Australia, C&L, Cranes & Lifting, Features

Franna AT40 fronts fleet revitalisation

McMahon Services acquires a new Franna AT40 to revitalise its fleet.

Australian company McMahon Services has continued its crane fleet expansion strategy, acquiring a new Franna AT40. Crane & Rigging Manager, Simon Laird-Barrington, discusses the new avenues of business the AT40 will open up for the company. 

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As the Crane & Rigging Manager at McMahon Services, Simon Laird-Barrington has seen his fair share of machines walk through the door. 

And, as the company looks to continue expanding its services, he’s also well and truly across what machinery is needed to broaden the national company’s already diverse capabilities.

“We want to explore what more we can do to service the civil construction, engineering and demolition industries,” he says. “Recently, we’ve seen the opportunity to expand our crane fleet size and modernise some of the equipment in there.”

With its head office in Adelaide, McMahon Services has 20 offices across Australia and New Zealand. The company holds over 30 years of experience as an industrial, construction and environmental services provider, today employing more than 1,100 staff as it seeks to service remote locations and deliver projects in any part of Australia from a central, city base. As a testimony to the company’s level of safety, McMahon Services was awarded Federal Safety Accreditation in 2009 – the first multi-disciplinary construction firm in Australia to attain the award. 

McMahon Services operates in an array of disciplines, ranging all the way from asbestos and hazardous material removal through to marine contracting, with a detour in multiple engineering and construction services. Within those disciplines is the ‘Crane & Rigging Services’, an arm of the company that offers technical expertise for a range of different crane lifts, working with structural engineering teams around Australia to plan and execute lifts in some of the harshest environments and capable of mobilising to any location Australia-wide – or, as Simon puts it: “we’ve got work all over the place!”

“We’re currently working in Perth at the Kwinana Power Station, we’ve got jobs in Adelaide, remote South Australia,” he says. “We’re even looking at a job over in New Zealand – things are getting really busy for us.”

With an abundance of work coming through the company’s doors comes the need to expand the company’s crane fleet. With such a diverse portfolio of work undertaken comes the need for a diverse range of machinery, and it’s because of this that Simon has purchased a new Franna AT40 on top of two new mobile cranes. Previously owning three Franna MAC25 cranes, Simon says the company is renewing its fleet of pick and carry machines to help expand the business; with the larger capacity AT40, he says, there’s a real opportunity for internal growth in the jobs McMahon Services can undertake.

The Franna AT40 is the largest capacity pick and carry crane in Franna’s portfolio and one of the largest pick and carry cranes in Australia. The crane, released in 2019, has fast become a staple of many a crane hire company’s fleet thanks to its 44 per cent lifting capacity increase on its predecessor, the MAC25. The AT40 features a three-axle design that eliminates the need for a removable counterweight, while the third axle control system allows the third axle to be raised when operating on a work site, enhancing the crane’s manoeuvrability. 

It’s with this feature that Simon sees the crane setting itself apart from the rest of the field. He posits McMahon Services’ desire to use the crane as an auxiliary crane to help with the assembly of some of its large-scale diggers, such as its 85-tonne and 120-tonne excavators, where some of the removable features weigh up to 18 tonnes. 

“Through its extra lifting capacities compared to the other pick and carry cranes in our fleet, there’s a chance for us to be more ambitious in the work that we undertake,” he says. “The range of jobs the crane can perform efficiently in lessens the need for slewing cranes in our fleet which, considering the transportability of the Franna brand and lack of need for counterweight on the AT40, saves a lot of costs in the logistical and configuration aspects of cranage.”

Furthermore, the crane comes with Franna’s patented Dynamic Load Moment Indicator (LMI), a ‘real-time’ system that calculates the crane’s anticipated path and whether the load being carried will exceed the crane’s maximum rated capacity – whether it be on rough, hilly terrains in rural Australia, or a regular construction site. The Dynamic LMI is a feature Simon was very partial to, praising the practicality and comprehensive nature of the safety system and highlighting the high level of accessibility it provided to people of all different learning persuasions. 

“The technology, while advanced, is very easy to understand and reduces the risk of human error as much as it possible can, making the chance for an accident very low,” he says. “The system is good for people who learn in a more practical and visual way, as it visibly shows the operator what they can and can’t do before they’ve done it.

With the provision of a crane, however, comes the need for good follow-up service – an aspect of its business that Franna has not left wanting more. With service workshops based in Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Sydney, as well as two remote field-service depots in Rockhampton and Mackay and over 70 support staff, the renowned Australian manufacturer is doing its utmost to ensure that, should anything go wrong, its expansive support network will be on hand as soon as it possibly can to help restore the crane to its peak performance. Working in remote locations across Australia, Simon knows of the need to keep downtime at a minimum – something he feels will be ensured because of Franna’s support network and one of his recent encounters with them. Citing his experience with Franna’s support team in the Northern Territory after a rope snapped on one of the MAC25s, he said the support team could not done more to ensure the crane was back up and running in no time – something he says is emblematic of Franna’s support network.

“Our experiences with Franna have always been the same,” he says. “The team is always responsive, we enjoy a good relationship with them, and we’ve never had any issues.” 

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