National Crane Boom Trucks Assemble High Lines in Texas

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Service Electric Company, (SEC), based in Chattanooga, Tenn., has enlisted a fleet of National Crane boom trucks to install 133 mi. of high-voltage transmission lines in the Texas panhandle.

Chris Forsythe, western regional manager for SEC, said the versatility and dependability of boom trucks provide a more-efficient way to perform power line work than other methods used in the past.

“Previously, we would climb each pole and do the work by hand, which took much longer,” Forsythe said. “The design of boom trucks allows our crews versatility in multiple facets: lifting capacity, boom use and reach capabilities.”

National Crane models on site include the NBT45, NBT40 and the 1400H. The cranes are lifting structural components of the poles such as pole sections, arms and insulating hardware, as well as work baskets that lift company technicians to the poles’ tops.

The lifts that the National Cranes are performing on site range from 10,000 lbs. to more than 27,000 lbs. The soft, sandy soil at the job site requires that pads be placed under the outriggers to give a wider footprint and to help disperse the load dynamics over a larger area.

The National Crane NBT40 has a 40 t maximum capacity and is available with three optional boom lengths: 103 ft., 127 ft. or 142 ft. It comes equipped with a 1,900-lb. tailswing counterweight. The NBT45 is similar, but has a 45 t capacity and a 161-ft. boom, which makes it very compatible to those working in power line construction. The National Crane 1400H has a 33 US t capacity and a 127 ft., five-section boom, the longest in its class.

The use of boom trucks for power line work also adds maneuverability on the jobsite. Setup and tear down times are greatly reduced, allowing workers to move more quickly from pole to pole. Also, additional permitting is not usually required for highway travel, saving time and money.

“We don’t need additional highway permits. I can just get on the highway and move on down the road,” Forsythe said. “It’s been very efficient to use the boom truck cranes for our work.”

The Texas panhandle project began in spring and is expected to finish this winter.

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