The first ten of the 30 Liebherr LTM1055-3.1 ordered have now been delivered, the occasion was marked by a hand over ceremony at Liebherr UK’s new £15 million premises in Biggleswade, just south of Bedford.
The new cranes LTM1055-3.1 are being delivered without swing away boom extensions, following Martin Ainscough’s call at this year’s crane safety conference for the extensions to be phased out in the name of safety.
While Ainscough has put his money where is mouth is, he did admit at the hand over ceremony that some units will now be specified or retrofitted with extensions following appeals from depots that service large Petrochemical plants etc.. In such applications the extra height and offset capability are greatly appreciated. Ainscough also feels happier with such circumstances on the basis that operators serving these customers tend to use the extensions frequently and are therefore very familiar with the correct and safe erection procedures. Whereas cranes operating on general hire work can go for six months or more without using them, the operator then loses the familiarity and this is when accidents can occur.
In terms of fleet size, Ainscough said that the aim was to maintain the fleet in the region of 500 units, with an average age of around five to seven years, this required an annual purchase level of 50 cranes or so just to keep the fleet profile steady. The actual purchasing decisions are part scientific but more gut-feel but it is an ongoing process with buying decisions not taken lightly.
Ainscough went on to say that since the purchase of the GWS fleet four years ago and the Baldwin’s fleet two years ago the company has been absorbing and optimising its fleet, but that from here on out it would be purchasing for replacement and tuning the fleet
Ainscough now buys its cranes fully fitted out and ready to go directly to work, with special Liebherr designed and built outrigger pad and shoring wood storage compartments and integral sling boxes etc.
Discussing the STGO plating process which became law in the UK on the first of December this year, Steve Cooke, Ainscough’s technical director, told Vertikal that the Ainscough Fleet was now fully plated and the plan was also to install speed limiters on the cranes to ensure that the maximum speed allowed by the cranes weakest link, invariably the tyres, was not exceeded.
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