Quinlan Cranes recently took delivery of the first Liebherr LTM 1230-5.1 to be delivered in Victoria. Quinlan Cranes director Sacha Sikka provides background to the organisation and how the new crane fits into the fleet.
Tom Quinlan started Quinlan Cranes in 2001 with a 50t Tadano working around the Melbourne area. Before that, he had worked for James Cranes for thirteen years, In Ballarat Melbourne and Geelong. Quinlan steadily grew the business over the next five years, gradually increasing the fleet to five cranes.
“That’s when the opportunity to buy the James Cranes Geelong operation was presented to me, and I jumped at it. The business came with a package of eight cranes and it meant we were operating out of yards in Laverton and Geelong, as we have done ever since. Slowly, we have built the equity in the business to the stage where we are welcoming the brand new Liebherr LTM 1230-5.1, the first of its type in Victoria,” said Quinlan.
Sacha Sikka joined the organisation in 2017 and in 2019 invested in Quinlan Cranes, taking a 50 percent stake in the business.
“I had already had a long association with Tom, I’ve known him for close to 20 years. I knew the business and many of the customers, so it was an easy transition for me. Today, we operate a fleet of relatively new cranes, the average age of the cranes would be less than five years. We recently added the Liebherr LTM 1230-5.1, the first of this model to be delivered in Victoria. By keeping our fleet new and updated, helps with our philosophy of providing a safe and reliable service for our customers.
“Tom started the business with the ethos of offering customers a reliable quality service. This has evolved to the point where the company now has accreditation for ISO 9001 Management System, ISO 14001 Environment Management System and ISO 45001 OHS Management System. We are one of the few crane companies to have this and it drives our business every day. Everyone understands that every decision and action is based on quality,” said Sikka.
Sikka explains how he met Quinlan and how the business looks today.
“I started in the industry as a mechanic, so I learnt my trade fixing cranes. I worked for Terex and then Tutt Bryant where I chased crawler cranes around Australia for a while. From there I moved to Alfasi Hire and ran their crane division working on internal and external projects in Australia and Overseas. I’ve known Tommy since I was a mechanic and we’ve always kept in touch.
“The capacity of our fleet varies goes from 10t to 250t and the larger capacity cranes tend to be Liebherrs. These include the 250t, 230t, 220t and 100t. We run some Tadanos as well and we have a couple of 40 tonners a 60 and a 100. We also run a number of Frannas with 20t and 25t capacities, some with SuperLifts.
“We are a true general hire company which means we work on everything from infrastructure projects, we have long standing petrochemical contracts, wharf contracts. We do a lot of work with customers like Zinfra and the power sector right through to general machinery moves and plant lifts. We have worked hard to establish and maintain relationships with our customers and we have a number of long standing contracts with long standing customers.
“We have a long term contract with a local chemical company and we recently received an award for contributing a million man hours incident free workplace. A lot of customers and also our team members have been with the organisation from the beginning with many dating back to the James Cranes days.
“We still have two of the original trainees who started with Barry James in 1998. We place company loyalty high on our list of priorities. We are loyal to our customers and also to our personnel and we hope this is reciprocated. We employ 50 full timers plus casuals. Some of our older crew, have been with the organisations for over 30 years and there is no substitute for that experience. But we are also looking to the future and we have three trainees from the CFMEU program and one recently qualified. Traineeship programs are a big part of revitalising the industry with ‘new blood’. We also have an engineering team so as far as lift planning is concerned, we manage all of that side of the business inhouse, which we really pride ourselves on,” he said.
Sikka discusses the commitment and compliance required to reach the ISO accreditation and what this means to the business.
“The ISO accreditation definitely provides us with a competitive advantage. Our customers understand what is involved with the onerous nature of the accreditation process. The very culture of our business has to reflect the requirements of ISO accreditation. For us, it put to paper what we wanted to achieve with the business. We have always strived to reflect best practice and envisaged the quality of our service would drive our business.
“We often say to or customers you can have service, quality and price, pick two as we understand it is impossible to deliver on all three. We’ve always driven the quality and the service in everything we do at Quinlan Cranes. Having ISO accreditation for Quality, Safety and Environment drives a sense of pride in everything we do in with each member of the team owning every action. It also provides our customers with assurance that the services we provide reflect worlds’ best practice,” he said.
Sikka goes on to discuss the background to the purchase of the Liebherr LTM 1230-5.1, his experience with the crane and how it has performed.
