The North Queensland business of Universal Cranes recently took delivery of a new, Liebherr 100t LRT 1100-2.1 rough terrain for a customer in the mining sector.
Gordon Willocks is the managing director for Universal Cranes North Queensland, and he spoke to Cranes and Lifting magazine about the Universal Cranes operation and the reasons behind the purchase of the new Liebherr 100t rough terrain.
Willocks has been with the Universal/Smith Cranes Group since 1986 and he’s had an association with the crane industry for over 30 years. The North Queensland operation runs approximately 30 machines and this fleet is divided between the operations in Mackay and Townsville. The depots cover all of the Northern and North Western regions of Queensland with a staff of 40 plus people who support customers in general industry, the mining sector, refineries, residential and commercial building and general infrastructure.
“We cover lots of short term, one off type jobs through to long term construction projects. In the resources sector, we supply equipment on a long-term basis for maintenance and shut down operations. We also provide cranes for various other support related work such as removals, rail derailments, break down services and roadside assistance,” said Willocks.
“Predominantly, we are a mobile crane fleet, but we are supported by the wider Universal Cranes group. For example, we have six crawler cranes currently working in the North Queensland region and these are supported by the wider the group,” he said.
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Willocks goes on to explain how the business tailors packages around cranes to meet the specific requirements and demands of customers.
“From the outset, we work closely with the customer. We listen and learn about the specific application and the type of work they are planning for the crane. We then look at the best crane to fit the application and the type of work they are planning for it.
“We then evaluate, source and negotiate the right type of machine for the customer and we bundle up a package that everyone is happy with. We do all the negotiations up front, we work out what will be the best machine for the application, source the machine and then supply it to the customer. That way there are no surprises,” he said.
The new Liebherr rough terrain is for a two-year contract where it will be operating in a zinc and lead mine said Willocks.
“The Liebherr rough terrain will be one of the core machines for onsite maintenance throughout the year. The crane will be operating mostly around the process plant completing routine maintenance jobs including the conveying systems and pipelines, really anything to do with the processing on the mine site. It will be working closely with a 220t Liebherr all terrain which is owned and operated by the mine.
“We will be provided servicing, support and maintenance for the rough terrain and also supply support for shut-downs and for routine maintenance servicing. Basically, we’ll work around the customer, so they are able to utilise the machine to its maximum capacity,” said Willocks.
Liebherr recently extended its mobile crane product range with an additional series of rough-terrain cranes in the 90t and 100t classes. The models feature high performance, safety, comfort, and consistency with the AT fleet or the operators.
High safety levels in every respect were the main priority for the design of the new Liebherr LRT cranes. Both new crane models feature an outrigger monitoring system which automatically detects the status of tyres or outriggers. The attachment of the ballast to the turntable and the installation of the optional double folding jib including its angle adjustment are also recorded and monitored.
The VarioBase variable support base developed by Liebherr as standard on the new LRT cranes makes an important contribution to enhancing safety. VarioBase also provides greater performance and flexibility on site.
Safety is also enhanced by providing greater comfort for the crane operator. For example, the crane cabin is 220mm wider than other standard cabins on the market. It can be tilted backwards to provide greater comfort when hoisting loads to great heights. Clear, self-explanatory controls make the crane easy to handle.
The 100t LRT 1100-2.1 has a 50m telescopic boom with a “Telematic” telescoping system on which the various telescoping sections can be extended independently with a single cylinder and then pinned to the telescopic section above. 14t of counterweights ensure high stability.
The lifting capacity of the LRT 1100-2.1 is around 15 per cent higher than that of the 90t model which features 12t of counterweights. The LRT 1090-2.1 features a 47m telescopic boom. Its telescoping system consists of a two-stage hydraulic cylinder with a rope extension mechanism.
During the design of the LRT 1100-2.1 rough-terrain crane, Liebherr engineers focused on one specific criterion – safety, for both the crane operator and surrounding area.
The standard VarioBase variable support base also enhances safety. It enhances flexibility on site and also increases the crane’s lifting capacity. The LRT 1100-2.1 has a telescopic boom with Liebherr’s time-tested telematic telescoping system for rough-terrain cranes. This system is particularly simple and user-friendly, as excellent lifting capacities over the entire radius range can be achieved with just two telescoping modes, power or length.
The new rough terrain models are designed and manufactured to a global uniform safety standard which complies with all current regulations – ANSI B30.5, EN 13000, Australian Standards (AS) and GOST standard.
“It’s the first Liebherr rough terrain in the Universal Crane fleet, but it isn’t the first 100t Liebherr. Both are quality machines,” said Willocks.
“Just in pre-commissioning, we’ve had excellent results. The machine has superb safety features which go beyond what most other rough terrains would have in place,” he said.
The business relationship between Liebherr and Universal Cranes has developed over a number of years says Willocks.
“We’ve been a customer of Liebherr for a few years now and we find the brand is supported very well by the Australian operation. Availability of equipment has been good, and the reliability and the quality of the equipment has been a major factor when we have been looking to purchase new equipment.
“Bryce O’Brien, Liebherr sales manager mobile and crawler crane division for QLD/NT/PNG is very responsive and a smart operator. We get speedy results from Bryce and his team.
“When we provide them with the timeline and the requirements, Bryce and his team are very good at facilitating everything that is required from the quoting, through the sales process to the commissioning and delivery. They make it a simple and painless process. We are gradually seeing Liebherr as a preferred supplier to our business and the commercial arrangements are in place to encourage us to buy the brand in increasing numbers, and we are happy to do so,” said Willocks.