C&L, Case Studies, Cranes & Lifting

Tutt Bryant finds the missing link

Tutt Bryant Heavy Lift & Shift recently added a Link Belt TCC 1400 to its fleet for a remote application in Western Australia. Cranes and Lifting finds out more.

Tutt Bryant Heavy Lift & Shift recently added a Link Belt TCC 1400 to its fleet for a remote application in Western Australia. Cranes and Lifting finds out more.

Tutt Bryant Heavy Lift & Shift is one of the major crane hire, heavy haulage and special projects providers in Australia. Operating one of the largest crawler crane fleets in the region supported by other lifting and haulage assets, it has key operation centres in Brisbane, Perth, Melbourne, Darwin, Karratha and in NSW’s Hunter region.

Malcom Smith is the National Operations Manager, Tutt Bryant Heavy Lift and Shift, and he provides an insight into the companies crane fleet.

“As far as the Tutt Bryant fleet is concerned the majority of our cranes are crawler cranes. We support various OEM’s and we have machines from Terex Demag, Manitowoc, Hitachi Sumitomo, Grove, Liebherr and a couple of Kobelcos, but the majority of our fleet would be Hitachi Sumitomo,” said Smith.

“With the tele-crawler fleet, we have two Link Belts which are TCC 1100, 100t machines. We bought these in second hand from Singapore, through our parent company, Tat Hong. We also brought in two 80t Sennebogens which have been well supported by Pace Cranes in Sydney,” he said.

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Tutt Bryant recently purchased a new Link Belt TCC 1400 and according to Smith it complements the fleet nicely.

“There are a number of reasons for purchasing the Link Belt TCC 1400. It’s the best in class in terms of capacity and boom length, it’s very flexible in the way it transports, it’s self erection features and its ease of use are second to none and we’ve received first class product support through the Baden Davis Crane Connection,” he said.

Link-Belt has been building tele crawlers for ten years and like the other models in the range the TCC-1400 is designed to be “a robust, simple, and reliable telescopic crawler crane for a wide range of users.” According to the manufacturer, it’s its 59.5m power, pin and latch boom is in six sections and is the longest in its class. A three-section bifold lattice fly jib extends to a maximum tip height to 78.9m and can be carried on board. Its capacity chart at radius rivals lattice crawlers of a similar base rating.

Power is from a 320 hp (239 kW) Tier IV Final Cummins QSL diesel driving variable displacement piston pumps which include(s) a new auto idle feature to improve fuel economy. Engine speed is automatically reduced to idle after ten seconds of no functions being used. Preset engine speeds are then resumed on demand according to function.

“From our point of view, we were attracted to the overall package the machine provided as well as the support from the Link Belt factory in the US on top of the local support,” said Smith.

“The availability of the machine was also a factor. It was a stock machine and we had a requirement for a specific machine with that sort of boom length for a job for BHP at South Flank which is where the crane has gone. We shipped it from Sydney to Perth where we undertook all the training. The crane was then transported to site where it will see approximately 12 months hire, maybe longer,” he said.

Another noteworthy feature is the electronic inclinometer with capacities for lifting at up to 4° out of level sideways. The electronic swing brake is linked with the Link-Belt Pulse system to allow the operator to define a work zone and create a virtual wall with audible alarms and function stop. There is a tilting cab and a camera system for rear view and winches.

For easier maintenance there are PTFE boom slider pads that don’t need grease while, for the points that do, there is a centralised lubrication system. Pressure ports for the hydraulics are also grouped together, while pressure readings can also be taken from the in-cab Pulse monitor. Hydraulic pilot operated control valves were chosen to be simple and dependable.

In transport, the main load weighs under 44t, and for assembly it has tapered axles instead of traditional stub axles for easier side frame installation. The TCC counterweight removal system attaches for the maximum 23t (approx.) of upper counterweight and is a six-piece modular design that allows for capacity charts with partial counterweight. There is also 11.4t of carbody counterweight.

“We have two 80t and two 100t’s capacity machines so the addition of the TCC 1400 with a 127t capacity seemed to be a nice fit, a little bigger in size to what we had previously,” said Smith.

“There’s a lot of competition in the 80t and below category in the tele-crawler market, especially on the east coast. There’s probably not as much competition on the west coast, but we felt there would be a bigger market for larger rather than smaller cranes,” he said.

“For us, it’s about testing the machine and assessing market acceptance of the machine in lieu of a big rough terrain or all terrain. We do believe this machine will sell itself, and in time, we can continue to build a fleet of this sized machine and maybe, into the future, we’ll endeavour to move up into the 200t or even 250t categories,” said Smith.

Smith explains the relationship with the Baden Davis Crane Connection goes back years.

“Tutt Bryant has a very strong relationship there, and personally speaking, I’ve known Anthony and Ben for many years. For us, operating in such a remote environment, especially up in the Kimberley and the north west of WA, and the majority of our projects are remote, we need our equipment to be very reliable, very robust, basically bullet proof and easy to operate,” he said.

“But when there is a mechanical problem, we need it to be fixed relatively easily and we need parts and technical support to fix it. We need to be able to  react quickly because if a machine is down it means huge costs through lost productivity. In remote locations where the team are all FIFO, it’s not as if you can send them to another job whilst a bit of equipment is repaired,” he said.

The Link Belt TC 1400 features a lot of technological advancements with new concepts, new ideas and improvements from the TCC 1100s, including remote diagnostics which help when it’s operating so remotely.

“It will be interesting to see how the machine performs over the longer term. There are only two machines currently in Australia, but it’s a great machine. It’s been working for about a month and so far, the customer has been nothing but positive towards the machine,” said Smith.

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