There are a variety of cranes and hoists that will simply lift and lower an object into or out of a van or box truck, but there are only a few that can do so with precision, while fully extended and managing their maximum load capacity.
SPACE AT A PREMIUM
Cranes and hoists that serve the needs of vocational vans and box trucks must not only manage the lifting and lowering of payloads, they must not take up too much of their vehicle’s valuable cargo space before, during, and after the performance of their duties. The need for maximum strength in a minimized package is paramount.
Another challenge is the proper positioning and orientation of the cargo being moved. Post-mounted and fixed-axis cranes have an operational arc and can only lift and lower an object along the fixed trajectory of the crane’s arm as it pivots around the single axis of the crane’s vertical post. Though the arc can be increased and decreased by extending or retracting the crane arm, as a rule, no adjustment can be made under load. Additionally, the lifting capacity of post-mounted and fixed-axis cranes is generally diminished proportionately to the crane arm’s extension, sometimes cutting it to less than half the maximum load limit.
The rotational and weight limitations that post-mounted and fixed-axis cranes impose create difficulties for operators loading and unloading cargo. Because a shorter crane arm length must be used for heavy items, these items are often deposited in the most inopportune location: centered in the doorway, behind the rear axle. Cargo sitting just inside the door presents several problems, including encumbering further access to the cargo area and incorrect weight distribution that could affect vehicle handling.
Once the cargo is inside the vehicle, operators are left with a choice of having to move it a second time, often by brute force, or by means of a hand truck. Worst of all, they may simply try to work around it. If a dolly is employed, particularly in the case of a heavy load, the odds of personal injury and cargo damage increase. And, some cargo simply shouldn’t be tipped.
The operational arc of post-mounted and fixed-axis cranes also comes into play when trying to orient a vehicle for a specific lifting or lowering task. Unless the target is in precise alignment with the operational arc, an undertaking such as raising or depositing equipment through a manhole can become nearly impossible. Maneuvering a vehicle to achieve optimal positioning can be frustrating, time consuming, and inefficient.
The MAD EasyLoad Crane was developed as an intelligent alternative to post-mounted and fixed-axis cranes. Like some other cranes, the EasyLoad remains inside the vehicle, away from the elements. However, unlike post-mounted and fixed-axis cranes, the EasyLoad resides at ceiling height, above shelving and can slide to either side of the vehicle or stow in the center of the cargo hold until needed. Its boom is easily positioned for the task at hand because it can move on two axes, sliding laterally up to 8 ft, depending on the vehicle, and extending up to 45.5 inches in length.
“The dual-axis MAD EasyLoad Crane makes it easy for operators to lift and lower cargo with pinpoint accuracy, because they don’t have to worry about positioning the vehicle in exact relationship to a target,” Steven Peterson, president of National Fleet Products, says. “The EasyLoad allows operators to navigate cargo through manholes and to position the winch for optimal load securement, even when the host vehicle isn’t perfectly oriented.”
The EasyLoad not only offers better lifting characteristics, but it has superior loading capabilities as well. Unlike swiveling cranes that do well to simply position a load at the threshold of a cargo hold, the EasyLoad can take the load well into the cargo space, forward of the vehicle’s rear axle, depositing it in an optimal position with its unique dual-axis precision.
Unlike post-mounted and fixed-axis cranes that can lose lifting capacity when fully extended, the MAD EasyLoad crane provides full-length boom travel with no loss of capacity. With its 45.5-inch boom extension combined with a 1,100-lb lifting capability, it also outperforms the majority of vehicle-based post-mounted cranes. A robust 12-volt, 100-amp electric motor drives the boom and winch action, lifting maximum loads at up to 2 inches per second, at lengths of up to 65 ft. Handheld controls are easy to understand and operate even with one hand, and an 8-ft cable enables operators to position themselves safely in relationship to cargo as the EasyLoad moves. Unlike most winches, the EasyLoad operates quietly, allowing verbal communication to continue even during its operation.
The MAD EasyLoad Crane is simple to install and only takes about four hours to do so. A low-profile tubular steel structure is configured to fit virtually any commercial van, service vehicle, or box truck. The design transfers the load to the floor, and the four-legged configuration maintains structural integrity by attaching to the rear doorframe and interior structural members with just four brackets. Cast iron mounting feet secure the framework to the deck.
The system is easily wired, and a simple door switch prevents the hoist from operating when the vehicle is closed. And, the EasyLoad can be uninstalled and reinstalled in a new vehicle.
“The MAD EasyLoad Crane is a smart new solution to an old problem—it’s truly a game changer,” says Peterson.
The 1,100-lb capacity, heavy-duty EasyLoad Crane weighs 330 lbs, not including its steel framework, which varies according to the vehicle it serves. Its boom is 90 inches long when fully retracted, and its winch uses a 3/16-inch steel cable. The light-duty EasyLoad Crane can lift up to 550 lbs and weighs only 220 lbs, not including its steel framework. Its boom is 75 inches long when fully retracted, and it uses a .19-inch steel cable. Both systems are easy to maintain, requiring just one annual service interval and periodic cable inspections.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
The MAD EasyLoad Crane is available in the US exclusively through National Fleet Products. Find out more, call 763.762.3451, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
MODERN WORKTRUCK SOLUTIONS: APRIL 2018 ISSUE
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