Cutting Edge Crane Services

FAQ

Our FAQ is a quick reference for forward-thinking contractors who want to learn more about the capabilities of the PA TreeMek.

What is a Tree Mek?

A tree mek is a large remote-controlled truck mounted knuckle boom crane, with hydraulics run to a grapple saw at the tip of the crane boom. The knuckle boom extends and pivots at several joints, allowing the operator to maneuver the grapple saw over and around obstacles such as power lines, houses, other trees and obstructions, up to 100 feet away. Next, the operator activates the grapple saw. The grapple saw has two main functions; It clamps onto limbs and logs with 4000 lbs of force, then the built-in chainsaw cuts through the wood. Once the piece is severed from the tree, the crane can then place it safely in the designated landing zone, or even directly into a truck. When the tree is bigger than the grapple, the operator will remove the grapple saw, and a climber will use high-strength crane slings to secure the piece to the crane, and use a chainsaw to disconnect the trunk.

What kind of projects is the Tree Mek capable of?

Residential/Commercial tree removal

Hazard tree removal

Emergency tree removal

Right of way clearing

Lot clearing

Debris extraction/relocation

100 foot man basket

Log disposal/transportation

Remote tie-in point

I’m a small business. How will renting the Tree Mek help my business and my clients?

Imagine if you could boost your bottom line and cut your labor costs, all while reducing back-breaking labor. Or maybe there’s bigger project’s you’d be able to tackle, or catch up on your backlog of work.

If you've ever worked with climbers or cable cranes, you are well aware of the demand for your time and energy. While the Tree Mek doesn’t take the place of either of those(climbers or cranes), it can be a huge advantage on many types of jobs.

Increase Efficiency

What if we told you that you could increase your bottom line on not only your standard tree jobs, but even with some of the toughest jobs… and you could put more money back into your business. Renting the Tree Mek can substantially cut down your overhead.

It fits!

Can’t fit a big cable crane into your job site? Too many obstacles and other trees? No worries!

  • Utilize small staging areas and landing zones. Half-jacking allows the crane to set its stabilizers straight down on the far side, and full span on the working side, while maintaining full capacity on the working side! No more reduced capacity issues.
  • Access the tree by reaching through, under, and over other trees and obstacles! Utilize small landing zones with the precision of the grapple saw head.

Reduce Manpower

Remember that backbreaking labor it took to remove that one big tree (that once required you to run a crew of 3 or more guys)? Well it just became a 1 groundsman job with the Tree Mek, while the rest of your crew is out making money on other jobs. Now your overall production for the day just doubled.

Whether your goal is to simplify your current projects, or take on bigger projects to get to the next level, Cutting Edge Crane is here to serve your needs.

How can I work with the Tree Mek?

Just give us a shout via phone call or fill out a form here.

Even if you’re not sure about working with us, we love to spread our name and reputation, and we get a kick out of sharing about our work. We’d love to set up a time to meet you and introduce you to the Tree Mek.

What we find typically works best is for you to come out to one of our job sites for a site visit. From there we can answer any questions about the truck and help you get familiar with us and our equipment.

What are your rates? How do I price jobs?

Like today’s forward-thinking contractor, we know you make calculated decisions, and try to eliminate risk. So to help you, we offer special one time introductory rates. This allows you to get used to the simplicity and productivity of working with the Tree Mek. It’s also a great learning experience to help you dial-in your pricing. Additionally, our owners are personally eager to meet you and review any projects you may have in mind, to help you get a clear picture of the time, process, and pricing involved in working with the Tree Mek. Contact us or call our number. (814) 883-3730.

Will the Tree Mek damage my clients property?

In short, no. Our operators are trained to key-in on potential issues and mitigate them before the job begins-- during the job briefing and pre-job hazard survey. We also employ the methods mentioned in the “Where will the Tree Mek fit?” section, to ensure the job goes safely and smoothly without incident. Where there is a risk of minor damage due to staging, a waiver may be used to account for any damages. See more in “Where will the Tree Mek fit?”

Where will the Tree Mek fit? (What kind of terrain and spaces can the Tree Mek stage on?)

The truck is obviously pretty heavy, but there’s proven ways to stage the Tree Mek in surprisingly delicate yards and landscapes! The entire package of the truck and crane weighs roughly 67,000 Lbs. and spreads its weight over 14 wheels (slightly heavier than a loaded dump truck) With this in mind, there may be accommodations needed in order to stage the crane in the desired space (closest to the tree or objects being lifted). Between 1 and 2 layers of ¾” sheets of plywood help disperse the weight of the truck, allowing it to drive into lawns, thinner paved driveways, and across sidewalks.

Most water, sewer and electric utilities are below the frost line, so these generally don’t present any issues, as long as wheels don’t sit on an access lid(cap).

