Industry News

Alfasi Hire open in the Pilbara

Specialised hire equipment business Alfasi Hire is planning to open a new operation in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. Simon Berridge, Western Australia and major projects manager, explains the strategy behind the new branch and the cranes that will be operating in the region.

The fleet of new crane provides a point of difference for a lot of project managers and subcontractors as Alfasi Hire can offer 2022 compliant elevated work platforms (EWPs), telehandlers, lighting towers, generators, and associated plant in comprehensive equipment packages.

With a strong background in quality, safety and environment, Berridge has been in the hire industry for 35 years. Since joining Alfasi Hire in 2010 he has had a number of roles. Berridge started the Sydney operation in 2010 and went on to open the Darwin branch in 2015, which was designed to service activities in the Northern Territory, including the Inpex LNG gas project from 2015–2018.

He then moved roles to become the major projects and crane manager. More recently, Berridge was appointed as the Western Australia general manager. He retains the portfolio of major projects.

With the approval of several key projects in the region, in mid-2021, Alfasi Hire made the decision to open a branch in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

“Alfasi Hire has always taken a progressive approach with the equipment we purchase, including investing in the latest technology in terms of EWPs, scissor lifts, and various types and capacities of cranes,” he explained.

“We saw a great opportunity for our type of service in the Pilbara. Our decision to open an operation there is based on the number of large projects in the pipeline and throughout the region, across various industry sectors, including construction, resources and mining.

“With the challenge of Covid restrictions, we were unable to travel, as well and acquiring the required resources and personnel onsite to fully establish the new branch. Now travel restrictions have been lifted we are full steam ahead with the Pilbara branch,” said Berridge.

Alfasi Hire began purchasing the required cranes in 2021. Berridge provides details on the types and capacities of cranes being offered by the Pilbara operation.

“The new cranes were ordered in 2021 and they are starting to arrive in the branch now and we will be ready to open in July.

“We have two brand new Liebherr lattice boom crawler cranes. The first is a LR 1130.1, which is the updated model with the latest master 5 control system and a maximum lifting capacity of 137.2 tonnes. The lifting capacity of this crane is quite exceptional and can compete with other brands of cranes in the 150t capacity class,” said Berridge.

“We also have a Liebherr LR 1250.1, a 250t capacity crawler. We could see a
gap in the WA market for these smaller capacity Liebherr crawlers. Our research showed there were any number of large capacity, Liebherr crawlers operating with capacities from 400t, 500t through to 600t, but there weren’t many smaller capacity Liebherr crawlers. Typically, this smaller capacity market is dominated by Japanese manufacturers like Kobelco and HSC.

“We decided to bring to the region the leading European brand with these smaller capacities, which feature the same operating systems as the larger capacity crane, which have been readily accepted in this market,” he said.

The LR 1130.1 crawler crane achieves very fast working cycles. Its continuous proportional control allows for simultaneous movements. Moreover, load charts are continuously calculated during operation taking into account wind factors, thus ensuring optimum utilisation of the crane. The crane’s flexible boom configurations offer a wide range of options for different lifting applications. Thanks to the proven jack-up and self- assembly system the crane can quickly be set up without the need for an assist crane.

The LR 1250.1 is a newly re-designed crawler crane in the 250t class with additional operator safety systems onboard thanks to the master 5 control system. This allows for various safety inputs, ie. ground pressure visualisation providing real time ground pressures with warning zones for safe operation.

The reinforced main boom achieves improved lifting capacities and the sophisticated jack-up and self-assembly system allows for fast set-up without the need for an assist crane. The intelligent crane control system guarantees extremely precise load handling, even on construction sites with restricted views as these units have side, winch, and boom cameras.

“Alfasi Hire’s investment in the new Pilbara operation doesn’t stop with the new Liebherr’s,” explained Berridge.

“We have also purchased a new Tadano GR-900EX-4 and several Terex Franna MAC 25s each with Superlift. We’ve already put the first of these out on a two-year hire contract. We also have a LTR 1100 telescopic crawler crane coming, and this arrives later in the year,” he said.

The GR-900EX-4 is part of Tadano’s next generation of rough terrain cranes. These models mark a full model upgrade of the rough terrain cranes in the 60t to 80t lifting class and were developed to have improved performance and work area as well as increase work safety and comfort. With a lifting capacity of 90t, the GR- 900EX-4 is a highly competitive product among its own class.

