Australia, Features, Piling, Products

First Kobelco CKE 900G-3 lands in Australia

The first Kobelco CKE 900G-3 crawler crane has arrived on Australian shores courtesy of TRT and Australian Piling Group.

Sydney’s Australian Piling Group recently took delivery of a 100t capacity Kobelco CKE 900G-3. It’s the first crawler crane in the Australian Piling Groups’ fleet and the first of this model in the country.

Australian Piling Group was founded in 2014 by Prasana Ketheeswararajah (PK) and Ramzi Korkees. They have known each other for 20 plus years, having studied civil engineering at UTS together. 

PK takes up the story.

“We started our civil careers studying together and then we left together to find our own ways in the civil construction sector. Having worked apart for a while we both saw plenty of opportunities and decided to back ourselves in the piling industry and founded Australian Piling Group nine years ago.

“Our first piling rig was the Soilmec SR-20 and we quickly grew the fleet to include 12 piling rigs with capacities ranging from 10t to 130t and seven excavators ranging from five to 30t capacities. We recently took delivery of our first crawler crane a 100t capacity Kobelco CKE 900G-3, the first of its kind into the country which we are really excited about,” he said.

PK goes on to explain the reasons behind the purchase and why they chose Kobelco.

“Recently, we have been involved in a number of large infrastructure projects, and as a result of all the major works we’ve been conducting, we realised there was a need to have a mobile crawler crane in the fleet which could handle a whole range of applications. 

“Where possible, we like to stick to one brand, especially if they are reliable and efficient. That’s why we’ve always bought Kobelco excavators. We’ve been operating Kobelcos for 10 years and the brand has been good to us. When we started discussing our options with Troy Hand at TRT Australia and we compared the Kobelco CKE 900G-3 to other brands in the same class, we could see it was going to be a clear winner,” he said.

According to Ramzi, Kobelco equipment is based on traditional Japanese design, engineering and manufacturing and the CKE 900G-3 is no exception.

The first Kobelco CKE 900G-3 crawler crane has arrived on Australian shores courtesy of TRT and Australian Piling Group.
TRT provided plenty of advice and training during the commissioning of the Kobelco CKE 900G-3.

“We are really pleased with the purchase, and we can see so many Kobelco ‘values’ in the crane. The user friendly ergonomic features in the cabin are second to none, we are happy with the lifting charts, we like the fact the CKE900G-3 can be transported with counterweight and tracks installed and we are sure our operators are going to be really happy with the crane,” he said.

PK goes on to discuss the relationship with Troy Hand and TRT Australia and how the sales, delivery and commissioning processes have worked.

“It’s been a very smooth process. Troy has been awesome to work with right from the outset. Throughout the quotation process, running through the cranes’ capabilities based on our requirements and what we’re looking for and ensuring the machine’s suitability, Troy’s knowledge and approach has been phenomenal.

“With the reliability of Kobelco equipment being backed by TRT’s promise of outstanding service and support, our experience has been really positive. Cameron Harris TRT’s Crane Technician has been tireless with his help and patience in training our Senior Crane Operator Matt Killick during the commissioning process,” he said.

“With Australian Piling Group coming up to a decade of being in operation, I think our success is a result of understanding what we do best, sticking to our fundamentals of hard and honest work, and these will result in us continuing to grow the business.

“We’ve been together as a business based on family values. Most of our staff have been with us for many years, and they feel like family. We wouldn’t ask them to do something we haven’t done ourselves or that we wouldn’t be prepared to do. Having the right staff and quality of equipment are the keys to our business,” said PK.

The first Kobelco CKE 900G-3 crawler crane has arrived on Australian shores courtesy of TRT and Australian Piling Group.
Matt Killick, Australian Piling Group’s Senior Crane Operator is very happy with the ergonmic design of the Kobelco CKE 900G-3 controls.

Matt Killick, Senior Crane Operator takes up the story.

“I’ve been with Australian Piling Group for six years. I came into the company when it was quite small with just four machines with capacities ranging from a 20t to a 38t piling rigs. In that six years I’ve watched this company grow from smaller capacity rigs to now having 120t capacity European rigs.

