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Sold on Power and Productivity

Throughout history, early adopters who take the risk to use innovative technologies and techniques are often the most successful. It’s a big reason Herb Duane is a Brokk Star. Well known in the demolition industry across the United States and Europe, Duane was one of the first users of Brokk remote-controlled demolition machines in the U.S.

Duane’s first encounter with Brokk machines came in 1988. A Brokk representative visited Duane’s Boston jobsite to demonstrate the power and productivity-boosting qualities of a Brokk 250. The machine made quick work of the concrete shipway Duane’s crew was demolishing.

“I was very impressed,” Duane said. “I expected the work to take us a week using jackhammers. This guy came in and used a Brokk machine to complete the entire thing in two hours. The productivity was unbelievable. I knew I had to have one.”

He bought the B250 complete with a trailer and a generator on the spot.

His business — the Duane Corporation — thrived as a result of the Brokk machine, and it didn’t take long for him to start buying more. Duane said the units paid for themselves quickly, which eliminated the need for financing. At his peak, he owned 18 Brokk 150s and 250s that he used for his own projects and also rented out with an operator to service projects up and down the East Coast.

The machines’ versatility, productivity and safety benefits opened the door to a wide range of jobs. Duane expanded his business into the process industry, where the Brokk units made light work out of removing refractory. He also took advantage of opportunities in nuclear applications where the remote control and added options allowed his workers to stay safely away while dealing with radioactive materials.

The Brokk units aided Duane’s success in some major underground projects in Boston including the Big Dig, or Central Artery Tunnel Project. The project involved rerouting the city’s main highways into a tunnel in the heart of Boston.

But new opportunity and enhanced productivity weren’t the only — or even the most important — benefits. The safety of the Brokk units likely saved the life of one of Duane’s crew. He recalls a job where an operator used a Brokk machine’s belt-mounted remote-control box to direct the unit while demolishing a concrete balcony. The structure unexpectedly collapsed, tumbling 30 feet to the ground and bringing the machine with it. The worker, who was standing a safe distance away, was stunned but unscathed.

“He just watched it happen,” Duane said. “Having to buy a new machine isn’t fun, but it’s much better than having a worker hurt or killed.”

After more than 60 years as a demolition contractor, Duane now travels the world as a demolition consultant. He also writes a demolition industry newsletter, DEMO/MEMO, that he distributes online. He and his son, who is still in the business, recommend Brokk whenever and wherever they can.

Duane’s passion for the demolition industry, experience and his part in sharing what remote-controlled demolition machines can do is what makes him a Brokk Star.


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