C&L, Cranes & Lifting, International, Projects

Bohl Crane upgrades world-renowned powerboats’ hoisting appplications

Bohl Crane has supplied Formula Boats with a range of new gantry cranes and lifting applications.

US equipment company, Bohl Crane, has successfully installed two overhead cranes and hoists tailored to a unique request from its client, Formula Boats.

Installing the lifting applications in Decatur, Indiana, Bohl Crane worked within tight confinements to help install new lifting applications for Thunderbird Products, who produce the globally renowned Formula powerboats. Operating in a room that had a 6.4m height and a 5.4m pre-existing crane rail height, Formula Boats needed new lifting mechanisms to shift the boats from the warehouse to the pools out the front where they could be tested.

Due to customer requests for larger and heavier boats, the material handling needs had changed for Formula Boats. This resulted in much of the previously existing cranes being removed due to mismatched hoists and speeds, but retaining all below the hook equipment. With a total of eight bays needing to be covered, Project Engineer Thomas Velker stressed the difficulty of working “within an existing building” possessing “an already tight lifting application”.

“We had to come in and reinforce their building steel along the runways and building columns so that the runways for the cranes could handle the additional capacity,” he said. “We had to keep our sizing within the existing crane window despite the need for even bigger cranes; we did this by notching the girders and other methods.”

Bohl Crane worked with Formula to uncover how much weight the bow of each boat required as compared to the stern in regard to capacity. The stern, being heavier, required an 8-tonne crane; and the bow, being lighter, required a six-tonne crane. Thus, the solution developed by Bohl Crane involved tandem radio remote controls being utilised to get the two cranes to lift boats together. Bohl Crane selected standard SX wire rope hoists and crane kits, utilising fully side-mount end trucks, to keep the cranes in as tight a window as possible. The spans of each crane were comparable at approximately 15m. Each bay received an eight-tonne and six-tonne capacity crane to cover the weight of the bigger boats.

Bohl Crane has supplied Formula Boats with a range of new gantry cranes and lifting applications.
Thunderbird Products produces the world-renowned lines of Formula Boats. Image: Bohl Crane.

Furthermore, Bohl Crane added a radio remote control with A / B / Both selector switch. This allows them to be able to move the bridges at the same time. In addition to the larger bay cranes, eight new 2-tonne capacity underhung R&M cranes were installed in a smaller bay area.

With the entire process lasting from January through to September, a key aspect of the operation was upgrading Formula Boats’ existing hoists without causing too much downtime. However, thanks to a timely suggestion from an experienced sales person to place intermediate columns in the middle of the runway, Formula Boats was able to keep all available runways fully open, minimising downtime drastically.

“We had concerns about continuing production during the hoist upgrades,” said John Workinger, Facility Manager at Formula Boats.

According to Workinger, the operation couldn’t have been done without “great communication through on-site Bohl Crane employees” and “on the floor supervisors and employees”.

“It went flawlessly,” he said. “Bohl Crane did an excellent job of communicating with our production supervisors and staff to accommodate our schedule, even in this crazy world of shipping delays.”


Bohl Crane has supplied Formula Boats with a range of new gantry cranes and lifting applications.
Tandem radio remote controls are utilized to get the two cranes to lift the boat together. Image: Bohl Crane.
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