Cranes & Lifting, Industry News, News

Local manufacture; A huge advantage for TIDD

With global supply chains interrupted by the global pandemic impacting local crane assembly and import operations, TRT continues to maintain its four-month delivery promise for the TIDD pick and carry crane.

The ability to deliver, notwithstanding market constraints procurement and freight challenges, has been in no small part due to the local manufacturing and lean practices adopted by TRT. These processes have been led by Chief Operations Officer, Lawrence Baker and Mike Harrison, TIDD Production Manager.

Baker explains, “There are a number of key reasons that enables to TRT to make it possible to deliver. TRT has been in business for 54 years and our people have always been, and remain, a key focus. We have over 35 staff within the production and manufacturing teams with over 10 years’ service. This is a result of the family approach to the business and to our relationships with customers and dealers.

“Also, not widely known are our defence supply contracts, including Land 121 3B and 5B for prime contractor Rheinmetall for the Australian Defence. This ensures that our manufacturing systems meet only the highest standards set across Australia and NZ for local manufacture, including ISO 9001 accreditation. As an accredited facility we are subjected to regular audits to retain that accreditation across the manufacturing process, including TIDD,” he said.

“These manufacturing processes are heavily focussed on continuous improvement, challenging the way we do things and always looking to improve our systems processes and manufacturing methods.

“We stand do out from many other OEM manufacturers because we don’t manufacture offshore. This provides customers the peace of mind we can deliver to customers as scheduled. We are still able to manufacture, high-quality, competitively priced product, while being able to call ourselves a local manufacturer,” said Baker.

Despite the challenges of COVID and its impact on shipping, Baker discusses TRT’s ability to maintain a robust supply chain which has helped keep the manufacture of the TIDD pick and carry cranes on schedule.

Baker continues, “we have national support and pride ourselves on supporting regional customers across Australia. We have developed a network of Dealers, that are committed to the TIDD Crane. We ship direct from our factory to the customer or to the customer’s state via one of our networks. Dealers, like Ronco in WA, also hold stock on hand for the increasing demand in the mining and construction sectors.

To support production and Dealer networks, TRT maintains a substantial, multi-million-dollar stock holding and parts operation to ensure supply chain consistency. Using quality products, like Mercedes engines, the Robway Control Systems and Allison Transmissions Kessler axles, and Cushman Metrool transfer cases, means we are holding stock in advance of the global impacts.”

Baker adds, “Across all areas of TIDD production, we have an ethos of continuous improvement. This is challenging the accepted safety standards in this class of crane, a class that has not seen change for years, until the recent TIDD innovations were launched with the TIDD PC28 in 2019.”

“From day one, the objective was to build the world’s safest pick and carry crane. With innovations like Slew Safe and ROPS and FOPS cabs and the first to reach EN13000 standards in its class”. Baker believes TRT is meeting these bjectives and plans to continue to deliver on this promise.

“Two years on, the Slew Safe system is tried, tested, and proven in the field. Experienced Pick and Carry Crane operators continue to provide positive feedback on how it has changed their work environment and customers tell us that Pick and Carry Cranes are now being considered as an option on sites where they have previously been restricted,”

Harrison has been involved with the manufacture of the TIDD Crane for over 10 years, including the prototyping phase of the very first TIDD PC25. We talk with him about the manufacturing process and the experience of the team involved.

“We make our cranes from the ground up with all the processes managed in house. From engineering design, we build the chassis and the main structure of the crane, and we fabricate and assemble the boom and the drive shafts in house.

Raw steel plates, sourced from Australia and Europe are cut into frames by our Plasma operators. The frames pass through multiple manufacturing phases including welding and line boring. It takes four weeks for each unit to complete this stage. Harrison describes the various stages in more detail.

“After it passes through our Plasma cutters, we press it with our CNC presses and weld everything in house with our qualified welding technicians. This is managed by our team of 15,” said Harrison. “When the welding is finished, the frame then moves to the blast and paint area. This element of the manufacturing process involves a four-day cycle, two days of blasting and two days of painting.

“We can paint the crane in anything from our standard colours which are the grey and white right through to a custom paint combination to match a customer’s fleet,” he said.

The frames then move to our assembly area. The assembly process involves a 20-day cycle with our Crane Assembly Team including hydraulics and electrical components and the boom assembly. From flat plate to driving the TIDD off the assembly line is a 10-week cycle. We have eight units in various stages of manufacture and testing at any one time” he said.

Harrison discusses the quality control and quality assurance in place, throughout the manufacturing process.

“As we are an ISO 9001:2015 manufacturer, we have robust quality control systems in place for our production. From the investment in high quality Demmeler tables, in-house crack testing, and welding inspection stages, this all takes place before we blast and paint.”

“In the crane assembly area, we have a number of quality checks throughout the build process before the unit can
be signed off and moved to the next phase. We have a 170-point Pre-Delivery Inspection before the crane can be prepared for shipping.

Harrison speaks about the manufacturing processes and the experience of the team involved.

“This is all done in the factory here at TRT where we have 106 employees in manufacturing 18 are dedicated to the TIDD Crane build. We consistently manufacture the TIDD with the capacity within our production processes to ‘ramp up’ as required, to meet the demands of the market,” he said.

“We will continue to develop the TIDD product and introduce innovation and new technology as it becomes available to the business. TRT takes a proactive approach to each and every unit manufactured. This will not change, no matter the challenges our sector faces.

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