Features, New Zealand, Products

Big Blues’ investment in more Liebherrs

McLeod Cranes and Transport’s continued growth sees the business invest in more Liebherrs. The latest additions to the fleet include a Liebherr LTM 1230-5.1 and a LTF 1045-4.1. truck mounted crane.

McLeod Cranes has been servicing the Bay of Plenty, and the central North Island of New Zealand, since 1996. With branches in Taupo, Tauranga and Hamilton, the distinctive light blue livery of the cranes ensures the McLeod fleet is instantly recognisable.

Managing Director Scott McLeod has a long history of working in the transportation, trucking and crane industry. Scott is skilled in Health, Safety, Environment and Quality (HSE) Management Systems, Operations Management, Occupational Health, Safety Management Systems and construction in general. He has a strong business development focus with experience in software development and electronics. Scott talks about the McLeod business and its relationship with the Liebherr brand.

“We’ve been servicing areas of the North Island construction sector with our crane and transport business for over 26 years and we now operate a fleet which includes 31 mobile cranes, 50 truck loader cranes and a fleet of supporting transportation. To make all this happen we currently employ a workforce of 170 people” he said.

Scott explains why McLeod has stayed loyal to the Liebherr brand over the years.

“We love the Liebherr brand and the way Liebherr does business. It’s a lot like how we operate with people placed first. We see Liebherr as being one of the great family businesses. What does this mean on the ground? It means Liebherr does what they say they will do and stand behind their product,” said Scott.

“Is Liebherr the preferred brand for McLeod Cranes? I would say our choice is about selecting the right machine for our customers. McLeod likes to have what we call the ‘full deck of cards’ allowing our customers to have the right card for each job. So, when choosing a crane, our approach has always been to look for the best of class for the New Zealand environment while increasing the range of options we can offer. Looking at our recent decisions it has become clear that we have been leaning towards the Liebherr product as being the right machine for our fleet,” he said.

McLeod Cranes loves the Liebherr brand and the way Liebherr does business. They see Liebherr as being one of the world’s great family businesses.

Scott goes on to discuss his relationship with Tom Curran, Liebherr Sales Manager Mobile & Crawler Cranes, and the support he receives from the Liebherr New Zealand team.

“Tom is a great ambassador for the Liebherr product, and we like the way he does business. He keeps us informed of all developments and provides us with options when we are looking for the right crane. We have a lot of interaction with the NZ team in terms of training and the maintenance of our fleet. We really appreciate the local Liebherr team and, also the Australasian team for sharing knowledge and providing our team with quality training relating to the maintenance and servicing of our cranes,” said Scott.

Scott goes on to discuss the latest additions to the McLeod fleet, including the Liebherr LTM 1230-5.1 and the LTF 1045-4.1.

“We were in the market for a new crane, and we knew there were customers with work coming up that required a really long boom. What we really like about the Liebherr LTM 1230-5.1 is the 75 metres of boom. 75m provides us with an option to avoid fitting the fly, on numerous tight sites,” said Scott.

The 230t capacity crane not only delivers an extra 3m in length but also an average of 20 per cent greater lifting capacity. In addition to a multi-functional folding jib, a 43m fixed jib is also available. The Liebherr innovations VarioBase®, VarioBallast, ECOmode and ECOdrive mean crane operators can use the LTM 1230-5.1 with more safety and efficiency.

The LTM 1230-5.1 is the successor to the global success that was the LTM 1200-5.1. In its development work, Liebherr pursued the objective of increasing both the boom length and the lifting capacity of its predecessor. The result: the LTM 1230-5.1 delivers an extremely long telescopic boom and sets new standards in terms of lifting capacity. With lattice extensions, the maximum hook height has been increased by ten metres to 111 metres. The Liebherr LTM 1230-5.1 is an ideal crane for working on steep gradients and large hook heights, for example for erecting tower cranes or maintenance work for wind turbines.

