Stabilization from the ground up

By Hannah Sundermeyer01 April 2019

Ground stabilization is the most critical aspect of any crane lifting project. If a crane mat, pad or cribbing surface is not providing a stable working environment for your machine, operations can be at risk and may need to be halted. While protecting the operator, the machine and the jobsite at large, crane mats and other ground stabilization products also safeguard the ground from damage by heavy crane tracks. These crucial products are essential for maintaining jobsite safety. As new technology, standards and machinery are advancing, so must ground stabilization products.

Lead option 2

TerraLam 700 Cross-Laminated Timber mats from Sterling are an alternative to traditional timber mats.

“Until recently, not much had changed when it came to crane pads and crane matting for larger mobile cranes,” said Kris Koberg, CEO, DICA. “Timber mats and steel dominated the landscape as the primary materials used for these products. However, site requirements related to ground bearing pressure are becoming more stringent, and demands for verifiable information related to actual pad performance are increasing, along with needs to lighten loads and reduce costs.”

To help ensure proper use and performance objectives, DICA uses analysis tools to accurately identify and present information for outrigger-enabled equipment support, the company said. “These tools allow us to provide a realistic view of the interaction between different crane pads, your equipment and the ground to assist users in making informed decisions,” Koberg said.

In light of the changing market and technological advances, American Cranes & Transport invited crane mat, pad and cribbing suppliers to submit information about their latest products.

Sterling Lumber

TerraLam 700 Cross-Laminated Timber mats from Sterling are an alternative to the traditional timber mats. As the only engineered 8-foot mat for heavy equipment on the market, Sterling said the TerraLam 700 mat can handle the largest construction equipment, including million-pound mobile cranes. TerraLam CLT mats are constructed with seven alternating layers of southern yellow pine and bonded with proprietary adhesive at Sterling’s automated manufacturing facility near Chicago, IL. TerraLam’s composition allows for loads to be spread evenly throughout the mat while reducing water and mud pumping on the mat road, the company said.

Because users can fit nearly double the square footage of mats per truck, TerraLam mats can save up to 50 percent in freight costs, Sterling said. TerraLam 8-foot mats double the size of 4-foot timber mats, meaning customers will need half the number of touches on the right-of-way to place, move and remove the mats, saving up to 40 percent in labor and equipment hours.

Bigfoot Cribbing

Bigfoot’s composite cribbing is made from the same material as the outrigger pads and has PSI values.

Bigfoot Construction

Bigfoot is an American family manufacturer that specializes in building outrigger pads. The premium birch that Bigfoot builds wooden outrigger pads with has been used since 1991. Birch has been put to the test with some of the largest equipment and in the hardest field conditions, the company said. Bigfoot also manufactures two different crane pad racks that mount on the back of cranes that store its composite or wood outrigger pads. This clears up deck space and helps with lifting the outrigger pads on and off the crane’s deck.

The company’s Big Grip Pad also has multi-uses. If used face down, the Big Grip pad bites into the surface area of contact and reduces slipping. This is great for ice, mud, snow and other hazardous conditions. When the Big Grip pad is used face up, the teeth bite into additional cribbing/dunnage for the right height needed on the equipment’s shoe/float. Using the Big Grip pad face up allows users to stack another Big Grip pad face down, as the teeth bite into each other. Bigfoot slide pads are for rear lot carts/back yard machines and smaller cranes/man lifts. The back-stop bar is removable, as users can slide this pad onto the equipment and install the stop bar. This will stay on the machine for multi set-ups at the job location, keeping the outrigger pad attached to the equipment.

Bigfoot’s composite cribbing is made from the same material as the outrigger pads and has PSI values. Because this material is not injected or extruded it has the same shear value faced north/south as it does east/west. This makes using Bigfoot Composite Cribbing exceptionally user friendly on set-ups with vertical pressure, the company said.

World Forest Group

Since 1995 World Forest Group has been a family owned company completely focused on forest-based industrial and sustainable solutions and products. The company said its expertise lies in the production of industrial strength forest products, for example crane mats, timbers and railroad ties and sustainable forest management.

