Crane Provides Fresh Method for Loading and Unloading Cargo



Many contractors and companies are electing to use Euro-style work vans, which typically are larger and have roomy rear-cargo areas that can be configured with a variety of shelving, storage, and hauling options. The Euro-style van Automotive Parts Solutions, Inc. (APS) uses to deliver used auto parts to insurance companies, collision centers, and auto-repair facilities throughout Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Iowa, also serves as a moving billboard. A URG-8000 certified and CAR Gold-Seal certified recycler, Minnesota-based APS prides itself on providing accurate part descriptions, quality auto parts, and professional service.


Before switching to a Euro-style van, APS was making deliveries with several cube vans that had heavy, expensive lift gates. The decision was made to switch to a medium-size Ford Transit Connect, a Euro-style van that offers fuel economy, flexibility, and better cargo capacity and payload. The question quickly arose about how best to equip the van for loading and unloading heavy cargo.

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Robert Witzmann, APS operations and recycling-yard manager, knew a hydraulic lift wouldn’t work on the Transit, as among other issues, it would have blocked one of the doors. So, APS opted to install a specialized crane that is the first of its kind in the industry. The company worked with North Central Truck, a Saint Cloud, Minnesota, distributor, to have the Transit equipped with a Venturo VC1000 Van Crane, manufactured by Venco Venturo Industries.

The crane features a horizontally articulated jib boom, able to reach deep into the van and move up to 1,000 lbs within 3 ft of reach. This alleviates the need for a forklift or heavy lift gate.
“We use the Ford Transit for short runs and customer visits, and it rides like a big mini van when we’re not using the crane,” Witzmann says. “But it is also convenient to have the crane available without having to drive a large cube van. We are able to lift and deliver engines, transmissions, and other heavy items we wouldn’t be able to without the crane. It is the best of both worlds.”


The VC1000 crane is secure, swings and pivots smoothly, and doesn’t slide around, Witzmann says. A dual floor-and-ceiling-mounted mast, integrated into the van’s structure, ensures integrity. The boom’s roller bearings allow an operator to easily guide loads in and out of the van. The crane also features rotation controls for primary and secondary booms, which have hand levers that operate multi-positional locks as an additional safeguard. It folds up against an inside wall, protecting it from weather. Standard features include a 12V DC, planetary gear, 1.3 hp winch, 12-ft corded controller, and a master disconnect switch kit.

“The van crane only takes up about 10 ft x 10 ft of floor space behind the wheel well, and we can still get a sheet of plywood in there, so realistically it takes up no usable floor space. There is a basket for the controls and it tucks nicely out of the way when we’re not using it,” Witzmann says. “Safety bars can get salt and debris in them, and this crane always looks brand new since we don’t have to worry about weather conditions affecting it.”

Another benefit is low maintenance, he adds. “The VC1000 has really been a good piece of machinery for us and we can always count on it to work.”


Find out more about the Venco VC1000 Van Crane, visit


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