A cold wind bites your face as you gaze up at the towering crane, its icy metal gleaming in the winter sunlight. The rigging lines sway and creak as your breath turns to frost in the 20-degree chill. Trucks spin their wheels down in the muddy job site as equipment inches ahead slowly.
Just another average day for your standard construction crew, right? But for those maneuvering heavy machinery like cranes on slippery terrain or working high atop a steel giant, the job gets infinitely more complex—and dangerous—when the temperature plummets.
As a vital lifeline for projects big and small, crane companies like NexGen Crane & Rigging often brave the harshest conditions. But how does an operation power through when cooler weather threatens to freeze progress in its tracks?
Preparing Fleets to Withstand Frigid Temps
To avoid winter challenges for crane companies, thorough preparation is the best defense. As soon as fall fades, we meticulously winterize our fleets. From stem to stern, each crane undergoes maintenance and inspection to catch any flaws that could fail in freezing conditions. Fluids are refreshed, filters are changed, and all points are lubricated to maintain smooth function. Bucket trucks and other boom lifts may require hydraulic oil swaps to prevent seizing up. Dexterous rigging gear gets fine-tuned and load-tested before bundling up in storage.
As soon as fall fades, we meticulously winterize our fleets.
Outdoor storage introduces its own headaches, namely moisture and the troublesome twins: snow and ice. Larger assets are typically shrink-wrapped to protect inventory from exposure, while smaller equipment gets bundled in tarps and weatherproof covers. Portable heating systems or temporary shelters help ensure optimal conditions that prevent corrosion over idle months. We’re prepared to work and protect equipment against the elements by planning ahead.
While crane companies can forecast storms, winter’s whims stay unpredictable even with sturdy preparations. When blizzard conditions dump mounds of snow, removal jumps to the top of the list for many crane companies. Not only do accumulations block access for safe operation, but uncontrolled buildup also threatens a crane’s structural integrity. Strict snow management maintains stability while increasing mobility around a site. Vigilant de-icing helps avoid slippery operating conditions and prevent colossal cranes from swaying uncontrolled.
How Winter Challenges for Crane Companies Alter Jobs
When winter hits, crane companies face a whole new set of challenges. With shorter days and freezing temperatures, outdoor projects become more difficult. But that doesn’t mean these businesses shut down during the colder months. In fact, they play a crucial role in maintaining community infrastructure even in the winter.
During the winter, vacant schools and empty stadiums provide the perfect opportunity for indoor repairs. Crane and rigging businesses are often called upon to remove snow from commercial sites when it snows. This means they must be prepared to adjust their schedules and respond quickly to changing weather conditions.
Safe and successful crane companies closely monitor regional forecasts to anticipate demand fluctuations and ensure their crews are ready. They have storm contingency plans and are always prepared to deploy cranes. While weather apps can help with predictions, winter and its challenges can still be unpredictable. That’s why open communication and planning ahead are so important.
At NexGen, we know how to handle winter weather’s challenges for crane companies. Safety is always our top priority, so we closely track forecasts to adjust timelines and promptly update crews on changes. When it comes to winter weather, we remain committed to getting operations up and running as quickly and safely as possible.
Safety Through Winter’s Worst
Crane companies take winter scenarios seriously, recognizing the heightened risks associated with hazardous conditions. Safety programs are carefully designed to address these increased challenges.
Even though winters in Alabama are relatively mild, we still prioritize cold stress recognition and prevention to protect our NexGen crew from hypothermia and frostbite. That’s why we ensure we have the proper winter work gear, like insulated gloves and specialized traction footwear, to navigate slick surfaces safely, even at dangerous heights.
When it comes to bone-chilling conditions, safety is our top priority. Making control inputs is crucial to maintaining stability and comfort in the winter. That’s why our cranes are equipped with heated control booths, allowing both the crane and the operator to perform at their best. We also hold regular safety meetings to review proper snow removal and handling procedures, especially during heavy precipitation or blind lifting.
The overarching goal is consistent across crane companies: achieving zero incidents by learning from past experiences. With top-notch training and a dedicated crew, crane companies like ours prioritize ensuring everyone is safe, regardless of how relentless the weather may be.
Snow Can’t Stop Equipment Moving
Providing great crane and rigging services in winter means keeping inventory moving despite snow-packed roads. That’s why crane and rigging companies rely on commercial haulers with snow-ready drivetrains to transport their cranes and components across different regions. These drivers undergo comprehensive winter weather training to ensure safe transport throughout the year.
Providing great crane and rigging services in winter means keeping inventory moving despite snow-packed roads.
Despite seasonal load restrictions enforced by municipalities, these businesses can overcome logistical hurdles by managing credentials efficiently across state and local lines. This allows for the uninterrupted movement of inventory and meeting project demands no matter the weather.
In addition, steel on mobile cranes can become less resilient in low temperatures, increasing the risk of damage. It’s essential to ensure all equipment is properly insulated, running it for several minutes to warm it up before operating.
Finally, maintaining strong relationships with reliable parts suppliers adds an extra layer of resilience. It ensures that crane and rigging businesses are always prepared to handle unforeseen challenges on time. Whether dealing with sleet or flurries, these businesses always come out on top, thanks to their trusted partnerships with commercial haulers and wider network of collaborators.
Ready for a Brand-New Season?
The cold may linger, but operations accelerate into high gear when spring thaws the frost. However, warmer temps also churn ground soil into thick, mobility-sucking mud. Shifting between freezing and thawing destabilizes the foundation beneath crane outriggers and stabilizers. However, specialized matting distributes weight without sinking cranes—and progress.
Winter challenges are no match for NexGen. We’ve conquered countless tough winters and have become experts at adapting to weather conditions. Our team is dedicated to overcoming any obstacles that come our way, regardless of the weather. So don’t let your 2024 plans freeze to a halt. Contact us at NexGen Crane & Rigging this season – and all year round – for personalized services tailored to weather any job.