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New Tadano all-terrain crane for Wilson Lift

The team at Wilson Lift receive the Tadano AC 4.080-1.

Wilson Lift co-founder Danny Wilson found his initial career of bricklaying hard to tap into. Making the switch to the crane hire industry, he progressively expanded his fleet and operations to arrive at the point he’s at today: purchasing his Tadano all-terrain crane, the AC 4.080-1.

Initially a bricklayer by trade, now utilising his skills in the crane hire service industry.

That is a sentence-long summation of Wilson Lift co-founder and director Danny Wilson’s working career.

“I started out as a bricklayer in 1998, working on the Sydney Olympic Village,” he says. “I was running my own crew, and the Olympics were a big deal; we saw it as a massive opportunity to make some money.”

But, as Danny says, things got difficult.

“It just never really panned out the way that we wanted it to,” he said. “I was really disheartened.”

However, opportunity was on the horizon. Married to his wife Tania, Danny started looking for a different avenue of work and arrived at the crane business his father-in-law had owned for 30 years in Newcastle. 

Putting his mind and body to work, Danny would spend all day working, and then arrive at TAFE on Tuesday and Thursday nights to complete a course for his dogging and rigging certificates, culminating in a breadth of experience at Structural Cranes, his father-in-law’s company.

“I then got a truck licence, and followed that up by receiving my crane licence,” he says. “All of these were new skills that I needed to learn at the age of 35.”

Fruitful skills they were to learn too as, a few years after obtaining some experience at Structural Cranes, Danny and his wife Tania took over an older crane hire company – Gary’s Crane Service – in May 2000.

“It’s funny,” he reflects. “We’ve just turned 23-years-old, and I still remember people assuming I was ‘Gary’s’ son or nephew, so we needed to change the business name.”

Since acquiring the Cardiff, NSW based company – which at the time possessed only one mounted truck crane – Danny says the company has grown at a “slow, but steady” rate.

Part of that slow growth revolved around gradual expansion into new markets, beginning with a 23-tonne crane, until a 35-tonne crane was needed, and ultimately eventuating with his latest purchase just before Christmas; Tadano’s AC 4.080-1, an 80-tonne, versatile, four-axle crane noted for its jobsite accessibility and lifting capacity in steep boom positions.

Danny’s new Tadano all-terrain crane has given Wilson lift a “whole new revenue stream”.
Danny’s new Tadano all-terrain crane has given Wilson lift a “whole new revenue stream”.

“Historically, I’d receive an inquiry for a crane with an 80-tonne capacity, and I’d pass on that business to other crane companies in Newcastle who did hold that capacity,” says Danny. “Now, I’m in the position where I can get into infrastructure type work and be another point of contact for different kinds of customers.”

“It’s given me a whole new revenue stream.”

READ MORE: Tadano launches EVOLT Electric Rough Terrain.

Now armed with a fleet of seven cranes, adding the Tadano complements Wilson Lift’s current set of cranes well. On top of the aforementioned 80-tonne capacity, the AC 4.080-1 also possesses a 60-metre main boom length, with a possible extension 6.5-metres and a maximum tip height of 69 metres.

Equipped with a Mercedes engine, Tadano’s all-terrain crane has a maximum lifting radius of 48 metres, a 6.8-tonne hoist line pull and, as a mounted truck crane, provides a very practical sense of roadability – the latter point having real benefits for crane hire service operators like Danny who takes his business across the Newcastle region from his Cardiff base. 

“I’ve driven it on the road,” says Danny, “and the Tadano is just so much better than all the other cranes that I’ve previously used on the road.”

“On top of the new engine gearbox package, the people who operate the crane love it,” he continues. “It’s quite similar to our 55-tonne Demag, which makes the transferral of skills into the new crane really easy.”

“Because of that, we didn’t need to hire new people for a different style of crane; it’s one of the main reasons we went with the Tadano. It’s just so practical to use.”

Being part of three different crane associations, working and lifting with safety is at the forefront of daily operations for Wilson Lift, and their new Tadano does not disappoint in this regard.

READ MORE: Tadano, Boom Logistics a match made in heaven.

With a capacity radar providing crane operators with all the relevant information on the crane’s lifting capacity in the current working range, the radar also takes the boom position into account.

“That’s one of the reasons why we’re buying new machines – the safety features are continuously improving with each model that comes out,” says Danny. “The fact that they’re so easy to operate with inbuilt safety really helps to mitigate the risk of conducting heavy lifts.”

The AC 4.080-1 carries a 60-metre main boom length and a maximum lifting radius of 48 metres.
The AC 4.080-1 carries a 60-metre main boom length and a maximum lifting radius of 48 metres.

Of course, operating in such a part of Australia provides its challenges for Wilson Lift when it comes to the maintenance of their fleet. However, when it comes to Tadano’s virtual product support, Danny states that he simply “can’t fault it”.

“Servicing and product support has been brilliant,” he says. “With any problem that arises, the guys at Tadano are there and help me through everything.”

With Demag cranes being a subjugate of Tadano, and with Wilson Lift being in possession of a couple of Demags, the skills needed for the Demag “blend really well” with the requirements of Tadano’s cranes, according to Danny.

“The team at Tadano really know what they’re doing,” he says. “If you need to talk to them, they’ll just pull up the schematics on their computer, and walk you through your solution in a step-by-step process.”

Servicing, however, will take a crane off the road, and for a company like Wilson Lift – which doesn’t have any immediate service centres around them – a four-hour drive or putting it on a float to Sydney is just not a feasible option, as it will likely result in the crane being off the road for a week, meaning lost time, revenue, and clients.

That issue is yet to arise during his current relationship with Tadano though, Danny says.

“What I’ve had done in the past is had Tadano technicians come up and complete the necessary work on the crane. It’s just a much more viable option, because in that instance the crane’s only off the road for a day, and it gets its servicing and warranty work done.”

“It all just works so well. Like I said before, the products, and the service around them from Tadano, are brilliant. I can’t fault them.” 

READ MORE: Tadano AC 4.080-1 All Terrain Crane.

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