Auto Crane Commemorates 55 Years of Invention and Innovation of the World's First Field Service Crane

February 19, 2013

Ramsey Industries, Inc., announced today that its Auto Crane subsidiary is celebrating 55 years since the company's invention of the original field service crane, and with it, the birth of a new industry.

When entrepreneurs Claire Simmons and Carl White in 1958 designed a small crane that could literally fit in the trunk of an automobile, they immediately solved a back-breaking problem experienced by oil-field service technicians who previously had no other means to hoist heavy drill bits but on their backs. But inventing a crane that was easily transportable also introduced the concept of mobile service to lift and repair heavy equipment in remote areas.

Auto Crane's first client was Hughes Tools, headed by none other than billionaire Howard Hughes. In the rich Texas oil fields, Auto Crane service cranes were put to work and quickly became a staple of the oil production industry. With mobile crane service now a reality, drilling operations no longer experienced expensive downtime waiting for off-site repairs, and service technicians could repair equipment faster and safer without the manual labor of lifting heavy drilling components.

"Looking back, Auto Crane truly revolutionized the way service work was being done at the time," said John Celoni, president and chief executive officer of Ramsey Industries, Inc. "If you think about it, we essentially brought the workshop to the site where techs were then able to work on the equipment right then and there, eliminating the downtime and cost associated with transporting the equipment to an off-site repair shop."

Over the decades, Auto Crane continued to expand and innovate its product line with "back-saving" service cranes that addressed both safety and operational problems in the energy, mining and construction industries. Among these were the first electric cable crane in the 1970s that offered unprecedented lifting capacities for even bigger equipment. In the 80s, Auto Crane designed the first fully hydraulic line of service cranes that increased productivity with fully hydraulic hoists, boom extensions and power rotation. The company in the 90s introduced the first electric over hydraulic service crane, which gave operators more versatility than ever.

In 2003, Auto Crane's passion for inventing and innovating mobile service cranes took a new turn. This time, all eyes focused on the trucks that transported the crane to its service areas. Service technicians needed a specialized truck body designed specifically to disperse heavy loads and torsion of heavy lifting. They also needed a durable solution with compartments for work tools and ancillary equipment to make time-efficient repairs. Auto Crane soon unveiled its patented Titan® crane body -- another industry first.

With safety always at the forefront of its product line innovations, Auto Crane took a fresh look at minimizing and eliminating common control problems experienced by crane operators. With technology as its guide, Auto Crane created in 2010 the patented NexStar™ crane control system for its hydraulic cranes. NexStar revolutionized the service crane industry by delivering unprecedented control to the operator's hands and providing a virtual second shield of defense, preventing the operator from unsafe overload conditions.

"Throughout the years, Auto Crane has always taken the approach that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and we've proven that with our NexStar System," Celoni says. "Nextstar truly eliminates operators the guesswork that once came with what operators could and could not lift due to the weight of the load, the angle of their boom, or the angle of their chassis."

Since then Auto Crane continues to engineer and enhance the safest cranes and most robust crane bodies in the industry. The company expanded its NexStar crane control system to its electric over hydraulic cranes, making them the safest and best performing EH cranes in the world. With the release of the new Titan in 2013, Auto Crane once again improves performance and agility of its truck body while reducing weight for additional payload.

"The new Titan is another testament to Ramsey Industries' dedication to developing real-world solutions for global industries," Celoni says. "Our Auto Crane customers today operate in the remotest parts of the world -- the ends of the earth so to speak -- and that means a greater need for more efficient mobile solutions to keep them online and working smarter."

After 55 years, Auto Crane continues to lead the service crane and mobile service industries through safety-focused innovation and an entrepreneurial drive to solve problems. "We are passionate about the safety and productivity of the people who use our products on a daily basis," says Kris Cleveland, Auto Crane's director of sales and marketing. "As we look back at the origins of Auto Crane and all of the industry firsts that define us, we are thrilled to see our products at work now around the world."

The company's commitment to meeting safety challenges -- from the North American oil fields to the mines of Chile -- has dramatically improved the energy, mining and construction industries around the world, and leaves a lasting legacy for the decades to come.

About Ramsey Industries

Headquartered in Tulsa, Okla., Ramsey Industries is comprised of three wholly owned subsidiaries that include Auto Crane, Eskridge and Ramsey Winch. Auto Crane designs and manufactures a comprehensive line of truck-mounted electric and hydraulic cranes, crane service bodies, crane control technologies, accessories, and mobile solutions for the energy, mining, construction, industrial, forestry and railroad industries. Eskridge is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of planetary gear drives and anchor drives, digger drives, and multiple-disc brakes. Ramsey Winch designs and manufactures industry-leading industrial and consumer winches for use in towing and recovery, industrial, petroleum, off-road and ATV vehicles. For more information, visit us at autocrane.com, eskridgeinc.com and ramseywinch.com.