this is where we are going to put all of our tower cranes information

derrick crane

It all started with an idea and some Lego…

One night, Ryan Burton, the Managing Partner at Bigfoot Crane, sat down with his son to build a model Derrick Crane that would lift materials to a roof without needing street closures to do it. And they did just that. Weighted with pennies and nickels as ballast, the Lego creation started Ryan on a path to eventually designing and introducing a truly innovative Derrick Crane into service.

Together with Mainland Machinery, the Derrick Crane was born with enough lift capacity to replace some of the biggest crawler or AT cranes in the marketplace.

The goal for building the Derrick Crane was to make a machine that was portable enough to be taken up in an elevator, be assembled with just man power on a balcony or roof and then be able to winch materials up off the street. While the Derrick Crane may be compact, operators have the ability to lift to a maximum of 750 ft depending on which winch package is installed. The tower of the crane starts at 10 ft above the roof to allow room to get materials up but the crane can also incline the jib at an angle so an even higher hook height can be achieved.

The crane itself is a single design but comes with 24 footing designs to accommodate almost all roof top applications. With its flexible design and a fast winch motor, the crane can be built in four hours and can then allow projects to be completed in a much more efficient matter.

The Derrick Crane acts as a great alternative to using large crawler or AT cranes for high reach projects on existing buildings or industrial structures. It can lift the same height as large crawler or AT while it eliminates the street closures often associated with high angle urban projects.

Technical Spec Highlights

  • Heaviest Component: 150 lbs
  • Maximum lift capacity: 1 tonne (2,000 pounds)
  • Maximum service height: 750 ft
  • Jib length: 13 ft

Click here to see the Derrick Crane in action on a balcony in downtown Vancouver.

For full product details and to inquire about renting this crane for you next project contact Ryan at (604) 854-3218 or Toll free: 1-877-852-2192. Plus, stay tuned for the full case study coming soon.

Tower crane safety rules

Truthfully, operating a tower crane can be challenging in the best of weather conditions. However, as anyone who has worked in the construction industry can tell you, Mother Nature hardly ever cooperates, making it important to know about operating tower cranes in extreme weather. Weather delays can easily double the amount of time it takes to complete a job. Regardless, every project needs to be finished and this means that sometimes, tower cranes have to be operated in less than ideal conditions. By taking a number of precautionary measures, the risk involved with these operations can be minimized.

Windy Conditions

When understanding how to safely use tower cranes in extreme weather, windy conditions come to mind first. All cranes have a designated maximum wind speed under which they can be safely operated. If winds exceed this speed, the crane cannot be operated safely. Wind ratings vary between different cranes, models and configurations, so it is important to know how weather conditions affect your particular crane or its setup.

If a lift must be done in windy conditions, a number of factors should be considered. Generally, manufacturers will provide guidelines for the maximum wind speed a lift can be done in. If these recommendations are not available, wind speeds of 20 miles per hour are the absolute maximum a lift should be conducted in. You may want to consider delaying the lift if the wind is blowing in the 15 – 20 mile per hour range.

The characteristics of the load can diminish the safety of a lift in windy conditions. If the load could catch a large amount of wind or be difficult to control if the wind catches it, consider delaying the lift. Knowing the direction of the wind is also important, as winds from the side or rear can cause the load to swing in a way that would strain the crane or reduce its maximum load.

It is also important to remember that wind speed tends to increase with height, so lifts higher above the ground could be more susceptible to high winds. If the lift is being done between two structures, it could be subject to a wind tunnel effect when wind gusts are funneled between the structures, thus increasing wind speed.

Cold Weather Conditions

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, extremely cold temperatures can also have a negative effect on the performance of tower cranes. Cold temperatures can affect many elements of a tower crane, including its hydraulics, rigging devices and hoists. Cold weather can also reduce the tensile strength of the crane and in extreme cases, cause a catastrophic failure during operation.

At zero degrees Celsius, the cold begins to have an effect on hoists and rigging devices. In subzero temperatures, the weather can affect the crane’s hydraulics and maximum load capacity. If a lift is being conducted in the extreme cold, the potential failure of hydraulic systems should be considered and the maximum load should be reduced by 25 percent.

If the temperature dips to between minus 30 to 40 degrees Celsius, the crane’s maximum load should be reduced by 40 percent and delaying the lift should be considered. If temperatures on site are below minus 40, all lifts should be halted unless they must be used for emergency reasons.

Cold Weather Precautions and Adjustments

If a crane is being operated in a cold climate, several changes can be made to make its operation safer. Cold weather finishes, such as two-part epoxies or hold-dipped galvanized steel are available and can withstand temperatures as low as minus 57. Enclosed track systems, which can be constructed from these materials and are used to surround moving parts, can protect the crane’s trolley from the ice buildup that is common at lower temperatures.

