Case Studies, Queensland

Humma a welcome addition for Pivot Crane Hire

For a company like Pivot Crane Hire, they can continue to grow what they offer to customers in the pick and carry market with the recent arrival of the Humma 35 tonne.

The husband-and-wife team of Sam and Lorien Welch have faced numerous challenges since starting their business in September 2020. Starting the business during the Covid pandemic was always going to place great demands on the duo, but a strong background in mining, civil construction, and business generally ensured they were prepared for the leap and would overcome the hurdles they encountered.

“There was an opportunity in the market to do things differently, we wanted to jump in and capitalise on that and we wanted the flexibility of running our own business,” Welch said.

The opportunity was to grow the pick and carry offering in Queensland and northern New South Wales, by providing customers a variety of options including the new Humma UV35-25 35-tonne crane.

“We have a diverse customer base, and the work can range from moving precast barriers, to bridgeworks and formwork. The heaviest capacity machine we currently run is our 35t Humma, which allows our team to be agile onsite, but gives us impressive capabilities when performing lifts,” Welch said. 

It is unsurprising that Welch was drawn to the Humma 35t as it provides the toughness of the mining equipment he is used to whilst ensuring his drivers are comfortable. 

“We’re quite selective in who we bring on board to ensure they not only have the experience, but also fit with our company culture,” Welch said.

Pivot Crane Hire husband-and-wife team, Sam and Lorien Welch, are very happy with the addition of the Humma UV35-25 35t pick and carry.

“If we want to bring the best on board, we have to ensure we have the best equipment for them to operate, so we always buy the highest quality, and the brand Humma from Peter Dalla Riva and DRA Engineering is testament to this.”

Peter Dalla Riva, operations director at DRA Engineering, had this to say about the relationship with Pivot Crane Hire.

“Sam contacted us in October 2021, enquiring about Humma 35. At the time he was operating two MAC25s. We had recently delivered a Humma 35 Mk3 to Lindores Mobile Cranes and I suggested Sam contact Chantelle Lindores, see the crane, and get Chantelle’s feedback. 

“Sam was still unsure if he should buy a Humma or stick to MAC25 because he understood the crane but wanted a larger capacity crane with an established performance record. 2021 was the year Humma celebrated 25 years and DRA Group 50 years and, over a number of telephone discussions, I pointed out DRA is a family company and is well respected as a design and build engineering company with 50 years’ experience with a number of repeat clients.  

“I told Sam I would like him to buy a Humma, not because DRA was desperate for a sale, but for him to evaluate the performance of Humma 35. I wanted to place another Humma in South East Queensland, Franna’s backyard. I explained the features which are unique to Humma as it is our innovation,” said Dalla Riva.

Welch had completed his due diligence, but, in the competitive crane industry, you can’t afford to make a wrong call and he still had some reservations.

“I said, take the Humma 35 and, if it does not do what I say it will do over a period of three to six months, return it to us. I reinforced the fact that Humma is a 35t not a 25t and, without the 3,000kg removable counterweight, it outperforms both MAC25 and the Tidd because the structure and boom are designed for 35t.

“The boom is 2.5m longer, fuel usage is 25 per cent lower, air springs give a smooth, vibration free ride, the top safe speed is 95–100km/h and it is rated the safest pick and carry by Worksafe with the 180° unobstructed front view. The risk was eliminated as he would not be stuck with a capital investment that was a dud and he only had to pay rental for the period,” said Dalla Riva. 

 At the end of April, Welch had been operating the crane for about 10 hours, erecting barriers using Humma 35 as a 25t, and was about to go onto the night shift.  

“To say Sam was ‘over the moon’ is an understatement. He was lifting 8t loads with the engine idling, no revving like the MAC25, low cabin noise with road driving quality something he had not experienced previously, saying as his business grows, he will be adding more Hummas. He also commented that what I had said about the crane was understated,” said Della Riva.  

“I said: ‘Sam, Humma 35 Mk3 was released in 2010 and ongoing R&D over 10 years has produced the Mk3, the best in its class.’ For me to receive genuine compliments from a young man working in the crane industry, saying the Humma features I pointed out were understated, is a real compliment,” said Dalla Riva.

Welch added: “The Humma is really comfortable and safe, they have the airbag suspension, which has been impressive. We are often travelling from site to site, and I am comfortable our operators have the safest equipment for being on the road.

“Focusing on mobile cranes allows the team to be where the work is, quickly and easily without the need for lengthy setup and pack downs,” said Welch.

The Humma UV35-25 35t crane is a highly versatile, high-capacity pick and carry crane. The design emphasis has been placed on the operator ,with safety and comfort key features, while retaining the toughness of a mine quality machine.

