Ten years ago, Ross Johnson and a group of investors saw a niche in the Victorian lifting and rigging equipment section. Today, Dynamic Rigging Hire is Melbourne’s leading name in lifting and rigging equipment rental. Cranes and Lifting explains.
“My brother approached me with a couple of other connections representing a group of investors, and he said, ‘we’ve got this idea, but we don’t have anyone to run it,’” Ross Johnson said.
“I was selling trucks at time and looking for a new challenge, and I could see this was going to be a good opportunity. I’d started businesses of my own before, from the ground up, and so the challenges weren’t new to me,” he said.
The business opened in Geelong when the concept of renting rigging equipment was new to the industry. Today, there are a number of rigging houses servicing the industry in Victoria, but not many have followed the rental path says Johnson.
“The business model and our approach to the industry hasn’t changed an awful lot over the 10 years. There are plenty of lifting gear shops providing sales and inspections in Victoria but there is still a relatively small number of players in the rental market,” he said.
- Gantry crane erected to deliver elevated road for West Gate Tunnel
- COVID-19 testing to begin on construction sites
- WorkSafe Victoria begin height safety blitz
According to Johnson, Dynamic Rigging Hire will hire equipment for a day and for more than a year.
“Generally speaking, customers will come into us with a lot of one off, unique jobs that won’t be repeated again and we have repeat customers that we deal with every week. People come to us and say we’ve got a big lift next week where we’re lifting a major structure and this is the gear that we need, they already know what they need, and we’ll fulfil the shopping list. There are other times when you get an enquiry where someone says I have to lift this, there’s going to be a crane on site how do you think we’re going to do it? We’ll come up with a few options as to what we have available and we’ll let them determine if this meets their needs or not,” he said.
The Dynamic Rigging premises is located in the western suburbs of Melbourne in Sunshine West and operate out of a premises. The facility is approximately 800 sqm in size and all of the equipment is stored on pallets or in storage boxes which are stored in pallet racking.
“There is a whole wall of equipment and gear stored in the racking. There is also a workshop area where we inspect our equipment and conduct our own inhouse level of work. If somebody asks me today for some 85t shackles, 80t slings and a spreader bar to suit, I know it’s all in order, it’s all available. It’s all accessible and it’s easily identifiable in the factory,” Johnson said.
“I do take pride in the presentation of our equipment. The maintenance of the equipment that we stock would often be overlooked, if it were owned by crane company, it would sit out in all weathers. But our equipment is kept under cover and out of the weather, clean and in as pristine condition as we can keep it and ready to go,” he said.
For a crane hire business, the advantage of using Dynamic Rigging Hire is they are not carrying a lot of inventory that they might only use once in a blue moon says Johnson.
“Crane companies know what we stock, and we can fit their requirements whenever the need is there. In that sense we are a bit like a Bunnings for the crane industry.
“Instead of them having to hold major amounts of inventory, we do it for them. We maintain it and they know it’s here when they need it, and when they are finished, they return it and that’s where their obligation ends,” said Johnson.
According to Johnson, a key part of the Dynamic Rigging Hire offering is the maintenance of products. Every piece of equipment that goes out on hire is methodically inspected when it is returned to the factory.
“Every piece of gear receives an off-hire inspection and we stock equipment that has to be maintained to Australian Standards. This includes chain sets and equipment used to lift precast panels and this testing is conducted and approved by a registered third party. Our workshop technicians are LEAA trained and accredited which also ensures our equipment is mantained to the highest levels.
“All the equipment in the factory is maintained to both the Australian Standard and the manufacturers recommendations and all stock has relevant and current documentation,” he said.
Dynamic Rigging Hire also provides niche equipment and technology. Less obvious products include load cells which are like a digital scale. This technology enables items to be weighed into the 100s of tonnes and are accurate to the last kilo.
Dynamic Rigging Hire recently used a 100t capacity Straightpoint (SP) Radiolink plus load cell to complete tests on two 90.7t capacity Shuttlelift mobile gantry cranes.
The new Shuttlelift cranes, tested to 91.5t, will be utilised by the end user to lift pre-cast super T-beams at a manufacturing facility in the city’s western suburbs. They had to be load tested prior to being put into service to comply with Australian Standards; they will also be subjected to periodic testing to maintain that compliance.
The Radiolink plus combined with a pair of 120t capacity shackles, 100t capacity roundslings and a 145t capacity Maxirig spreader beam. The owner of the cranes engaged the services of its mobile crane provider to assist with the counterweights, which in turn requested Dynamic Rigging Hire to provide the rigging gear to lift the counterweight tray and the calibrated load cell to record the tests.
The mobile crane provider used one of its Franna pick and carry cranes to place the counterweights in the superlift tray and the set up of the load cell and rigging gear was also uncomplicated.
The readings were monitored by the crane technicians who used the load cell to make adjustments to the scale system on the cranes. Both cranes were load tested and had their operating systems set within an afternoon. The following day saw operator training and the cranes finally placed into service in a very busy pre-cast yard.
The Radiolink plus, SP’s best-selling product, was used with the Handheld plus reading device, which enabled the rigging team to monitor the cranes at a safe distance. They utilised the long-range 2.4GHz version providing a wireless range of 1,000m. However, Bluetooth output can also be utilised, connected to any smart phone running the manufacturer’s free HHP app (named after the Handheld plus) on iOS or Android at ranges up to 100m. Johnson confirmed he is about to expand on the range of the Straightpoint Load cell products. Recently, he used 100t Straightpoint load cell to weigh an 85t pressure vessel to obtain a confirmed weight for transport and crane lifting planning purposes.
According to Johnson, being responsive to customer demands has been a major reason for the success of the business.
“In this business you have to be very responsive to the needs of the customer. Recently, we received a call at 7am Monday and a large pneumatic chain hoist needed to be in Whyalla the next day. Unable to find a commercial freight service to meet these needs we delivered the gear ourselves and was at site midday the following day.
“It’s not a free service, but it’s a service that is there. Of course, it’s more costly for the customer if the crane is sitting there not operating because it doesn’t have the right rigging equipment.
“In this business, everybody is working for somebody else and our clients can find themselves in a bit of a hole. They turn to us to help them get the right rigging equipment to help them out of that hole. Whilst a lot of the crane industry revolves around planned project work like freeways and bridge work in construction and infrastructure, there’s also a lot of work that is unplanned,” Johnson said.
Johnson confirms the business has strong relationships with customers from a broad range of industries.
“As I said earlier, we have customers that approach us with a requirement for random one offs, we deal extensively with the mobile crane industry, but we also deal with the large Tier One builders and contractors as well as large engineering and construction organisations.
“We also have a significant amount of work from within the rigging industry where a number of companies don’t stock the product range that we have. We also have a fair amount of work in the commercial building sector, which is obviously serviced by the tower crane industry, where we have a lot of work as well,” Johnson said.