The operation of motorized systems can be problematic in subzero conditions, but can potentially be solved by implementing electrified systems, such as conductor bars. Conductor bar sections serve as a cold weather alternative to box track festooning. They are made from galvanized steel and are designed to carry a specific current without overheating. Conductor bar sections can prevent the buildup of ice and other debris on the crane’s joints.

A number of crane parts are also available for cold weather-specific operations. Heated control enclosures and gearboxes, arctic duty motors and low temperature lubricants are just a few examples of equipment that can be utilized in these less than ideal conditions.

photo via

San Marco Tower Crane Sale

Recently Eagle West Cranes & Equipment (acquired by Bigfoot Crane Company) was proud to complete the sale of new San Marco SMT 520 City Crane to Smedley Crane & Rigging out of Branford CT. As part of the sales process, I recently had the opportunity to visit the first job site for this crane in Cambridge MA for a Hanover Company jobsite.

The jobsite currently also is utilizing a San Marco Self Erecting Crane, the SMH 421. The customer has been pleased with their San Marco cranes and now with the two cranes on opposing corners of the site can service nearly the entire project with these 2 cranes. Getting to see both cranes on site in person gives a great appreciation for the increased efficiency these cranes can bring to a project.

The sale of this crane would not be possible without the entire team we have here at Eagle West (acquired by Bigfoot Crane Company)  working together to complete this delivery. Through production at the factory, delivery via sea containers from San Marco to Branford CT, trucking to Cambridge and setup on site it was a unique and learning experience to go through every stage of the sale and delivery on this crane.

Bigfoot Crane Company is proud to be the distributor for San Marco cranes and to learn what our self erecting, city, and tower cranes can do for your jobs please visit:


I want to personally thank all of the hard work of every member of our team that make opportunities like this possible and allow us to deliver the highest quality in both products and service to our customers.


San Marco City Crane SMT 520 Cambridge MA 2013 (2)San Marco Tower Crane

Boscaro Self Dumping Bin

The A-D Series Self Dumping Crane Bucket

Bigfoot Crane Company is your one-stop shop from the smallest of self erectors to some of the largest tower cranes in the market today, all complimented with the accessories you need to maximize on-site crane performance. Bigfoot Crane is the exclusive North American distributor of Boscaro Crane Attachments.

using crane buckets


Crane accessories like Boscaro’s Self Dumping Bins provide a payload up to 10,575 lbs, capacity up to 4 cu yd and a “no hands required” self dumping feature that can increase safety and efficiency on a project site.

dumping crane buckets


Eagle West Equipment (acquired by Bigfoot Crane Company) had the opportunity to do a live demonstration of the A300D self dumping bins for our customer, Northwest Construction Inc. We consulted with them about their project needs and highlighting how the accessories could help them on their project.

self dumping crane bucketscrane buckets


Eagle West Cranes & Equipment’s Safety Application Specialist, Derek Autenrieth commented “The live demonstration went very well. Larry and his team saw the safety and efficiency that our self dumping bins offer. They purchased two self dumping crane buckets and we look forward to opportunities to work with Northwest again.”

self dumping crane buckets by boscaro


Northwest Construction Inc. based out of Bellevue in Washington State, is a full service site work contractor specializing in commercial, industrial, and residential developments throughout the Pacific Northwest.

This is what they had to say about their purchase and application of two A300D Boscaro Self Dumping Bins:

“The product demonstration and video that Derek provided for us when we came to Eagle West was very informative and definitely helped us in making our decision to purchase the bins and understand their value for us and our projects. We appreciate the time and effort put in by Eagle West and will continue to look for any opportunity to do business with them again and again.”

Larry Smith
Project Manager
Northwest Contracting Inc.


[prime_gallery width=”200″ height=”180″ autoresize=”false”]

Spreader Bars for Lifting

Revolutionize Your Use of Crane Spreader Bars

The use of spreader bars has many advantages; they protect your load from rigging materials, enable multi pick point lifts and ensure a maintained sling angle throughout your hoist.

