Refurbished cranes: what are the benefits?
By Niamh Marriott20 February 2023
Refurbishing cranes is not only environmentally friendly and good for the planet, it can save money and time, too. Niamh Marriott reports.
Buying second-hand machines is a sensible way to enhance operations, says Simon Albrecht of Düsseldorf-based industrial auction house Surplex.
“It enables buyers to extend the life cycle of machines while lowering CO2, in turn, protecting the environment.” The immediate availability is also a benefit. “Second-hand machines in good condition can be commissioned right after arriving at their new home,” he adds.
“The current situation on the market is tense. After two years dominated by the pandemic, the market at last seemed to be recovering at the start of 2022, before current geopolitical events exacerbated the situation once again,” says Albrecht.
1. Higher profits
“The new production of machines is facing increased roadblocks such as the shortage of raw materials,” says Albrecht. “Buying a new machine therefore goes hand in hand with high costs and long waiting times.
“But anyone wanting to sell their used machines has the potential to benefit from this situation. The used machine market is enjoying a new lease of life. When things are handled properly, high profits can be expected from sales.”
2. Cost savings
Large crane manufacturers have noted the potential cost saving benefits of repairing and refurbishing equipment. Liebherr says that 75 per cent material and energy costs compared to manufacturing a new part can be saved by refurbishing new components.
This protects natural resources, Liebherr says. Its refurb programme Reman offers three different manufacturing options “to offer components a second chance for a new life.” Firstly, Liebherr can replace components with new and will pay a part-exchange fee if you return an old part which can be repaired.
Next, the company offers to return reconditioned components which are brought up to the latest technical standard where possible. Liebherr says that this means downtimes can be avoided.
Finally, Liebherr can inspect and work on damaged equipment, and depending on the extent of the repairs, will either replace or remanufacture.
All these options demonstrate that the crane company is looking for greener ways to interact with its equipment following the initial sale, throughout its entire life cycle, and beyond.
Smaller crane components are also offered a repair service from Liebherr. “We take every part of a crane, not only the large components are brought back to life,” says a spokesperson. This includes engines, winches, hydraulic cylinders and controls.
3. Lower emissions and carbon footprint
Crane companies around the world are recognising the need to repair, reuse and recycle and are looking at the available options. The massive environmental impact of the construction industry is now known, and our emissions and carbon footprint needs to dramatically reduce.
One of the ways this can happen is by reusing existing equipment to extend a crane’s life. This has led crane repair specialists to notice the increase in demand and act.
Crowland Cranes and Avezaat Cranes announced a joint service partnership in October 2022. The two companies have worked closely together over the past few years on various crane repair projects.
Joining output opens new channels for both repair specialists, enabling them to share their crane repair experience and knowledge of the crane industry.
Crowland Cranes’ Pete Issitt says, “We have worked with Bert and his team for some time now. Avezaat Cranes are one of the most respected, structural crane repairers in the industry, with increasing skill and experience required to complete structural repairs today on modern cranes, having Avezaat as our partner will provide us with even greater confidence when completing major repairs.”
Bert Avezaat Jr, adds, “We have been working with Crowland already for years and are looking forward to expanding our relationship.”
4. Technical advantages for rental
Rental companies are also taking note of the advantages of refurbished equipment. In Spain, crane and transport firm Grúas Tomás has put a repaired Tadano ATF 60G-3 all terrain back into service.
Director Miguel Bellido Garcia explains, “Our Tadano ATF 60G-3 is a second hand crane and is perfect for factory hall assignments. With its 48 metre main boom and its ability to telescope under load, it ticks all the boxes.
“Plus, it’s highly compact, so it performs well even in very tight spaces.”
Grúas Tomás’s ATF 60G-3 boasts numerous other technical advantages as well. For example, with its 6x6 drive, it has plenty of tractive power, even under very trying conditions. It also has a remote control for the runner and a towbar.
“This equipment package makes the crane perfect for our needs because we’ll be using it mainly for factory hall assignments such as lifting heavy machinery. Its large lifting capacities and supreme maneuverability are a major plus in this line of work,” adds Garcia.
He is equally delighted with the service his firm has received from Tadano.
5. Crane upgrades
Tadano offers repair work as part of its after sales service. This type of maintenance work is carried out at its factory in Lauf where it has a specialist crane workshop. Once a crane arrives at the workshop, it undergoes close examination and inspections.
Based on the outcome, the team at Tadano then prepare a cost estimate and time expectations of the works so that crane rental companies can continue to plan operations.
The work is then carried out with original spare parts and any new functions or features can be added to modernise the crane.
6. Reduced crane downtime
Global crane manufacturer Manitowoc’s repair division EnCore has been in operation for some time already and the company is seeing a steady increase in demand for the service.
EnCore technicians can rebuild all parts of a crane from boom cylinders, motors and gearboxes, to updating all hydraulic, mechanic and electrical systems.
Whether a crane requires a repair due to damage caused by an accident, or needs an end of service life rebuild, Manitowoc says its EnCore programme gives a viable option over a new crane purchase.
It says the key advantages of remanufacturing include maximising your investment, reducing downtime and security in the knowledge that the crane has been restored to industry-standard and engineering specifications.
As an example of the EnCore option, Swiss Potain dealer Stirnimann used the service to get several old Potain GTMR 331 B self-erecting cranes fit for its rental fleet.
The team dismantled the cranes and inspected each part, and then refurbished or replaced as needed. At the same time, the structural elements of the cranes were sandblasted, prepared and repainted, while new electrical cabinets with updated wiring systems were installed.
The cranes’ lifting mechanism was also replaced with a new frequency-controlled 20TDLVF10 for better control and mobility, as well as offering reduced power consumption.
It’s encouraging to see so many large manufacturers continuing to invest in their repair departments, recognising the benefits to themselves, to their customers, and of course, to the global effort to reduce carbon emissions and build a greener future.