Manitowoc launches new automated counterweight system

There's a couple of brand new cranes on the scene this year, and it looks like a game-changer.

Manitowoc have been leading the way in mobile, luffing pin-jibs for some time, but a simple idea due to be shown off at CONEXPO 2014 is going to make a big splash in the construction game.

Two new cranes, the MLC300 and MLC650, are equipped with a wholly unique feature that Manitowoc calls Variable Position Counterweight, or VPC.

The idea is as simple and self-explanatory as the name, but the implications are massive, and could completely change the expectations that cranes and rigging co-ordinators put on set-up time and ground space requirements.

The VPC system automatically positions the counterweight for the requirements of the lift, sliding along the rotating bed, altering the counterweight moment to optimise the forward moment of the boom.

In short, the crane's counterweights are mounted on a track so they can slide backwards and forwards, and all of this takes place automatically, in response to changes in the angle of the boom.

The advantages of this system include reduced ground preparation, lower ground-bearing pressure and less counterweight to carry around without sacrificing capacity.  

Ultimately, crane technicians will not have to transport or install as much counterweight as usual, compared with a traditional configurations.  

In fact, aside from the transport costs, and the cost of the counterweights themselves, there is also a massive saving in the amount of time needed to change the counterweight configuration.  Rather than removing or loading up on counterweights to suit a particular lift, the VPC simply adjusts itself to suit the lift, which saves on time, reduces the risky handling of counterweights, the amount of labour require to complete the changes, while maximising the capacity of the crane beyond what could be achieved with traditional counterweight configuration.

With interchangeable left and right side counterweights, the counterweight boxes are also designed to be common across multiple crane platforms.  

Manitowoc crawler crane senior vice president John Kennedy said the VPC system is game-changing technology.

"This new technology will have a significant impact on the lifting industry, as it enhances crane capacities, reduces mobilisation time on the job site, and in the end, saves customers a significant amount of time and money."

The MLC300 is a 300 tonner, which comes with 96 m of boom and has the option of a fixed jib attachment of 30m. A 96m luffing jib can be added to extend the boom radius to 144m.  

The MLC650, naturally, has a 650 tonne capacity with 104m of main boom to which a 30m fixed jib can be added. A 101m luffing jib can be added for a maximum 157m boom radius.

Austin Engineering win BHP Chile contract

Austin Engineering has won a three year contract for BHP Billiton’s Spence mine in Chile.

The contract is for the supply of one 140 tonne and two 80 tonne cranes, as well as spot services over the run of the contact.

It is valued at around US$ 9 million, plus spot services, which Austin says will see the value of the contract exceed US$10 million.

First revenue is expected as early as next month.

Commenting on this latest South American contract win, Austin Engineering managing director Michael Buckland described it as “another strategic win for our equipment division and the company’s strategy of securing long term sustainable earnings”.

“This follows [a number of] long term contracts announce by the company over the last three months.”

 Last month Austin won a US$200 million contract for Vale’s operations in Brazil.

Ground too wet to recover derailed wagons

Two months after an iron ore train derailed in WA, Aurizon say the ground is still too wet to recover the wagons.

Around thirty wagons derailed on May 20 while the train was on the move from Kalgoorlie to Esperance, the ABC reported.

No one was injured as a result of the accident.

Aurizon said it was waiting for the ground in the area to dry before it could remove the wagons.

Brookfield Rail said a crane will be needed to lift the wagons.

The rail company said investigation into what caused the derailment are continuing.

Raman Joshi to head Manitowoc Cranes in Asia Pacific

Manitowoc Cranes Australia announces the appointment of Raman Joshi to head their operations in the Greater Asia-Pacific region.

He takes over as executive vice president of GAP from Gilles Martin, who has left the company to pursue other interests. Joshi will report directly to Eric Etchart, president and general manager of Manitowoc Cranes. 

He will also continue as the vice president of Manitowoc Cranes India where he oversees the company's factory for Potain tower cranes in Pune, as well as its five sales offices and network of local dealers. Before moving to India, he was marketing director of Asia-Pacific, and prior to that he served as global product manager for Manitowoc crawler cranes. 

