Melbourne-based crane services company Komp Cranes recently took delivery of a new Maeda MC305C mini crawler crane. Director Danny Toohey and Pace Cranes’ National Sales Manager Michael Cawston discuss the Maeda brand, Japanese manufacturing and the importance of post-sale service.
It’s Wednesday, June 28, 2023. Melbourne’s winter sun is shining as a chill 12-degree day encompasses Danny Toohey, who stands out the front of his Glenroy warehouse expectantly. This Wednesday was like no other Wednesday he’d experienced yet; today was a significant milestone.
It was the day he was receiving his second Maeda mini crawler crane.
“It was also my 15-year wedding anniversary,” laughs Danny, “but we don’t really talk about that.”
Sitting in his warehouse with Pace Cranes’ National Sales Manager Michael Cawston and the Cranes and Lifting team, he assures us the new crane was not an anniversary present for his wife and business partner Barbara – in his own words, she just “wasn’t as excited with the new purchase as much as I was”. Instead, the director of Melbourne-based crane hire and services company Komp Cranes is in a relaxed mood as he discusses the history of his business.
Commencing operations in the early 2000s, Komp Cranes was once owned by Danny’s friend Paul, and the name ‘Komp’ is derived from the initials of Paul and his family, as Danny explains.
“Paul was finished with the industry by 2011,” he says. “He didn’t really have the drive or desire to keep running a business. At that point, I’d gotten sick of working for people, so I figured it would be nice to run my own business and work for myself essentially.”
And, 22 years later, it’s hard to disagree with the choice Danny’s made in forging ahead for Komp Cranes.
The crane hire company specialises in domestic construction and commercial developments, including tasks such as pool, spa and jacuzzi installations, as well as steel and panel erections.
It’s nifty projects such as these where compact, lightweight machinery capable of performing dexterous lifts in confined areas is required and, as Danny discovered, the Maeda mini crawlers are the perfect answer to his needs.
“I first came across the Maeda brand when I had a customer who I completed a lot of façade work for,” he says.
“There weren’t a lot of Maedas around at the time, but it really opened up a whole new market for me with new access to steel jobs, domestic jobs and glass jobs that my other, bigger machines could not get access to.”
It was that kind of access to new markets that spurred Danny to purchase his second Maeda, which also conveniently arrived close to his anniversary date.
He highlights the “quality” that’s been apparent for “so long” in his experience with the Maeda brand and the service he’s received from national distributors Pace Cranes as key factors in making his decision to acquire the MC305C.
With a lifting capacity of three tonnes at a range of 2.5 metres, the MC305C has a maximum lifting height of 12.52m in tandem with a maximum working radius of 12.16m.
Also featuring a maximum below-ground reach of -64.36m, the machine is 4.285m long, 1.28m wide, 1.695m tall and weighs 3.9 tonnes – indicative of its superiority in more compact lifting areas.
“It’s such a unique crane,” explains Danny. “There’s always increasing demand from customers for a crane of its size and, by buying this second Maeda, I’m investing in the business; I want to create another line of income for my staff and our business.”
“Additionally, I know that they’ve got an agent down here who’s willing to help with any issue I encounter, which is why I feel confident about going through Pace Cranes.”
As Danny points out, other brands are not necessarily his “cup of tea” because of their lack of post-sale servicing support. Michael, nearly 10 years into his role as the National Sales Manager at Pace Cranes, believes this is what “differentiates” the company from other dealers.
Having been associated with the Maeda brand for over 30 years as the distributor of the Japanese manufacturer’s equipment and machinery, the team at Pace Cranes is well acquainted with what is required from its stock of spare parts and their servicing departments.
“We invest in our service agents,” he says. “We know which spare parts are needed on hand to avoid any downtime, so we do our best to keep those items in stock.”
“Ultimately, we’ve invested a lot to ensure that we can provide a thorough post-sale service for our customers.”
And, as Danny highlights, Pace Cranes is a family business, meaning there’s a constant emphasis on providing a high level of personalised support to those choosing to go through them – or, in Danny’s words: “you can sit down and have a bloody beer with him!”.
“I’ve always felt really valued as a customer at Pace,” he says. “It’s never felt as though it was just a transaction; there’s a genuine level of care displayed in their follow-up service.”
When it comes to the technology involved in the safe operation of Maeda’s mini-crawler, Danny is nothing but complimentary.
Equipped with a Load Moment Indicator to sound an alarm when the machine feels it may be overloading, the MC305C also has an outrigger interlock system that restricts crane functions until the machine is setup correctly.
“I’ve been working with cranes for a long time now,” he says, “and I know how to operate a crane safely.”
“But there are some guys out there who need the extra technology because they’re newer to the industry.”
“With cranes like the Maedas, not only do I know the crane is going to come back in one piece, I know – most importantly – the operator is going to go back home that night.”
As Michael adds, Maeda does its best to ensure the crane is borderline “failsafe”.
And so, for a seasoned crane operator owning a local business out in the north of Melbourne for the best part of 13 years, the future remains undefined for Danny Toohey and Komp Cranes – but his two Maeda mini-crawlers are set to play a major role in what the next target will be.
“These are almost my semi-retirement plan,” he reflects. “I want to move into more local, smaller work, servicing the community around me.”
“I’ve got no interest in the bigger jobs, and these two cranes are the future of my business.”
- Empire Cranes acquires new Maeda mini crawler to expand civil infrastructure capacity.
- South-West Spider Cranes takes delivery of new Maeda.
- Sennebogen expands telescopic crawler range with new 683 E.