SA French Gives African Tower Crane Users a Lift
With the backing of its parent company, Torre Industries, SA French is growing the popularity of the Potain tower cranes in sub-Saharan African countries.
Quentin van Breda, managing director of SA French which is a division of Torre Lifting Solutions, says one of the company’s major competitive edges in Africa is Potain’s ongoing investment into research and development. This has facilitated access to the latest lifting solutions that are now being demanded by a rapidly changing crane market on the continent.
Firstly, he is seeing an increasing need for cranes that use less than half the electrical energy compared to earlier units; an African trend that is in line with international practices.
African contractors are also exploring the latest state-of-the-art technologies from tower crane original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) that assist in improving preventative maintenance strategies and optimise the overall performance of the machines on site.
Van Breda says all Potain cranes leave the factory floor pre-equipped for the system that informs the project manager when they are due to be serviced and when adjustments need to be made to mechanical componentry.
There are also more onerous demands on tower crane OEMs and the distributor networks. Van Breda says the fast track nature, as well as complexities of modern buildings, mean that contractors have less time to prepare the site for the arrival of the tower cranes and as a result now rely more heavily on a full turnkey service from the OEM supplier.
The need to mobilise a tower crane as swiftly as possible on the site for work to start timeously has seen a growth in demand for tower crane rental services. Van Breda says SA French has a comprehensive fleet of quality tower cranes that can be quickly mobilised to and demobilised from site.
Optimum uptime also has to be ensured through high levels of tower crane reliability. Van Breda says it is not unusual for construction companies to demand a response rate of as little as three hours from their supply chain partners.
The growing distances between construction sites and their support points calls for very careful logistical planning by equipment suppliers to ensure that these critical contractual obligations can be met. Support often has to be undertaken on a weekly basis to keep to demanding construction schedules.
Van Breda believes that the market will become even more demanding, challenging conventional sales and after-market support roles of equipment distributors and their principals. However, under his leadership, SA French continues to adapt to keep Potain a common sight on the continent.