C&L, Cranes & Lifting

Resolute approach to tower cranes and technology

Resolution Rigging Services (RRS) celebrates 20 years in the tower crane business. Director, Tony Noronha found himself dogging for a tower crane and realised he had found his calling.

Resolution Rigging Services (RRS) celebrates 20 years in the tower crane business. Director, Tony Noronha found himself dogging for a tower crane and realised he had found his calling.

Tony Noronha has been in the tower crane business for 26 years. He started in the industry by dogging on a tower crane for a formwork company in Wollongong. Because he was interested in the crane, he managed to secure a job with a tower crane company.

“Being a dogman and rigger, I applied for a job with East Coast Cranes in Sydney and was successful. I worked with them for six years progressing from dogman to driver to managing the company for three years, until the owners decided to retire, and the business closed.

“The owners thought I should be running my own business and with them providing me with plenty of business advice, I started Resolution Rigging Services in 2000. I continued to provide rigging services, erecting and dismantling Liebherr tower cranes mainly, and we also supplied crane drivers and dogmen to various clients, that was our main focus,” he said.

“RRS is a completely family owned and run, myself as the director of the business, Fern, my brother as the operations manager and Alison, my sister in law as head of accounts. Both my sons, Rhys as the project manager and head rigger and Zac as an apprentice fitter along with my nephew Kyle who is gun crane driver/dogman. Having family working at the coal face, offers our clients direct communication to key personnel within the business.

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“Initially I wasn’t interested in buying a tower crane, we used to hire the cranes from Morrow Equipment which sold and hired Liebherr tower cranes to the industry. We went to clients with a complete package where I would hire the tower crane, supply the labour to drive the crane and I would erect and dismantle it. The clients were happy for me to manage everything,” said Noronha.

“Eventually, I decided we should own our crane and once we started with it, that was it. The business grew and now we are up to crane number 15. The last four years and certainly the last two, have been the strongest for the business. This year has proved extremely challenging with the effects of the COVID pandemic and I don’t think we have seen the worst of it yet. But over the years the business has been successful, today we own 15 tower cranes and at one stage we employed 95 employees.

RRS has a great diverse range of tower canes from hammer heads, flat tops, electric luffers and diesel luffing tower cranes, that offer our clients the diversity to multiple options that best suit their residential and or commercial projects.

“Our biggest luffing crane is a Favelle Favco M380D which is a 32t capacity crane, featuring a 64m boom length. Our biggest hammerhead is our Liebherr 280EC-H Litronic with a lifting capacity of 12t and 2.8t at 75m radius,” he said.

Noronha also explains why Liebherr tower cranes make up the vast majority of the RRS fleet.

“I’ve grown up with Liebherr tower cranes. They are such a reliable crane and so efficient, and as far as I’m concerned, they are the number one brand across the world,” he said.

Noronha has a very clear focus on safety within the business, it governs everything his crew does.

“Crane safety is paramount to me, my business and the crane industry in general. We work in such a high-risk industry and you can’t take safety lightly, if you do, I believe it will come back and bite you.

“I make sure that every crane receives a pre-erection inspection as is compulsory under Australian standards, I make sure we dismantle all brakes, I make sure we NDT all the tower bolts and test the motors and gear boxes which are vital components of your crane,” he said.

“Safety is a prominent issue in the industry, and it needs to be, it’s important to ensure safety is front of mind, we must take the necessary safety precautions at all times. I won’t compromise on the safety of my cranes and I won’t cut corners. I will always ensure my cranes are in premium condition when they get to site,” he said.

A project close to Noronha’s is the Col James student accommodation project on Everleigh Street Redfern.

“Initially, we looked at supplying a Hammerhead type tower crane on the site, but it wasn’t possible as the rail authorities wouldn’t allow us to slew over the rail corridor, so we had to look at a luffing type option. As the site didn’t have the availability to source enough power to run an electric luffing type tower crane our only other option was to revert to a diesel luffing type tower crane

“I then offered our Favelle Favco 1000E MKII model tower crane to perform the works which we recently purchased which required a 10 year major inspection prior to going on site,” said Noronha.

