Potain Tower Cranes set the pace for contractors
Although the majority of contractors see a tower crane as simply another piece of materials handling equipment, this is not how Manitowoc views this vital tool which is a common fixture on most construction sites around the world. Tower cranes are often the determinant factor when it comes to productivity on a construction site, and ongoing product development by Manitowoc is aimed specifically at enhancing the return on investment (ROI) for customers. David Semple, Manitowoc VP Sales Middle East & Africa, explains that there are a number of things which define the ROI on a tower crane and chief amongst these is the productivity of the machine.
"The speed at which a tower crane can lift and place loads is directly linked to the productivity that a site will be able to achieve on any given day," Semple says. "Fast track projects have become the standard throughout the world today and being able to build rapidly is a major benefit to any contractor. This makes the speed of materials handling the all-important difference between meeting the construction programme or not." "There is a significant difference in the speed at which construction can take place based on the amount of materials moved in a single working day. For example, whether you can pour 100 buckets of concrete or 120 buckets can have an impact on the daily build programme," he adds.
In addition to operational productivity, the speed of erection and disassembly of the tower crane is just as important. This also receives attention during engineering as the speed at which the tower crane is erected will dictate the site's accessibility to materials. Furthermore, the speed at which the unit can be climbed also has an impact, especially where the building being constructed is high rise. "An example where advanced engineering has made a difference is in the tying of the Potain tower crane into a high rise building as it climbs. This can be done in 6 hours as opposed to the conventionally accepted 8 hours with other similar cranes," Semple says.
Dismantling of the machine is also important as this too is a time related task. The Potain tower crane has been engineered to facilitate speed of erection as well as dismantling, and its ergonomic design makes it easier for rigging crews and ensures optimal safety during both activities. Productivity of a tower crane could also be compromised if it is not correctly configured as it would then not operate optimally. An example of this could be where the winch is undersized and the tower crane could then become a bottleneck on site, slowing down materials handling and subsequent construction activities. Torre Lifting Solutions, SA French division, is the southern African distributor for Potain tower cranes and Quentin van Breda, technical director says that it is important that contractors partner with a reputable equipment supplier who has the depth of technical skill to appropriately configure a tower crane for a specific application.
"Tower cranes should be constructed to maximise productivity without breaching operational performance or safety protocols," he says. "And this requires the input of experienced people who understand both the technical ability of the crane as well as the actual site requirements." Underpinned by its strategy of improving the ROI on materials handling equipment, this leading OEM is focused on engineering its tower cranes with features that will facilitate the requisite speed of handling yet still offer the level of reliability and performance for which Potain tower cranes have become recognised. Semple says that Potain tower cranes are recognised for their fail-proof design and the excellent lifespan that these engineered machines offer customers. The cranes are produced in accordance with world class manufacturing processes ensuring that the highest level of quality and reliability is maintained. This extends to ensuring the optimum integrity and life cycle of all major components that make up a tower crane.
Manitowoc operates a Product Verification Centre (PVC) in France where all major components are tested to ensure structural and operational integrity. Components are subjected to climatic extremes and stress through simulated tests. Manitowoc is the only crane manufacturer that invests to this level to ensure the absolute integrity of its final product.
Significantly, Potain has remained the world leader in tower crane production since its inception in France in 1928 and over 120 000 cranes have been manufactured and installed across the globe. Today the company produces over 60 models from manufacturing plants in France, Germany, Italy Portugal, China and Brazil and these highly productive machines are found not only on traditional construction sites, but also on power stations, minerals beneficiation plants and smelters, in shipbuilding yards and on civil engineering projects including dams and bridges.