough terrain to help replace and install power lines in remote areas of New England. While reach was important for this application, the real challenge was the crane's carrier. Locke needed a crane that would be able to navigate difficult areas, many without roads.

Ken Locke, owner, said most truck cranes provided the lift capability but were not well suited for the uneven terrain. "We would usually use our 60-ton truck crane for power line work, but it often got stuck in the sand or had trouble moving through heavily wooded areas," he said. "So, we worked with Shawmut Equipment, our Manitowoc dealer, to find an alternative solution using a National Crane."

The solution involved another equipment manufacturer - Caterpillar. A CAT 574 forwarder, a type of forestry machine designed to operate in extremely rough terrain, was modified to carry a National Crane 800D.

Joe Vergoni, a sales representative for Shawmut Equipment, said the company worked closely with Locke to develop the crane. "National Cranes are typically mounted on commercial truck chassis, but this unit was completely customized," he said. "We removed the racks and grapple from the forwarder and customized the National Crane 800D to fit. Everything from the hydraulics to the operator station was completely re-thought for this project."

Locke said the crane has been in the field since mid-May and has been performing well. "We have been very pleased with the carrier's performance," he said.

The National Crane 800D is a 23-ton capacity crane with a 100-foot, four-section boom and features a patent-pending internal anti-two-block design which routes the wire inside the boom to avoid snagging.

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