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Manitowoc Crane Helps Lift Planking Firm to New Heights

Fri April 10, 2009 - Northeast Edition
Jennifer Hetrick

Barry Saylor had a very specific goal in mind in October 2000 when he founded Say-Core, Inc. of Portage, Pa., a manufacturer of precast concrete hollow-core plank.

“I wanted to be one of the premier precasters of hollow-core floor plank in the Northeast. We do a good bit of volume as the business has grown; hopefully we’re getting closer to realizing that goal.”

Saylor already knew a lot about running a business. His father, Bryce Saylor, founded Bryce Saylor & Sons Crane Service, Altoona, Pa., in 1964. Barry, along with his brothers, Greg and Tracy, took over the company in the early 1980s. Taking that experience, Saylor then decided to start Say-Core Inc.

And in just over eight years, Saylor has accomplished a lot toward his goal. With a motto of “good product support and customer service,” Say-Core has grown from 10 to just over 100 employees. Say-Core serves Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and Delaware.

Projects vary in size and scope because, according to Saylor, no job is too small. “We’ll do everything from a garage floor for your house, to large commercial office buildings and parking structures. Two projects in New Jersey involved a nine and an eight-story building. Another involved a very large parking structure; both customers are looking at doing future projects with us. We did some high-end houses in Pittsburgh that worked out well for the customer. That customer went on to do some commercial buildings and we do that work for him as well. We do a number of college dormitories and large condo projects throughout the northeast.” Condos, commercial offices, hotels and motels are considered the bread and butter of Say-Core’s business. For the smaller projects, Say-Core uses hydraulic cranes and crawler cranes for larger projects.

“Our job consists of installing bearing pads on top of concrete block walls. Then we simply unload and set the planks in place, which are all designed and manufactured at our plant. When they arrive at the job site, they are ready to unload off our trucks and set into place. Once the planks are set in place, they are adjusted for position and camber. Vertical rebars poured in place in the walls are then bent down into the key joints of the plank and grouted, which structurally ties the plank deck into the walls. Then after the deck is grouted, it becomes one integral unit much the same as tongue and groove flooring does in a house, offering the builder a low cross-sectional depth between floors, good load carrying capacity, sound proofing and fire rating for the life of the building” Saylor explained. “Much the same operation takes place if using steel beams instead of concrete walls to support the floor. Instead of tying the concrete plank floor to the wall with rebar, a steel weld plate is embedded in the bottom of the plank during production and then that plate is welded to the steel beam.”

Keeping Up With Demand

In order to better suit its crane needs and help to meet the aggressive schedules for some of its projects, Say-Core purchased a new Manitowoc model 14000, 220-ton (200 t) crawler crane complete with 292 ft. (89 m) of heavy lift main boom and 170 ft. (51.8 m) of luffing jib from Stephenson Equipment Inc., headquartered in Harrisburg, Pa.

Currently, Say-Core is working near Johnstown, Pa., on a precast and masonry nine-story structure, which will ultimately house luxury apartments.

“Purchasing the 14000 Manitowoc crawler and moving it on to a project such as the one in Johnstown allows us several advantages. Keeping it onsite better enables us to adhere to the schedule. The 14000 with the luffer is just absolutely ideal for this job. From one spot we can swing the whole job thereby increasing our production time as a result of being able to do that,” Saylor said.

Say-Core purchased the crane on March 7, 2008, from Dave Donati, territory manager of Stephenson Equipment and took delivery of it in November 2008. Saylor said, “Stephenson’s did a great job with their people coming in and helping put it together and giving us training on it, after which they turned the crane over to us and we started working. We used it to set the fifth floor of the project and we’ll keep it there to top it out. It has worked great by decreasing our installation time. Everything is hydraulic. It’s a very smooth and very efficient crane, much different and better than the old friction cranes I learned on nearly 30 years ago. It has a lot of capability and a lot of reach along with all the latest safety features and technology; it’s a real joy and very impressive to operate.”

Dave Donati, too, is impressed with the crane and the capabilities it has shown for his customer. “The 14000 is a relatively new model that replaces the tried and true 777. The luffing jib gives it the ability to get over the front wall and be able to reach a large building like this from one spot. For this job, we equipped the crane with 145 feet of main boom and 150 feet of luffer. I believe this is one of the first 14000’s equipped with the luffing jib,” Donati said.

Staying Put on a Project

“The weight of our plank for this project is about 11,000 to 12,000 pounds,” Saylor continued. “With the reach that the luffing capability offers me, I can scale the side of the building and place the hook anywhere on the structure. In an instance where we might have to move our installation from one location to another part of the building, I would have to tear down a hydraulic crane and move it to another spot. I don’t have to do that with the 14000. I can swing from one end of the building to the other and I’m better able to keep the crew moving, which is my emphasis on production and getting the job done. It also has a lot of redundant capacity for me in most cases, which is always good from a safety standpoint. Those are the two biggest advantages.”

“We can lay approximately 5,000 square feet of plank a day. It goes on fast. It’s a good product from the standpoint that once the contractor has the walls or beams up, we can come in and lay 5,000 feet of decking in a day’s time and the masons, usually in a day or two, hop right onto the floor and start the walls for the next floor behind us,” Saylor said.

The job has gone well so far, according to Saylor who credits Stephenson Equipment and the Manitowoc 14000 for their part in making this job, as well as past jobs, run smoothly.

“Josh Penman (of Stephenson), who also supervised the assembly, worked with operators Eddie (Stanton) and myself on the safe operation of the crane. We have been doing business with Stephenson for at least 15 years. We get our parts from them. We have them do service work at their Harrisburg facility as well as our yard. They also certified our operators in the CCO ’Certified Crane Operators’ certification program shortly after its inception. Stephenson has been an integral part of our businesses and both companies have enjoyed working with them.”

As Saylor looks toward wrapping up the current job in Johnstown, he plans ahead on how best to use the 14000 next.

“We have a couple of other large plank projects that we can move the crane to after this one. I also want to see if we can get some of the crawler market on large construction and bridge projects in and around the area. The goal would be to start into that market and hopefully be able to buy a second machine,” said Saylor. CEG

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