World Forest Group offers eucalyptus mats, which are made from wood harvested from sustainably managed plantations. Timbers come from a limited geographical area, resulting in uniform products with reliable working characteristics, the company said. The 18-foot by 4-foot by 8-inch eucalyptus mat is 20 percent lighter, and 35 to 55 percent stronger with a longer life and less damage. All bolts meet or exceed ASTM F1554, with government approved phytosanitary treatment to prevent bugs and pests. Eucalyptus is stronger than southern red oak and significantly stronger than mixed hardwood mats. ASTM F1554 Grade 36 or better bolts are also used. The mats are standardized, using uniform raw material with minimal variability within each mat and allow no wane, no bark and no rot. World Forest Group has a single facility with a uniform, standardized production process so each mat is produced the same way. The result is stronger and standardized mats that are a superior product that is safer for customers’ use, World Forest Group said.

According to the company, eucalyptus wood is more consistent in strength and working characteristics because it is a single, genetically improved species grown on single large plantations. There are no supply disruptions and the company has access to these forests all year. Eucalyptus is grown in more than 90 countries and is spread over more than 22 million hectares worldwide.

Spartan Mat

Spartan Composites manufactures the System7 composite mat. Customers may choose between two of the most popular sizes, 4.25 inches by 8 feet by 14 feet and 4.25 inches by 7 feet by 14 feet. Spartan offers one size for regular trucking and the other size for ease of containerizing for overseas shipping.

System 7 Main HD

System7 mats have the flexibility to keep the overlapping and underlapping flanges/ edges at the industry standard 12 inch width, or to make them only 6 inches wide.

System7 has the flexibility to keep the overlapping and underlapping flanges/edges at the industry standard 12-inch width, or to make them only 6 inches wide, which further reduces weight and prevents wear and tear and broken corners and flanges. Spartan’s formulation minimizes or eliminates the curling problems associated with other composite mat products. The product comes with standard UV protection and an anti-static additive package. Hauling 50-plus mats per truck, System7 achieves more mats per truck than any other similar sized mat on the market, the company said.

System7 is designed to be easily connected to the most common mats in the industry and to any other mat systems with simple cross over sections. It features quick and simple installation which requires minimal training. The mats will not absorb contaminants and are long lasting, with a 10 to 15-year life cycle. In addition, Spartan Mat can provide RFID tags with each mat to help better track assets and inventory. The internal design of System7 is compartmentalized, so if users ever puncture the mat and water gets inside, the water will only be able to penetrate that specific area, and not the rest of the mat. System7 has the flexibility to customize the mats’ tread patterns.


DICA’s FiberMax Crane Pads are designed for mobile cranes with lifting capacities up to 500 tons. DICA’s patented, fully molded, one-piece pad optimizes directional distribution to efficiently and effectively distribute highly concentrated outrigger loads, the company said.

Engineered for high performance, FiberMax Crane Pads outperform traditional wood and steel plate solutions and typically weigh 60 percent less, giving users the ability to significantly reduce transportation costs, according to DICA. FiberMax Crane Pads are resistant to chemicals and corrosion and thrive in environments that degrade steel and wood. DICA’s patented SafetyTech Outrigger Pads provide everyday support for mobile cranes with lifting capacities up to 100 tons. Manufactured using DICA’s proprietary engineered material, SafetyTech Pads are exceptionally strong, lightweight and easy to use, DICA said. As an added benefit, SafetyTech and FiberMax products are the only engineered pads available in A1A Software’s 3D lift planning software.


Brewer Crane and Rigging used FiberMax FM8x5x10 to set up a Grove GMK6400 that was assembling a tower crane on a jobsite in San Diego.

DICA’s ProStack Cribbing Blocks are the only engineered product on the market specifically designed to provide height in situations where you need to crib up. The pyramid surface of the ProStack cribbing solution interlocks with other blocks and DICA’s SafetyTech Base Pad. The entire cribbing block system is impervious to environmental conditions, can be set-up or stored in minutes and has a rated capacity of 110,000 pounds.

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