C&L, Cranes & Lifting, Features

Baden Support Services minimising customer downtime

Ben Baden Services has launched a number of new initiatives aimed at helping customers get their cranes back to work quicker. Ben Baden speaks to Cranes and Lifting to explain more.

Ben Baden Services has launched a number of new initiatives aimed at helping customers get their cranes back to work quicker. Ben Baden speaks to Cranes and Lifting to explain more.

The Baden name has been synonymous with crane repairs for three decades and over this period the company has always positioned the business as a good alternative repairer as compared to the OEMs, according to the owner, Ben Baden.

“Today, our services are based around larger scale, project type jobs the larger type of repair work that perhaps most crane owners don’t want to do inhouse, but we still manage day to day maintenance, repair and service requirements for customers as well,”
he said.

“Major inspections are an obvious service, accident damage and structural damage repairs are also obvious, but we are also seeing an increased demand with servicing issues relating to leaking telescope cylinders, where the boom has to disassembled or leaking luffing cylinders which are a little more complicated to remove and service. We’re still seeing a steady flow of work relating to road accidents which require some parts purchasing, panel work, boiler making work plus refinishing and spraying at the end of the job,” said Baden.

As the population of all terrain cranes ages and higher kilometres are clocked up, they develop a lot more under carriage issues and require engine change outs, gear box overhauls, diff change outs, cracked axle housings that need to be exchanged. This is the type of larger scale project work that the business has evolved into in more recent times says Baden.

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“With this type of work now reasonably consistent, we’ve noticed an opportunity to better support our customers through what I feel are two fundamental issues and these will be addressed by Baden Support Services. We’ve acknowledged that more than 90 per cent of the time, the cost of the repair, whilst it can be significant, it is generally incidental compared to the potential lost opportunity of the owner not being able to operate the crane and derive revenue from it. If the owner can’t work the crane, they can’t generate revenue from it and they can’t service clients. They then have to cross hire and get an opposition company in or they have to simply tell the client they can’t supply.

“Cranes will break down, and if they can be fixed and back up and running quickly, that’s great. But if they are off the road for a week, two weeks or for an extended period. Baden Support Services is starting to have available a small number of cranes that we can supply to our workshop customers. At the moment the cranes include a 20t Franna, a 25t Franna, a 30t slewing crane and a 45t slewing crane and we can dry hire these cranes to assist as best we can to fill the stop gap situation the customer might be facing,’” said Baden.

“Where most dry hire companies would be looking for long term rentals, that’s not our goal. Our aim is to provide the customer with a crane for the period they need it and to support them whilst their machine is being repaired,” he said.

The second issue addressed by Baden Support Services is a ‘components exchange program’. According to Baden, this service is particularly relevant in hydraulic cylinders, leaking telescope cylinders and leaking luffing cylinders in particular. If a repair needs a simple seal kit that might not be too bad but even with a relatively simple fix, the crane is going to be down for at least one if not two weeks. If a cylinder requires more repairs including chroming, or if it’s a telescope cylinder in a more complex boom which has to be disassembled, this can blow the downtime out to easily four weeks if not longer.

“It’s impossible for us to have one of every cylinder in stock but with Baden Support Services, we are trying to build inhouse an inventory of the more popular cylinders that we can have overhauled ready to go. This will mean the only downtime the customer experiences are the time it takes to exchange the cylinder and they are back to work. We can then overhaul their old cylinder and put it back on our shelf,” he said.

“If we don’t have the specific cylinder for that customer we will try and source one for them. Generally speaking, if a cylinder leaks more often than not the crane is not considered out of action, in this instance we might have a few months to source and import a cylinder and the crane can keep working in that time.

“When the part is received, we can change the cylinder out and the customer can be back to work within a few days. The quality of the refurbished cylinders we have in stock are identical to if we were to pull a cylinder out of a machine, overhaul it locally and put it back in. We go through exactly the same processes, it’s just instead of a customer’s crane being down whilst we refurbish the cylinder, we simply swap it out. It’s the downtime component we are trying to eliminate so instead of the crane being down whilst we repair the cylinder, we swap it out with our service exchange one and the crane pretty much goes straight back to work. We then repair the old cylinder in our own time,” said Baden.

Currently, Baden Support Services has in stock a luffing cylinder to suit a 55t Liebherr, a luffing cylinder to suit a new 1060-3.1 Liebherr, a luffing cylinder to suit a 1090-4.1 Liebherr, a luffing cylinder to suit a GMK 5130 Grove, a luffing cylinder to suit a Link Belt HCC/HTT 86100 or RTC 8090 and a luffing cylinder to suit an LTM 1130-5.1 Liebherr plus a telescope cylinder to suit an LTM 1055-3.1 Liebherr.

“That’s the start. We also have an assortment of counterweight cylinders and outrigger cylinders that we can use. In addition to these parts we try and stock accident damaged cabins so if there is an incident where a customer’s upper or lower cabin is damaged, we will probably have an exchange cabin in stock. If not, we can probably more quickly repair the customer’s cabin rather than bring a new one in from Europe or wherever it needs to be sourced from,” said Baden.

“It’s the same with undercarriage components, differentials, transfer boxes things like that. We now stock a transfer box to suit a Liebherr LTM 1055-3.1. These are all items that will turn over and I’d suggest almost all of these items wouldn’t be stocked in Australia by OEM’s. They are cumbersome, they are expensive and large. To order these items would mean them coming ex-Europe which would involve exorbitant air fare costs or months of sea freight,” he said.

Baden is not aware of anyone else in the crane repair business in Australia providing these sorts of services.

He said that Baden Support Services is a concept that the company has been thinking about the past year or so – something that has been a result of customer demand.

“Opportunities have presented where we’ve managed to procure an accident damaged machine that’s been written off for various reasons and we’ve harvested parts from it,” said Baden.

“We see Baden Support Services as an evolving entity. Obviously, you can’t choose which cranes are going to be written off, so we’ll continue to build the inventory for the ‘components exchange program’ over the next five to 10 years. On the hire side, we’ve started with a couple of Frannas and a couple of small slewing cranes, potentially we would add a four-axle machine as well, which would be ready and on standby,” he said.

“The Badens have always tried to be as much of a ‘one stop shop’ as possible and that’s why our facility has mechanics, spray painters, welder and fabricators. Baden Support Services is an extension of these core activities, providing our customers with a machine whilst theirs is down or alternatively trying to minimise their downtime by having service exchange componentry available,”
said Baden.

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