C&L, Cranes & Lifting, Features

Helping to build Christchurch’s future

Liebherr recently delivered a 500t crawler crane to leading New Zealand crane hire business, Titan Cranes (New Zealand) for a major role in a Christchurch rebuild project.

Liebherr recently delivered a 500t crawler crane to leading New Zealand crane hire business, Titan Cranes (New Zealand), for a major role in a Christchurch rebuild project.

Titan Cranes (NZ) is a multi-generational crane business with origins dating back to the mid 1960’s. Today, it remains a privately-owned business. Cranes and Lifting recently spoke to Titan Cranes Bruce Whiley, marketing and Vaughan Clark, general manager, about the reasons behind the recent purchase of a Liebherr LR1500, 500t capacity crawler crane.

Over the past 50 plus years, Titan Cranes (NZ) has seen numerous and different stages to its evolution as it has kept pace with the changing demands of the construction industry and crane sector.

General and taxi crane hire work remains an important part of the business, project work is also an integral part of its operations. Over the years the Titan name has been highly visible on many of New Zealand’s major projects.

Today, Titan Cranes (NZ) runs a fleet of 56 cranes and employs around 100 staff, says Vaughan Clark.

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“Traditionally, the fleet has just been mobile cranes but in the last four or five years we’ve been moving back into crawler cranes having sold them all off previously.

“We had a small fleet of crawler cranes, but the market changed in terms of what it was demanding and quite simply we really didn’t need them, they were basically sitting around doing nothing, so we sold them,” he said.

Then about five years ago, Clark noticed there was another change in the market. Titan Cranes had a customer that was tendering a project at Wellington International Airport, when they approached him looking for a large tower crane. In a few minutes it was determined that a 400t crawler crane with a luffing fly was the right tool for the job.

“Initially, we investigated leasing the Liebherr 400t crawler but decided to purchase it and set about finding one that had every accessory and fly option along with a main boom of 112m. Before we could get it to the airport project, it was sent to another job and it’s been organically generating work ever since. The crawler business is now at the point where we have four crawlers that we own, all Liebherrs, and two that we lease,” said Clark.

Titan Cranes (NZ) crawlers start with a Liebherr LTR 1100, a 100t capacity telescopic crawler crane with a 52m telescopic boom which features a maximum host height of 83m and radius of 60m. The next crawler up is the LR 1250, a 250t capacity crane with a maximum boom height of 148m and a maximum radius of 95m. This is followed by the LR1400/2.

The LR 1400/2 crawler crane features include a multi-functional boom system, simple, fast crane set-up and low-cost transport of the crane components. Its variable derrick System with hydraulic control delivers enormous load capacities. The LR 1400/2 features a maximum capacity 400t, a maximum hoist height of 164m and maximum radius of 120m.

The LR 1500 crawler crane delivers outstanding load capacities over its entire operating range. It is extremely compact in design enhancing its transportability and the overall concept for operational simplicity. With a maximum load capacity of 500t the LR 1500 has a staggering maximum hoist height of 169.4m and a maximum radius of 144m.

According to Clark the crawler fleet is well utilised most of the time. He also confirmed the performance of the Liebherr crawlers led to the purchase of the LR 1500.

“All the crawlers are out on site. The LR 1250t is on a job until the end of the year and we never really see the LTR 1100, it’s working all the time because it’s such a versatile crane. The 250t and 400t are both extremely reliable machines. We have been very happy with their performance which has been a major reason behind the purchase of the LR 1500. The 400t and 500t are both spec-ed with every option that we could have, meaning they have fixed fly, luffing fly and super lifts,” he said.

“We bought 400t and 500t crawlers with specific projects in mind but specced them to work in other industries, in particular the infrastructure sector. The additional specifications were factory fitted to make them even more versatile cranes which are not limited to the general construction environment.

“One of the key features for us was the mobilisation and transportation of these crawlers. We looked at larger machines and other brands but really the component weights for transport and sizes was the deciding factor, particularly with the 500t,” he said.

Operators spend all day every day in cranes and their acceptance of the Liebherr crawlers has been a key reason for their success says Clark.

“The operators love the crawlers especially the latest addition. We’ve got a few operators that are now trained on the 500t and every single one of them loves to operate it. The relationship with the Liebherr team is really good. The sales team work really hard and the service and support team is fantastic; they are on right top of their game and they are only a phone call away,” he said.

According to Tom Curran, sales manager mobile and crawler cranes, Liebherr New Zealand, his team understands the requirements of a valued customer like Titan Cranes NZ.

“For the Liebherr NZ crane team, this crane represents strong confidence in the Liebherr support teams to deliver the necessary aftersales support to Titan Cranes (NZ).

“The crane is state of the art for its product class and we are confident it will prove itself in operation.

Titan Cranes is a valued customer with a long association with Liebherr products and staff. We understand and appreciate the commitment Titan affords our NZ team,” said Curran.

The LR1500 is currently working on the Metro Sports Facility in New Zealand. It is one of the key rebuild projects after the devastating earthquakes that the New Zealand government and Christchurch City Council are funding to help revitalise the city.

The NZ$221 million project has been awarded to CIMIC Group company CPB Contractors by Ōtākaro Ltd to deliver the Christchurch Metro Sports Facility, the largest aquatic and indoor recreation and community venue in New Zealand.

The three-building facility will cater to local and international events, with construction including a 10-lane competition pool with seating for 1,000 spectators, swim leisure area, nine indoor netball and basketball courts and a show court with retractable seating for 2,500 spectators.

According to Clark, the project is going to see a number of cranes on the site.

“There will be potentially up to 10 cranes on that site over the next year. We’ve got a Jaso tower crane on site with 85m of boom swinging around. We’ve got the LR 1500 there and the 400t will be joining it shortly. There’s also a 25t rough terrain and then a host of smaller cranes will be going on site including a 25t Franna which we’ve just purchased. As it develops, there will be mobiles coming and going so it’s going to be a very busy site,” said Clark.

Titan also operates a sister company which is the importer and distributor for the Kato and Franna crane ranges. Clark discusses the mix of Titan Cranes (NZ) mobile fleet.

“As well as the 50 plus cranes in the fleet, we operate around 70 support vehicles which means some serious logistical planning most of the time. We work in all industries but mainly in infrastructure and construction and we have fingerprints all over oil and gas as well. We are operating across four geographical locations.

“The mobile fleet is split between Liebherr, Demag and Kato. The all terrain fleet is split just about 50/50 between Liebherr and Demag and the truck cranes are 100 per cent Kato. We operate smaller Kato city cranes and the larger ones are Demag.

“The smallest mobile is a 10t machine and the fleet increases in capacity to a pair of 350t cranes, one is a Liebherr, the other a Demag. The operators are really happy with the Liebherr all terrains. I don’t think I’ve found anyone who doesn’t like them to be honest, that’s apart from a Demag salesman,” he said.

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