Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Great Self-Levelling Flying Forks for Cranes

 The nuance of Great Pallet Forks for Tower Cranes. 

Whether you call them Pickle Forks if you are an old timer. Crane Forks or Crane Pallet Forks, Self Leveling Pallet forks if they are balanced by a spring, or Flying Forks, Crane Pallet forks by Eichinger are some of the best you can buy. The reasons are nuanced and deep in the design. Let's dive in. 

The range of the forks are 3300 to 6600 lb ratings. Most Forks take 30 to 50% of the load in order to balance properly. And those are the published numbers you'll hear from Eichinger. But I've seen them work at 26% with room for adjustment on the manual versions. The automatic versions do just as well at finding the balance. The smooth action of the tubes that have no internal welds leads to smooth action and a system that works on balance alone where the internal rollers are getting stuck on spatter like you'll find on plenty of other brands. 

The forks are either milled on three sides like you see here so they'll dive into pallets easily, or they are made from fork tine extensions that give an incredibly narrow profile making the charging of the tines a joy. Moreover, they have handles. If you've ever worked with forks with out the handles, you know quite well what that can feel like as you charge the forks only to have your fingers be the softner for the mast on the materials you are lifting. Handles keep the finger safe from impacts. 

The smooth internal tubes also so well to enable smooth action when telescoping for mast up or down. Reaching an ultimate height of 5'-9" at the heel, you can grab those tall pallets of bricks without much worry with these forks. Even better on the mast is a place to store a chain to retain pallets to the mast. It jumps over and intuitively has a catch where you can drop the chain in and feel assured that everything will make it to the intended location. 

The tines adjust in and out quite well. turn the eye bolt and suddenly the adjustments are ready for just a little pressure. At the end of the support is a small bolt that will keep them from ever leaving the structure accidentally. These flying forks are here to stay and no concerns should be had that human error will cause an accident as long as the bolt is in place. 

Powder coating will lead to a long life as the forks will resist corrosion just about as long as most of us will live. And supplies, should you need another set are always ready to go. Flying forks are a top seller for us and we'll always be at the ready for your needs. 

The laser cuts on the 3300 and 4400 lb versions are just the coolest tech. We notch out the inside of the head and bend it down to make what is essentially a single unit head with gusset plates on it. The welds are then robotic and beautiful work. Just know that everything that you can't see is also fantastic quality as well. 

I might be biased, but I think that Eichinger and Seattle Tower Crane have the best crane forks on the market. If you wanted to get yourself a set to find out for yourselves, you can reach out at, or just roll over to and see for yourself.

Thursday, July 27, 2023

Automated Self Dumping Bins

 Self Dumping Bins out of Europe are much the same from brand to brand. In the last 15 years they have made a splash in changing out we handle trash in North America. We always used clamshell systems for a variety of reasons, but it's been chipped away by the great European designs that are commonly called Boat Skips, or Muck Skips

The reason for the change is due to durability and usability. A 4 yard Self Dumping Trash Bin is rated at 13,230 lbs. This is with a 3:1 safety factor for most manufacturers. This leads to durability. I've seen two of these bins damaged in my career. One due to grabbing it with a thumb on an excavator, and one due to being runover by a forklift. A bit hard to fault the bin. Clamshells are commonly damaged to about 20% of it's value on every job. I could line up the photos, but being sued isn't attractive. 

The usability factor is amplified by Eichinger's 1045 FA bins. They have a rotating latch that allows the crane operator to rotate the latch which makes dumping or flying optional without the aide of a rigger. What I see is a bin that doesn't require anyone to get into a dumpster filled with fall hazards, sharps and pinches. The boat skips I have been selling until today found that riggers were still getting in the dumpster to deal with a safety latch. I would explain until I'm blue in the face that they aren't required to use it and that it exists so the bale arm doesn't get knocked

over and into someone, but that knowledge would be set aside for the training that is inherent to use all safety devices. In this case, to impose a danger. But this problem is now solved with the automatic rotating latch. You can't remove the attachment to the crane without laying the arm down, so there is no longer a hazard of a falling bale arm. Since there is no latch, there is no reason for the riggers to expose themselves to the danger. Viola, the safety crane trash bin on the market is born. 