Eric Etchart said Joshi’s proven experience in the region and his knowledge of Manitowoc in Asia made him the perfect candidate for the position. 

He explains that Raman is already a popular leader in the Greater Asia-Pacific region and has been instrumental in developing the Potain factory in Pune as well as growing its market share in India. Having travelled extensively through the region in his previous roles, gained excellent knowledge of Manitowoc’s product lines, and maintained good relationships with the company’s dealers, Raman, according to Mr Etchart, has all the attributes to be a true success in his new role.

Joshi will continue to be based in India, but will also spend much of his time at Manitowoc’s regional headquarters in Singapore. He said he was looking forward to working with a broader customer base across the region.

Prior to joining Manitowoc, Joshi worked for Japanese bearing manufacturer NSK Ltd, and subsequently as sales and marketing manager for the company’s U.S. operations. He is fluent in Japanese and Hindi, and has an MBA from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in the United States.

Australians tour German Terex factory for insights into manufacturing

Leading representatives of companies from Australia’s Newcastle region and from the University of Newcastle recently visited Terex Material Handling at its production location in Wetter, Germany. Newcastle is a coal mining and manufacturing region 160km north of Sydney.

The high-ranking Australian business delegation gathered detailed information about successful German business models, gaining insights into the predominant conditions influencing Germany as a business location and, at the same time, learning about best practice examples from production.

Terex Corporation is one of the world’s leading suppliers of crane technology with Demag industrial cranes and crane components.

Dr Lars Brzoska, Vice President & Managing Director of Terex Material Handling underlined the importance of ‘Safety first’ in his presentation of the company and the Demag product world.

He explained that with the incorporation of the Material Handling business group into the Terex Corporation, the theme of product safety and occupational health and safety has gained further weight and is now even more firmly anchored in their corporate philosophy.

To read the rest of the article, and the Australian delegation's tour click here.


Preston mini crane helps install glazing façade on Soul on the Gold Coast

Preston Group recently supplied one of its mini cranes for the installation of the external glazing façade at the Soul on the Gold Coast project.

Preston was commissioned by G James Glass & Aluminium as sub-contractor for Grocon to install the external glazing façade to the upper podium level of the prestigious $850 million development.

Preston was tasked with overcoming problems in installing the façade caused by the recovery crane’s limited reach. G James Glass & Aluminium and Preston determined that the only way to safely install the façade was through a mini crane on the upper podium level.

Preston recommended the Maeda MC-305 mini crane with a 250kg lifting capacity at 12m for the job. Getting the mini crane to the podium was the next problem, as the weight of the MC-305 exceeded the lifting capacity of the recovery crane. Preston resolved this problem by disassembling the mini crane on the ground and lifting the pieces to the podium for reassembly by their mechanics.

Following the successful installation of the external glazing façade, the mini crane was disassembled again and reassembled on the ground, ready for the next job.

Preston mobile cranes and loading platforms tackle QUT Science and Engineering project

Leighton Contractors chose a range of mobile cranes and loading platforms from Preston Group for use at the new QUT Science and Engineering Centre project.

The $230 million dollar project, which is due for completion later this year, required a range of mobile cranes, steel props and loading platforms to complete the construction of a 50m below ground level swimming pool and the new P and Y Blocks of the building.

Preston’s range of Superminicrawler mobile cranes including the Maeda LC-383, which installed form work and shutters as well as performed general lifts, were put to use for the swimming pool work.

Various mobile cranes including the Maeda MC-285, MC-305, MC-405 and LC-785 models assisted in the construction of narrow access areas such as stairwells in the new P and Y Blocks of the building.

Preston’s patented Superdeck range, which utilises a retractable loading platform system to allow for the vertical stacking of units, was used for the exterior construction.

The Superdeck is designed to help increase the efficiency of materials handling and crane productivity by providing cranes with uninhibited access to the platforms from above to minimise any hindrance to their ropes and loads.

