Printer Friendly Version

Overview

Roth Cemetery Services is a Pennsylvania-based company that provides professional headstone repair, restoration, cleaning, and setting services. Jay and Wilson Roth have spent many years repairing and conserving headstones, some dating back as far as the 18th-century. They take great pride in their work, and it shows.

Over time, headstones may start to slant, or the foundation may fail, and weather begins to degrade the integrity of the stone. Many headstones fall over completely because they were constructed using pins that attach the top part of the headstone to the base, which corrode and rust over time. In these cases, Roth Cemetery Services can reconstruct the headstone and stabilize the monument. Oftentimes, this process requires replacing old pins and resetting the headstone with a mortar or setting compound. In some cases, the sheer weight of the stone holds the monument together, but this method also makes the monument difficult to lift and move.

Most headstones are made from marble or granite and typically weigh between 100 pounds to several tons. According to Wilson Roth, they use a truck-mounted hydraulic knuckle boom crane to repair headstones in newer cemeteries because these cemeteries typically have more space between the rows. However, their truck can’t always move through narrow rows of headstones, and they don’t like to drive over burial sites. In these cases, Wilson and Jay needed to find a more flexible system that was highly portable and easy to use. That’s when they turned to local Spanco dealer Power-Draulics, Inc. to find a solution for their unique application.

Solution

Power-Draulics recommended a two-ton aluminum gantry crane from Spanco. Aluminum gantry cranes are lightweight, portable, and extremely stable under load. One or two workers can move a disassembled aluminum gantry crane from one site to the next, making them ideal for lifting, conserving, and repairing headstones in tight spaces. Once on location, the gantry crane is rapidly assembled, ready to lift, and able to precisely position heavy objects. According to Wilson Roth, “It’s been really helpful to get through narrow rows without disturbing burial plots, which is exactly what we were looking for.”

Impact

The two-ton aluminum gantry crane includes an eight-foot span and eight feet under the beam. The crane is fitted with sixteen-inch diameter pneumatic tires that add an additional 12 inches in height. The swivel-locking casters with pneumatic tires also make it much easier to move the gantry—even under load—over grass, dirt, gravel, and the soft cemetery ground. The additional Spanco winch kit allows workers to adjust the gantry legs in six-inch increments quickly and easily. Once the aluminum gantry is assembled, they position it over the headstone and use tightening straps to choke it without causing any damage to the original stone. According to Roth, “It’s really easy to remove the gantry legs and beam and throw it into the back of a work truck. We can complete an entire row of multiple repairs using the gantry crane, which speeds up the process and makes it much more efficient. This system has become an asset to our team.”