We can go to massive scales with these as well. 10.4 yards. If you need to excavate a project with a crane, these are the tools you need. Land the bin, laydown the arm out of the way of the excavator. Load. Lift it and land it up top where it can be dumped out in seconds without intervention. Send it back down and land it with guidance because it will certainly be in the blind for the operator. And... repeat. can help with these bins. to order today. 

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Overload Testing Below the Hook Items

 Let me start by saying, I'm pro safety. I love oversight. I started a blog on tower crane accidents over a decade ago because I thought people should see the reality of poor decisions and what those decisions were. I was a crane inspector working across the US. I participated in the writing of the codes Washington uses today and myself and a tower crane engineer wrote the test the tower crane inspectors have to pass today in Washington. Most of this work was unpaid. I'm pro safety at that level. But I want to talk about where it can go too far.

OSHA 1926.251 requires everything below the hook
is tagged and rated. Then it goes on to say that "Special Custom Designs" have to be overload tested to 125% of that rating. This applies to one off designs. Designs that are manufactured do not fall under this rule. They should be tested once or as a sample process at the factory. Then you build the same product to the same spec and all should be well. Think of crash tests and cars. We don't crash each car to prove the engineering again. The problem comes in our consensus standard, ASME B30.20. It requires a load test of 125%. This is fraught with hazards and could lead to serious complications.

Most of the European trash bins these days have large capacities. 4 yard bins have 13,230 lb capacities across many manufacturers. What are you putting in there to hit that 125% capacity? How about a concrete bucket. It is designed to take the volume needed and capacities are just above that (not including a significant safety factor). So a two yard bucket with a 8400 lb rating needs to be tested to 10,500 lbs. But you can't fit that much concrete into it, and that's by design. If you go to lead shot, you would be at 28% of the cone filled. So now you have added pressure on the gate that is concentrated. The cone has little to no resistance pushing out or down above the materials. And we are to overload test this to 125%? If it goes wrong, who is responsible here? A person is trying to be in compliance, but they are endangering others with compliance in these scenarios.

OSHA did a Letter of Interpretation on this in 2004 that is clear, but it can easily be misread. The questions involved are with regard to load testing "Special Custom Designed" items and being in compliance.

Question (3)(b): Where manufactured (not custom-designed) I-beams with shackles (lifting beams) are not load marked, are we required to proof-test and mark them?
No. Section 1926.251(a)(4) applies to "special custom[-]design grabs, hooks, clamps or other lifting accessories." Therefore, it does not require manufactured lifting beams - that is, lifting beams that are not custom-designed - to be proof-tested and/or marked.

It's critically important that we don't seek to change this. You don't want to point load or load an item in a way the manufacturer didn't intend with oddball items. I am of the opinion that this is going too far and should not become a standard practice. It's not that it's impossible or 125% is too much. It's that it's complicated and should be well thought out. This is one of these points where we should be stopping the safety march. Do not adopt ASME B30.20 as a fully required code. Be specific that you don't require load tests when you are in stakeholder meetings. You really don't want this as a field practice. The math to figure out how to match the intentions of the designs are just too complicated to be a safely adopted practice in the field.

For reference: The products I sell are not only engineered by a company that has done it for 119 years, there is a third party (TUV) that reviews the process. The ASME safety factor is significant @ 3:1. The 100% rating is a real challenge to get to on most items. We should be inspecting them, documenting it and putting them into service. More is not always safer.

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Boost Efficiency with Seattle Tower Crane's Laydown Concrete Buckets

When it comes to construction projects, time is of the essence, and every minute counts. To ensure smooth operations and maximize productivity, contractors and construction companies are constantly on the lookout for innovative equipment that streamlines processes and enhances efficiency. Seattle Tower Crane proudly presents its range of laydown concrete buckets designed to revolutionize the concrete pouring process.

Get them in your colors
  1. Cast in Place lowrise to highrise projects utilize pump trucks to place concrete. There is no replacing pumps. They are fantastic. But do they serve you best on every pour? They often clog the air space so you end up with a tower crane idle, and an operator sitting without being able to accomplish much while you spend $3000 on the pump and operator. We could be talking about spending $4000 to do work you could quickly accomplish with a large concrete bucket. Several times in my career as an operator I have poured trucks at a rate of 10 yards in 20 minutes. One job was with a 3 yard bucket in foundation pours. The other was on a 14 story when we lost a pump and the deck pour trucks were backing up. The crew was spot on and not what we should conventionally expect. The crane was also a Liebherr 316 with a hoist that is commonly 2x the speed of just about anything else.
Low loading heights at 2.6 Yards

In a common scenario, the challenge is that 3 yard and four yard round buckets are just too tall. you need a laydown concrete bucket so the loading height isn't tall. Our 5 yard concrete buckets are 5'-5" as a loading height. This means you can tailgate the concrete at a speedy rate at the slump you want and load that bucket in about a minute. If you are pouring in a foundation or deck with a crane, you could pour it in a couple of minutes too. Suddenly you have 15 minute cycles to empty the truck. By the time the driver cleans out and the next truck is set, you've beaten the trucks, no pump involved.

