Features, Product News, West Australia

Ronco continues the growth of the brand

Ronco has been in the crane industry for over 27 years. Started by the Downie family and today still employing a member of the Downie family, the company was purchased by Robert Smith in 2010 and he continued on with the passion for cranes.

Ronco made the move in 2012 to incorporate quality major inspections of varying types of cranes into its operation. Its premises today covers 16,000 square metres in Maddington, Western Australia, with a 1,400m2 workshop with access from the Tonkin Highway.

The workshops are not hindered by power lines, allowing Ronco to accept and erect crawlers and larger all terrains at its facility. 

“We are very proud to display our CICA awards in our reception. These plates were awarded against customer assets after vigorous scrutiny of the MI process and final reports by CICA and CraneSafe, as requested by the client and encouraged by Ronco management,” Smith said.

Ronco’s service and parts team have a range of service vehicles for both metro and country runs. Its tooling level runs on a philosophy of ‘if we have to rent it more than twice, we buy it’. 

“As such, we have presses, mobile diesel welders, compressors, steam cleaning and sandblasting,” Smith said. 

Ronco’s boiler maker paired with its design engineer will often repair boom sections rather than force operators down for lengthy periods of time waiting for new telescopic boom sections when they are dented, or when lacings need to be replaced on lattice boom sections.  

Its boiler shop can easily accept 12m sections that are easily handled and rotated by its twin overhead cranes. It has the ability to preheat large sections and slow cool when required. All boom repairs have written procedures and physical visits from its in-house design engineer.  

Design and Fabrication at Ronco

Ronco was approached by Superior Energy, which was building a mobile fracking head control centre. It explained that it was searching for a corner-mounted VLC but fabricators could only supply a standard out of the box straddle ‘T’ boom crane.

“We looked carefully at the requirements for the lifts. We purchased a new stock standard HIAB T270 ‘T’ boom and redesigned it to the needs of the customer – getting to work cutting the crane into pieces.  The main requirements were rear corner-mounted with outriggers that deployed beneath the trailer deck,” Smith said.

The Ronco team is trained to service Scheuerle SPMTs.

Ronco completed the project and delivered to the customer, which put it to use immediately.

After a brief phone call two years ago between Smith and TRT executive director Bruce Carden, Ronco began to supply and service the Tidd range across Western Australia, demonstrating the growth of the company.

“We had delivered TRT pole borers before to Rio Tinto and maintained those TRT units since delivery, so TRT knew we were flexible and had an understanding of the machine. We were honoured that TRT saw us in a position to sell and support the Tidd PC28 product. They have been fantastic loyal manufacturers and suppliers of the Tidd product,” Smith said.

“Recently we embarked on a new three-year dealership contract for WA with XCMG, who are the world’s fourth largest manufacturer of cranes, whilst in China they are the number one construction machinery manufacturer.

“They had a number of machines in stock – truck cranes and all terrain cranes. Speaking at length with David Kapahnke [managing director of D&D], he has put the cranes through their paces and initially had some issues with weights.  

“Today, with the modifications for Australia that the team from XCMG have made, the three-axle 60t all terrain weights are for all states in Australia,” Smith said.

Ronco will now stock the XCMG range.

“The next research mission before deciding to stock the XCMG range was to the north west of WA to see a number of all terrains, some crawlers, and the XCMG office and workshop in Karratha. 

“I was impressed that the northwest Western Australia XCMG had two mine spec service vehicles, over 10,000 line items to support the north west cranes, and five technicians, all specialising in different disciplines being hydraulic, electrical, mechanical, and R&D.

“The cranes up north are all design registered in Australia, passed CraneSafe, passed inspection by asset management engineers, and are all road registerable at 12t per axle,” Smith said.

“In 2023, we look forward to showing the market that a reasonably priced crane can do the same work as the more expensive brands, with lower repayments and the same returns.”

Ronco is the dealer for Australia for Scheuerle SPMTs. It has trained technicians who provide backup and operator familiarisation with the product. This, coupled with the 24/7 support by the factory, means reduced downtime. Ronco even has a SPMT 170.8.4 174t capacity crane in its hire fleet. 

“We also we have plans to install a paint booth and embark on painting inhouse rather than using an external provider. This will allow us to not have wait in queues at paint shops for plant and equipment,” Smith said.

Within Ronco Group lies Empire Equipment Hire, which was founded from the purchase of two Ronco R6000 cranes that were taken out of operation by Alcoa Alumina. They were quickly refurbished and major inspections (MIs) were completed to CICA Gold Plate Standards. They went out to Alcoa while its fleet of R6000s came through the Ronco workshop for their MIs.  

“From there we were asked mainly for pick and carry cranes, while smaller business brought theirs in for MI. This meant that they could continue to service their customers and retain their crane operator in employment while the crane was out of service,” Smith said. 

Today Empire Equipment Hire has a fleet size of 14 pick and carry cranes, from 28t Tidds to R6000s and a Scheuerle SPMT, all available to hire by crane owners. 

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