Australia, C&L, CICA, Cranes & Lifting, Features

Komp Cranes reveals latest acquisitions

Komp Cranes crane services in Melbourne, Victoria.

Co-director of Komp Cranes, Danny Toohey, and new Operations Manager, Rob Burns, discuss the company’s history, newest investments and the steady trajectory of the Melbourne-based business.

  • Subscribe to our free weekly newsletter to receive the latest news from Australasia’s lifting industry.
  • Don’t miss a lift and subscribe to our monthly magazine.
  • Download our latest digital magazine to catch up on the biggest news and developments in the crane industry.

As we’re sitting around a table in Glenroy in Melbourne’s inner north, the sound of a rumbling engine starts to come into the vicinity. Not a minute has passed and in comes a 16-tonne Tadano bubble crane, parking itself in the garage to get refuelled and prepared for its next day of  work.

Out jumps the operator who, after a quick discussion about what happened on the job that day, proceeds to pull up a stool at the table and join the discussion. At this point a deafening silence descends upon the warehouse and, Danny Toohey, seasoned veteran of the crane industry, leans back in his chair, slings one arm over the seat, and looks at his operator from across the table.

“You blokes,” he says, “would have struggled back in my day.”

A pause ensues; a laugh follows; a series of choice words round out the exchange, and it’s business as usual in the Komp Cranes warehouse. However, the story for Danny begins well before Komp Cranes, going back to Coburg Truck Parts in the mid 1980s that saw his first foray into heavy vehicles and machinery before moving into cranes in the mid 90s. With a career that has seen him work for the now defunct companies Elite Cranes and Independent Cranes while operating machines possessing a capacity of 300 tonnes, Danny has witnessed the comings and goings of many events, businesses, and trends in the industry, before eventually finding himself at the helm as Director of Komp Cranes in 2011 – or, as he puts it online, the “Maker  of Money”.

“Basically, I got sick of working for people who always rubbed me up the wrong way, and I wanted to work for myself,” he says. “I heard from my mate Paul Keinhuis that he was looking to sell the business, and I figured that I should back myself in and have a go at running a business for myself.”

Today, Komp Cranes runs a fleet containing its two Maeda mini crawler cranes, a 13-tonne Kato, a 16-tonne Tadano, a 40-tonne and 55-tonne Liebherr and a 20-tonne Franna pick and carry crane. Co-owning the business with his wife, Barbara, Danny says the duo keep the business ticking over by knowing exactly what they do best: looking after the smaller, lighter jobs for the residential, commercial, and industrial aspects of the general crane hire market.

“Some days, we’ll be booked in the entire day and packed to the rafters trying to allocate machinery to certain jobs, and others we’ll have one booking in before it just explodes randomly with everyone needing a taxi crane or city crane solution,” he says. “It’s the nature of general crane hire, and we’re very comfortable operating in our own market.”

To aid the company in its endeavours, Komp Cranes has made two major acquisitions recently, with both being indicative of the future direction the company wants to head in. Komp Cranes has hired a new Operations Manager in Rob Burns, a seasoned campaigner in the asphalting and road management industries. 

Rob details his new role, looking after the allocation of Komp’s machinery and personnel, ensuring Komp’s day-to-day activities run as smoothly as possible. Beginning his new position three months ago, he says he’s ready to embrace his new role head on, and that he’s keen to get “stuck in” in the crane industry, as it presented a new challenge, a new project, and a chance for personal growth – as well as giving Danny and Barbara some hard-earned time off. 

“I’ve got a long history in managing people, machinery and job allocation across multiple different roles in traffic management in Melbourne,” he says. “A lot of those skills are highly transferrable to an Operations Manager role, so I’m looking  forward to learning as much about the crane hire industry as possible and helping drive Komp Cranes forward in its future endeavours.”

The second investment made by Komp Cranes is in its physical machinery: a new tracked carrier purchased through national dealer, Pace Cranes. Featuring a 1200kg capacity, 750mm carrying platform and a rotating platform, Danny says the new machine has been a brilliant addition to Komp’s line up as the company seeks to expand its offerings in the glass-handling domain of lifting. The 1200 R Pro model acquired by Komp Cranes is electrically driven, features hazard lights on the front and rear, on board diagnostics, and a switchable motion alarm – something that came in very handy when the demo was being conducted in a warehouse with high  reverberations.

Komp Cranes crane services in Melbourne, Victoria.
The new tracked carrier is set to diversify Komp’s offerings to the
glass-handling domain of the business.

“Essentially, we’re building a fleet that complements itself,” says Danny. 

“Our tracked carrier comes with an A-frame that complements our two vacuum lifters that also go well with our two Maedas, which are all compounded by our fleet of mobile cranes. We want to really prioritise those smaller lifts and help out in any way we can – whether that’s working on an insurance job at a shopping centre or helping out a neighbouring business with some general cranage solutions.”

As the Vice President of CICA’s Victorian and Tasmanian branch, camaraderie in the industry is something that Danny not only prioritises and enacts himself, but implores his fellow crane businesses to live by too. Being in his position for over four years, Danny says working with the association has been of the utmost importance to him because he is fully across all the services available to all CICA members – something he finds he’s able to disseminate to other members of the  association. 

“It’s reassuring to know I’ve got the capacity to give back to the industry and members trying to do the right thing,” he says. “CICA’s main objective is to support the crane industry and help it grow in the safest and most effective manner, and we’d be in a really average spot without the work CICA does for its members.”

Among those initiatives being undertaken are April’s ‘Cranes in Wind’ forum that allowed crane hire companies to openly discuss the high-risk nature of wind farm construction and maintenance, an overseas trip to explore crane manufacturing facilities with road managers at State Government levels, as well as a range of training and upskilling courses designed to increase safety in the crane industry as well as combatting the skills  shortage. 

Amid the skills shortage, a younger, more inexperienced workforce is beginning to enter the crane industry. With over 30 years of experience, Danny has some advice for newer operators. 

“The industry’s changed to become a lot more focused on the technical side of the job, which is all well and good until you turn up to site,” he says. “Nothing will ever substitute for operator experience, intuition and know-how, and that’s what we need to be reinforcing to the younger crane operators coming through the system.”

Because, while no operator ever being better than him may be up for conjecture, there remains one resounding notion: there will only be one Danny Toohey. 

Send this to a friend