Four yards with a hose. Common in Europe.

Laydown buckets are expensive when they are 4 and 5 yards. $12,000 - $19,000 are retail rates. But the results of the spend can save you $3000 per day. Four to six utilizations pay for the bucket and you'll have an asset for the next 15 to 20 years. Charge the job for the tool and make the bucket a quiet profit center for your business. Your competitors will be scratching their heads on how you bid the job and missed the 15 pump days that swings your bid to the winning one. Call Seattle Tower Crane to make use of the tools you already have on site and win that bid.

5.2 yard in for powder coating 

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Forklift Tipping Bins that are Crane Rated

In my career running tower cranes I ran across a number of scenarios where having a bin of dual purpose would be fantastic. An American company makes an option that does sell, but I never liked it. It was violent for the crane. My time in equipment sales makes me believe it was never implemented as the manufacturer intended. Today I sell an option that does serve well for forklifts, or for cranes. It's a conventional tipping bin for a forklift, but we add crane lifting eyes to them. So if you wanted that trash bin up on a working deck, you can use it as a low loading option, or a tall and narrow option that can be pushed down hallways, or landed on small baloneys. Then it can be lowered to the ground and dumped by a forklift when it's convenient and you keep the crane moving. 

Our Model 2013c tipping bins can be built up to 2.9 yards in size. They can also be built down at .039 yards so they can fit anywhere. Put castors on them and just push them to where they are needed. Most are rated at 3300 lbs for the crane operations. Crane rated items are more expensive because they need a 3:1 safety factor as required by ASME B30.20. So our bins might cost $1900 where you can find them of a similar size for $1400. But the added structure is not only good for the lifting operations, the bins are stronger so they'll inherently last longer. We can do this with a number of our bins. 

The 2012/2044 versions are low and can be built to two yards in size. The advantage of not lifting overhead is a great idea to lessen stress injuries to the back and to the shoulders. If you want to see a long term savings, just lessen stress injuries by a few percentage points and you'll find some massive benefits in the bottom line with this small change. 

If you want to find a different tipping bin solution for your forklift, waste operations, or as a crane attachment, can help you out. Or is a solid option too. From Wheelbarrow types of tipping bins to 6.5 yard monsters, we have some options.


Friday, July 14, 2023

Skip the Slings. Bulk Bins are Safer and Faster


One of the challenges in concrete construction are related to lifting baskets and four post racks/pallets. The jumping of gear from lower floors to the working decks as you remove the shoring off of outriggers is very time consuming. We are strapping bins, stacking them. Then unstrapping so we can move them to the lower item, then flying. It wastes a few minutes on each cycle. If you have 50 lifts per cycle that waste a few minutes every week, we are talking about potentially a couple of hours. Usually this leads over time. So for easy numbers, if we have two riggers, an operator and a tower crane, the costs are probably over a thousand an hour. Multiply that by 2 and if you have 40 weeks, it's an $80,000 problem. Oh... each job. And we haven't accounted for the unstacking either on the working deck.

Eichinger makes a solution for this. Bulk Bins. They stack. They have an opening so you can get to items inside, which means that you don't have to unstack, then restack. They are also crane rated and come with four lifting eyes which means no straps. And it's an unquestionably legal lift. 

OSHA 1926.251 says every item must be rated. When we walk up to a pallet, we know that you can't run straps through it and say that straps are rated. Most contractors extend this, and rightly so, to wood boxes. You can't legally fly a wood box unless it's rated. But when we get to steel, this reasoning runs into a challenge. People forget the logic. It has to be rated. And the Letters of Interpretation on this are clear, over and over again. The lifts in the pictures below are 100% illegal. 

