Case Studies, Products

New Groves headed to the Northern Territory

Two new Groves are about to be added to the fleet of the Tutt Bryant Heavy Lift & Shift Northern Territory (TBHL&S NT) operation. Wayne Morris is the Northern Territory state manager for TBHL&S NT and explains why a Grove GMK5250XL-1 and a Grove GMK6400 are being added and the depth of the relationship the NT operation has with the team at Grove.

TBHL&S NT operates out of the Darwin suburb of  Berrimah. Morris discussed the approach his team takes to the challenges it faces. 

“Our Northern Territory operation is very motivated and has a fanatical ‘can-do’ attitude,” said Morris. 

“One day we can find ourselves lifting and constructing a 90-tonne capacity shovel excavator at a new lithium mine and the next we will be transporting a 55t offshore module which has been sent from the Netherlands. The work is varied and challenging, which helps to keep the team on their toes and motivated.

“The more complicated the projects and the lifts, the more we rise to the occasion, developing the safest and most commercially viable solution for the customer,” he said.

The majority of staff have been with the TBHL&S NT operation for many years, and some have over 40 years of experience with the business.

“The roots of the TBHL&S NT operation date back almost 60 years. The operation was originally opened in Darwin by Brambles in the mid 1960s. It was purchased by Tat Hong in 2003 and a later name change saw it become Tutt Bryant Heavy Lift & Shift,” explained Morris. 

TBHL&S has been operating in the industry for almost 60 years

“Our team comprises of six office staff, five crane technicians, and 17 crane and truck operators, so it is a significant operation for this part of the world. We service all of the Northern Territory from top to bottom, east to west. We also service the Central Queensland coal fields and the Western Australian iron ore mines.

“Our operation services a wide variety of industries, which include oil and gas, construction, and mining. In these industry sectors we service ‘Blue Chip’ customers including Inpex, Qube, Shell, Toll Logistics and McConnell Dowell. In terms of general hire, we can be lifting anything from containers for mums and dads, or putting in a pool, through to general lifts for engineering and manufacturing businesses. The list is never ending and, if it needs lifting, we have a crane to do it,” he said. 

TBHL&S NT operates an extensive fleet of cranes. The all terrain element of the fleet is dominated by Groves, said Morris.

“We currently run seven Groves and we are waiting on the delivery of two more, a Grove GMK5250XL-1 and the Grove GMK6400,” he explained.

With its 78.5m boom, the GMK5250XL-1 has the longest main boom of any five-axle all terrain crane and combines that with the best lifting capabilities in the industry. 

As with all Grove all terrain cranes, it features Megatrak suspension and the twin-lock boom pinning system. It is also available with the MAXbase variable outrigger function for added versatility on the jobsite.

The GMK5250XL-1 is a great example of how Grove develops its products. It’s an update to the very successful GMK5250L, which remains in the product range. Grove has added 8.5m of boom for more reach at 78.5m, so it can take on more jobs.

At the same time, Grove has maintained the class-leading lift performance, manoeuvrability and fast set-up of the GMK5250L, which makes it such a popular choice with Grove customers.

The Grove GMK6400 400t capacity all terrain has the best lifting capacity of any six-axle all terrain, says Morris. It features a 60m main boom and up to 79m of luffing jib, giving it a maximum possible tip height of 136m. It can handle loads out to a maximum radius of 96m and comes with the optional self-rigging Mega Wing Lift attachment for additional capacity.

TBHL&S operates an extensive fleet of cranes. The all-terrain element of the fleet is dominated by Groves

The GMK 6400 is an allrounder well suited for a number of industry sectors, including wind farm construction and maintenance, erecting and dismantling tower cranes, installing precast concrete panels, infrastructure projects, and data center construction. 

Operators like to work with the GMK6400 because of the ease of rigging and smoothness of operation.

The TBHL&S NT fleet already includes the following Grove ALL TERRAINS: 

   GMK4090 – four-axle 90t capacity

   GMK4100L-1 – four-axle 100t capacity x two

   GMK5095 – five-axle 95t capacity

   GMK5130-2 – five-axle 130t capacity

   GMK5150L – five-axle 150t capacity

   GMK6300L – six-axle 300t capacity

But TBHL&S NT’s capabilities don’t stop there, says Morris.