Although the typical spreader bars of the industry have these benefits, their use comes with some drawbacks. Typical spreader bars, even when telescopic, have a maximum length. Once the needed length for a lift exceeds this, you will need to purchase another spreader bar. For anyone who performs a variety of hoists, this will require a variety of spreader bar sizes to be available.

crane spreader bars


With the Boscaro EZ spreader bar lifting system the need for an assortment of bars is eliminated. The unique design of male and female interlocking components provides you with multiple configurations. Each section can be utilized as an individual bar or the sections can be combined to form 1 adjustable spreader bar. “Jobs often require multiple lifts with varied size requirements. With this system I’ve been able to perform a pick with a 20 foot wide bar, change the configuration on site and proceed with a second lift using the bar at 14 feet. Normally you would need two sets of bars for that,” remarked Butch Garton, Crane & Rigging Specialist at Delaware based company, Active Crane Rentals, Inc. Based on 1 foot increments, Boscaro’s 8 foot system is adjustable from 7-34 feet; allowing you to adapt to the changing demands of your jobsite.

crane spreader bars lifting amtrak carhoist with ez spreader bar


Using the 8 foot spreader bar lifting system by Boscaro also helps to improve your lift capacity. The components feature a lightweight design yet are capable of a 35 ton capacity when used at 8 feet and 7 tons when adjusted to 34 feet.

pipe pull with crane spreader bars


The bars come galvanized, which increases durability and prevents paint chips due to repetitive movement. The lightweight build and the option to disassemble the components make transportation, assembly and storage of the system simple and time efficient. “Other bars are heavier and don’t come apart, so you can’t have the crew move them by hand,” noted Butch. “I can put my entire EZ spreader bar lifting system in my pickup truck, take it to the job and assemble it onsite in 15 to 20 minutes, without any assist equipment required.”

crane spreader bars placing trusses


The EZ spreader bar lifting system by Boscaro is available in a 4 foot or 8 foot system. The 4 foot option extends from 4-10 feet and has a capacity of up to 8 tons when fully extended. With a range of 8-34 feet the 8 foot kit option is rated for up to 7 tons at a 34 foot length. For further details about how the Boscaro EZ spreader bar lifting system can improve your efficiency and help manage project costs please contact Bigfoot Crane Company.


Bigfoot Crane Company
Cale Anderson – Crane Rentals, Sales & Service
Toll free: 1-877-852-2192
Fax: 604-852-2187
San Marco Tower Crane

When Haebler Construction needed a crane to deal with extra tight working conditions during their reconstruction of the historic “Garage Building” in the Gastown district of downtown Vancouver Canada it was Eagle West Equipment Inc. (acquired by Bigfoot Crane Company) to the rescue.

Eagle West organized and executed a set of well planned lifts to rig the San Marco SMT 551 city crane components into place.

The SMT 551 was installed with a customized configururation and set up to operate with a short jib configuration of just 36 meters (118′) down from the standard 55 meters (180′) and from a mobile base with a footprint of just a 14′ 9″ X 14′ 9″. In this configuratiuon the SMT 551 can hoist loads as heavy as 8,000 kg (17,636 lb) at the mast and can lift 2,100 kg (4,630 lb) at the jib tip.

To find out which San Marco crane is right for your next construction project please contact our national sales office at 1-877-852-2192.

tower crane safety tips

Written by: Robert Ingraham, Former HSE Director Eagle West Cranes Inc. (acquired by Bigfoot Crane Company)

tower crane in vancouver, bcHuman error is the most common cause of crane accidents. This extends to both crane operators and those workers responsible for maintenance and safety procedures. Accidents often occur when crane maintenance and operating procedures don’t keep up with the increasing risks and demands placed on the crane. Many accidents result from a breakdown in communication between the project manager, site supervisor, the operator and the workers on the ground. Accidents also occur when workers fail to follow safe work practices and procedures.

While a crane may appear to be a simple device, its operation involves complex physics. You don’t need to be an engineer to operate cranes safely, but everyone involved with their operation should be aware of and follow some basic steps for safe operation. Here are the steps I recommend:

1.    Complete an Inspection. Verifying that the crane has received its annual inspection is only the first required step. It’s critical to check the operating functions daily to ensure all components are working properly. Experienced and inexperienced operators are often surprised to discover they may have inadvertently pushed the crane beyond its limits and damaged key components of the crane that could lead to failure.

2.    Always complete a Field Level Hazard Assessment.  A Field Level Hazard Assessment is the process where you:

  • Identify site & job specific hazards,
  • Evaluate the risk associated with the hazards identified, and
  • Eliminate or control the hazards prior to and during the work task.

3.    Complete a plan. Each lift is different from another, and it’s important to review all hazards, the load weight capacities, integrity of the equipment, the possible effect of wind, and other factors. The operator, riggers, and other workers involved with the lift must be part of that planning process.

