For Lawler, a job begins by gathering the necessary information from the customer. This includes not only the weight of the object and the height and distance it is to be moved, but also factors such as the nature of the ground and hazards such as sewer tunnels or power lines.
According to Hoefler, every A-1 crane has an associated “card book” that helps operators select the best crane for each job.
“When something is so many feet away and so high and so heavy, (the map book) will tell us whether or not the crane can pick it up,” she said.
Sometimes the best machine may not be a crane at all.
Cedar Falls’ John Lockwood fires his hidden weapon, the popular Glock 19, at the Black Hawk Park Shooting Range in Cedar Falls on Thursday.
“Our last purchase was a 40,000-60,000 pound forklift truck used for heavy machinery and manufacturing operations,” said Hoefler.
Other companies in the area use a variety of machines to handle the heavy lifting.
Jake Schroeder of Tegeler Wrecker & Crane in Dyersville said the company owns rotating wrecker that can lift up to 85 tons. These machines differ from traditional towing machines in that the boom can rotate 360 degrees instead of simply going up and down.
“They’re made to wind, pull, and lift,” he said. “They are much more geared towards, for example, removing large semi-trailers from trenches, while a crane is geared towards vertical lifting and lowering.”