Australia, C&L, Cranes & Lifting, Features

Sany hits the mark for QWEST Cranes

The most recent addition to the QWEST fleet is a Sany SCC2800A, a 280t capacity lattice boom crawler.

QWEST Cranes expanded into Queensland just over five years ago and has steadily increased the capabilities of its crane fleet and the services it provides. The most recent addition is a Sany SCC2800A, a 280t capacity lattice boom crawler. Tony Trim, QWEST Cranes’ Projects and Shutdowns Coordinator, explains more.

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“QWEST Cranes predominantly operates in the mining sector, managing the craneage requirement for various  customers.

“We operate five depots which are situated in Gladstone, Emerald, Moranbah, Rockhampton and also the Gold Coast. We also operate depots in Western Australia, and these are located in Kalgoorlie, Leonora, Perth, and soon to open up in the Pilbara,” said Tony.

“We offer a range of services which include mining shutdowns, construction and maintenance of wash plant, drag lines and large hydraulic mining shovels, we also specialise in mining haul truck maintenance and overhaul throughout the industry,” he said.

“We have contracts with several of the major mines which include the servicing of overhead cranes in the various workshops.”

Tony has been with QWEST Cranes for over 12 months and is responsible for the planning and implementation of mining  shutdowns.

“I am responsible for various disciplines required for mining shutdowns, including a lot of asset planning, background work with the customer and managing of lift plans,” said Tony. “I am also responsible for the development and training of our shutdown crews to ensure they are delivering the best service with their skill set for our clients. We are conscious that these shutdowns are very costly exercises for our customers, so we are meticulous with our planning, preparation and implementation.”

QWEST Cranes operates 60 cranes. In terms of brands, it is a mixed fleet with capacities ranging from 15 tonnes up to 350 tonnes.

“Our fleet features several of the leading brands and we run all terrains, crawlers and pick and carry cranes. We now have two Sanys in the fleet; a 60t capacity rough terrain and the new SCC2800A – a 280 tonne capacity lattice boom crawler.

“The 60t rough terrain is operating over in Western Australia on a dry hire contract. After it was delivered it pretty much went to site and it’s been there ever since. The customer is happy because we haven’t heard anything, there have been no issues, and it has been performing really well. We were in the market for a large capacity crawler and with the performance of the rough terrain in mind, we began conversations with Sany about the SCC2800A. We took delivery of the crane in October of last year,” said Tony. “Basically, the crane went from commissioning in Brisbane straight to the mine site where its first job was lifting an 85 tonne Dragline tub section for a new tub build for one of our valued customers. The sections were lifted from transport and put into place and all involved were extremely happy with its performance. Since then, it’s been pulled apart and rebuilt at four different mine sites servicing hydraulic shovels and drag lines,” he said.

Tony goes on to discuss the relationship with Sany.

“The team at Sany provides excellent levels of after sales service and product support. I was lucky enough to venture over to China at the end of November last year and witness the Sany factory ‘up close and personal’. It was an absolute eye-opener compared to what we had seen before, they have made massive advancements in terms of product development and the implementation of technology and automation,” said Tony.

Nowhere was this clearer than in the implementation of automation and robotic technology throughout the factories the group visited. Sany builds the same factory over and over and they call them ‘Lighthouse Factories’ because they feature a lot of glass.

They are enormous facilities with 80 per cent of the welds completed by robots. The steel is picked, placed and cut by robots, and then transported on automated trolleys to the next station. It’s  picked up by another robot, and welded by another, or dual robots if they need to do welding at the same time to prevent distortion.

“The quality of the welding is unbelievable. In the middle of the ‘Lighthouse Factory’, there is a large strip of grass, and it is good to see a bit of nature in amongst all the mechanical automation and robots. It wasn’t just one factory, we must have seen four or five factories that were clones of each other,” said Tony.

“The visit was a complete eye-opener from the day we turned up to the day we left. Every day they delivered more and more. You wouldn’t think a company could have so much to showcase, but the progress Sany has made over recent years is astonishing. My dealings with Sany date back 12 or 13 years when I was working for previous companies, and the product development and the implementation of technology has come forward in leaps and bounds. In my opinion it places Sany as a real market leader,” he said.

Tony goes on to discuss the business case for purchasing Sany.

“The amount of progress Sany has made in recent years, in terms of product development and design and manufacturing capabilities is amazing. In my opinion, you can no longer view Sany product as a cheap alternative, the quality of the product is equal to many of the premium priced European, Japanese and US brands. For a business-like QWEST Cranes, the major influence when purchasing a crane revolve around return on investment.

“We are committed to a program of providing our customers with craneage featuring the latest technology and safety features. This means we are constantly looking to renew our fleet keeping everything as up to date as possible. Sany now competes with the global brands in terms of quality, performance and reliability and the pricing is extremely competitive. Factor this in with the availability of product and delivery times which are far more realistic for our business, it is hard to look past Sany,” said Tony.

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