Wilkerson Crane Rental expands fleet

18 August 2023

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Third Manitowoc MLC300 lattice boom crawler with VPC-MAX boosts crane company’s capacity for the large tasks.

Kansas City, USA-based company, Wilkerson Crane Rental (Wilkerson), commemorates its 10th anniversary by enhancing its capabilities through the acquisition of a new Manitowoc MLC300 lattice-boom crawler crane equipped with VPC-MAX technology.

Despite its long-standing expertise in hoisting, lift planning, heavy hauling, and equipment servicing spanning over four decades, Wilkerson Crane Rental officially commenced operations in 2013. The establishment of the company emerged as Diana Holt orchestrated a rescue effort for the crane division, previously on the verge of dissolution. The division had been a significant part of her husband Jeff Holt's career as an operator and assembly director, and her father-in-law Fred Holt who was the general manager.

Under Diana's leadership as CEO and with Jeff overseeing operations as the Director of Operations, Wilkerson Crane Rental has expanded. The company's fleet of cranes now extends to regions including Arkansas, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Texas, and Wyoming. The impetus for this growth, says Manitowoc, has been a surge in local economic activity, including the construction of a new airport, data centres, and a battery plant, alongside the escalating demand for wind farms and infrastructure projects.

Jeff Holt, director of operations at Wilkerson, shared insights into their crane acquisitions: "Four years ago, we procured our inaugural MLC300 featuring an extended wide boom and upper boom point, primarily designated for wind farm projects. With the exception of a brief interlude for a three-month assignment, this crane has been pivotal in the maintenance of numerous wind turbines over time.

"Two years later we introduced a second MLC300 with similar specifications which initially embarked on wind-related ventures but soon diversified its role to encompass tilt-wall construction and infrastructure undertakings—where its versatility shone. Presently, it is stationed on a long-term project involving the replacement of a bridge over Table Rock Lake in Ridgedale, Missouri.

"Five months back, we invested in our third MLC300, this time integrating the VPC-MAX and Wide Boom Plus attachments. These additions are interchangeable across all three MLC300 units and have been instrumental in maintaining wind towers reaching heights of up to 100 meters. In the past five months, these attachments facilitated complete rotor drops for 100-meter wind turbines. The latest crane assignment involves contributing to the construction of a sizable tire plant in Topeka, Kansas, utilising its main boom and fixed jib."

The recent inclusion of a 386 ton capacity crawler, sourced from Kirby Smith, bolstered Wilkerson's collection, which already featured two other MLC300 models. The fleet extends to encompass a range of Manitowoc crawlers, including the MLC90-A, 999, 16000, and MLC650 equipped with VPC-MAX. Notably, the MLC650 with VPC-MAX has successfully completed operations on two bridge projects and is now exclusively dedicated to wind farm initiatives. Expanding beyond cranes, Wilkerson's equipment inventory also embraces offerings from Manitowoc and Grove, incorporating the Grove GMK6350, RT765E-2, as well as four National Crane boom trucks—with plans for an additional two to join soon.