Mini cranes – helping to lift construction out of recession

As the construction industry picks itself up after one of the UK’s deepest recessions, it is looking for more efficient, effective and affordable working practices, and mini cranes are playing a part, says Hird’s Carl Cooper.

“Mini cranes are already helping give construction a lift,” he says. “In more ways than one. We’re winning increasing numbers of clients who see that mini cranes are by far a better alternative to conventional lifting solutions they have been using.”

Mini cranes, often also referred to as pick and carry cranes and compact cranes, are at the core of Hird’s service offer – either as a UK dealer for mini crane manufacturer Valla – or as a supplier of mini cranes for hire.

Carl Cooper explains:

“The construction industry is increasingly aware of the major benefits of mini cranes, both in terms of getting specific jobs done and in completing complex, high value projects in a timely and cost-effective way.

For example, supplying mini cranes to work on curtain walling is a growing part of our business, especially in London and the south of England where the recovery is strongest.

From our Southern Depot in Redhill, we work with major glazing and cladding installation companies in the London area. Glass is becoming a bigger problem for installers, literally, because sheets are getting bigger, heavier and more complex.

“Using mini cranes with the right glass handling attachments, that we can also supply, is the most effective way to move, manipulate and place glass sheets, quickly and safely. The same can be said for curtain walling.

“It means we’ve been involved in many major construction projects including The Shard and The Gherkin and the Tate modern. As the UK dealer for 3B6 electronic load systems, we can also ensure that our equipment is the safest and most effective in the industry.

“We can provide mini cranes for hire or for sale, with a full after-sales support service. And the beauty of using mini cranes on building projects is that they can be operated 24 hours a day.

“Standard, large site tower cranes have to be shared by all contractors on the site. They also use more personnel and are not directly suited to glazing and curtain walling.

“However, a glazing or cladding contractor can use a dedicated mini crane, designed specifically for that task, around the clock. Now, more than ever, time is money in the construction industry, so this is a real benefit.

“Most mini cranes have a 60 metre winch. At 3 metres per floor, that’s enough for 10 or 20 storeys for one lift, before the mini crane needs to be moved to a higher floor.”

“Load bearing on a construction site can be an issue. But we’re working with construction companies and Valla to reduce the weight of the mini cranes we supply.”

“Valla can provide a 25EL mini crane with a 2,250kg maximum lift capacity that only weights 1,950 kg. Our UNIC spider mini cranes are also designed to have a particularly low weight to lift capacity ratio and are ideal for glazing.

“That means lifts on construction sites can take our mini cranes, the ground bearing forces can be calculated and the machine can operate safely and effectively inside the building.

“Companies like Valla and UNIC, supported by our experience with industry, can now offer mini cranes that architects and site managers can use with complete confidence, allowing them to design the most effective build plan.

“Hird can also combine the most effective mini crane and vacuum lifter solutions. It means a mini crane can be quickly tasked and retasked to do a range of different jobs on different parts of a site, from glazing, curtain walling to pick and carrying.

“It means Hird mini cranes for hire or for sale are fast becoming an integral part of a new-look construction industry that is best placed to make the most of economic recovery.”

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