The MAC 25-4 is a mobile articulated crane with a maximum lifting capacity of 25t. The MAC 25-4 offers maximum safety, excellent roadability, intuitive operation, and unmatched versatility. Over the years its design has been tried, tested, and proven in a range of difficult lifting applications and is still a customer favourite today.

A superlift (SL) upgrade is also available on the MAC 25-4 as an additional option. The SL kit works in tandem with the existing MAC 25 counterweight, adding a low-slung additional counterweight piece to the rear of the machine, increasing rated capacity of the machine up to 30 per cent in some configurations.

With a lifting capacity of 100t, a telescopic boom of 52m and an operating radius of 60m, Liebherr’s LTR 1100 combines the features of telescopic cranes with those of crawler cranes. Compared to conventional lattice boom crawler cranes with similar engine power, the LTR 1100 features a shorter set-up time, easier transport and enormous flexibility in use. The crawler travel gear also delivers outstanding off-road capabilities, and it can drive it with a load attached, even on constricted sites or at a lateral angle.

The powerful boom has been taken from the telescopic crane and can be extended to any position and lengthened by jibs to suit all requirements. The
LTR 1100 also has great transport features – two standard low loaders are all that are required, and the crane erects itself at the site, saving time and money. Although the Pilbara region is already serviced by a number of crane hire businesses, including some of Australia’s largest, Berridge is confident with the strategy behind the opening of the new branch.

“The region is well serviced by crane businesses but there is a significant amount of work in the pipeline and, with the size of some of the projects, we are confident the type of cranes we are offering will be in high demand,” he said.

“Alfasi Hire dry hires equipment so we are not competing with the crane hire businesses. In fact, when it comes to cranes, some of our biggest customers are crane hire companies.

“Alfasi Hire has been hiring cranes since 2010 and it started with a 150t Sumitomo. Since that first crane, the business has predominantly purchased Liebherr.

“In terms of the brands in our fleet we have largely focused on Liebherr and all of our lattice boom crawlers in the fleet are Liebherrs.

“We believe this gives us a competitive advantage in terms of the quality of
cranes we are providing to our customers. Liebherr is a highly recognisable brand and a market leader in many crane categories, plus the support from Liebherr in terms of service and spare parts is world class.

“A core strength of Liebherr is the products themselves. They are overly engineered and incredibly robust machines. The new .1 versions with the master 5 control system are particularly attractive to the operator with new safety features and numerous enhancements including the ergonomically designed cab, which will make the job not only more comfortable but easier for the operator as well as our customers.

“We obviously assessed the business proposition from other crane OEMs [original crane manufacturers], and we liked the look of models from other brands, but we have a very strong relationship with Liebherr, which has been developed over a number of years.

“They have supported us throughout with their warranty and customer service support and the experience and support levels has been excellent. Thus, we were prepared to pay a premium for the Liebherr product,” said Berridge.

Alfasi Hire operates 28 cranes on the East Coast and customers operating these include Brady Marine, a number of steel erecting businesses, CPB, and John Holland for major projects, including the West Gate Tunnel Project in Melbourne. Sennebogen telescopic crawlers are also operating on the M6 Gateway project in Sydney.

“We have Franna MAC 25s and AT20s operating with various customers in the Hunter Valley, and also in Queensland, and we run four Tadano rough terrains of varying capacities,” he said.

“The business is focused on providing rugged cranes for the mining applications and the heavy end of the construction sector. Our cranes are normally on hire from between three months and three years, depending on the project. We are not competing in the all-terrain market; this sector is competitive enough.”

The Crane Division is one area of the Alfasi Hire’s equipment business. Alfasi Hire operates 3,000 EWPs, telehandlers, lighting towers and other industrial equipment including generators. The fleet of EWPs range from 3.6m to 60m in reach and telehandlers from 2.5t capacity to 13t. Alfasi Hire also offers a range of rough terrain and standard forklifts, spider booms, and a range of specialised equipment. The fleet includes leading brands like JLG, Haulotte, JCB and Manitou.

“As with all of our equipment, we focus on the quality end of the market,” said Berridge.

“We run maintenance teams across the cranes and general equipment, and we also have access to the OEMs for technical support. Alfasi Hire recognises the traditional custodians of the land, and we pay our respects to Indigenous leaders, past and present. We invite you to partner with us in the Pilbara region, and together we can deliver exemplary service.”

Send this to a friend