News, Technology

Keeping pace with sustainability

Pace Cranes recently launched the first all-electric powered Maeda spider crane. The MC285CB-3 was one of five new cranes delivered to the team at Preston Hire.

The MC285CB is the first fully electric powered battery operated machine from Maeda, says Pace Cranes managing director, Anthony Heeks.

“Maeda already have electric machines that run on 3 phase power, but the MC285CB-3 is the first fully electric powered battery operated machine. We can see electric becoming more popular in the larger models as well, as there are numerous lifting applications that require zero emissions. These include food processing facilities, art galleries, hospitals, inside any building residential or commercial, basically any confined spaces where mini cranes work,” he said.

Battery and battery charging technology has ensured the performance of the new MC285CB-3 with the diesel version, says Heeks.

“Maeda has worked hard to develop the right battery system to achieve the same operational speeds as the popular diesel version. We envisage the lift cycle of the battery will be approximately nine hours based on assumed cycle,” he said.

Recharging the battery is a straightforward and quick process says Heeks.

“It takes two hours and 20 minutes to charge the battery to 80 per cent and three hours and 30 minutes to charge it to 100 per cent and the battery can be recharged 20,000 times. The crane can also be run directly from the mains and the battery charges as you are doing this. Wireless remote control is standard with the model,” he said.

Two of the all-electric Maeda MC285CB-3s were part of a seven crane order for Preston Hire. Andrew Lambert, general manager at Preston Hire explains the background to the order, particularly the all-electric cranes.

“Some time ago, Anthony Heeks had mentioned that Maeda was developing new battery technology into their products and that they were starting with the smaller machines including the 285.

“The 285 is one of the most popular machines in our mini crane fleet. Customers really like that it is light weight and tight in design for ease of access, all the features that you would expect which makes it perfect for tight workspaces our customers work in,” he said.

“Anthony and I stayed in touch around the development and he kept me posted on how and where it was going. He then called to say they had completed the development and the testing and that they were going to market with the product. He said they were bringing the first unit into Australia early in 2021 and I said fine, put our name on it. We then put our name on a second unit so the first two into the country will be available for hire through Preston Hire,” said Lambert.

Lambert goes on to explain why he thinks battery electric technology will change the landscape particularly for mini cranes.

“Obviously, there is a worldwide focus on the environmental progress of equipment and fleets and sustainability is becoming an increasingly prevalent issue. Everyone in this arena needs to be looking at how we can work towards a more sustainable approach with the equipment that we own, operate and offer to the marketplace.

“A number of years ago we started with hybrid technologies in other product portfolios. The technology has kept advancing to the point where they are not just hybrid and products are not electric over battery or diesel over battery, it is now at the point where equipment manufacturers are now providing standalone battery units.

“This is obviously a technology we intend to keep exploring and as our fleet ages over the years, and we begin looking at disposing or deleting product from the fleet, we will certainly be looking at investing in sustainable products going forward,” he said.

The new model Maeda MC285CB-3s is an extremely compact machine capable of being driven through a doorway, it has non marking tracks as standard, Lambert goes on to explain the typical applications he sees for the product.

“Our focus is going to be in and around indoor environments where the customers are handling fresh food produce for example, or where the crane is operating in a processing plant or in environments where combustion engines and related emissions are a real no go.

“Historically, these are applications where we have been using electric over diesel machines and hybrid machines where you can plug them into the mains and drive them via electric motors. The beauty of this machine is that it is straight battery operated so there are no electrical cables and no plug ins necessary to drive them.

“We are seeing the opportunity in food processing plants and manufacturing generally. The size of the machine lends itself to applications where there might be a particular mechanical breakdown and access is limited due to overhead gantries and that type of obstacle,” he said.

Lambert goes on to discuss the reasons Preston Hire has kept the first model with the distinctive green and designed a special logo for the crane.

“Internally we wanted to make a statement. As a business we are exploring the opportunities in the area of sustainability and we wanted to call out this new piece of equipment as a statement piece for the business,” he said.

Specifications for the Maeda MC285CB-3 include:

Crane capacity: 2.82t x 1.4m

Max: Working radius 8.205m x .15t

Max: Lifting Height 8.7m

Features include:

Slew angle limit setting

Multi position outrigger mode

Wireless radio remote control

4 fall / 2 fall hook block.

The lithium-ion battery features:

High capacity battery with long life

Minimal charging time

Continuous operation while charging.

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