Australia, C&L, Cranes & Lifting, Features, Product News

New battery electric Maeda for Tomahawk Cranes

Tomahawk Cranes purchases a new battery electric Maeda mini crawler crane through Pace Cranes.

Tomahawk Cranes is a Melbourne based family business owned and operated by Tom and Amy Miljko; starting in 2018, the business recently added a Maeda MC285CB-3 battery powered mini crawler to its existing fleet of Maedas.

  • 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.

Tom discusses his experience in the construction industry. 

“After leaving high school in 1999 I briefly entered the construction industry working for a steel fabricator. I then spent some time away, coming back to the sector in 2004. Since then, I had experience in various aspects of the construction industry. Beginning as a labourer for a crane yard, I progressed to Dogman, Rigger, then advanced through crane licenses and became skilled as a spotter and in traffic management. I was also elected a Health and Safety Representative (HSR), as I am passionate about safe works processes and practices, both on the ground and behind the controls,” he said. “Amy has no experience with cranes, however she has a high skillset within management and business. This has enabled Tomahawk Cranes to collaborate our knowledge and grow together. Amy has shadowed and supported me over the years and has been learning the industry as the business has progressed. Amy and I run Tomahawk Cranes, and you’ll always find us answering the phone, taking bookings, or making onsite visits. 

“I am a working director and coming from a crane operator and rigging background, I have been observing the onsite capabilities of Maeda mini crawler cranes and admired the way they navigate and work on construction sites where there is very little room to manoeuvre, let alone lift,” he said.

Tom discusses the types of services Tomahawk Cranes provides to its wide range of  customers.

“Our Maedas are available for dry and wet hire. Our cranes are well maintained and serviced, with annual CraneSafe inspections and all are recent models. We have a strong work ethic, providing a 24/7 service for our customers.” 

“We pride ourselves on working closely with our customers to ensure we have the best lifting solutions for each individual project. With emissions, reliability and weight becoming key issues within the industry, we have continued to invest in new models as they become available. This approach is reflected with the addition of the MC285CB-3 battery powered mini crawler,” he said.


While Maeda has developed hybrid electric diesel cranes that run on three phase power, the MC285CB-3 is its first fully battery electric powered machine. Battery and battery charging technology has ensured the performance of the new MC285CB-3 compares with the diesel version. Maeda has worked hard to develop the right battery system to achieve the same operational speeds as the popular diesel version and envisages the lift cycle of the battery will be approximately nine hours, based on assumed cycle.

To charge the battery to 80 per cent takes two hours and 20 minutes, and for 100 per cent it takes three hours and 30 minutes. The battery life cycle handles up to 20,000 charges. The crane can also be run directly from the mains power via 15a and the battery charges as the crane is operated. A wireless remote control is standard with the model.

Tomahawk Cranes purchases a new battery electric Maeda mini crawler crane through Pace Cranes.
Maeda mini crawlers are reliable and rarely break down and Tomahawk Cranes believes that’s why clients continue to return. Image: Tomahawk Cranes.

The new model Maeda MC285CB-3s is an extremely compact machine capable of being driven through a doorway, and has non marking tracks as standard. Tomahawk Cranes exclusively operates a fleet of Maeda mini crawlers. With the addition of the MC285CB-3 there are now six in the fleet. The fleet includes: 

 1 x MC285CB-3 New Battery machine 2.8t capacity 

 1 x MC285C diesel 2.8t capacity 

 2 x MC305C diesel 2.98t capacity 

 2 x MC405C diesel 3.83t capacity

Tom discusses the reasons why Tomahawk Cranes exclusively operates Maeda mini crawlers.

“I have always had a strong association with the Maeda brand and the after sales service and product knowledge from Michael Cawston and the team at Maeda’s National Distributor, Pace Cranes, is only ever a phone call away,” he said. “I had my first introduction to the Maeda brand in 1999, when I was working with an early MC355HC. That crane continues to be in operation today which demonstrates the quality and durability of the brand.” 

“We have adopted a pairing policy on a couple of the popular models and having two available enables us to keep up with the demands from customers. The introduction of each model has led to more growth within the business as we find an increasing number of applications for our cranes,” said Tom. 

“The rapid changes occurring in the construction sector, and an increasing focus on emissions with sites reducing carbon footprints, means we have to be sure we have the right capacities, as well as low or zero emission cranes, available to meet our customers’ needs.”

“There is certainly a growing demand for zero emissions and Maeda is at the forefront of battery powered mini crawler developments. This helps us provide customers with a safer, quieter and cleaner option for indoor and undercover applications,” he said.

He goes on to discuss what he likes about his Maeda mini crawlers.

“Maeda mini crawlers are reliable and rarely break down, we believe that’s why our clients continue to come to us. They are a known brand with proven performance over a long period of time.

“Construction sites benefit from Maeda mini crawlers supporting the work of larger structural cranes like tower cranes and mobiles as they have the ability to get into places left behind, manoeuvre into tight and narrow workspaces and lift. The variable outrigger settings are a key feature for this type of lifting. 

“Smaller cranes tend to be working within restricted environments where fumes and noise are not welcome. The introduction of these battery powered cranes now facilitates a cleaner and safer option in these work environments.

“Maedas are user friendly, and we like the simplicity of moving from one crane to another and from model to model. They thrive in confined spaces and the introduction of the Maeda Searcher Hook means they can work even closer to obstacles and soffits,” he said.

Tomahawk Cranes purchases a new battery electric Maeda mini crawler crane through Pace Cranes.
Maedas thrive in confined spaces and the introduction of the Maeda Searcher Hook means they can work even closer to obstacles and soffits. Image: Tomahawk Cranes.

“Typically, our customers are working in steel fabrication and installation as well as glass and façade installation. A sizeable amount of our work is cross hiring with other crane hire businesses when they are experiencing plant shortages of their own.

“Our Maedas are working in all aspects of construction, domestic and commercial. We have serviced the ‘Big Build’ in Melbourne with tunnel works, glazing and curtain walls, structural steel both primary and secondary,” he said. “We have also been involved in level crossing removal works both elevated and underground, sporting arenas, universities, spa removals and relocations. The Maedas have been ideal in sensitive heritage builds, data centres and shopping centres. Landmarks include Australia 108 – the tallest build in Australia –  Melbourne Park, and Marvel Stadium,” said Tom.

Tom discusses the relationship with Pace Cranes and the service received from National Sales Manager, Michael Cawston.

“Michael has been with us from our first purchase and our connection with the Pace Cranes team gets stronger as our fleet expands,” he said. 

“The Pace Cranes team has a brilliant after sales connection and the availability of spare parts is almost always found on the shelf. Pace Cranes also has an excellent service division in Melbourne where most issues are discussed and resolved over the phone,” he said.

Tom explains the background to the company name. 

“The name of the business comes from three different angles. Firstly, my name is Tom, and I barrack for the Hawthorn Hawks, please don’t hold that against me. Secondly it was a nickname which stuck from a work colleague and finally I can’t
go past a medium rare tomahawk steak,” said Tom. 

Send this to a friend