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Defying Gravity with new Grove

Gravity Rigging recently took delivery of the first Grove GMK 3060L-1 all terrain to be delivered in Victoria. Gravity Rigging Director, Dean Crook explains the background to the purchase.

Dean Crook has been in the crane industry for 21 years. He worked for Total Machinery Relocations for close to 15 years and when that business closed in 2014, he decided the time was right for him to go out on his own. Gravity Rigging has its yard in Cranbourne, Victoria and the customer profile for the business ranges from the likes of Downer, AE Smith and AG Coombes through Tier One, Tier Two and Tier Three builders, spa and pool companies, plumbing and roofing businesses.

The business had humble beginnings said Crook. “For the First 18 months, a mate and I ran the business out of my shed with a Ford ute. We then bought our first crane, a TOA mini crawler and our first major crane was a 20t Franna. Six months later we bought a 25t Franna and a year later we bought a 55t Liebherr all terrain. We now run two Franna MAC 25s, a 13t Kato bubble, the Grove GMK4100L-1 and now the new Grove 3060L-1,” he said.

Crook discusses the reasons behind the purchase of the Grove GMK 3060L-1.

“A few years ago, we bought the Liebherr 55t second hand and we felt it was time to upgrade. We bought the Grove GMK 4100L-1 last June and we’ve been really happy and impressed with the performance of the crane. We spoke to both Grove and Liebherr about buying a 60t machine and we decided to jump on board with Grove based on our previous experience with the 100t. We also liked the idea that we were buying a brand-new model with a new design and 48m of boom. The 100t Grove had been performing perfectly so we didn’t see any reason to change brands,” he said.

Crook agrees with the market’s response to Grove three axle series confirming the 3060L-1 will impress with its, performance, agility and ability to get into sites with limited access. With 48m of boom and a hydraulic luffing Fly he sees the GMK 3060L-1 being really popular.

“The major feature which stood out for us was the 48m of boom and it also features a hydraulic luffing fly. A lot of the 60s on the market don’t have a luffing fly, they are all fixed fly. The luffing fly capability was a feature that gelled with us and with the 3060L-1 being a small compact crane capable of getting into the tight spots and having the flexibility of the luffing fly makes it even more versatile,” he says.

The main feature with the machine is the extreme compactness, it is only slightly longer than a two-axle crane in the carrier. If you take a two axle 40 tonner, the Grove three axle cranes are only 40cms longer in the carrier. This makes it extremely compact, and it can get in anywhere. The GMK 3060L-1 also has an extremely small tail swing for tight work sites.

The GMK 3060L-1 is also an excellent taxi crane. You can carry 6.5t of counterweight plus the swing away fly. This means the crane be sent out without an additional counterweight truck and you can also send it out for 40t to 50t work without the extra counterweight.

Andrew Gray sales manager – Mobile Cranes for Manitowoc had this to say about the Grove GMK 3060L-1.

“The Grove three axle family has always been known for its compactness and by adding the longer boom to this it completes the process and has produced a game changer as far as we are concerned. It was already the most compact crane available in this class but having the longer boom makes a massive difference. And because the boom contains an extra section it isn’t any longer in terms of road configuration, it’s actually shorter because the base boom length is less even though the total boom length is longer. The longer boom has only enhanced and improved the compactness of the crane,” he said.

“You can complete a lot of work with the longer boom without having to use the fly. Basically, if you are not buying a pick and carry this is the first class of crane you are buying, it is one of the most popular classes for all terrains. Every fleet features a 50t or 60t capacity three axle crane. Grove has always done well in this class but having the longer boom has really catapulted us into the market and we believe our product is really competitive to anything in the same class,” he said.

The GMK3060L-1 is the most compact crane in the 60t class: In addition to the shortest overall length and the lowest height it also scores top marks for the smallest tail swing.

The chassis is almost as compact as a two-axle model and up to 1 m shorter than competitive three-axle cranes, with a carrier length of only 8.68 m and a minimum overall height of 3.48 m with the suspension fully lowered.

The new model features a longer, 48 m seven-section TWIN-LOCK hydraulic pinned main boom and boasts significantly stronger load charts.

It features Manitowoc’s Crane Control System (CCS), as well as a boom configurator feature. This enables operators to input basic lift parameters, such as load, radius and load height, and the system automatically provides optimal boom options for performing the lift. This saves time at the job site and makes the setup process much easier. Like all GMK cranes with CCS, the GMK3060L also features the MAXbase option for variable outrigger settings and increase load charts in certain working ranges.

The GMK3060L-1 is powered by a Cummins QSL9, a 254 kW (340 hp) six- cylinder in-line diesel engine for reduced fuel consumption. The QSL9 combines high strength with a compact footprint for one of the best power-to-weight ratios in its class. The crane includes a ZF TraXon automatic transmission, giving it 12 forward-speed options and two reverse.

Crook goes on to explain how Gravity Rigging operates and the type of customer put their way.

“We do everything from full plant room change overs, to design and install gantries to removing chillers and boilers and getting things done in tight and awkward spots. For example, we’ve just won a contract with Nielsen’s installing transformers for all the sub stations on the tunnel project. These are 17t transformers, the site cranes are lifting them, but we are skating them anywhere from 50m to 100m to their rooms, jacking them and putting them into position.
Crook discusses the difference the Grove GMK 4100L-1 and now the GMK 3060L-1 are making to his business.

“With the Grove GMK 3060L-1, the 60t capacity, the long boom and luffing fly we will be completing jobs quicker. Because of the compact nature of the crane, it will get onto site easier and with the longer boom it will reach lifts we couldn’t have managed in the past. We’ve now got two new cranes in the fleet, one brand new and the 100t which is just 12 months old. This gives our customers confidence we have reliable cranes for their work. We don’t have the problems that come with an ageing fleet where things inevitably break and go wrong.

“The 100t was a big step up for the business and seems to have put us in a different class with our customers. With the rigging side of the business, we are now quoting jobs using our own cranes instead of hiring in 80 tonners or 100 tonners. Now we can use our own cranes and clients are happy that between our cranes and our specialised riggers we can now provide a one stop shop without having to hire a crane in,” he said.

“They know they are getting the full service from Gravity Rigging with all the advantages that goes with this. A number of clients have made it clear they are happier we are not hiring in cranes and a lot more work has opened up for us because of the new canes. Clients know it’s our crane, they know our dogman know how to lift air conditioners for example and they are excellent with their rigging work. Clients know they won’t see damage caused during the lift because of the professionalism of our crews,” said Crook.

Gravity Rigging has been a member of The Crane Industry Council of Australia (CICA) for some time and Dean Crook discusses the role CICA plays in the industry and how the association helps his business.

“If I’m honest, I didn’t have much to do with CICA until we purchased the 100 tonner. As I’ve said this crane has taken us to the next step as a business and since its purchase, we’ve got to know CICA better and developed relationships with a couple of the team members here in Melbourne. They’ve been really helpful by providing information relating to crane permits which we haven’t had to deal with before. Having CICA on our team has made the transition to the bigger cranes a seamless and positive experience for us,” said Crook.

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