“We were in the market for a new crane to support our power work and one of our long term customers in that industry. The work meant we really needed a long boom. We already had the Liebherr LTM 1250-5.1 with the 60 meter boom and both the 100t and 220t have 60 meters of boom. What we really like about the Liebherr LTM 1230-5.1 is the 75 meters of boom. 75 meters provides us with an option to avoid fitting the fly on numerous tight sites,” he said.
“We’ve had the crane for about a month and we’ve had a number of good lifts. We’ve also completed some heavy lifting which we probably didn’t purchase it for. We recently lifted 40t of anchor chain down at the wharf and it performed well there. We recently used the crane for a lift at the Water Gardens shopping centre. We put the fly on the crane and got out to a radius of 75m which is rare for cranes on five axles. With that length of boom and fly it’s competing with the next class of cranes up really.
“The Water Gardens lift wasn’t a difficult job, we had to go with the larger crane because the centre is sitting on a suspended slab. We had about 7m to feed the boom through between the pole and building to install the fly which we managed fairly easily.
“We were removing and replacing air conditioning units, fans ducts and associated components. The heaviest lift was at 1600 kg including hook and rigging at a 74m radius. All this meant the crane was utilising 85 per cent of it charts,” said Sikka.
The new 230-tonne crane not only delivers an extra 3 metres in length but also an average of 20 percent greater lifting capacity. In addition to a multi- functional folding jib, a 43 m fixed jib is also available. The Liebherr innovations VarioBase®, VarioBallast, ECOmode and ECOdrive mean that crane operators can use the new LTM 1230-5.1 with even more safety and efficiency.
The LTM 1230-5.1 is the successor to the global success that was the LTM 1200-5.1. In its development work, Liebherr pursued the objective of increasing both the boom length and the lifting capacity of its predecessor. The result: the LTM 1230-5.1 delivers an extremely long telescopic boom and sets new standards in terms of lifting capacity. With lattice extensions, the maximum hook height has been increased by ten metres to 111 metres. The Liebherr LTM 1230-5.1 is an ideal crane for working on steep gradients and large hook heights, for example for erecting tower cranes or maintenance work for wind turbines.
The engineers at Liebherr-Werk Ehingen GmbH placed the multi-award- winning VarioBase® support technology at the focus of the structural steel construction when creating the concept for the new crane. This meant that the new LTM crane is the first to have an asymmetrical support base – with the width being 7.4 metres at the front and 8.1 metres at the rear. VarioBase® means that it is now possible to generate particularly high lifting capacities, particularly at the rear working area over the 8.1 metre wide supports – calculated in real-time by the LICCON controller. This new digitalisation facility has a major influence on the structural steel technology and enhances the customer benefit in the form of lifting capacity increases.
A six-cylinder Liebherr diesel engine in the undercarriage which develops 400 kW / 544 bhp and torque of 2,516 Nm provides the LTM 1230-5.1 with all the power it needs. The engine already complies with the Stage V exhaust emissions standard.
The power is transferred to the crane axles via the 12-speed ZF TraXon gearbox. This innovative gearbox delivers new functionalities and benefits for the operator and driver. ECOmode makes the vehicle significantly more comfortable and quieter due to the low engine speed. Furthermore, faster gearshifts ensure greater scope for off- road use. The crane driver also has the “Hill Start Aid” feature.
The LTM 1230-5.1 also features the Liebherr single-engine concept which involves a mechanical shaft powering the superstructure. Gear shafts are routed from the distributor gear in the substructure via two mitre gears through the centre of the slewing ring to the pump distributor gear in the superstructure. An add-on programme in the drive concept ensures that the machine is particularly fuel-efficient. This means that the complete pump drive can be disconnected automatically when the engine is idling and then reconnected by the intelligent controller in a matter of seconds when it is required.
The team at Liebherr are a major reason Quinlan Cranes continue to purchase Liebherr all terrains said Sikka.
“One of the main reasons we go with Liebherr is the team that comes with the product. We have a great relationship with John and Ben and the service guys including Marius and throughout my time in this industry, I have always found Liebherr easy to deal with. It doesn’t matter if the crane is in or out of warranty if there is an issue, they will work it out with you. In my opinion it doesn’t matter what brand you buy and which model it is, eventually every machine will stop. It is how the manufacturer, sales agent or distributor backs up that machine that matters, that is where Liebherr shines. I worked with Liebherrs in Hong Kong so I know firsthand, it doesn’t matter where you are in the world, Liebherr looks after you,” he said.