“We completely dismantled the crane which was literally in a million pieces in our workshop. We logged everything we did to the crane including third party engineering, gear box rebuild, all the pumps were rebuilt, the entire crane, from top to bottom including towers were completely dismantled, sandblasted and repainted, refurbished and put back together.

“This crane showcased the luffing concept for us as a business, it was our first Luffing crane and it provided the business with some flexibility and diversity with tower cranes because until then we had only owned hammerheads.

“After rebuilding the Favco we did have some minor teething issues, but overall it has been preforming very well, and as it should, considering we spent a considerable amount of money rebuilding the crane. We’ve had a couple of minor break downs in 14 month which to me is pretty good,” he said.

The Head Fitter and Technician at RRS is Cameron Broers. He worked for Favelle Favco for five years and he conducted the entire rebuild. Rexroth completed all the hydraulic pump refurbishments, but the mechanical work and gearboxes were all managed in house by Broers.

“He did such a remarkable job that we had a plaque fitted in the cab as a permanent reminder of the magnificent job he did. He is one of the best I’ve seen,” said Noronha.

Noronha can see the ‘over sail’ issue becoming an issue for the industry. With areas in and around airports there is no option but to use Hammerheads but with sites close to residential areas, or schools or where there is a perceived risk from over sail, luffing cranes are generally preferred. It was an issue some years ago, but the issue went away. Now it is becoming a concern for a number of clients who don’t want a hammerhead because they don’t want the cranes’ jib to over sail the neighbouring property he says.

RRS also offer retractable loading platforms as part of their service with over 100 platforms in the fleet says Noronha.

“They are Australian owned and Australian made from Australian steel. We could have bought platforms for half the price from overseas, but like everything else we do in the business, we are focused on delivering our clients the best quality turnkey operation which includes tower cranes, crane crews, retractable loading platforms, as well as hoists and now safety camera systems with BLOKCAM,” he said.

Resolution Rigging Services recently took up the east coast distributorship for BLOKCAM, the wireless camera system that provides view and sound to the crane operator enhancing safety on construction sites says Noronha.

“We have three units here at the moment. We have a unit on our yard crane with a display system set up inside the workshop to show customers the safety benefits of the system. We have also installed a unit at a Multiplex project in Sydney.

“We’ve now designed a hinged casing which wraps around the circular hook block that best suits the Favelle Favco type ponder weights and this is held in place by a simple pinning system. The BLOKCAM battery and repeater is further held in place by four welded corners so it can’t be dislodged if something was to hit it. It takes 30 seconds to put the camera system on the hook block and connect it up,” he said.

“Obviously, for cranes that are yet to be erected on site there is some pre erection work required including running cables, running repeaters and installing sensors onto the jib of the crane. The crane’s monitor is also installed inside the crane cabin prior to the crane’s erection so we’re not having to walk on jibs. We can and have the ability to install the entire BLOKCAM system to tower cranes that are already erected on site within a couple of hours.

“The beauty with BLOKCAM is it follows the hook and also provides audio. If the dogman is on the truck and he is watching the hook being lowered and the radio fails, the operator can still hear the dogman’s commands through the audio system. With BLOKCAM following the hook block, the operator doesn’t have to zoom in and out on the screen, which eliminates the need for taking his hands off the controls. With BLOKCAM he sees what the hook sees, all of the time and in real view,” said Noronha.

The safety implications with this system are exciting says Noronha. The crane driver operating on the Multiplex project had a limited view of the loading zone and now he has a full view.

“My son Rhys has been to site to get feedback from the crane crew. The crane operators on the Multiplex project, have agreed that having vision of the load and the dogmen, at all times, makes their jobs easier and safer,” he said.

BLOKCAM gives clients a completely new dimension in terms of safety for tower cranes and mobile cranes says Noronha. It’s an even simpler system for mobile cranes, it’s easily moved from crane to crane, it’s like a plug and play he says.

Whilst the dogman is reeving the hook block the M3 BLOKCAM system can be easily mounted on the side of the hook block within a minute and the driver can install the display monitor in the cab with simple suction caps

“We’ve been working on the system in Sydney, proving it’s abilities and worth and now we are ready to show the Melbourne and Brisbane markets the difference BLOKCAM can make to their safety in operations. Interested clients can hire the BLOKCAM system from us or they are available for sale as well,” said Noronha.

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