Maeda Mini Crawler Saves the Day for Rooftop A/C Project

Photo courtesy of ALL Crane
A Maeda mini crawler crane was placed on top of a building to put an air handling unit in place.

Wed June 26, 2024
ALL Crane

Even in the crane business, where long booms and massive capacities are often coveted, bigger isn't always better. That's how a tiny crane that folds down to a mere 30 in. across ended up the hero of a rooftop utility project.

Typically, air handling units are lifted atop tall buildings by big cranes with long reach. The crane sets up on the street below and reaches up and over the building. But in this case, there was an obstruction, and it wasn't going anywhere: two elevated pedestrian bridges running between the target building and a neighbor.

"It was theoretically possible to thread the boom between the walkways, but we would have no way to assemble a longer boom/jib combination," said Brian Meek, equipment specialist for ALL Erection & Crane Rental, a member of the ALL Family of Companies. "And due to roadwork on another street bordering the building, this was the only location where we could set a crane if we hoped to lift and set the unit from the street. We knew we needed a different strategy."

Instead, the team at ALL came up with a novel solution. Why not lift a Maeda mini crawler crane on top of the building and let it put the air handling unit in place? Performing the lift with a crane positioned on the actual roof of the building removed the pedestrian walkways as a factor.

Doing so also allowed the larger crane to set up well away from the pedestrian bridges when it set the Maeda. The Maeda could then be maneuvered to the appropriate spot on the roof, pick the unit, and set it. Using its external controls, ALL's operator could walk the Maeda in place to pick up the unit.

The Maeda MC285 packs a punch into its small frame, with a boom that extends to 28 ft. and a 3-ton capacity. The air handling unit was just 800 lbs. — well within range.

Despite their small size, these crawlers are visually striking because their outriggers unfold and arc away from the body of the crane like legs. Those leg-like outriggers came in handy on the roof because they were able to straddle some piping as the Maeda worked directly atop some roof protection that had been laid down.

Also, because the Maeda MC285 is battery-powered, there were no emissions generated. This was ideal for working near air venting, as would be expected when setting a heating and cooling unit.

ALL also provided the Liebherr LTM 1450 all terrain crane to set the Maeda on the roof. It was configured with 190 ft. of main boom and 126 ft. of luffing jib to lift the Maeda up and out 200 ft. for placement.

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