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Growing a business with Liebherr

Melbourne crane hire business Komp Cranes recently took delivery of a new Liebherr LTM 1060-3.1. Komp Cranes owner and director, Danny Toohey bought the 60t capacity all terrain to complement other Liebherrs which have been the backbone of his business for a decade.

“In 2011, I bought Komp Cranes from my friend Paul Keinhuis. He was looking for a career change and put the business up for sale as a going concern. At that stage the business included a 40t Liebherr and a truck crane. I’d been working as a crane operator in various yards for years and wanted to do something for myself and saw this as a good opportunity. I’d seen Paul succeed in the business, along with others that I’d worked for, so I thought I’d have a go,” said Toohey.

“I could see there was a fair element of risk with the move but I was confident in my own abilities. I sort a fair amount of advice from my accountant and others who have helped me along the way. I had a look at the figures and I thought I could make it work. The Liebherr operating in the business was a 2006 LTM 1040 40t capacity all terrain. At the time it was four years old, it had been looked after and it as in very good condition. The crane truck, which had a UNIC on it, wasn’t really used as a truck crane but more as a counterweight truck to service the 40t Liebherr when it required full counterweight,” he said.

Toohey and his team at Komp Cranes doesn’t chase the major infrastructure work in Melbourne, he leaves that to crane companies with different structures and crane fleets.

“Realistically, the major infrastructure work is not something that I specialise in. I don’t have an engineer working with me on lift studies, for example, I manage these myself. I look to work in the construction and domestic market. We can be lifting a swimming pool or a spa one day and working on steel erection jobs the next. We work in the smaller commercial and industrial shut down work. That’s what we are good at and this type of work is our sweet spot.

Toohey explains his approach to the business in the early days and why he added to the fleet.

“When you are working for yourself the reality is you are willing to do as many jobs as you can in one day, whatever it takes. Quite quickly customers were asking for a larger capacity crane. I’d driven larger cranes for the businesses and yards I’d worked for, and I understood what was needed to run larger capacity cranes. I was looking at the 55t capacity market because the road access side of this capacity has always been pretty good. I had conversations with Liebherr and a few of the other brands before I decided to put everything on the line and order a brand new crane. It was a fairly big decision for me, given I’d been operating for less than 12months,” he said.

Toohey ordered a 2012 model LTM 1055-3 and took delivery of the crane in October 2012. Toohey still operates the two Liebherrs, but he has added other cranes to the fleet. After ordering the 55t Liebherr, he realised he was going to need something a bit smaller and ordered a brand new 13t capacity MR130R Kato from Tutt Bryant Equipment, that was in 2014. At the time Toohey decided to invest in a Franna to service his clients and there were a few good buys around.

“With the new Liebherr LTM 1060-3.1, I could probably do most of the work I’m planning for this machine with my 55. Bu the 40 is getting a little long in the tooth and has just had a 10 year inspection but it’s been looked after. It is still a good crane but I’ve been thinking about slowing it down a little bit and running the three axled cranes being the 55 and the new 60. I’m thinking of keeping the 40 as a back-up crane for when I need something for the smaller capacity work,” said Toohey.

Liebherr’s LTM 1060-3.1 all terrain is a 60t capacity machine with a 48m telescopic boom, the largest in the three axle range from Liebherr.

The 9.5m chassis is just 2.56 m wide, and the turning radius measured over the drivers cab is just 7.62m and the ballast radius remains within 3.53m. A support width of 6.4m is achieved with single telescoping sliding beams. Where space is tight, a reduced support width of 4.57m or 2.28m can also be used. The crane is levelled automatically during the support process.

The machine has an air activated disk brake that offers greater force that remains consistent even at high brake temperatures, compared to conventional drum brakes. The longer service life durations also contribute to contribute to efficiency. The disc brakes are equipped with wear indicators.

The active-speed dependent rear axle steering system is in the LTM 1060-3.1. This reduces tyre wear considerably. The driver has five different steering programmes available that can be selected for a variety of driving situations.

The six-cylinder, Liebherr in-line engine achieves 270 kW/367 HP and reaches a maximum torque of 1700 Nm. The force is transferred to the crane axles via the 12 speed ZF-AS-Tronic gear box. A two-stage distributor gear permits minimal creep speed in manoeuvring mode. The machine has an anti-lock braking system.

The six part 48m telescopic boom is telescoped in and out via the rapid action Telematic telescoping system. With the 9.45m to 15.85m long swing away jib, the machine achieves hoisting heights of 63m. The swing-away jib can be attached at an inclination of 0°, 20° or 40°. For work in two hook operation, a second hoist gear, 2.43m assembly jib and a rooster sheave is available.

In the hydraulic system, the electric load-sensing control ensures accurate work operations. Up to four movements can be actuated simultaneously. Depending on the requirement for the lifting task of the operator, the slewing gear can be easily switched from “open” to “hydraulic locked”.

The Liebherr LICCON2 crane control is used in the LTM 1060-3.1. A mobile, multifunctional control and display unit – BTT Bluetooth terminal – is provided for upgrade functions. The operator has the option of attaching and removing the hook block on the crane bumper with visual contact via remote control of the hoist winch and the luffing cylinder of the telescopic boom.

The Liebherr LICCON2 mobile crane control offers the option of conversion into a complete remote control system for the crane. Other than the relevant software on the crane, all this is required is a console with two master switches, with existing BTT plugs. The console can also be used for other cranes with LICCON2 controls programmed for remote control operation.

Toohey goes on to talk about his experience with Liebherr’s Victorian operation and what he and his crew like about Liebherrs, how they perform and the reasons behind the purchase of the new Liebherr.

“Liebherr has excellent representation in Victoria in terms of service and spare parts and they are only getting better. With the success I had with the 40 tonner the 55 was a no brainer. I decided to stick with the brand in case anything went wrong and we have had a couple of little issues. I had a warranty issue with the 55 when the computer failed but Liebherr were able to fly down a replacement and I was up and running again within the same day. It showed that if anything happens Liebherr has the backup support and service available to get your crane back and operating quickly,” said Toohey.

“You are paying a premium price for a premium product with Liebherr, but it is in the knowledge you are going to receive premium level of back up and after sales support, and if there is an issue it’s resolved quickly. We had a computer related issue with the 40 quite recently. The part was in stock in Melbourne, the technician was out within a couple of hours and we were back up and operating. John Stach is the Sales Manager for Liebherr Australia for Victoria and Tasmania and he is my day to day contact and I’ve got a great relationship with him. The local Liebherr service technician, Ben, is an absolute legend, he couldn’t be more helpful. In fact, all of the guys in their workshop and spare parts department are always really helpful and super responsive,” he said.

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