A systematic approach to acquiring a crane is wise, and some would say that properly analyzing why you need it is as important as the decision itself.
Ask yourself this question: is the crane meant for a standard industrial task or is it needed for something more specialized?
How high and wide must the crane lift and how much in weight should it lift? What duty class will you require? What hoist class should it fit into?
Productivity add ons can make your crane more productive. Sway control and target positioning are two add ons as is radio remote control. The hoisting speed may be made adjustable.
Due to economic factors, crane manufacturers have been cautious about ramping up production and building up inventories. One result is that it has assisted the used crane market. Purchasing a used crane can be a viable option.
The history of the crane, including the application for which the crane was used, and its geographic location, is as important as the year, model and hours. Corrosion caused by environmental factors can be a very destructive element. Demolition or shock loading during an application can be equally damaging to a crane. Has the manufacturer reported accidents or major repair damage? Any repairs made should have been properly documented and compliant to the standards of the United States’ (US) Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
More than likely buying a used crane will require some repairs or reconditioning. If purchased correctly, these cranes can make exceptional deals and can be brought back into “like new condition.”
A good question to ask is: Can you can find an experienced operator to run the crane? Another question to consider is: How difficult will it be to find spare parts and technical support? And finally: Is the manufacturer still in business or have they been acquired by another company?
Be sure you do your due diligence if you buy off the Internet, like on EBay or Craig’s List. It will likely be difficult to get things like maintenance records.
If you are considering installing and buying a used crane, here are some problems to look for during inspection. Beware of leaking fluids underneath and a smoking or no-start engine. Any welds, loud noises and seized parts are a problem. Check the brakes.
It might be money well spent to hire a professional inspector. But as we all know, the budget is king!
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