“We currently have four crawler cranes working for McConnell Dowell at HMAS Coonawarra. These include a Demag CC2800-1 a 600t crawler operating on a barge, a Sany SCC8300 300t capacity crawler operating on a new wharf top, a HSC SCX2800-2 280t capacity crawler also operating on a new wharf top, and a Kobelco CKE1800-1 180t capacity crawler working on a new wharf approach,” he said.

“We also run on a daily basis six to eight Frannas of various capacities,” he said.

TBHL&S is part of Tat Hong Holdings, which operates the largest fleet of crawler and mobile cranes in the Asia Pacific. Morris explained how this provides his NT operation with opportunities to access specific cranes for large projects.

“We do have the luxury of having access to the wider TBHLS and Tat Hong fleet, and the CC2800-1 was shipped from Singapore for the project it is now working on. And being part of a much larger group means we are able to draw on the resources for some of the larger projects. We also help out other business units by sending machinery and specialist staff to other business units for projects,” he said.

Morris went on to discuss the relationship TBHL&S NT has with the team at Grove.

“Obviously, running mainly Groves in our fleet we have a strong relationship with the team at Grove. The service and support we receive from the Grove team is fantastic. Last year, we were on a crucial project for our customer Inpex, which involved a shut down, and Grove sent us two technicians for the duration of the project, just to solve any issues which might have meant the cranes occurring downtime. This type of support is invaluable to our business and also to our customers,” he said.

“Danny Hall is one of Grove’s senior technicians and he has an unbelievable amount of knowledge relating to the Grove product, and he will always take our call any time of the day or night. A few months ago I called him with a technical issue, and he was able to talk us through the various steps, and we managed to fix it remotely,” he said.

“Our guys are very confident with the Groves. They like the way they operate and they move easily between the different models and capacities. The Groves are a very good solid crane, and they suit the needs of our business really well. They are good allrounders and also very roadable.

“A good example of this was a recent job for the GMK 6300L. The project was a bore mill replacement at our customer Australian Imenite Resources mine. The mine was 425km from Darwin to Mataranka NT, then a 114km trip down the Roper Highway. 

The fleet of Groves provide TBHL&S NT with flexibility and they are good lifters. This enables the teams to get around issues on site and complete the lifts safely and as planned.

“It was a remote site and, when the guys got there, they needed to improvise to a degree as we didn’t have a lot of information about the project before we despatched the crane. 

“But the Groves provide us with flexibility and they are good lifters, so we can generally get around most issues on site and complete the lifts safely and as planned. 

“Another project was for an Inpex and Veolia Netherlands cassette media replacement. The media inside the cassette was shipped from the Netherlands and our guys worked alongside two Veolia specialists who had flown in from the Netherlands to execute the project.

“Other projects involving the Groves include the Inpex maintenance contract, including the 2021 shut down mentioned earlier, New Airport Control Tower, where we had the Grove GMK6300L working, the Alice Springs Hospital carpark, where we had the GMK5150L, and Grote Eylandt conveyor replacement, where we had the GMK4100L working on a jack up barge,” said Morris.

TBHL&S NT has the capability to prepare engineered lift plans but, for the more complex requirements, the team is able to draw on the resources of the TBHL&S engineering team. With such a large territory to cover, Morris relies on the expertise of his teams when they are working remotely.

“We manage remote projects by sending our experienced teams, who will demonstrate a ‘can do’ attitude and are willing to work with the customer when they get to site, which makes all the difference. Our teams have a high focus on safety and have the ability to problem solve on the run,” he said. 

“Generally speaking, our cranes don’t travel too much but, when they do, we have the ability to support them in house. We are a self-sufficient operation, and we send personnel at the drop of a hat. We have our own heavy haulage and transport fleet, which can carry our cranes all over the country,” said Morris.

Morris has been the Northern Territory state manager since 2018.

“One of my first challenges was to navigate the operation through the unfolding Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.  

“I have spent most of my working life around plant and machinery. My father was into earthmoving equipment so, from an early age, I was interested in how everything worked. I moved from the Gold Coast to Darwin in 1993, where I have spent some time in the hospitality and construction sectors. I also spent some time in the resources sector before joining the NT operation of TBHL&S.

“I enjoy the work because no two days are ever the same and there are always challenges. The reward is getting the job done and knowing the customer is happy with our efforts. 

“The service and support from the Grove team play an important part in my role and this is why we have added six new Groves to the fleet during my time with the organisation,” he said.

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