Jamie King has been in the crane sector for 20-plus years and has been operating his own crane hire business, Kings Cranes, for 10 years. He recently took delivery of a new TIDD PC28 articulated pick and carry crane from TRT Australia. He describes the crane as a ‘game changer’ for his business.
King started in cranes as a junior, learning all aspects of the rigging side of lifting, and progressed to becoming a crane operator. He was originally based in Mackay but then followed the crane work all over Queensland.
Today, Kings Cranes services an area covering the Bowen Basin to the Whitsundays.
“Shutdown work in the coal mines is a major focus for the business, but we are also servicing work in the rail sector, main roads, as well as general hire, where we manage general taxi work and conduct lifts around town as well,” he said.
“Customers that know me understand how I operate, and they know I have access to any size of crane, which I will hire in for a particular job and operate the crane if required. I am just starting to build my fleet now. I’ve got a 20t capacity Franna that I’ve had for nearly 10 years, and recently brought a brand-new TIDD PC28 from TRT Australia.
“Although I’ve only been operating the TIDD for a couple of months it already has 550 hours on the clock. It pretty much hasn’t stopped working since I got it. I’ve been so impressed with its performance and the reception my customers have given it, I’ve ordered a second TIDD, and this is due to arrive at the end of the year or early in the new year,” said King.
He goes on to discuss the reasons for purchasing the TIDD, especially when he’s been driving a Franna pick and carry for such a long time.
“The good thing about the TIDD is how far it has advanced in a short period of time, it has come a very long way in terms of design, capacity and functionality. In my opinion, it’s a more advanced machine for the type of shutdown work I’m managing on the mines. It’s a pick and carry crane that has a high utilisation rate, which is what you need as crane hire business.
“As I said, I’ve got 550 hours on the TIDD and there have been no issues with it at all, and it’s done everything that I thought it would do, and more,” said King.
The TIDD PC28 features improved operational features designed to help operators work more efficiently and comfortably on construction sites and as well as on the road. Increased lift capacity and greater manoeuvrability, in smaller work areas are key benefits of the new crane. The TIDD PC28 is constructed using the highest quality components with safety a major focus with every element of its design.
Safety features include Dynamic LMI with a deadlock switch inside the cabin and the LMI bridging switch outside the cabin. Slew Safe is a key safety feature on the Tidd PC28.
TRT has developed a significant new safety feature called Slew Safe. It is designed to prevent rollovers and works with a number of features including audible alarms, LMI warnings and power steering is restricted to 15 per cent to prevent further slewing.
The TIDD PC28 is the only pick and carry crane with this level of safety and Slew Safe can be retrofitted to all existing TIDD PC25s.
Slew Safe is an effective system to restrict the driver from operating off the chart. With audible and visual alarms along with steering restriction in the unsafe direction when overloaded. Slew Safe cannot be over-ridden but will operate normally in the safe direction.
The Tidd PC28 has also been designed with operator comfort
The ergonomically designed forward mounted rollover protection system cabin, with two-door configuration, ducted air conditioning, 150kg-rated air suspension seats and three-point safety belts, means comfort over long hours, helping to reduce operator fatigue.
Many of the key features are designed on industry feedback and include:
• European standard automotive finish
• shortest forward projection in its class
• an outstanding turning radius, articulating 44° either side
• 2.3t roadable, front and rear counterweight
• Mercedes Benz DM906 six-cylinder, turbo charged intercooled 205kW diesel engine
• 6.12–18.64m high tensile steel boom with four telescopic sections
• 28t capacity on fixed tug (stationary) 27.6t capacity on running rope
• Allison 3000 series automatic transmission, six speeds forward
• Kessler high-speed planetary axles with diff lock on front axle
• Meritor transfer case
• two-stage engine and exhaust brake
• 410L tank with locking cap
• automatically activated emergency hydraulic steering
• duel line airbrakes on all wheels with ABS
• pneumatically released spring applied emergency/park brake
on all wheels.
The new 18.64m high tensile full power boom features a 75 per cent stationary chart for the heavy lifts and 66 per cent pick and carry chart. The boom’s telescope Sections 1 and 2 are fully synchronised and provide hook compensation. Telescope Section 3 is independently operated with its own hydraulic cylinder.
The TIDD PC28 features a 28t maximum lift on the lug and 27.6t on the hook block, delivering lifting capacities for improved efficiency and greater lift options, setting a new benchmark in the industry.
Moving from the stationary chart to the pick and carry chart is as simple as turning off the hold brake.
King explains what happens when he turns up to a mine site or construction site that hasn’t seen a TIDD pick and carry before.
“In the areas that I’m working, they don’t really know a lot about the TIDD. As I’ve been driving around and working on the sites, customers are becoming increasingly comfortable with the crane,” he said.
“No one else in this region is operating a TIDD so it is new to a lot of customers, but since I have taken it to site, there have been a significant number of inspections from all of the mines and it’s passed with flying colours. To be honest, it hasn’t stopped working since I got it back here. Initially, it got some funny looks and it’s taken a while for everyone to get used to it. But the TIDD is now readily accepted by my customer base, including the mines,” said King.
King believes the TIDD brings a different level of sophistication to the design of articulated pick and carry cranes.
“It’s a machine that TRT has approached with a completely different attitude in terms of design, and I believe it will eventually be a game changer in the pick and carry market. I also know TRT are slowly working through the TIDD, modernising aspects of its operability and generally fine tuning everything. As TRT goes through this process, I believe you’ll being a see a lot more of them,” he said.
King thinks the market is gradually changing and understanding there are now viable options when it comes to articulated pick and carry cranes.
“The Franna brand has had a long history and it’s proved its reliability over many years. Every crane hire business has owned a Franna. But now TRT has stepped up with the TIDD PC28.
“For me this is a game changer again. The TIDD PC28 is a step up and, moving forward, it’s changing a lot of ideas. TRT is listening to customers, listening to operators in terms of what they would like to see changed, and you’re seeing these changes built into the TIDD. It’s a completely different machine compared to the earlier models. You can see the inbuilt quality in everything relating to the engineering of crane. It’s built to last,” he said.
King has spent plenty of time behind the wheel of the TIDD, starting with the day he took delivery of the crane.
“I picked the TIDD up from TRT in Brisbane and drove it the 12 hours back to Prosperine. I wanted to really get a feel for it on the road and to see if it could handle the roads up here in Queensland as they can be pretty bad.
“I have always thought if you’re going to get a machine, you might as well drive it straight up to get the feel for it. And because most of our work is on the road and running around you need to understand how it will cope.
“The TIDD is a good drive and it’s a completely different setup on the road. It’s not like the spring packs, the suspension takes the bounce out of the drive. The Tidd is a lot smoother than you realise once you are in the cab,” said King.
With the 28t lifting capacity, King has found the TIDD to be a good lifter.
“No regrets there,” he said.
“People ask me why did you buy the TIDD? I say, I’ve been watching the development of the TIDD for a long time. I know a lot about the various brands in the pick and carry crane game and I just see the advantages in the Tidd.
“At the moment it’s out operating in a very harsh environment and it’s still going good. There are no regrets from my perspective, the TIDD has delivered above and beyond my expectations, hence the second TIDD will be arriving in a few months,” said King.