Features, Tasmania

The Apple Isle’s newest crawler crane arrives

Billing Cranes recently took delivery of HSC SCX2800A-3 crawler crane with a 275-tonne capacity from Tutt Bryant Equipment’s Phil Chadwick.

Based in Burnie Tasmania, it was a simple decision for Billing Cranes to add the 275t crawler crane to its fleet.

Although the company has undergone a number of evolutions since becoming Billing Cranes, it is the experience within the organisation and the various teams which been a constant throughout these changes.

Billing Cranes was started in 1992 by Greg Billing and Geoff Gibson. Both recognised there was local demand for a reliable and efficient crane company in the area. 

Billing and Gibson purchased one crane, but demand from clients was quick to expand and the fleet soon grew to 16. In 2007, the company was sold to Hazel Brothers, and was later re-purchased under the Billing Cranes banner by Greg and his wife, Leanne, in 2015. It has gone from strength to strength ever since. 

Darren Ling is the general manager for Billing Cranes and joined the team in 2019, bringing with him 30 years’ experience in the construction industry.

“Greg has over 40 years’ experience and is regarded as a leader in the crane industry in Tasmania,” Ling said.

Billing Cranes recognises it plays an important role within the community, employing local staff and training them to help provide solutions on highly specialised projects.

“Our company is grounded in the community and has a culture based on mutual respect, honesty, and personal accountability across all of our dealings with each other and our customers. We also actively support many community organisations in north-west Tasmania,” Ling said.

Darren Ling, Greg Billing, and crane operator Gary Anderson with
the new crane.

“We pride ourselves on having a proactive, innovative approach to getting the job done. Our approach and can-do capability is evident, and we have developed a reputation as the go-to people for safe, reliable lifting — in any situation.”

The Billing Cranes fleet consists of numerous all terrain cranes, including Liebherrs, Tadanos, Groves, and Frannas. 

“Our Liebherr 250t all terrain was recently on a new five-storey hotel development in Devonport for 18 months and completed all of the concrete panel installations and general lifting,” Ling said.

“We service general mobile crane hire and lifting works, house building, heavy construction, bridge beam installation, piling, concrete panel installation, and steel erection. 

“We service the majority of the mines in Tasmania, also servicing the food processing plants Saputo, Fonterra, Simplot Australia, and McCains. We also provide maintenance services at Woolnorth Wind Farm, infrastructure, including blade bearing, and gearbox replacements.”

The diverse range of work completed by the Billings Cranes fleet dictates the need for a diverse range of cranes to meet demands from clients.

The arrival of the HSC SCX2800A-3 to the Billings Cranes fleet demonstrates the company’s commitment to diversifying its fleet, explained Ling.

“With the pipeline of work that is scheduled to commence in the next 12 months, we could see that this size and type of crane was best suited to the work,” he said. 

“Given there was nothing in this class in Tasmania, we took the risk to invest in this model, and we are confident the crawler will open up other opportunities that we don’t know about at the moment, and this is something that really excited us. The Tasmanian market is only small and when a new crane arrives, word travels fast.

“We definitely saw a gap, and, with the shortage of this type of crane in Tasmania, we saw the chance to hopefully create a new client base. 

“A local bridge building company that we work closely with also purchased the same model, only with a different boom configuration, for their fleet. So now there are two in Tasmania and we can definitely see enough work for them both for the next few years,” Ling said.

Industry stalwart and crawler crane expert Phil Chadwick is the business development manager for Tutt Bryant Equipment for the Southern Region, covering Victoria, South Australia, and Tasmania. His 30-year career has seen him work with most brands of crawler cranes. He provides insights into why he believes the HSC SCX2800A-3 will be a must-have for many crane fleets.

“I can see the HSC SCX2800A-3 becoming even more popular as a result of the extra lifting capacity. The 250t class has almost been superseded, with tenders now asking for 275t, 280t, or 300t capacity cranes. I think the SCX2800A-3 has a significant advantage because of this. The resources and infrastructure booms are going to see bigger cranes and the capacities will be from 275t and up. Everything is getting bigger,” he said.

Darren Ling agrees that the HSC SCX2800A-3 is an impressive piece of machinery for Billing Cranes.

“The HSC SCX2800A-3 has a great lift chart coupled with a versatile transport configuration, ensuring it is capable of being transported to site and erected within a day, depending on configuration of course,” Ling said.

“We purchased the 60.95m main boom plus the 60.95m luffing fly arrangement. We saw that, with the greater lifting charts, the large luffing fly gave over just main boom and fixed fly, this was far more versatile to perform larger radius work,” he said.

The Billing’s team has fantastic experience and is excited by the arrival of the crane thanks to Tutt Bryant.

Chadwick has recognised the important aspects of the SCX2800A-3 that will make it an asset for Billing Cranes.

“The SCX2800A-3 is similar in design to the rest of the SCX series, enabling efficient transportation, assembly, and disassembly, and much-improved safety of the crane operator and all other personnel within the working environment,” he said. 

“Along with extra-wide windows, ergonomic designs such as a new large sliding door, a wide platform, and a comfortable and highly functional operators seat, all aimed at reducing operator fatigue and increasing functionality. For better visibility when moving loads at height, a tilt mechanism allows the cab to be angled by up to 18°.

“Optional handrails and walkways from the factory also ensure safety while working at heights.

“The operator will benefit from brand-new features such as a simple and easy-to-view interface designed to ensure information is provided in the most succinct, intuitive and reliable way possible.

“Productivity is further enhanced by the fine speed control dials for hoisting, lowering, swinging, and boom hoisting operations, which are positioned beside the operator for ease of access, while a swing mode selector switch allows the choice between swing-free or swing-brake operation, depending on work requirements and personal preferences,” he said.

The all-new load moment indicator with data-logging capabilities records duty cycle and winch hours, as well as load moment and line pull. These are important features that will allow the crane owner to have enhanced accuracy when calculating the available design life remaining on the machine. This should, in theory, increase the safe operational age of the machine from current methods employed in complying with the new Australian regulations.

As a standard feature, remote sensing is installed in all machines to minimise downtime, ensure accurate maintenance, and improve machine marketability.

In addition to a powerful 13.5t-rated line pull winch for steady operations, the SCX2800A-3 has an Eco-Winch mode that allows high line speeds under light loads without having to increase the engine speed (low rpm). Bringing lower fuel consumption and reduced noise, this is an eco-friendly feature that will save fuel costs and minimise environmental impacts.

With the HSC SCX2800A-3 impressing Billing Cranes so far, it has been equally impressed by the support provided by the team at Tutt Bryant.

“Phil Chadwick at Tutt Bryant has been great to deal with. We called him to check on pricing, and he was on a plane and in Tasmania to go through all aspects of the crane. Phil went through what we were looking at doing and gave his opinion on what would suit us best,” he said.

“We have only recently accepted delivery of the crane, but we are extremely excited to put it to work across the region.” 

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