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Lift-All Crane Service's New Grove Truck Cranes Navigate Roads With Ease

Thu March 04, 2021 - National Edition

Lift-All's Owner Joe Hylok is particularly pleased with how well the new model has fit in with his other cranes, filling the ambiguous middle ground.
Lift-All's Owner Joe Hylok is particularly pleased with how well the new model has fit in with his other cranes, filling the ambiguous middle ground.
Lift-All's Owner Joe Hylok is particularly pleased with how well the new model has fit in with his other cranes, filling the ambiguous middle ground.

Lift-All Crane Service's distinctive baby blue cranes have been a common sight on the highways and job sites of eastern Nebraska and western Iowa ever since the company was founded in 1977.

This long-time Grove customer has recently acquired another two truck cranes from nearby dealer Aspen Equipment to fill a couple of gaps in its fleet: namely, a TMS9000-2 at the end of 2018 and a TMS500-2 in the spring of 2020.

Lift-All's Owner Joe Hylok is particularly pleased with how well the new 100 t model has fitted in: "We had 80 t and 120 t cranes so there was always this ambiguous middle ground, but the TMS9000-2 has filled that void. It worked out fantastic; it really hit the ground running."

One key reason for this instant success lies in the crane's superb driving experience: "Typically, every time you get in a bigger crane, the further you get away from base, the more of a hindrance it becomes," Hylok continued. "Half of the battle is just getting the crane to the job site. But with this crane, the cab is comfortable, and it roads almost as nice as a tractor-trailer, so it's easy on the operator. It's efficient and it's fast."

Wiggle Room

This enhanced drivability is largely due to the TMS9000-2's compact dimensions, lively maneuvering and light roading weight afforded by the removable counterweight feature. This enables up to 48,500 lbs. to be hydraulically withdrawn from around the superstructure cab, greatly simplifying transport. With Lift-All working across many different sectors, including roofing, cell towers, trusses, steel erection and HVAC, this greater flexibility, along with the easy setup, frequently comes in very useful.

"One of the great things about the crane is that it has the ability to wear a lot of hats. If we have a heavier pick, we can add extra counterweight later, meaning that's an extra 12,000 lbs. the crane doesn't have to carry on the road," Hylok explained. "We can just take the crane along with one small support truck for the extra counterweight; it's the perfect little package.

"We also work in a lot of residential neighborhoods where you have to tread lightly, with roundabouts, narrow streets, etc. The machine is set up to be light and nimble enough to access these areas and perform picks without any issues. Previously, we would always put a jib on our 80 t crane when setting pools in swim spas, but even without a jib on the TMS9000-2, we can set a pool at 150 ft. It's just incredible to be able to go that far without putting a jib on."

This feat is made possible by the TMS9000-2's MEGAFORM six-section boom shape that increases capacity over conventional designs. Extending from 36 to 169 ft., it makes optimum use of the Twin-Lock pinning system that not only eliminates weight from inside the extended boom but automatically locks the sections together. There is, of course, optional luffing extensions for picks that require improved up-and-over reach.

Joining the Old-Timers

Still working without issues, the two new machines follow in the distinguished tire-tracks of Lift-All's first-ever truck crane, a Grove TMS528B acquired in 1987. Although no longer a daily runner, this is still used as a "filler" when necessary. In more frequent service is the company's first boom truck, a 1991 National Crane 566B, along with two other long-serving Grove truck cranes, a 1999 TMS640 and 2000 TMS540.

Lift-All Crane Service now boasts 15 cranes ranging from 12 t to 120 t, and employs 10 NCCCO-certified operators, each with at least a decade of experience. It has certainly come a long way since Joe Hylok's father, Joe Senior, and mother Yvonne started the company with one crane in the late 1970s, painting it the color of the sky he remembered from growing up on a dairy farm near Green Bay, Wis. — all while continuing to dabble in the sign-installation business.

"Eventually we morphed and went strictly crane rental only," Hylok said. "Dad's philosophy was ‘you have to focus on one thing and do one thing well only', which we tend to hear from businesspeople everywhere. Over the decades, Grove truck cranes have really helped us make that an easy mantra to live up to."

For more information on the Grove TMS9000-2, click here.

For more information on the Grove TMS500-2, click here.

This story also appears on Crane Equipment Guide.

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