Bert Smith, fleet manager at Wimsatt Building Materials, a distributor of roofing products in Wayne, Mich., is one of those guys with a trained eye focused on every detail. That’s an excellent characteristic when you’re adopting an innovative approach to lifting thousands of pounds of roofing materials onto residential and commercial building rooftops at construction sites, all on a precise timetable.

“Moving heavy pallets of roofing materials onto the roofs of construction projects historically involves a lot of back-breaking manual labor,” says Smith. “Usually, you’ll see a couple of guys loading 60-80 lb. packages of roofing materials from the truck to a conveyor and then off the conveyor and onto the roof. It’s super hard work that we hope to make easier.”

Cargotec, a global cargo handling solutions company, offered a solution that makes this tough job faster, more efficient and safer for customers like Wimsatt and the builders and contractors it serves. Cargotec’s Perrysburg, Ohio, operation sells and installs truck-mounted load handling equipment, including Hiab cranes and Moffett forklifts. Based on its experience with cranes and forklifts, the company developed equipment designed specifically to replace the very labor intensive conveyor system usually employed for moving products onto roofs. The resulting remote-controlled crane (HIAB 166L) with a 40 foot rear-mounted boom can pick up an entire pallet of roofing materials and place it precisely where it is needed for unloading at roof level.

To maximize the effectiveness of the new crane solution, Wimsatt consulted Cargotec on the specs before purchasing several Freightliner 114SD chassis from Wolverine Truck Group, a Freightliner Trucks dealership. Wimsatt, Cargotec and Freightliner Trucks reviewed the specs for the truck to be certain all of the bases were covered. The team checked — and double checked — dimensions, wheel base, axle capacity and weight distribution, making sure there was adequate truck frame and proper ties, and that no cross members were in the way. “A clean back-of-cab was really important,” says Bob Bobroski, operations manager for Cargotec.

Wimsatt has a strong fleet, featuring the full line of Freightliner vocational trucks including Coronado 122SDs, 114SDs, 108SDs, M2 112s, and M2 106s for the variety of different services they offer.

With all the details nailed down, Cargotec upfitted the 114SD with a Hiab crane to hoist pallets of roofing from the truck to roof level at job sites. Thanks to that collaboration, no changes were needed on the truck. “This always results in a much cleaner and more efficient installation,” says Bobroski.

While Wimsatt had extensive experience with many Freightliner models, Smith says his local Freightliner dealer suggested he consider the 114SD and the Coronado 122SD for work requiring larger cranes.

“The Freightliner 114SD has become the truck of choice for most of what we do,” says Smith. “For our use, it’s the number one model at a reasonable price.” Why is Freightliner’s 114SD a good choice? “We can spec what we need, and move things around as necessary. And the SmartPlex system is definitely a valuable addition, allowing us to integrate the crane more easily. Working with Freightliner is paying off for us. They customize the specifications and the trucks show up ready to go.”

Smith credits Doug Cisler at Wolverine Truck Group for helping Cargotec and Wimsatt work so effectively with Freightliner. “Nine times out of ten, the customer chooses the truck,” Cisler says, “but these good working relationships help everything come together more easily.”

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