Power and communication lines are by spec required to be above 13’ 6” (the maximum height allowed for big trucks) Low hanging service lines and/or tree limbs can be tied back or raised with insulated tools if they fall below the minimum height. Also, with permission, some limbs can be pruned for clearance.

Small shrubs and plants can also be transplanted temporarily and replaced at the end of the job.

Many fences are designed with fasteners that will unscrew with a standard drill or socket set.

In areas with extreme grades (over 10 degrees), several options are available. The most simple option is to back the Tree Mek into position, with the rear of the truck facing the tree. The landing zone will then need to also be directly behind the rear of the truck. This prevents torquing and other forces from being exerted in the wrong places while the crane would try to rotate at a bad angle.

When full range of motion is required, there’s a few other solutions. One is to lay pads and supports for the truck to drive onto. This keeps direct pressure on the ground from the wheels. Then cribbing is used underneath any stabilizers to distribute the load of the truck evenly on the ground.

What kind of expertise and experience do your operators have?

Our operators have all completed an apprenticeship with an experienced Tree Mek operator, on top of documented multi-day field training provided by Palfinger USA.

Most importantly, they hold their NCCCO Crane Operator license for articulating boom cranes. This is the industry standard in crane knowledge and safety.

All of our operators hold their CDL license and have had training on how to safely operate large trucks on public roadways. They undergo medical exams periodically as well as drug screenings, which is also a required part of employment at Cutting Edge.

Our operators and staff continue their education through ongoing safety trainings, participating in industry workshops and professional networks. All this allows Cutting Edge Crane to stay on the leading-edge of the industry.

We have years of experience working with cranes of various sizes, and we understand what it takes to dismantle a large tree using cranes and heavy equipment.

What factors affect the productivity of the Tree Mek?

Like all tools, some factors affect the Tree Mek's productivity. Most of these factors can be managed to avoid slowing a project down.

Hazard Trees

The Tree Mek is still going to be the best tool for the job in regards to hazard tree removal- even for the worst and most dangerous trees. The process for removing these trees will be more involved than a removal of a healthy tree, and may take a little longer. Despite the inconvenience of taking smaller picks and keeping the tree balanced as it’s removed, many hazard trees are otherwise unsafe at best and deadly at worst for other tree removal methods.

Electricity and Lightning

The boom is not insulated, so the minimum approach distance to distribution power lines is 10ft. Many times offsetting the staging area, or using a neighboring property can remedy this. In some cases, the local utility company will need to prune away any tree limbs entangled in power lines, providing adequate clearance for the boom. In rare cases house service drops may interfere with the efficient movement of the Tree Mek. The utility or cable company may drop the service lines to the house to allow for maximum maneuverability. Another solution the Tree Mek offers involves the boom. The knuckle boom can actually reverse the boom angle to reach under power lines and back up into the canopy of the tree. This will slightly decrease the capacity, resulting in smallet picks than usual.

Another consideration is lightning. Should lighting strike (within audible distance from the thunder), the boom must be lowered temporarily until the storm passes.

Lastly, high winds will add an unknown variable to the stability of the crane, and the manufacturer’s requirements must be followed relating to adverse conditions.

Access -- SEE Where will the Tree Mek Fit?”

What are the benefits of the Tree Mek (vs traditional crane)?

Traditional cable cranes were a revolutionary advancement in tree removal back in the mid 1900’s. They continued to gain popularity up until the recent advancement in crane technology. These giants were known for their brute strength, due to a large rigid boom, and cable which the limbs dangled freely on. The operator was also limited to a cabin attached to the crane itself, limiting their view due to obstacles and the sun in their eyes.

While traditional cable cranes still have their place in certain situations, the Tree Mek is designed more specifically for tree removal. With these new advancements in technology, some of the limitations associated with traditional cranes are all problems of the past.

Smaller Footprint

When staging the Tree Mek, the space it can fit in is much smaller. This is because unlike traditional cranes, (which need their outriggers to be fully extended to reach full lifting capacity), the Tree Mek can “half-jack, and still maintain full lifting capacity off the extended  side.

Precision

For maneuverability, the Mecanil SG220 grapple saw on the end of the Tree Mek boasts surgeon level dexterity. The grapple can move in all 3 dimensions, tilting up and down and rotating 360 degrees continuously, all while the operator precisely configures the knuckle boom through mid air.

Clarity

For visibility, The Tree Mek utilizes a wireless remote control, allowing the operator to maintain superior visual contact at all times with the pick (object being lifted) and climber or other nearby workers. Our operators also use headsets for unmatched communication.

Safety

When the health and structure of a tree is in question, the safest thing to do is avoid putting a climber in the tree at all costs. Unfortunately that’s unavoidable with a traditional crane, but the Tree Mek allows for the removal of the tree using the grapple saw.