Dietrich Construction discovers Potain Hup 40-30 self-erecting crane provides greater productivity on downtown Fargo jobsites.
Like a lot of downtowns across the United States, Fargo, North Dakota, is experiencing a renaissance. Rehabilitation and new building construction have been ongoing for several years, with much of it multi-story structures that offer commercial shops at ground level and residential living space on the upper floors.
Local contractor Dietrich Construction’s presence on these construction sites has been ongoing since 2017. Like other projects it has completed during that time, its latest has the nearly 45-year-old company performing framing and rough carpentry. The scope of work includes erecting wood wall panels and truss systems across the entire site which stretches between two streets.
Dietrich Construction lifts the materials to the upper levels with its Potain Hup 40-30 self-erecting tower crane. At one point it had two units on site, working in tandem on each side of the project. Construction is scheduled to take several months and will complete in two phases.
“On our first downtown site, we quickly realized that our conventional methods of using larger mobile cranes would not work in this environment,” recalled Nick Dietrich, a second-generation partner in Dietrich Construction. “The streets and alleyways are tight, and it’s essential to keep them open. It was apparent that we needed a crane with a small footprint that also had the required reach and capacity to be able to pick the load and place it anywhere on the site.”
Dietrich contacted local Potain dealer General Equipment & Supplies and he and the company’s vice president sales, Matt Kern, talked through options. They decided that renting a 4.4 USt capacity Potain Hup 40-30 with 131 ft of maximum reach was the right choice. Additionally, the telescopic mast allows the crane to erect in narrow and compact spaces when working next to buildings. A simple click of a button lets operators raise the mast to the desired height.
“At full pick it will move 2,200 lbs, so it gives us plenty of capacity,” Dietrich said. “Right away, it made a positive impact, so we decided to purchase the crane and make it a permanent part of our fleet. It obviously gets the job done, but it also improves the work environment because we can use it to stand up walls while our guys secure them into place. This means they don’t have to hang on and nail the wall at the same time, reducing a potential hazard.”
With 100% remote control operation, operators can move the load from virtually anywhere on-site and keep it in sight at all times with no blind picks.
“It’s simple and easy,” said operator Nick Loegering. “The right stick is boom up and down, and the left is swing right and left and trolley in and out. I can walk around and be next to, or right near, the pick at all times. I’m mainly lifting prefabricated wall panels and trusses with a maximum weight of about 900 lbs, so it has more than enough capacity. You can put restrictions on it, so that you can’t overload the crane. Setup each day is done by turning on the generator that supplies the power, flipping a switch on the machine, syncing it up and going to work. It takes about a minute.”
Potain self-erecting tower cranes are fully electric and provide a clean and quiet lifting alternative to customers limited by noise or emission regulations. Kern said site setup is easy too, with three truck loads to move. The crane is moved behind one, and the counterweights on the other two. Using a forklift and rigging, two workers can have it ready to go in four to six hours.
“We want to make sure the Potain Hup 40-30 is right first, so we work with the contractors to do a site analysis,” Kern explained. “In these urban environments where space is limited, it often is the only choice. A few years ago, we saw that with the rebuilding in downtown Fargo that there was a need for taller cranes, and the Hup 40-30 is a perfect fit. We organize the electrical, make sure the proper permits are in place and there is an adequate foundation for the crane when we rent one. General and Potain provide ongoing support.
“One unique aspect of the Hup 40-30 is Smart Setup, which is unique to Potain,” Kern added. “It’s safe because it won’t allow the operator to do anything out of order. The crane has a checklist, and you can make it repeatable. It’s a great feature.”
Kern said other contractors are taking notice of Dietrich Construction’s use of the cranes and are inquiring about renting a Potain Hup 40-30 for their limited-space jobsites. Dietrich noted that he’s had other contractors ask him about them as well.
“The visibility of it has been another positive for us,” Dietrich added. “Other contractors see it and contact us about doing jobs for them. For a company like us that doesn’t really advertise, that’s great. It’s a real statement piece.”