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Hunting quality used cranes far and wide

Hunterwide Cranes recently worked with Ben Baden Services to secure delivery of a quality used truck crane.

When Alan Tweedie from Hunterwide Cranes was in the market for a quality, used truck mounted crane, he turned to the Ben Baden Services. As usual, Ben Baden, Anthony Davis and their team were able meet Alan’s requirements by delivering a high quality, low hour Tadano TL300 E.

Hunterwide Cranes services the Hunter Valley, Newcastle, Maitland Cessnock regions and has worked as far afield as Mudgee and Port Kembla. No distance if too far for the fleet, the cranes are registered, well serviced and extremely road worthy says owner and director Alan Tweedie.

Hunterwide Cranes was established 14 years ago. Over this time the fleet has grown from one to five cranes.

The business predominantly services the general crane hire market with a particular focus on the domestic housing market including the installation of steel beams, frames, trusses and flooring as well as installing swimming pools.

Tweedie started in the mobile crane industry in 1980. He started working with cranes as a dogman and spent his first 10 years at Eveready Cranes and progressed onto larger projects where he drove and dogged Favcos on high rise projects in Sydney.

He is originally from Newcastle and moved back to the area to work with mobile cranes. Working for several companies including Bowers Cranes in Singleton, Carrington Steel, Wheeler Cranes and Newcastle Mini Cranes, Tweedie obviously has plenty of experience, with various companies, over his 41 years in the industry.

“I like to think I have a good reputation in the industry. I’ve never not worked with cranes and in my 41 years of working with them, I know safety comes first.

“Our depot is in Cannington Drive, Tomago which is a fairly central location for Newcastle and the surrounds. We are right on the highway for when we are travelling north, we are ideally positioned for travelling into Newcastle and we can get out and into the Hunter Region easily also. We do tend to spend a lot of time on the road travelling to and from sites.

“All of our cranes are truck mounted cranes, apart from the 20t Franna. The crane I’ve just purchased from Ben Baden Services is a Tadano TL300 E truck mounted crane, and it is designed to travel well on the road,” he said.

Tweedie talks about the relationship with Ben Baden and Anthony Davis and Ben Baden Services.

“I’ve known Anthony and Ben and also Gerhard, Ben’s father for many years. The relationships date back over 20 years from when I worked in Sydney in both the mobile high rise crane industries.

“I’ve met with the guys over the years, buying and selling cranes and getting cranes fixed. The companies I worked with in Sydney also had relationships with the Badens and Anthony goes back to the All Cranes days who were an importer of various brands. You could say we have a little of history,’” he said.

“They have been in the industry a long time, probably as long as I have. Everyone knows the Badens and Anthony Davis, they have good reputations, and they are good guys to deal with. In the past they’ve helped by sourcing and providing parts through their network, both domestic and international, but this is the first time I’ve used their service to bring in a crane for me.

“Most of the cranes I’ve bought have been from private sellers. With this crane, I was in the market and looking to see what was out there. This type of crane is starting to get a bit aged and although there are a lot of them are being sold overseas, there isn’t much of a population running around in Australia,” said Tweedie.

Just as Tweedie was in the market looking for the crane Ben Baden Services had the Tadano TL300 E advertised.

“I saw the advertisement and drove down to Sydney to inspect the crane and we got the wheels rolling. The crane was well serviced with new oil filters, air filters changed out before I took delivery. The service record for the crane was immaculate and the CraneSafe was up to date with the 10 year inspection certified by an engineer.

“We’ve had the machine painted by Ben Baden Services and I’m really pleased with the outcome. We have had some additional sign writing done, including phone numbers. I have high standards for my cranes, and I like them to be fully set up before they go out to work.

“The new crane now features two new aluminium toolboxes and a crane stack. I’ve set up the timbers and the lifting gear so that everything is right with the crane. I have a full-service record for it and I have a folder which contains all the relevant paper work for the crane so when we get to site any questions can be answered and the paperwork produced.

Tweedie explains why he has stuck with truck mounted cranes and what he is running in the fleet.

“We have four truck mounted cranes in the fleet. Another TL300E Tadano which is a 2007 model and now the latest addition which is a 2011 model. We also run a Kato NK-300 39t truck mounted crane and A Kato NK-250E 25t capacity truck mount as well as the 20t Franna.

“I’ve stuck with truck mounted cranes mainly because of the travelling component of the work we do. At any one time, we are busy on a lot of jobs and this can mean significant amounts of travel, and so we clock up the kilometres.

“Truck mounted cranes are very versatile. They are easy to get around in and they are excellent for manoeuvring when we get to site. The bulk of our work is in the housing construction sector, so we are lucky to be at a 25m radius on most occasions. The boom configurations on these cranes are good for about 29m radius live stick with 33m of boom out. I have UD carriers are on all of my truck mounted cranes and I’ve stuck with that brand because it is so reliable. UD is a bullet proof motor and everything is accessible as far as parts are concerned,” said Tweedie.

“Compared to all terrains, truck mounted cranes are far less expensive to maintain. For example, a set of tyres for a truck mount is probably half the price of a set for an all terrain. In comparison truck mounted cranes are relatively cost effective to run and super reliable.

“I am fanatical about the maintenance up on my machines. The manufacturers recommend that the cranes are serviced every 250 hours and it is extremely rare that any of my machines go over the 250 hours before they are serviced. I put the reliability of my fleet down to the strict maintenance and servicing schedule that I maintain,” he said.

“Truck mounts are such a quick crane to set up and they are ready for work. With the all terrains, you have counterweights and with some jobs you may require a counterweight truck and all your timbers and lifting gear come on the counterweight truck.

“Our cranes carry all their equipment including the lifting gear, the timbers are on the crane and in terms of weight they are legal to drive on the road and can travel 24 7, there is no limitation on this sized vehicle on the road.

“All you need to do is carry a class one permit, there is no fee involved. We don’t need a permit and there is no need for GPS with this sized crane. They are under 2.5 m wide, so they drive in the one lane and don’t interrupt traffic when travelling. They are all registered in New South Wales, and we are quite willing and able to travel anywhere in the state,” said Tweedie.

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