The removable counterweight makes the crane at home either on an infrastructure project, operating at high capacity, or on the road travelling between jobs. Airbag suspension provides the operator with an extremely stable, safe, and smooth ride while, at the same time, reducing maintenance costs as there is no articulation and boom pivot wear. The automotive spec Cummins 8.3L engine is highly fuel efficient with up to 25 per cent fuel savings over comparable machines – a big drawcard for the Pivot Crane Hire team. As standard, the engine is fitted with a Jacobs exhaust brake, which supplies greater stopping power and greatly reduces wear in the standard braking system. All these features combine to produce a very low maintenance machine.

Humma UV35-25 has an advanced Load Moment Indicator comprising of Dynamic Load Charts. This system calculates the SWL for the operator for the exact boom angle and articulation angle, which gives the operator their maximum capacity for each position. Stationary load charts are also standard. This provides the operator with a boost in SWL when the crane is stationary. 

Pivot Crane Hire saw the opportunity to grow
the pick and carry offering in Queensland and northern New South Wales, by providing customers a variety of options including the new Humma UV35-25 35-tonne crane.

A fully automatic side slope deration system is included into the software when required. The system includes digital rope compensation. The winch rope is compensated for boom extension digitally, which allows the operator to turn it on or off. This also allows the winch rope to be reeved easily over the top of the booms rather than internally, which greatly improves ease of rope replacement and maintenance.

While a relative newcomer to the Queensland market, Pivot Crane Hire has established itself in various sectors. Clients can range from ongoing work with various large infrastructure companies to servicing smaller, local companies such as builders, landscapers, and arborists. 

“There are plenty of cranes out there, so it’s the service you offer, the relationships you form with clients, and your ability to think outside the box when it comes to solving problems that sets you apart,” Welch said.

Safety is of the upmost importance for Pivot Crane Hire, and the team ensure they excel in always lifting safely across all sites.

“We always complete lift studies, safe work method statements, and risk assessments. They are standard when working in the civil environment, and we carry these measures across all our jobs,” Welch said.

The Humma 35t compliments these safety requirements well for Pivot Crane Hire. The advanced load moment indicator system calculates the SWL for the operator for the exact boom angle and articulation angle, which gives the user their maximum capacity for each position. 

The 35t Humma really allows Welch and the team at Pivot Crane Hire to diversify the lifts they complete and utilise it on smaller jobs to ensure they have the option of greater capacity.

“By scaling up to a 35t machine, we have the extra capacity to take on heavier projects, whilst still remaining agile,” Welch said. 

“A huge advantage of the Humma has been its fuel economy, along with the quality of manufacturing. We’re proud to tell customers it is designed, engineered, and manufactured here in Australia. We can use it to do the work of a 25t pick and carry when needed, then take on the heavier projects as they arise. This gives us more flexibility and ensures the fleet is fully utilised,” he said.

“The Humma appealed to us as every aspect of the crane is designed to reduce wear and tear, minimising downtime. A large part of our infrastructure and civil work is undertaken at night. This frees up the days for smaller projects. As a result, our cranes are often running 24 hours a day across various projects, spanning sites from Brisbane to the Gold Coast, and further south, so we need to minimise downtime,” Welch said.

Building momentum within the business has been a rewarding challenge, and Pivot Crane Hire has gone from strength to strength. From Welch’s perspective, this wouldn’t have been possible without the full support of suppliers, including DRA Engineering.

“We’ve formed a great relationship with DRA Engineering. Peter and his team and have been very supportive throughout the delivery of our 35t Humma,” said Welch.

“Whilst navigating Covid and border closures, and everything else that the world has thrown at us, the DRA Engineering team have been responsive, flexible and great to deal with.

“The market for the Humma is much the same as it is for our Frannas, but the new crane gives us the added flexibility to take on heavier lifts as well as provide clients with the option to take on pick and carry work with a higher safety factor. From a safety standpoint this is a good advantage,” he said.

Whilst the Welchs have worked hard to get the business off the ground, they will not be stopping anytime soon.

“We’ve been fortunate in that prior to starting out we had built up a strong understanding of business operations, the industry, and put some good support processes in place from the get-go,” Welch said.

“If the next five years is anything like the past three, we’ll continue to solidify our reputation in the mobile crane space and possibly look further afield. For us to succeed it will be all about our team and continuing to support them in their roles.

“We’re really focused on the service we provide beyond simply lifting things from A to B. For us, it’s about consolidating the relationships we’ve formed with clients, continuing to provide the best possible service, and remaining focused on safety and innovation,” Welch said. 

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