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Reds Global moving with the times

He ran Verticon for two years prior to starting Reds Global. Persistence and innovation has seen this business continue to grow. Having its main depot in Sydney, it now has cranes working in key markets around Australia although the Greater Sydney area has the highest concentration.

Things have changed a lot in tower cranes in Redman’s time in the industry. At the start, Favco diesel hydraulic tower cranes dominated the market and the average age of the cranes was much greater in the earlier era (the average age of the Reds Global fleet is three years).

These big changes were helped by the vastly improved performance of electric cranes that, in earlier times, could not compete with the Favco cranes. In addition, there has been increased attention to noise levels, and the electric cranes have also proved to require less maintenance and taken away the issues of refuelling. The greater performance of the modern cranes has been achieved while using less power, such have been the improvements in efficiency.

Of more recent times, the cost of labour on site has seen an increased use of concrete panels cast in a factory and transported to site, and the size of panels has increased to reduce site labour requirements and speed construction times.

Coupled with this is that site access for trucks delivering panels is becoming more difficult, requiring cranes to pick panels up at a longer radius.

These are some of the reasons for Reds Global investing in six Terex CTL 430 luffing jib tower cranes. While they have a 60m jib and maximum capacity of 24t, the telling statistic for the business is that it can pick up a typical 10t precast panel at a 45m radius. Four of these are working on Meriton’s The Retreat project at Lidcombe (three of them freestanding to 72m) and two are at a Richard Crookes Constructions project at UTS (these are fitted with cameras for safer operation).

Another emerging requirement is for greater freestanding tower height and, to address this, Reds Global bought the first high strength reinforced Terex six-bolt tower sections in Australia: the 6m Super 6 section that forms the base and 12m Super 12 sections that fit above it. Together, these allow the CTL 430 to free stand to 84m. Without ties to the building, the crane is not an impediment to maintaining the tight timelines for project completion.

Reds Global is grateful to Danny Black and the Terex team for their assistance and advice in the selection of the right equipment package to meet or exceed emerging market requirements.

Another trend is the use of internal climbing systems to reduce the footprint of the cranes, and Reds Global has two Favco three-beam internal climbing systems with 268t jacking capacity and the ability to set up in a 1.9m wide shaft. The cycle time to jack the crane up a floor is 45 minutes.

Reds Global has devised a system for climbing the crane out of the lift shaft and sliding it across the roof on grillage, where it can be set up over the stairwell. This has the strength to support the crane while it lifts the mast sections and climbing system out of the lift shaft and places the precast roof so that the lift fit-out can be completed on the timeline. The crane can be pulled down by either a large mobile crane or a recovery crane. This system will shortly be used on Richard Crookes Constructions’ The Miller project at North Sydney.

Reds Global outlined a recent project that demonstrated the benefits of changed building practices and modern tower cranes. A 22-storey building was completed in 50 weeks, from excavation of the foundations to fitting out. For the structural work itself, each floor was completed in a week. Six free standing tower cranes were used on the project – a reflection of a trend to use more tower cranes on site so that shorter construction times can be achieved.

Redman himself was initially sceptical of the builder’s estimated construction time but was forced to review his opinions of what was achievable.

As important as the cranes are, Redman is adamant that the greatest asset of Reds Global is its people, and “Cranes and Personnel” has been part of the Reds Global business name since its inception, with many key people also being onboard from the start such as Dave Brown (business development), Neil Hodgen (maintenance manager), Karen Fletcher (sales) and Simon Stewart (head technician).

Redman has recently taken a step back and appointed Damien Laforest as general manager, allowing him to spend more time with customers. Other senior management positions reflect the importance of safety, maintenance, human resources, rigging and customer service but Redman is proud of all of his “diversely gifted” team.

Safety is one area that Reds Global is particularly proud of, and this a reflection of the systems, training and performance in the field. In the rare event that there is an incident or potential incident, this is used as an educational tool as well as to reinforce vigilance. Site-specific safety plans and safety audits are part of the Reds Global approach and safety extends, on occasion, to inhouse modifications to incorporate or improve safety systems on equipment. Tablet apps have been developed in house for use in operator handovers and site audits.

The business has hosted WorkCover people, unions and other key industry stakeholders to demonstrate its systems and training. The recognition of the quality of Reds Global people is such that they are increasingly being used on projects not being serviced by Reds Global cranes.

Other sectors of the business include the supply of generators, as many sites do not have power at the start of construction; and the supply of ancillary equipment such as European-sourced kibbles with tremies, which are well received by builders.

For the future, Redman sees even larger tower cranes in the fleet (the Reds Global fleet is concentrated at the upper end of the market), although these would have to be cost effective for builders and their budgets. Fleet composition is close to a 50:50 split of luffing and hammerhead cranes, where previously hammerheads dominated. Ancillary services are constantly reviewed to reflect feedback from customers or perceived opportunities, but the investment in people and safety will remain a non-negotiable constant.

This article was originally published in the July/August issue of Cranes and Lifting.

 

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