The GR-550XL is Tadano’s 55 ton rough terrain crane. In a recent interview Jeff May shared his experiences operating this crane at the Daytona International Speedway job site. Jeff has been operating cranes for 15 years, and he currently works for Sims Crane & Equipment.
TAC: Can you describe what you were doing that day when this picture was taken?
JM: We needed to remove the old bleachers so new ones could be put in. For each lift, we rigged a section of the wooden steps and used a chainsaw to cut it loose. Then that section was lifted straight up and set down beside an excavator so it could be dismantled. Each one weighed anywhere from 1500 to 4000 pounds.
JM: The GR-550XL I use was brand new when it came to the job site. There is also another one on-site that is a couple years old.
Overall, these cranes are very smooth and they have a lot of features that I like. There wasn’t much of a learning curve for this machine besides looking up a few things in the manual.
TAC: What specific features do you appreciate?
JM: I really like that you can control all the outriggers with one button. The cab is roomy, with room for storage behind the seat for my cooler. Two small things that make a difference for me are a window up button at ground level and the horn. When I blow that horn, everybody knows it!
TAC: What has your experience with erecting this crane been like?
JM: The way the jib is erected and pinned is great. There is no need to get on a ladder and swing a hammer. I’ve run four or five different crane brands, and I have found Tadano to be the easiest, most user friendly, and safest.