In 2007, a contractor worked itself into a pickle while building a Midwestern wind farm. There, a Demag CC2600 was being walked from one turbine pad to another. As the 500-ton crawler crane moved down a slight hill, it suddenly tipped forward. The counterweight overcame the upperworks, causing the boom to jackknife and crash to the ground.
WHECO Corp., a structural restoration company in Richland, Wash., was called in to repair the crane. In some cases, a manufacturer or insurer may have recommended scrapping all the large parts of it. Jay Shiffler, WHECO vice president of business development, declines to discuss further details about the accident other than to say the firm was able to rebuild the crane, including its 180 ft of boom and 120 ft of lattice jib, so the owner could get it back into service in about five months.
“We challenge the manufacturers,” says Shiffler. “When they say, ‘You can’t fix that,’ we say, ‘No, you can fix that.’ We can provide a more time- and cost-effective repair.”
The firm, which has shops in California, South Carolina, Texas, Washington and the Marshall Islands, began life more than 30 years ago as the Williams Hydraulic Equipment Co. WHECO has since become the go-to source for critical crane repairs, which it guarantees to meet all safety codes. The company works for manufacturers, dealers, insurers, crane owners and others, and it claims to have never been involved in a lawsuit related to a repair. Says Shiffler, “For 30 years in this litigious business, no lawsuit is incredible.”