HVAC Manufacturer Uses Two PF-Series Gantry Cranes to Handle Large Industrial Cooling Units


A manufacturer of large custom HVAC systems recently expanded operations into an additional leased facility. After receiving a large contract, the company needed additional manufacturing capacity quickly, so they moved some of their operations into a large wooden-structure industrial building.

This company specializes in custom commercial and industrial heating and cooling systems that can reach sizes up to 50 feet long and 14 feet high. Components are brought into their facility where they are assembled into custom-designed systems. To be able to lift and move the large components and systems, the facility needed a sufficient material handling system. McLaughlin Hoist and Crane, a nearby crane supplier and service company and local Spanco dealer, evaluated the situation to find the best solution for their needs.

John McLaughlin of McLaughlin Hoist and Crane determined that the building’s wooden structure wouldn’t be able to support the loads of a crane system. Additionally, since the location is being leased, the company needed something that could be removed and relocated in the future. Immediately, John started looking for a solution using gantry cranes.


The large HVAC systems must be picked at multiple points along the length of both sides to prevent damage. With this in mind, they discussed using a single 20-ton gantry crane with a single hoist and a large adjustable lifting beam. Because this system would support the load at a single point, they concluded that it would cause significant balancing issues

In the end, they reached a solution using two gantry cranes each with two hoists. They purchased two 10-ton Spanco PF-Series Gantry Cranes, each with a 30-foot overall span and a 19-foot Height under Beam. Each crane also had two five-ton hoists installed, and all four hoists were then fitted with lifting beams and double-leg adjustable slings. With four five-ton hoists, the systems achieved a combined capacity of 20 tons, which the application required, and a total of eight picking points to support the load adequately and eliminate the balance problem.


Workers at the facility use the new Spanco Gantry Crane system to offload the delivery trucks that bring the large HVAC components into the facility. The tandem gantry cranes easily lift and move the large parts from the receiving area into fabrication areas in the facility. When the systems are complete, workers use the gantry cranes to load the systems in the shipping area onto outgoing trucks.

The gantry cranes were also equipped with a special wireless control system. The system was designed with the capability to operate each hoist individually or to use the four hoists in unison from a single controller. This flexibility in hoist control allows operators to use one or two hoists for smaller systems and components or both gantries with all four hoists for the largest systems, depending on the specific lifting requirements.

One additional challenge they had to address was the building’s limited vertical clearance. The tall HVAC units have to be loaded onto a tractor trailer, so workers needed a crane with a high hook height. Because they decided to use two smaller, lower-capacity gantries, they were able to avoid any clearance problems inside the facility. John explained, “We were originally looking at a single 20-ton gantry, but it would have been so large that headroom would become an issue.” The two 10-ton gantries were able to be designed to fit easily within the building clearances while decreasing headroom and achieving the required hook height.

Several months after the two PF-Series gantries were installed, the system was so successful that McLaughlin Hoist and Crane returned to install two smaller Spanco Adjustable Height A-Series Gantry Cranes. The two A-Series Gantries are used in a similar way to the PF-Series Gantries in their production area. Like the PF-Gantries, each Spanco A-Series Gantry is equipped with two hoists with lifting beams and chain slings.

The A-Series systems were selected for their adjustable height capability. The user needed the flexibility to use the gantries in the high bay while working on large units and in the lower bays while working on smaller units. The adjustable height allows workers to lower the gantries and move them into bays with less overhead clearance. The gantries are equipped with the Adjustable Height Winch-Hoist Kit with two Lug-All cable winch-hoists, so workers can adjust the gantry height manually without using a forklift or other equipment.

With the new complete system, workers are able to lift and move the large HVAC components and systems efficiently. John stated that the reason the material handling plan works so well is that “we found the proper solution—the right fit for their application.” McLaughlin Hoist and Crane was able to work with Spanco to create a custom solution that met the end user’s exact needs.