Reaching for the sky

Many of CRS’s clients are other crane companies who call upon the company’s specialised equipment and expertise to overcome what sometimes appear to be impossible lifting access challenges. CRS Operations Manager, Alex Sussman, puts it rather simply, “We get a lot of people out of a delicate situation.” 

A highly qualified building and construction consultant, Alex has built up a business around helping builders improve their efficiency by planning to avoid problems in the first place. In addition to that, he is also lecturing future architects at university.

“We get our customers to industrialise their thinking,” explains Alex before going on to say that while initially the specialised knuckle cranes were brought in to resolve problems of others’ making, they are now often a key factor in the logistical planning for many Sydney construction projects.

This frequently includes CBD crane jobs that, with Construction Rescue’s equipment utilised, only require one traffic lane to be closed, instead of two or three required for the traditional large jib cranes. That can be quite a saving for the builder – some councils charge a fee of up to $1,000 per lane that has to be closed.

Construction Rescue Services are also able to provide all the associated services – not just the crane truck: traffic control, traffic management, RMS/Police/council approvals and the all-important forward planning and logistics.

The newest addition to the Construction Rescue’s fleet is a Fassi knuckle boom crane based on a DAF CF85 8×4 that has been engineered to a 10×4 with the fitment of a third rear axle on Hendrickson air bag suspension.

The primary reason for choosing the DAF was the amount of weight that was available to be carried by the front axles compared with other brands. This was necessary in order to be able to mount the massive Fassi crane as far forward as possible.
And what a crane it is. Believed to be the largest crane mounted on any road truck in Australia, it has eight main jib extensions and another six on the fly jib. Looking more like something out of a “Transformers” movie, this crane can lift a 500kg load to a vertical height of 43 metres – that’s over 15 storeys. 

As with most modern cranes, this one is controlled by a wireless control panel attached to the operator’s waist and permits him the freedom to be able to observe any lifting operation from a safe position. An LCD screen allows all of the necessary information to be constantly viewed. Built in safety sensors located on the crane and the stabiliser legs will slow down or even stop the crane if any abnormal movements or weight shifts are detected.

Mounted between the crane and the truck’s cab is a 2.4 metre pantech for the storage of slings, safety cones etc. Behind the crane mounting is a 6.5m table top provided by Unique Truck Bodies.

The day Prime Mover visited an on-site operation the weather was dismal. The task involved lifting numerous large sliding glass doors up to the third storey of an upmarket apartment block in the Sydney bay side suburb of Brighton le Sands and lowering the old ones and a skip bin back to street level. Traffic disruption was minimal and the impressive co-operation of all involved saw the job completed quickly without any drama – despite the inclement weather.

And it is not just the construction industry that requires the special abilities of the crane. CRS and their crane trucks are frequently called to remove and replace lounge suites, pianos and other large furniture items  over balconies in high rise apartments particularly in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs where the residential streets can be very narrow and the building lifts very small. They have also lifted valuable artworks including sculptures, as well as excavators, site sheds and even a cubby house.

The DAF CF85 is fitted with the MX PACCAR 12.9 litre engine using Selective Catalytic Reduction to meet Euro 4/5 emissions standards. This version develops 460HP (340kW) and 2300Nm of torque at 1000-1410rpm. Developing maximum torque at such low revs was crucial to the operation of the crane’s hydraulic pump which is connected to the PTO of the 18 speed Eaton constant mesh transmission. The integrated engine brake provides 210kW of braking at 1500rpm rising to 320kW at 2100 rpm.

The DAF has a steel bumper, a wide front approach angle and good ground clearance which, along with the almost unbreakable Lexan headlight protectors, could prove beneficial when the crane is required on rougher building sites instead of street based work.

Although it is unlikely that this crane truck will ever venture very far from the Sydney basin, the day cab has plenty of comfort appointments more expected in a long haul vehicle such as cruise control, air suspended driver’s seat, electric windows and wooden accents on the dashboard.

Alex is full of praise not just for the DAF, but also the local Suttons dealership that he purchased it through, citing dealer principal John Porter and his team as people “who believed in what we were doing and followed everything through.”

According to Alex, CRS’s latest DAF/Fassi combination is a prime example of how their business operates – meticulous research and planning in the initial phases are the key functions to achieving excellent results at the conclusion.

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