Published Mar 27, 2024
In Unique Picks


Aerial view of the new Central Indianapolis facility

When Central Rent-A-Crane of Indianapolis, a member of the ALL Family of Companies, decided to build a new 17,000-square-foot facility on 14 acres, it needed to look no further than its own yard for the perfect heavy lift equipment to execute the project.

The star of the proceedings was the 110-ton capacity Liebherr LRT 1100-2.1 hydraulic rough terrain crane, which was used to set structural steel for the 55-foot tall service bays as well as insulated panels used to side the building. A unique suction-cup attachment was rigged to the crane for that series of lifts, as the crane tilted each panel, some over 50 feet tall, into position.

In addition to the Liebherr RT, Central also pulled a variety of smaller equipment from its own fleet to complete the new building, such as 135-foot and 80-foot man lifts, three 8,000-pound Skyjack forklifts, and multiple other aerials on site.

Larger RTs have become a phenomenon in recent years, with Liebherr and ALL both at the forefront. Kevin Hileman, branch manager of Central Rent-A-Crane of Indianapolis, believes no company has invested more heavily in high-capacity RTs than ALL. “We have four of the 1100s in our yard,” said Hileman. “It started with the LRT 1090-2.1, continued with the 1100, and the latest is the 140-ton LRT 1130-2.1.” In fact, ALL is taking delivery of the first five Liebherr LRT 1130-2.1 units in the world this year, with a strongest-in-class capacity and the longest telescopic boom (197 feet) of any two-axle RT in the world.

Hileman says the LRT 1100 was ideal for work on the new headquarters due to its 110-ton capacity and 164-foot reach. “Because of the new high service bays, at times the boom had to reach all the way out in front of the building,” said Hileman.

The five service bays, including one 30-foot wide wash bay, with their 55-foot ceilings and heated floors, are expected to be a boon to customers in Indiana and Michigan serviced by the three Central Rent-A-Crane branches. (Another 6,000 square feet of the new building is dedicated to offices, 3,000 square feet for parts on the mezzanine level, and 3,000 square feet will be reserved for future expansion.)

“We wanted a nice, comfortable place for mechanics to work,” said Hileman. “Having that additional height, we’ll be able to put semis up on lifts and walk under them. We’ll be able to boom cranes up to work on bearings, wiring, and the brains.”

That’s beneficial because, especially on older crane models, this can be where maintenance issues occur. “Things can get awfully tight in and around the slewing bearing of these cranes,” said Hileman.  “The ability to swing the upperworks over the side and extend the boom makes it much easier for our mechanics to access all these connection. The extra head room makes all the difference.”

Work in Indiana requiring heavy lifts has been surging in recent years. The state has undergone a massive overhaul of its highway system, leading to extensive road and bridge work. Construction of ever-present data centers for big tech companies is on the upswing, and the state is heavily investing in fuel cell technology for electric vehicles, resulting in several new plants either planned or already under construction.

ALL provides heavy lift equipment to the state of Indiana and surrounding region from its expanded Indianapolis facility as well as from Fort Wayne and Hammond. Hileman points out that an ALL branch is never more than two hours away from any market in the state. “We’re ready to expand our imprint in the state and beyond,” said Hileman. “It was a highlight getting to showcase some of our own equipment in the construction of the new facility, but we’re glad to be moved in and the equipment is where it belongs — on rent with a customer.”