4.    Communicate the Plan. The purpose of a ‘Tool Box’ or ‘Tailgate’ meeting is to:

  • Communicate – Hazards & Controls for the site specific task
  • Communicate – Safe Work Practices & Procedures to be followed
  • Communicate – The Plan to successfully complete the task
  • Communicate – Assign clear roles & responsibilities to the ground crew
  • Communicate – Agree to the plan and sign off on the plan

5.    Follow the Plan. Far too often accidents occur when the agreed upon plan is not followed or enforced.

6.    Know your Ground Conditions. The most powerful, carefully rigged crane is only as strong and stable as the surface upon which it stands. You need to know the classification for the soil or other material under the crane, and adjust your setup and load limits accordingly. While many cranes are equipped with outriggers, extending them doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve provided a stable surface. It’s important to know the load weight and how that is affected by the conditions of your jobsite. The crane’s load chart can help you determine whether your lift will be safe.

7.    Know your Radius. The counterweight and boom travel within a specific arc is called the swing radius. It’s important to ensure that the area within that radius is barricaded off. It is critically important to establish a control zone for those authorized to work in the immediate area. Constantly check the area throughout the day to ensure that there are no objects the boom might strike. If obstacles are introduced, be sure that the operator and other workers are aware of the obstacle and the plan for avoiding it.

8.    Use your crane properly. Cranes are engineered for vertical lifting. That doesn’t stop some crews from trying to use them for side loading or other improper activities. Using a crane to drag something across the ground or from under an obstacle puts extreme stress on the boom, the turntable, and all the structural members. It could potentially weaken key components and lead to their failure.

9.    Communication. Whether you use radios, air horns, hand signals, or some other method, there needs to be clear communication between the operator and the other workers. That’s especially critical when a crane is making a lift in which the operator cannot see the load. Don’t assume that everyone knows how instructions will be communicated. Make sure everyone understands the system and follows it. (See Communicate the Plan)

10.    Stay Focused. Everyone associated with a crane needs to stay alert and focused on the job at hand, especially on critical or difficult lifts. The lack of focus is a common cause of work related accidents, incidents and serious near-miss events.

crane company

A Case History of How Your Choice of Crane Type Makes a Big Impact on Construction Performance

view from tower crane‘Saint Louis is a rough terrain and standard hydro crane community. I think that’s about to change,’ stated Mike Brys, Site Superintendant for the Paric Corporation, after working with two San Marco SMT Tower Cranes rented from Custom Service Crane Inc for a major project. The Aberdeen Heights project in Kirkwood, Missouri, is where over 600, 000 total square feet of senior housing construction including four to five storey wall panel construction and trussed roof with center courtyards has been built.

The project required two tower cranes, specifically, a San Marco SMT 551 on a mobile base with 105 foot under hook and 180 foot jib as well as a San Marco SMT 522 on a mobile base with 118 foot under hook height and 170 foot jib. They were the only two cranes used to service Building B for the project.

Directly adjacent to their site, another framing contractor was working on Building A, a very
similar four storey structure. The obvious difference was that they were using four mobile cranes to service the project. ‘Progress on the building using the two tower cranes is substantially further along’ commented Randy Huffman, Custom Service Crane, Inc. owner. These projects presented an opportunity to illustrate the comparison of the use of ‘state of the art’ tower cranes on a mobile base to more traditional mobile cranes.

tower cranes vs mobile cranes

Even though the two projects started within weeks of each other, framing Building B, using the tower cranes completed faster. Jeremy Pokorny with Con Tech Carpentry said, ‘Both buildings were on similar schedules but we’ve completed and they haven’t. There’s no comparison for tower cranes versus mobile cranes, the tower cranes could reach everywhere, and the mobile cranes can’t’. Mike Brys from Paric Corportation commented further by saying ‘The other contractors definitely had to work harder on their project using the mobile cranes and since they are still in production paying higher costs’.

Jeremy commented ‘The decision to go with the San Marco’s came with a big pay day. Everything ran smoothly. We could reach everything we needed to reach, we didn’t need to move materials for the crane to get access, didn’t need an extra laborer for signaling the crane, if we had to do it over again, we’d do it the same way, no doubt’.

tower cranes home buildingThrough the SMT’s efficient technology and simple operation, the two tower cranes were able to access materials and every part of the large construction site without delay and without site roads. The San Marco tower cranes created direct cost reductions because there is no need for off road forklifts, rough terrain or mobile cranes, or other forms of rented onsite hoisting equipment.

Bottom line; A contractor can rent a tower crane for the same or less cost as other temporary crane services while cutting other major costs. Mike Brys recommended, ‘I would definitely encourage Con Tech Carpentry to keep using the San Marco SMT Tower Cranes for future projects because of their simplicity to set up and use and their reduced need for a staging area.’

Custom Service Crane is the exclusive Bigfoot Crane dealer for Illinois with service into Indiana, Missouri and Michigan.

By Samantha Gunson
Communications Coordinator
Eagle West Cranes, Inc (acquired by Bigfoot Crane Company)