Konecranes receives order for first Busbar-powered RTGs to Turkey

Konecranes has announced that in June 2012 it received its third RTG order from Turkey, for eight fully electric Rubber Tired Gantry (RTG) cranes to be delivered to EVYAP Port, located in the Anatolian side of Istanbul.

The company notes that these will be the first Konecranes RTGs in Turkey to be powered by a Busbar system, which converts the cranes to fully electric operation.

It is anticipated that the new RTGs, which are also equipped with network braking, will reduce energy consumption by up to 60% and reduce local emissions by up to 95%.

The cranes will be powered by electricity drawn from the local grid, instead of a diesel generator, and do not use hydraulics.

They will be equipped with a full size diesel generator and Konecranes Diesel Fuel Saver technology in case of electricity blackouts.

EVYAP Port operates a container terminal that serves the Anatolian side of Istanbul and the regional economy of Kocaeli with its TEU capacity of 615,000, and is currently investing heavily in energy saving solutions and emphasising eco-efficient technology in its operations.

This was a key reason EVYAP Port selected Konecranes to be its RTG provider, as the company's cranes demonstrated high levels of eco-efficiency and reliability.

Kim Salvén, Konecranes Sales Manager, Port Cranes, said that this delivery is an important one for the company. It will be the third delivery to Turkey, and the first ever Bubsbar-powered RTGs in Turkey.

"We are very proud that EVYAP Port chose Konecranes when they decided to expand their existing fleet of RTGs. One of the main reasons was that we can adapt our 16-wheel RTG to the existing 8-wheel RTG fleet without additional civil works. EVYAP will get a more stable crane with more productivity and easier operation," Kim added.

The RTG cranes in this delivery feature a lifting capacity of 40 tons, and are capable of stacking 1-over-6 containers high and 7-plus-truck lane wide.

Delivery of the cranes is scheduled for March 2013. The parties have agreed not to disclose the value of the order.

Konecranes receives first straddle carrier order from Maher Terminals in US

Konecranes has announced that in May 2012 it received an order for six straddle carriers from Maher Terminals LLC in the US.

This is the first straddle carrier delivery Konecranes will make to Maher, which is one of the world's largest container terminal operators, being used by multiple shipping lines and customers.

The straddle carriers will be delivered to Maher's terminal in the Port of New York and New Jersey in November 2012. The parties have agreed not to disclose the value of the order.

Maher Terminals LLC has developed a highly flexible and efficient container terminal operation in the Port of New York and New Jersey, which is strategically located in the heart of one of the world’s most affluent consumer markets. The company currently operates a fleet of over 160 straddle carriers.

Jost Dämmgen, Sales Manager, Port Cranes, Konecranes commented that the company is “very pleased that Maher chose Konecranes’ diesel electric straddle carriers to replace aging equipment in its terminal. The state-of-the-art Konecranes straddle carrier combined with service, spare parts, and a training package will surely help our customer reach a higher level of quality and services."

The ordered straddle carriers are equipped with Konecranes electrical drives and power train components, and have a hoisting capacity of 40 tons in single container operations and 50 tons in twin twenty operations lifting one over two containers high.

Konecranes supplies cranes to CSX Intermodal Terminals in the US

Konecranes has announced that it recently received an order for three RTG (rubber tired gantry) cranes from US transportation supplier CSX Intermodal Terminals.

The cranes have a lifting capacity of 50 tons, and will be used for stacking and moving containers from tail to truck and vice versa, and will be equipped with the latest DGPS-assisted technology for container yards.

This technology includes an Autosteering feature, which is designed to keep the cranes on a pre-programmed straight driving path, improving safety and increasing productivity.

This is the first RTG delivery Konecranes will supply to CSX, with the cranes expected to be delivered in June 2013.

CSX Corporation is a leading US transportation supplier. The company's transportation network covers 23 states. Its rail and intermodal businesses provide rail-based transportation services including traditional rail service and the transport of intermodal containers and trailers.

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