Landwehr Construction's Road Warrior
ST. CLOUD, MN "The crane made us money," said Chuck Paulson, Crane Manager for St. Cloud, Minnesota, -based Landwehr Construction, Inc., after completing back-to-back cooling tower installation and petro vessel removal projects for customers. "Had we not had a machine like the AC 350/6 crane, we could not have competitively bid the jobs."
A little more than six months ago, Landwehr made the bold move and jumped up to the 400-ton crane capacity class by investing in the Terex® AC 350/6 all terrain crane. Since that time, the crane has not often seen Landwehr's yard. Prior to the purchase, the fifth generation family company that traces its heritage to the turn of the 20th century had a crane fleet ranging from 30 to 275-ton capacity class. However, increasing competition and changes in the market necessitated the increase in crane capacity.
"Simply put, we were missing out on the next level of work, the jobs with longer reaches and heavier lifts," said Pat Herron, Crane Division Manager for Landwehr. "We were a little hesitant to make the jump at first, but, with our headquarters within about an hour's drive of Minneapolis, there is much competition in the lower capacity classes. Once you get to the 400-ton class, there is less competition, especially when heading west toward the Dakotas, and we have a customer base where we will travel up to 500 miles for a lift project."
Landwehr's heritage stems from the construction industry. The company completes a broad range of work, ranging from utility and excavation and site development to environmental remediation and solar services. For decades, the crane and rigging division's primary work stemmed from lifts to support the other Landwehr divisions. The 275-ton class cranes did not offer enough capacity for the growing body of construction work.
"Precast tilt-up walls for commercial building construction projects were getting bigger and heavier, and the radius and panel size were increasing," said Paulson. "We recently finished a department store construction project where the wall panels were 120,000-pounds. If our fleet topped off at the 275-ton class, we would lose out on that work."
Versatility and Durability
The type of crane to add to Landwehr's fleet was made easier from previous experience of another all terrain crane. Sixteen years ago, when Paulson joined the Landwehr team, the company had just five cranes in its fleet. In 2016, that number has increased to 23 cranes, as the contractor has added taxi service and crane rental to its list of crane and rigging services provided.
Another reason for the AC 350/6 purchase is versatility. Using different counterweight configurations, Paulson reports that the crane is used on multiple jobs, and, depending on how much counterweight is needed to complete a lift, he can send just one, but no more than six, additional supporting truckloads for the full counterweight package.
"While we always want jobs with maximum counterweight, the ability to adjust counterweight packages keeps this crane busy," said Paulson. "We will go out with a basic 39,900-pound counterweight package and one supporting truckload, and for 275-ton capacity class jobs we use 76,500 pounds of counterweight. The ability to vary our counterweight keeps trucking costs down, so we remain competitive."
Multiple boom options for the all terrain crane increase the project adaptability for Landwehr as well. The AC 350/6 crane offers a maximum 210-foot main boom, and multiple luffing jib options give Landwehr a maximum 412.4-foot system length for lifting flexibility at the project site. Additionally, the crane's Superlift structure for the main boom increases lift capacities when working at extended radius.
The combination of long luffing jib and Superlift configurations helped Landwehr to land and profitably complete two recent back-to-back industrial lifts.