The point I'm illustrating is that lifting items have to be rated and why not having a rating can be fatal. The four post rack is supporting the load in the third picture. So it must be rated. It must be used as the manufacturer prescribes. And it must be maintained. I bring this up because we use heavily damaged gear in the field all of the time. You have to think of this like a manufacturer would. They aren't going to be liable for your misuse of their design. 

Eichinger"s Bulk Bins eliminate this issue. They have a four point lift that is large and unmissable. You literally wouldn't have a reason to not lift them as prescribed. In safety, it's referred to as engineering out the hazard. The Germans have done this for us. ( I would lift these as a double stack for COG stability. This was a look at how level they were as a stack)

These bins are locked in place structurally. They can also have castors added so you can roll them singularly, or as a stack. We have a large variety of sizes from 0.6 yards to 5.3. And the capacities range from 3300 lbs to 13,230 lbs. As an added bonus, they work as debris bins too in that you can dump them out from the lower lifting eyes in the back. 

Look at the size of that lifting eye for a 3300 lb item. It's massive. They are designed to be able to be lifted as a triple stack and still have a 3:1 safety factor. Again, I would be concerned for COG as a triple stack. And you can't really reach into the top one so it's a wasted effort to do it. If it made sense as a move, you might want to consider something like shackling the top bin slings to the eyes so it can't rotate out. 

Just look at that lifting frame as a stack. This is mean to lift and support itself well beyond what you need it for. 

Stop lifting stillage and four post racks with slings. We also have four post racks of 4 different designs that can lift as a four point lift. Let's be more productive and be in compliance with Eichinger's gear. You can save yourself up to $100,000 per job and be faster in the process. It's an obvious solution to the challenges of lifting stacks of gear. 

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Seattle Tower Crane's Drop Bottom Bins


Waste management is a critical aspect of any construction site or industrial setting. Efficiently handling and disposing of waste materials not only ensures a safe and clean environment but also enhances productivity and overall project success. In this regard, Seattle Tower Crane's drop bottom bins offer a valuable solution. Designed to simplify waste removal and optimize operational efficiency, these innovative bins are revolutionizing the way waste is managed on construction sites. Let's explore the benefits of these drop bottom bins in more detail.

  1. Easy Loading and Unloading:

Seattle Tower Crane's drop bottom bins feature a unique design that allows for easy loading and unloading of waste materials. With their hinged bottom panel, these bins enable effortless and controlled release of the contents. This mechanism eliminates the need for manual handling, minimizing the risk of injuries and enhancing worker safety. The quick and efficient unloading process translates into time and cost savings, leading to improved project timelines. These also work great with a crane or forklift. The duality of usability means that it can be ready for whatever means makes sense further speeding up the timeline for the project.

  1. Versatile and Space-Saving:

Drop bottom bins are available in various sizes and configurations up to 2.6 yard and 4400 lbs in capacity, making them versatile for different waste management requirements. Whether you're dealing with construction debris, industrial waste, or general trash, Seattle Tower Crane offers bins that can accommodate different volumes and types of materials. Furthermore, their compact design allows for easy placement in tight spaces, ensuring efficient utilization of available areas on the construction site. They even stack when you just need them out of the way. Put them on castors and you won't even need equipment to move them.

  1. Enhanced Site Cleanliness:

Maintaining a clean and organized construction site is crucial for productivity and safety. Drop bottom bins contribute to site cleanliness by providing a secure containment system for waste materials. By reducing the risk of scattered debris and minimizing the chances of pests or rodents, these bins help create a cleaner and more pleasant working environment free of trip hazards. Safety, speed and efficiency. What more could we ask for?

  1. Cost Savings:

Effective waste management can have a significant impact on project budgets. By utilizing drop bottom bins, construction companies can optimize waste removal processes and reduce associated costs. The streamlined unloading process minimizes labor requirements, allowing workers to focus on core tasks. Additionally, the efficient use of space and the ability to segregate recyclables contribute to potential savings through recycling initiatives and waste disposal fees.


Seattle Tower Crane's drop bottom bins offer a range of benefits that positively impact waste management on construction sites. From easy loading and unloading to versatile sizing options, these bins provide a streamlined solution for handling waste materials. By promoting cleanliness, enabling recycling, and optimizing cost efficiency, these innovative bins contribute to a safer, more environmentally friendly, and productive work environment. Embracing these drop bottom bins allows construction companies to enhance their waste management practices and achieve greater success in their projects.