Featured From Looking Up: National Treasures

Seven National Crane boom trucks build Northland Crane Service a priceless reputation.

After buying one National Crane boom truck a year for seven years in a row, Erik Peterson decided to shake things up a little this year. The owner of Northland Crane Service walked right into Hayden-Murphy in Bloomington, Minnesota, and ordered a brand-new Grove GMK5150L all-terrain crane.

However, as one of Aspen Equipment’s biggest rental customers, his allegiance to National Crane remains as strong as ever. When it comes to those bread-and-butter jobs that don’t call for the larger 175 USt lift capacity of the GMK, Peterson knows that his National Crane boom trucks have it all covered.

“On a typical day we could be handling trusses and precast components, installing HVAC and hot tubs, erecting steels and signs, or removing trees, and they never let us down,” he declared. “We’ve a great mix of sizes in our fleet, so we can save the customer time and money by ensuring we use the best crane for their job. I’ve never seriously considered anything other than National Crane — they really are the top of the line when it comes to boom trucks.”

With Northland Crane Service’s fleet of one 1300A, three NBT45-2s and three NBT55L, Peterson can certainly be considered something of an authority on the subject of boom trucks. He started out as an operator on a National 900 owned by his father’s construction business, then he bought the crane and went out on his own to set up a commercial and residential crane hire service in 2013. He has had plenty of opportunities to work out why National Crane boom trucks are his favorite cranes.

“They’re the Cadillac of boom trucks. They are so easy to operate and run smoothly,” he said. “They have a nice fit and finish, and our operators love how the cabs are so comfortable and well-laid out. The hydraulic tilting cab really takes the strain out of handling high loads and the heated seats certainly get a lot of use during the Minnesota winters. And, aesthetically, the trucks look great too!

Diamond-level specs

A key reason for the simple operation of the fleet lies in National Crane’s LMI (Load Moment Indicator) system, which Peterson describes as being easy to set up and navigate. Add features like state-of-the-art, easily adjustable electric-over-hydraulic controls, and operators can quickly get to work making picks in the manner that best suits their style. Optional features such as a camera package and windspeed meters promote even greater efficiency on the jobsite.

“They all also offer exceptional reach, along with some of the strongest load charts,” Peterson said. “That’s extremely noticeable on the NBT55L, which allows for greater capacity at longer ranges, all made possible by the solid crane foundation and flexible setup options.”

This model, in fact, enables a capacity of 500 lbs at its maximum 130 ft radius, while the 95 ft maximum radius of the 1300A offers 750 lbs. Supplied with 360° continuous rotation to maximize the working area, it also incorporates a glide swing feature that allows free swing during rotation, with a manually applied foot brake and a control knob to easily adjust swing speed to the operator’s preference.

A partner worth gold

But perhaps more than anything, it’s the reliability of National Crane that most impresses Peterson.

“The quality and dependability of these trucks is exceptional,” he confirmed. “But I also firmly believe it’s important to invest effectively in preventative crane maintenance to reduce the risk of safety incidents, breakdowns, loss of production, and premature equipment failure. We utilize technology to integrate maintenance schedules into our operators’ daily, weekly and monthly schedules.

“And this is where our great working relationship with Aspen Equipment really pays dividends. Through our partnership, their support has made it possible to keep our customers happy by minimizing service interruptions. On the rare occasions we’ve had a problem with a truck, they’ve swapped it out with another machine — and if they don’t have one, they’ll pull one in from another branch.”

It’s a stance that echoes Northland Crane Service’s own approach to customer service.

“As a family-owned business, we treat our customers as an extension of our family,” Peterson said. “We take the time to get to know them and their families, incorporate conversation and humor into our interactions with them each day, and constantly look for ways to add value — whether that’s by adapting to their scheduling needs, or looking at how we can operate more safely, efficiently and cost-effectively to control service costs and improve operations.”

As a strategy, it certainly seems to be paying off. Despite the complications caused by COVID-19 and material and labor shortages, Northland Crane Service enjoyed a particularly successful 2021 — hence that new all-terrain crane.

“The outlook for 2022 is very exciting as that GMK5150L will allow us to offer additional services and capabilities to our customers,” Peterson concluded. “Our strategy right now is not just to grow, but to grow with quality people and equipment to maintain excellence. Which means we’ll be sticking with National Crane boom trucks and Grove for many years to come!”

To visit Northland Crane Service’s website, click here.

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