No Day Dreaming Allowed

Cranes are fascinating pieces of equipment.  There are many configurations of cranes.  There are mobile cranes on large haulers; stationary cranes for putting up skyscrapers; small portable cranes for miscellaneous work; and traveling cranes located inside manufacturing facilities – just to name a few options.

Recently I have read where some cranes have been tipped over.  One broke in half in a storm.  You can find pictures of cranes in accidents on the internet.  When no one is hurt it is entertaining to look at them.

I have seen cranes used for advertising.  A company will use a crane to lift something significant, such as an automobile, in the air and just leave it there.  Apparently the rent on the crane is less than the cost of T.V. or journalism advertising.

One of the wildest experiences I had working around, or in spite of, cranes was at the Kaiser Aluminum plant.

We were installing light fixtures near the ceiling, above the bottom of the open truss work.  There were cranes in use that were of the traveling variety.  The cranes were on a horizontal beam configuration that rested on wheels and overhead tracks on each side of the work bay.  As items were lifted they could be moved lengthwise along the bay and then sat down for the next operation.

We were working off of a mobile lift boom unit within the traveling area of the crane.  (Ladders would have been imprudent, given the circumstances.)  I was a little nervous at the start of the job.  I thought that the facility would shut the crane down while we were working there, but that was not what happened.

Instead, each crane would honk as it approached where we worked.  We then had to stop what we were doing and descend with our lift boom then travel out of the way of the crane load.  If the crane was on a quick trip we would wait till it came back before we could go back up to our project.  If the crane was on an extended trip we would go back up immediately.

It was quite a game of up and down and over and past and around.  I was constantly concerned about things like; “Is that guy running the crane awake?”  Does he look in all directions as he is traveling the crane?”  “Does he give himself plenty of room?”  “Are his breaks good?”  One mistake on the operators part and we would be in oblivion.  But those guys were pretty good operators.  They never made one slip.

I don’t know how they figured the time on the job when it was bid, but we didn’t get our job done very quickly.

I was very happy when the job was finished!

Besides, there was no day dreaming on that project.