Victorian-based crane contractor MCG Cranes recently took delivery of a refurbished Liebherr LTM 1350-6.1 mobile crane mainly for the construction and deconstruction its fleet of tower cranes. The 350t crane was the 10,000th used crane to have been refurbished in the Liebherr factory.
Glenn Martin has been in and around the crane industry for just under 20 years. He initially started in the industry erecting structural steel for a company in Geelong. MCG Cranes was started in 2006 by Glenn alongside his father Mick and brother Danny.
“MCG Cranes is predominantly a family-owned and operated tower crane company, but we have a number of mobile cranes as well,” he said. “We have approximately 40 tower cranes and 15 mobile cranes in our fleet and we’re running about 100 staff at the moment,” he said.
“We work for the major construction companies in Melbourne including businesses like LU Simon Builders, Probuild, Watpac and Hamilton Marino, and that’s across both our tower and mobile cranes. Our depot is in Thomastown and our work tends to be around Melbourne and the surrounding suburbs.”
The MCG tower crane fleet mainly consists of Jost Cranes from the German designer Franc Jost.
“We like the Jost brand and design because it is well priced from a purchase point-of-view. In today’s highly competitive tower crane hire industry, you really need a brand that will look after you in terms of purchase price,” said Martin.
“We also have some Jost-designed electric cranes that are manufactured in China. The lifting capacity of the tower crane fleet is from 10t to 24t.”
MCG Cranes ordered the LTM 1350-6.1 crane mid-September 2018 and it arrived in Melbourne in early February 2019.
The crane’s refurbishment works were carried completed by the Liebherr Werk Ehingen (LWE) factory at the end of 2018 with the crane delivered to MCG in early 2019.
The LTM 1350-6.1 was the 10,000th used crane delivered by the Liebherr LWE used crane workshops since 1969. It was a special occasion for the LWE used crane department and they celebrated with local camera crews and reporters.
The 350t capacity LTM 1350-6.1 wheeled mobile telescopic crane has a 70m boom plus lattice jibs from 6m to 78m.
“We’re a ‘one-stop-shop’ at MCG Cranes, which means we rent the tower cranes, we erect and then de-construct them, and we also crew them,” said Martin.
“That’s why we’ve taken delivery of the Liebherr LTM 1350-6.1 it’s designed to make us a bit more competitive in the market. Prior to its delivery, we were using a 220t crane predominantly for most of our erections and dismantles. However, the 350t machine gives us that much more capacity,” he said.
Prior to being shipped, the LWE used crane team had plenty of work to do in terms of preparing the crane.
A thorough washing for AQIS requirements.
Inspection and road testing.
A complete service.
Installation of dolly preparation (both welding and hydraulic installation).
Supply of new components like rooster sheave, anemometer and remote control.
Two- to three-week load testing in all boom combinations
Customer specific painting in MCG colours.
Reinspection and signoff of all paperwork to offer it in full working condition with a factory warranty.
Once the crane arrived at the port in Germany, it underwent a final AQIS wash and BMSB fumigation.
When the crane arrived into the Liebherr Australia branch in Dandenong South, there were further checks and works completed prior to delivery to MCG Cranes.
Delivery and commissioning into MCG Cranes took place in March and included commissioning and training in the MCG Cranes yard at Thomastown. Further training was carried out on MCG’s first job site, which included the construction and de-construction of a tower crane.
“Eighty-five per cent of our mobile fleet is Liebherr,” said Martin.
“Although we started out with an older-style telescopic UNIC, we soon added a 60t Liebherr and pretty much haven’t looked back since. We receive a great service from Liebherr, we know the guys really well and there’s a lot of mutual respect there. They have a great group of guys in the team and we are looked after unbelievably well,” he said.
“The LTM 1350-6.1 is a refurbished machine. I think it was out in the field for about two years prior to Liebherr taking it back. It went back to the factory and received a major check over and was given a full bill of health,” said Martin. “It came to us painted in our livery colours. We’re really happy with it. It’s the perfect crane for tower cranes. It really ticks all the boxes.
“The 70m main boom is longer than its competitors. We’ve found that everything else seems to ‘max out’ about the 60m mark; when you are reaching up to a tower crane you need every metre you can get,” said Martin.
“The wire guide system on the back gives unbelievable strength to the boom. Recently, we actually put the 350 tonner up against a competitor’s 400 tonner and, for the work we need it for, it absolutely excelled,” he said.
Martin remains focussed on what MCG Cranes does best.
“We tend to steer away from the infrastructure market. We really bought the crane for our tower crane business and while other companies might be out there really gunning hard for the infrastructure work, we’ve found that it can be quite patchy if you are only focussed on that work. We’ve got strong relationships with builders and developers and that’s really our niche market,” he said.
“We’re a member of CICA and we’re becoming more involved in the association. As our company grows, we are certainly keen to have a say in what the association is pushing for and where it’s all heading,” said Martin.
“We’re certainly a strong supporter of CICA and the Green Sticker system and we are constantly seeing the benefits of being a member.”