Nomad cranes lifting
Nomad cranes can be customized to maximize lifting height and fit seamlessly into the operation.
Ready for anything
Free-standing, modular cranes put material handling capabilities into almost any structure
By Lauren Duensing

ndustrial real estate tenants can be very diverse. Tech companies, distribution companies and equipment rental businesses all have specific—and different—needs for the same space. Many of these companies also are looking for more flexibility as they navigate what Deloitte’s 2022 Manufacturing Industry Outlook characterizes as “positive economic indicators paired with historic labor and supply chain challenges.”

Deloitte analysts indicate in the report that “business agility can be critical for organizations seeking not only to operate through the turbulence from an unusually quick economic rebound but also to compete in the next growth period.”

Room to expand
Agility can come in the form of flexible space to grow, which can be tough to find for manufacturing operations that require a crane. Most standard, readily available industrial buildings aren’t equipped for heavy-duty, customized equipment because of the initial construction expense. And once a manufacturer has occupied the space, the property can require a complete renovation to remove permanent fixtures before a new tenant can move in.

“Buildings that can accommodate overhead cranes are either very expensive, very large or aren’t available right away,” says David Comiono, vice president and general manager of EMH, Valley City, Ohio, which designs, sells and manufactures a complete line of overhead material handling equipment solutions for loads from 25 pounds to 300 tons.

Nomad cranes in the assembly line
Nomad cranes are ideal for tight spaces. Here, a manufacturer needed them to be positioned above shelves.
Comiono also says he has witnessed a big trend over the last few years—more companies have become nomadic. That means they’re moving into buildings on a temporary basis while they are waiting for a bigger space or asking the developer to add on to their current facility. It’s a short-term solution, he says, “until they find what they really want.”

To accommodate these customers who need a crane but are finding it impossible or impractical to install a large overhead crane, EMH has developed the Nomad series of modular free-standing crane systems, which can be “readily installed and moved around. If you have a 100-foot-long building, for example, and you move to a bigger space, you can easily add on length as your operation grows,” Comiono explains. While it is more difficult to modify the width and height of the system, increasing length is “no problem.” In addition, EMH has “developed a lot of standard modules that can be easily modified to suit individual requirements, like accommodating column locations and tighter spaces.”

EMH developed standard modules that can be easily modified to suit individual requirements.
David Comiono EMH
Nomad cranes can be used in precast concrete buildings, leased buildings and other structures that are not designed specifically to accommodate overhead cranes. They are available in widths up to 40 feet and heights up to 25 feet, with capacities from 1 ton to 10 tons, and are offered in an XW version that accommodates widths up to 60 feet and loads up to 20 tons. Multiple cells can be combined for long runways, as well. The Nomad free-standing crane base plate allows the system to be installed without footers in most cases, using a bolted design that can be easily dismantled, relocated and reassembled and does not damage existing floors. Nomad cranes also come standard with a handheld radio controller and spare transmitter.
EMH provides consultation on the system, along with input from its national network of distributors, as well as complete installation and quick deliveries. Comiono says that a few initial items customers should take into consideration are the building’s concrete requirements, which might require a larger base plate; hook height and coverage; the height of the system; and the products they’re going to lift.

One EMH customer, a manufacturer of index tables for factory automation, needed 7 tons of capacity, a 40-foot width and an 80-foot runway. The company also had tight spacing on its plant floor, which required the system to be positioned above shelves. After installation, the manufacturer asked EMH to return and add emergency hard-stops so the crane would never go past a certain point and run into shelves with any given load. Nomad’s flexibility enabled the crane to accommodate both the tight parameters and adapt to real-time concerns.

Nomad cranes installed without footers
Nomad cranes can be installed without footers, eliminating the need to cut into existing floors.
Another customer that manufactures and services farm equipment was handling all heavy lifting by forklift. After consulting with an EMH distributor, the company selected a Nomad crane that fit seamlessly into the building’s design, accommodating doors, exits and footprint, allowing room to back large equipment in for service, and maintaining a clear floor for flexibility.

For the index table manufacturer, the first Nomad installation focused on assembly, getting tables ready to ship. The second installation was for loading machines onto tool plates, and the third gave the company the ability to expand the assembly area.

Nomad free-standing cranes are also often combined with EMH’s lighter capacity aluminum rail systems (AL Systems), working in tandem to meet customers’ requirements.

In most facilities, Comiono says, Nomad cranes become an indispensable workstation tool. “They give manufacturers the opportunity to have a long runway with three or four cranes on it, and then each employee is responsible for a crane. The employee takes more responsibility and the crane becomes a tool, rather than just a generalized overhead crane”—and it’s very easy to move the equipment to a new facility or add on to accommodate growth.

EMH (Engineered Material Handling), Valley City, Ohio, 330/220-8600,