The engineers at Liebherr-Werk Ehingen GmbH placed the multi-award-winning VarioBase® support technology at the focus of the structural steel construction when creating the concept for the new crane. This meant that the new LTM crane is the first to have an asymmetrical support base – with the width being 7.4m at the front and 8.1m at the rear. VarioBase® means that it is now possible to generate particularly high lifting capacities, particularly at the rear working area over the 8.1 metre wide supports – calculated in real-time by the LICCON controller. This new digitalisation facility has a major influence on the structural steel technology and enhances the customer benefit in the form of lifting capacity increases.

A six-cylinder Liebherr diesel engine in the undercarriage which develops 400 kW / 544 bhp and torque of 2,516 Nm provides the LTM 1230-5.1 with all the power it needs. The engine already complies with the Stage V exhaust emissions standard.

The power is transferred to the crane axles via the 12-speed ZF TraXon gearbox. This innovative gearbox delivers new functionalities and benefits for the operator and driver. ECOmode makes the vehicle significantly more comfortable and quieter due to the low engine speed. Furthermore, faster gearshifts ensure greater scope for off-road use.

McLeod Cranes has been servicing areas of the North Island construction sector for over 26 years and operates a fleet which includes 31 mobile cranes and 50 truck loader cranes and a fleet of supporting transportation

The Liebherr LTM 1230-5.1 also features the Liebherr single-engine concept which involves a mechanical shaft powering the superstructure. 

Gear shafts are routed from the distributor gear in the substructure via two mitre gears through the centre of the slewing ring to the pump distributor gear in the superstructure. An add-on program in the drive concept ensures that the machine is particularly fuel-efficient. 

This means that the complete pump drive can be disconnected automatically when the engine is idling and then reconnected by the intelligent controller in a matter of seconds when it is required.

New Liebherr truck-mounted crane LTF 1045-4.1 runs on Liebherr LTF 1045-4.1 on a Volvo chassis. 

The family-run company relies on the benefits provided by truck-mounted telescopic cranes in terms of their economy and road licensing. 

The LTF 1045-4.1 features a 35m telescopic boom and large load capacities with both full and part ballast. The Volvo FMX construction site truck acting as the chassis has high ground clearance due to its high driver’s cab. 

The LTF cranes are ideally suited for jobs which require low or even no manoeuvrability, for example for erecting steelwork construction buildings, loading machines at industrial companies, erecting prefabricated buildings and cellars.

Scott goes on to discuss how well accepted the Liebherr brand is amongst his many operators.

“Without question, our operators and crews are really happy with the Liebherr brand. They like the LICCON 2 System which provides them with the ability to seamlessly move from our 40t capacity all terrain through to our new 230t capacity machine without much fuss. LICCON 2 enables them to concentrate on the differences between the cranes and not the operating system differences,” he said.

Scott goes on to discuss the New Zealand construction sector.

“The New Zealand construction industry and in particular the infrastructure sector has certainly been running hot and right at the moment it is a very busy time for the crane industry. However, we can see a number of challenges and a probable slow down coming during the next 12 to 18 months. 

“As with the construction sector in Australia, one of the major challenges is people. There is a shortage of good people in the construction sector and especially the crane industry, unfortunately we are not attracting the right calibre of people,” said Scott.

“This is where an industry body like the Crane Association of New Zealand (CANZ) is so important. CANZ is like an insurance policy for the crane sector, you need someone in your corner fighting your case and working hard to make the industry more attractive to the broader population. CANZ is that industry body for us, and they do an amazing job on a shoestring budget,”
he said.

“The Australian and New Zealand crane sectors face very similar challenges and The Crane Industry of Australia (CICA) and CANZ have so much in common, they are different sides to the same coin. I’d love to see both bodies working more closely together.

“I think there will be some big challenges over the next 12 months. Christmas and the New Year is the time to take stock, focus on yourself and your people, be proud that we have survived COVID and take time to reset, you will need it for year ahead,” said Scott. 

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