Melrose Cranes & Rigging is currently upgrading its crane fleet to a new black and white livery, and they turned to Ben Baden Services for the recent paint upgrade on its Grove GMK 6400, 400t capacity all terrain. Melrose Cranes & Rigging general manager Ryan Melrose.
Well, I’d like to say I could just get every existing crane painted in the new livery straightaway, but this is not always possible,” said Ryan.
“Obviously, everything takes time, and we must consider continually adapting to the workload, which has been intense lately. We have needed our larger capacity cranes to be available. Simply having a crane off the road for the required amount of time to paint it,
can be hard to justify,” he said.
Melrose Cranes has a new 25t capacity Kato on the way. And that was a good reason to update the 13t Kato already in the fleet.
“The 13t Kato is a 2017 model and the paint was still in good condition, but we want to be able to put the two city cranes side by side and have them matching with the same livery and branding. We want them to look like a big brother and little brother,” said Ryan.
“So, we are gradually moving through the fleet. The 400t crane is the last of the heavy crane fleet to be painted or ordered in the new livery.
It will be great to see it work alongside our 500t, 450, and 250t cranes. Our latest Tidd PC28 was ordered in the black and white colours. Baden’s also repainted a PC25 that was damaged by a customer.
“We’ve just completed another MAC25 in the new livery and it was done by Ben Baden Services. When the cranes arrive back, they look brand-new. Baden’s does an extremely good job with an almost ‘mirror’ finish on the black.
“The intent is to keep moving through the fleet but to spread the cost over whatever time it takes and not to impact on the client’s needs and our ability to service their requirements. So often we’ll pick Christmas and quieter times for this kind of work,” said Ryan.
The relationship between the Melrose and Baden families dates back to 1988 (Ben was eight years old!). Gregg Melrose and Gerhardt Baden knew each other well from working in different businesses opposite each other in a little cul-de-sac in Wetherill Park.
In 1995, Gerhardt became Liebherr’s national crane distributor and, in 1998, Gregg started MCR. The relationship grew.
“Ben has an impressive paint shop but he generally only paints equipment that comes to him via insurance work or used cranes that he imports from overseas through Baden Davis Crane Connection.
“Based on our relationship, we were lucky he called and said he had a gap in his schedule that he needed to fill and asked if we were interested. A mutually beneficial favour, if you like,” said Ryan.
“Gregg asked me straight away: ‘Which cranes do you want to paint?’ If I’m choosing, the number one priority was the Grove GMK 6400.”
When Melrose Cranes purchased the GMK 6400 it was already red, which was close to the Melrose livery at the time, and the decision was made to
get it into work to back up the Grove GMK 7450.
“So, it stayed red, and the logos went wherever they could to cover where the old logos had been. It has remained that way ever since. The 400 was our first choice, but Ben originally declined and said: ‘I won’t have enough time for a 400, can you give me something smaller?’
“We made the choice to do the 13t Kato to match up to the 25, and then a MAC25 because they commonly get some scars as a constantly moving crane in an ever-changing work environment. During this time, Ben made contact and noted some further delays. As much as he didn’t want to tackle the 400t a deal was done and it was in his yard before he could deny us,” Ryan said with a smile.
“It’s nice to bring them back to looking shiny and new. The operators appreciate the facelift as well. They are always happier and tend to look after them and keep them clean once they are repainted.”
Ryan goes on to highlight Ben Baden Service’s approach to the painting of the Grove GMK 6400, the detail that goes into the painting and the benefits of the final look.
“The quality of the finish is something that Ben and his team have always excelled in. To my knowledge and in my experience, they are the best in the business. They have a quality process to make sure it is all perfect before the crane comes back to you.
“They’ve got those quality checks and measures in place to make sure it’s coming out looking brand new. Paint a surface with black paint and it will look shiny, but when Ben and his team paint a black surface, it almost becomes a mirror. It’s a great job when you look at metal that’s painted black and then realise that you can almost see your face in it,” said Ryan.
Communication is the key when a crane is in for painting, servicing, or repairs.
“I’ve got a very open line of communication with Ben. We could talk multiple times a week, even if we don’t have a job taking place with them at the time. We have a great relationship, and it is the same with Anthony Davis. Anthony’s obviously more involved in The Crane Connection and Ben’s more focused on the repair and maintenance side, both of whom are MCR’s first choice in what they specialise in.
“Their painters are also really nice blokes. When you visit the paint shop, it’s all very welcoming. When you see them paper wrap and tape every little component – their masking ability and attention to detail – it’s just pure quality. Our depots are also very close to each other, which is beneficial.
“Even though there are obviously stages to painting, someone like Ben has a process of blending it all properly, not just chucking a bit more black in there or brushing a bit. You wouldn’t know it was completed in stages; it is like it was all done at once. Experience counts for everything and Baden’s has it in spades! said Ryan.