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Specialist trailers increase crane set-up efficiency

Specialist trailers increase crane set-up efficiency

For many crane owners, the investment in a large crane doesn’t end with the crane itself: the investment in support trailers and the prime movers to tow them can also be quite substantial. Large cranes can require five to 10 support trailers, or even more for the largest cranes, writes Greg Keane.

The options of using external carriers or buying and modifying a standard trailer are increasingly unattractive for the specialised needs of having ancillary equipment (outrigger pads, base plate, hook, counterweights, jib sections) arrive in an order that suits the crane set-up procedures, and maximising the payload and payload distribution without overloading, while at the same time providing a safe work environment.

Easy accessibility to sites has also become important, given the volume of work in urban areas with limited space for loading and unloading counterweights.

Enter the specialist trailer builders, with NZ-based company TRT having considerable recent success in both New Zealand and Australia.

TRT designs trailer models to meet the specific requirements of individual crane brands and models and their set-up procedures, while also ensuring that safety requirements and specific operator requirements are  met.
Trailers solutions have been provided for crane brands such as Manitowoc, Grove, Potain, Liebherr, Kato and Demag.

The TRT range covers semi-trailers and B-doubles, with both skeletal and decked designs available. All have specifically-designed mounting modules to locate counterweights, pads and hooks in a location that optimises legal weight distribution, and then secures them in place.

Decking and/or platforms are provided where operators need to access the trailer for tying down or hooking up, with handrail protection provided in all these areas.

High tensile steel construction keeps the tare weight low without compromising strength; and is critical to meeting the requirements to carry a 30t payload under the Mass Management rule.

User experiences

Borger Cranes and Rigging (Borgers) was one of the first companies in Australia to buy TRT trailers, taking delivery in 2010 to support its first 500t Liebherr AT crane. They’ve worked so well that around 50 of the 90 support trailers that Borgers operates have been built by TRT and Shawn Borger regards it as a matter of course that when a new crane is bought, TRT trailers are bought to go with them.

He sees their use of high tensile steel as producing a trailer that is lighter and stronger than its competition, and he also has high regard for the BPW axles used on the trailers, but perhaps Shawn’s biggest compliment is that TRT knows and understands cranes. This understanding translates to significantly less time spent setting up and pulling down a crane, to the extent that target times can often be bettered.

He sees benefits in not using chains and dogs to secure a load, with pins used instead. Some loads can be secured from ground level but where it is necessary to work from the trailer, the required deck, rails and access ladder are provided.

A further benefit it that with dedicated trailers, the counterweight can be left on the trailer between jobs, and the counterweight can be removed in sections to suit the slot on the trailer, rather than as individual elements.

Shawn appreciates being able to have input into the trailer design to suit the business and having full access to drawings. He sees TRT as being ahead of the game in terms of quality, flexibility and just being easy to deal with, saying that this also applies to the family behind the TRT company.

Brian Taylor of Valley Cranes credits Shawn Borger with introducing him to TRT trailers 7-8 years ago, when he was looking for a trailer for a 130t crane. With the recent purchase of a refurbished 300t AT crane to spearhead the fleet, Brian again turned to TRT and bought four trailers – the first to carry 22t of counterweight and bog mats, the second to carry 28t of counterweight, the third to carry the maximum permissible 30t load and the fourth a step deck with ramps that is used to carry two 10t wing weights but can also be used for other purposes such as transporting Frannas and machinery.

Working under Mass Management rules, it is important to Brian to carry the maximum permissible load and distribute it without overloading the trailers, and the TRT trailers make this easy to do.

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