Friday, November 23rd, 2018 - Newsmaker

Adelaide, 22 Nov 2018:  South Australian crane-hire firm Max Cranes is signalling national expansion with the delivery of the largest telescopic crane in the Southern Hemisphere at its Port Augusta headquarters today.

More than 500 business and government leaders will attend the launch of the German-designed Liebherr all-terrain crane.  Towering to 188m* when fully extended – over 3 times the height of the Sydney Opera House – the 1200 tonne capacity crane allows the firm to compete against large multinationals making inroads in the Australian crane hire market.

The crane has become the jewel in the crown of the new Max Heavy Lift Team division, which encompasses 1200t, 500t and 400t cranes.  The new division opens opportunities for the South Australian success story to compete for the most demanding projects, from shipbuilding and civil engineering through to mining, construction and energy, across the country.

Max Cranes co-founder and Managing Director Mark Kuhn said the purchase was initially driven by the demands of the wind renewable energy sector.  The crane will be used in the maintenance of the highest wind towers, to lift off the rotor – the three blades and hub – and allow a changeover of gearboxes and other equipment on the turbine.

“The next generation wind towers stand 150m tall, an extra 50 metres over the existing towers,” Mr Kuhn said.  “The higher the wind tower, the more consistent the air flow to turn the turbines – generating more energy at lower cost, but that height poses greater challenges for construction and maintenance, and that’s the problem the 1200-tonner solves.”

The crane’s increased capacity is immediately increasing employment opportunities in the Upper Spencer Gulf while providing a unique offering to industries across the country.

“The 1200 tonner opens up the ability to deliver on jobs we would never have been able to do before, from construction and civil engineering through to mining and oil & gas,” Mr Kuhn said. “That in turn puts pressure on internal resources, such as transport and logistics.”

Max Cranes has already created 18 new jobs for project managers, mechanical and support supervisors, as well as operators, riggers and truck drivers.

“We have hand-picked personnel who are being trained now for the very specific skills this machine demands,” Mr Kuhn said.  “They love their job – they get to work on the best crane in the world, with technology and safety features that are second to none.”

Mr Kuhn predicts that engineers, construction and project managers will look at designing jobs around the new machine and how they can utilise the increased capacity.

“For example, a crane like this makes for more effective shutdowns – when a working plant needs major maintenance and shut down round the clock, this crane means a more intensive fix, better use of resources and less downtime,” Mr Kuhn said.

“The crane is efficient and economical in its ability to mobilise and demobilise to project sites, it’s surprisingly very agile and flexible on site.”

Mr Kuhn acknowledged the funding of the Federal Government, which supported the acquisition through its Regional Jobs and Investment Package.

“Without the backing of the Regional Jobs and Investment Package, we would not have been able to invest in this machine, it’s as simple as that," Mr Kuhn said.

“We’re an all Australian company now able to take on the international operators. Our crane is 100% Australian owned and operated – all revenue and ongoing economic flow-on effects from the operation of this crane will stay in Australia.”

*Footnote: On launch day, the LTM 11200-9.1 will be configured with 100 Metre Main Boom, 6 Metres Boom Extension with eccentric and a 18.5 Metre Hydraulic Luffing Fly. This will give us a maximum tip height of 129 Metres.

Founded in 2002, Max Cranes employs more than 130 people across its head office at Port Augusta and additional depots at Whyalla, Port Pirie, Moomba and Adelaide.

Its fleet of 47 all terrain cranes range from 15 tonne to 1200 tonne machines. The business also supplies scissor lifts, knuckle booms, and heavy haulage transport services.

All terrain cranes can navigate harsh or uneven roads and have greater onsite mobility in workspaces.

Max Cranes is currently the sole crane provider at the Port Pirie Nyrstar Lead Smelter which has employed hundreds of people over the years and is undergoing redevelopment.

Other Max Cranes clients include Santos, Liberty OneSteel, BHP, Enerven/SA Power Networks, RCR Tomlinson, Suzlon, Vestas, Siemens – to name a few.

The business began with a fleet of small cranes run out of a small transportable office off the Augusta Highway. Now the head office is a state-of-the-art building in the same location, with a large maintenance workshop, wash-down bays, a storage shed and staff facilities. ##

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Leila Henderson

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The Max Heavy Lift Team division includes the 1200t, 500t and 400t cranes.



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