Training staff and work crews recently completed a bottom-climb test of a new Liebherr 85 EC-B5 tower crane at the Operating Engineers Training Institute of Ontario (OETIO) campus in Oakville. It was the first time the exercise was done.

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Helping in the bottom-climb test of a new 85 EC-B5 tower crane at the OETIO campus in Oakville, Ontario were (from left, front row) Perry Kanturek of Morrow Equipment; Walter Hollasch, Dave Workman, Claudio Montesano, Joe Dowdall, Brian Alexander, Steve Delaney (from left, second row) Eric Hoeksma, John Devries, Ross MacRae, Michael McIntyre, John Armstrong, Avery Moodie, Luke Kennedy, Luca Pascale (from left back row) Craig Giles, Adam Knapp, Randy Mitchell and Collin Brooks.

The yellow, 9-story crane will enable apprentices and tower crane operators to be trained in top- and bottom-climbing procedures.The crew involved in the bottom-climb test included instructors from the OETIO, apprentices, Local 793 member Mark Forbes of Morrow Equipment Company and representatives of the company.

Training asset

The crane was erected in the spring and a permanent six-story steel support structure was built around the base in May. The support structure was designed by Mark Wojick from Burrell & Associates Inc. The structure is necessary for the tower crane to be raised and lowered, like it would be on a worksite.

Crews spent several weeks erecting vertical columns and then attached beams on the structure. Flooring was installed on several levels along with a staircase.The steel support structure enables the crane to be raised and lowered, similar to what would happen on an actual worksite. A top-climb test of the crane was done in April.

The crane has a lifting capacity of 5,000 kilograms and is equipped with an extra-large cab for training students.

The crane extends three floors higher than the surrounding steel structure. It is now operational and instructors at the OETIO are developing a curriculum to train tower crane apprentices and operators in top- and bottom-climbing procedures.

First of its kind

The OETIO is the only training center that offers top- and bottom-climbing crane procedures. The crane is now in working order and being used to train apprentices.

“Having this crane at the OETIO campus in Oakville will benefit students and operators who want and need to be trained in top- and bottom-climbing procedures,” said Local 793 Business Manager Mike Gallagher. “It will enable them to be trained in these procedures in a safe environment.”

Gallagher said the crane was purchased and installed because the union wants to ensure the OETIO remains a world-class training facility.

“By purchasing and installing this crane, we are really showing a commitment to our industry and our contractor partners,” he said. “We are always looking for ways to improve our training and offer new courses to members that are relevant to the industry. By investing in equipment such as the new tower crane, we can continue to train apprentices and operators and contribute to the growth and prosperity of the construction industry in Ontario.”

Long overdue training

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The union wanted to ensure that OETIO remains a world-class training.

Local 793 Director of Training and Apprenticeship Joe Dowdall, who worked as a tower crane operator, said it’s important that preparations for top- and bottom-climbing a crane are done according to the instructions in the crane manufacturer’s manual and also that post-op procedures are followed.

“Crane operators and apprentices are the ones who sit in the crane after it has been raised and are responsible for its safe operation,” he said. “They need to understand the importance of ensuring that all aspects of the climb have been followed. They need to understand what areas on the crane or tower they need to inspect during daily operations as well. This type of training is long overdue and I’m very happy that we now have a tower crane and structure where we are able to perform this type of training.”

Dowdall said he’s pleased at how smooth the crane could be bottom-climbed within the climbing frame and how it was top-climbed when a section was inserted to increase the height of the tower.

“The hydraulic system worked effortlessly and we were able to raise and lower the crane to the desired height without any problem,” Dowdall said.

Dowdall also said he is confident the OETIO will have the best training curriculum developed soon so that apprentices and operators are trained to the highest standards for the industry.

EDITOR’S NOTE:

This article is reprinted with permission of Making Tracks Magazine, the local 793 IOUE member magazine.