“The company has grown in 10 years, and I’ve had the opportunity to grow with the business and be the senior operator, use the big machines, learn the big machines, and now I have the opportunity in the company to be the operator for their very first crane,” said Matt.

“In the past we’ve been involved in smaller residential and commercial projects and there hasn’t been a crane because we managed our lifts with the piling rig. But in the last year or two, we’ve been involved in a number of tier one contract work, which require us to have cranes on site. we’ve been hiring small cranes, and now with the bigger jobs we need large capacity cranes and PK and Ramzi could see the benefits of having a large capacity crane working alongside our larger piling rigs. beneficial to get a big crane to go with our big piling rig.

Matt worked closely with the TRT in terms of commissioning the crane and then learning about the capabilities and controls of the crane.

“I worked with Cameron over the last two days, commissioning the crane, learning about the controls and understanding the cranes’ capabilities. Thankfully with this crane, the setup is straightforward and it’s quite a simple one to use, very similar to the smaller 50 ton cranes I’ve operated. It’s very ergonomic in the design, easy to learn, and Cameron’s been really good at teaching me the ropes of the crane.

“Everything from putting the crane together to how you sit in the crane and where the controls are laid out is very ergonomic, it is a very well-presented crane by Kobelco,” he said.

“With the addition of the CKE 900G-3, we don’t have to worry about the cost of hiring a crane and the cost of having an operator. Now that I’ve stepped up my license class to the open class and we’ve got the 100t crane, sky’s the limit for the company now,” said Matt.

Troy Hand TRT Australia’s Crane Sales & Pacific Islands Manager was in Sydney for the commissioning and final handover of the Kobelco CKE 900G-3. He discusses some of the cranes’ specifications.

“This is the first CKE9000G-3 model in the country, and it is a significant step up from the dash two. It features a Hino engine, J08E-YD Europe Stage V engine. Emissions are going to be a key topic with larger Tier One builders looking to reduce emissions on site. This engine complies with the new regulations which are coming,” said Troy.

“The Kobelcos have joystick operation as an option, if customers prefer that. It’s the first one I’ve actually driven with joystick control, and I think it brings a significant step up in terms of the implementation of technology compared to levers and reflects the direction design of crane controls is headed.

“The cab and controls are ergonomically designed to make the operator more comfortable. Having control of everything via the joystick instead of the use of short levers and provides excellent control of the machine. Don’t get me wrong, operators still like the short levers, but it’s good to see Kobelco have an option for joystick control. This crane was sold with 39.6m of main boom, auxiliary sheave, joystick operation, upper handrails and various other options.

“The CKS900’s and CKE900’s have been great selling machines for TRT. They have proved to be solid performers in the field and excellent value for money given the strength of the AUS dollar against the Yen. Currently Kobelco cranes are well priced machines adding to the current return on investment,” he said. 

The tracks on the Kobelco CKE 900G-3 are retractable helping to bring down transport costs as well as enhancing set up times when the crane gets to site. Troy explains more.

“The retractable tracks are excellent for moving the crane around. You Just suck the tracks in, drive along, suck the tracks in, drop the boom off, leave inner boom on and counterweight on. This means less transport costs and quicker set up times when the crane gets to the job.

“We can cantilever with these booms as well, so we can just lift other sections straight off the back of trucks doing the cantilever style, and that’s another good feature with Kobelcos, you can cantilever up to a certain boom length for quick assembly and which requires less equipment on site.

“I was actually on holiday in Margaret River when Ramzi and PK made contact. I organised a Teams meeting with them from a service station and we kicked it on from there. Obviously, the first purchase is always a bit scary especially when you’re moving from your piling rigs into cranage, but they’ve been growing and they’ve now got the opportunity to do different types of work and they can support themselves. So, it’s been a very, neat sale and they’ve really benefitted from strong AUS dollar against the Yen, and good on the boys,” said Troy. 

READ MORE: TRT made possible: service and support makes anything possible.

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