At D-Crane Rental, no two jobs are ever the same. One week they’re putting up a new scoreboard at the Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, and another week they’re setting steel or lifting an HVAC unit.
The Walton, Kentucky-based company manages all these different jobs thanks to creative use of the 16 cranes it owns, including several Link-Belts. “We think out of the box, working with the cranes and capacity that we have,” said Rob Domaschko Jr., operations manager.
“We get creative and find ways to get work accomplished with what we have. In the area we work in, there is no company that has greater capacity than we do. We want to get the work done safely, but we don’t want to see contractors bring in companies from out of town. So we try to go the extra mile and get creative in ways to get the job done, as long as we can do it safely.”
As an example of out-of-the-box thinking, he points to a recent project that involved demolition of a pedestrian bridge near Rupp Arena in downtown Lexington, Kentucky. D-Crane used three cranes to pick the bridge up off its piers and set it on the ground.
“We used a Link-Belt ATC-3210 on one side of the bridge and an HTC-86100 and an HTC-3140LB on the other side. The cranes were able to pick the bridge up and boom it down away from itself to get it away from the piers and safely on the ground. It went flawlessly,” he added, estimating the bridge weighed about 180,000 lbs.
D-Crane has purchased a total of nine Link-Belt cranes since 2015, including four new units.
The ATC-3210 is D-Crane’s newest crane, purchased in February 2019. D-Crane chose the 3210 because it has a stronger chart than other cranes in its class, Domaschko said. “We can do a lot of work that other 200-class machines can’t do, so it gives us an advantage. When we do HVAC work with really heavy units, we can go out a good distance from the crane. The long main boom gives us the ability to get up and over tall buildings in downtown Cincinnati and Lexington.”
The company does a lot of cell tower work, and the all-terrain capabilities of the 3210 are unbeatable for those jobs, he added. “The all-terrain technology helps us to get into tight spaces with crab steering, and it goes up hills and steep grades. The 3210 is an excellent addition for what we do.”
D-Crane purchased a Link-Belt HTC-8650 in 2017, using the 50-ton truck crane to replace an older 40-tonner of a different brand. “The 8650 is a solid machine all around. It’s easy to take out, it goes together fast, and it’s very operator friendly,” Domaschko said.
A year earlier, the company purchased an ATC-3140, which he praises for ease of travel, a long main boom with similar advantages to the 3210, and a strong chart. “The 3140 gives us an advantage when other companies have to quote something larger,” he noted.
D-Crane used to purchase a competing brand, but they’ve become complete Link Belt converts in the past 7 or 8 years. They became interested in Link-Belt because the manufacturing facility isn’t far from their offices, and a growing relationship with Link-Belt and Columbus Equipment Company sealed the partnership. “We’ve developed a very good relationship with Columbus Equipment Company in Cincinnati and the people at Link-Belt. Both of them go the extra mile for us,” Domaschko said.
“The thing we like most about Columbus Equipment Company is they are always willing to help. They always answer the phone. Whether we call late on weekdays or Saturdays, our salesman [Roger Reese] and service technician [Mark Kennedy] are always there for us.”
While D-Crane has an in-house mechanic, “with 16 cranes and about as many trucks, we use Columbus Equipment Company a couple times a month to help get us through some issues.”
D-Crane has grown dramatically since Domaschko’s father, Rob Sr., started the company in 2003. From its one-man, one-crane roots, the company now has more than 20 employees and a string of loyal customers. Rob Jr. believes the company’s excellent customer service and modern equipment like the Link-Belts result in repeat customers.
Recently, D-Crane helped with an inspection of the Diocese of Covington’s 100 year-old stone building, which is cracking. For two days, a couple of inspectors rode up and down the building in a basket on the ATC-3210, inspecting the building’s stonework and cracks from all angles.
Only one set-up area was available. “With 270 feet of boom, we hoisted the personnel all the way around the building, and a lot of it was done blind by radio,” Domaschko explained. “Having that new equipment gave the personnel in the man-basket a lot of confidence, along with our excellent operator. They had an excellent ride.”
Because of its recent growth, D-Crane is building a new facility around the corner from its current shop. The 7-acre location “will give us the room that we really need.”
Additionally, the new facility has frontage on I-75, giving the company added exposure that could accelerate growth, he said. Domaschko plans have the new Link-Belt cranes highly visible to people driving by.
“Customers that used us several years ago might not be aware of our growth. They may not know we have the equipment that we do now. They’ll drive by and see it, and that’s going to go a long way for us,” he predicted. If the company‘s past growth trajectory is any indicator for the future, Domaschko’s prediction may well prove prophetic.