This week we review the Potain HD40 self erecting tower crane. The crane has a max lift of 4 tonnes at 11.2 meter radius and 1 tonne at 35 meter radius.
Up until 2007 you could operate the self erecting tower cranes with a normal CT tower crane high risk licence. Now you are required to have a CS tower crane licence. Why? Because the crane folds out or in when setting up / dismantling. Yes it makes no sense to me either and a lot of crane operators do not bother getting the CS tower crane license.
This crane is no longer manufactured and has been superseded by IGO 42, but you can still see plenty around. A testament to these cranes durability. I have operated these cranes off and on all through my career and they never seem to break down.
The HD 40 is great for beginner crane operators. It has an extremely responsive slew, whilst the hoist isn't the fastest you can only use these on low rise so it isn't a problem.
The trolley only has two speeds- fast and faster, operators must learn how to catch the trolley swing on this one. A third trolley speed that is slow would be a nice addition.
The one main fault of this crane is it operates terribly in the wind due to the crane having its counter weights on the ground, no counter jib and only one slew brake. Even 50km winds are enough to blow through the slew brake and give you a hard time operating.
These cranes have their own outriggers, so unlike a regular tower crane that needs a concrete pad to be built these cranes can be set up on a concrete slab on ground or suspended slab (with back props) no problem. This and the fact the crane is sent to site as a single unit (apart from counterweights) and sets itself up with its own hoist motor makes them much cheaper to install and dismantle than a regular tower crane.
A word of warning. If getting one of these cranes be 100% sure it is suitable. Where the crane is placed makes a huge difference as it only has a short jib of 35 meters and over 24 meters lift capacity falls from 4 tonne to just 1 tonne. You don't want to think you are saving money getting this crane and find you cannot lift things to where you want on site.
Its a small crane but for the right job its perfect. A workhorse that's durability cannot be matched.
I'm giving this crane 4 out of 5
The hoist is pretty slow and underpowered for a crane of this size. We would try to keep this crane in 2 part as much as possible, the job was nowhere near high rise but it 4 part it was just painfully slow.
The crane deflects and bends quite a bit, if you have only operated these types of cranes go drive a Comansa you will immediately see the difference.
I have gone through the crane cabin and controls in my review of the Jaso J300 and the cabin and controls on this crane are 100% exactly the same, so I wont bore you with that again, just paraphrase... the cabin + controls = great!
This crane had the option of driving with remote as well as cabin, its very tricky to drive this crane via remote and I recommend sticking to the cabin on this one.
I'm giving the J260 3 1/2 out of 5.
If you want a 12t Jaso tower crane skip this one and go straight to the J300.
I don't often get to operate mobile cranes but had the opportunity to drive the Kato NK250 to do some structural erection on a block of factory units, it was a nice change from the diesel tower cranes I am usually operating. This crane has a maximum lifting capacity of 25 tonnes with a retracted jib at 3.5m radius.
We were restricted on our maximum jib height as the airport authorities came to site and quite frantically told me the crane jib was showing up on their radar and was on their flight path. The jib is 33m fully extended out, it also has a fly jib for a bit of jib extension, but after that talk we kept it a little bit below that to keep Sydney Airport happy.
The first thing I noticed was the levers and foot pedals, the hook hoist and slew can be operated by either levers or by foot pedals, it takes some getting used to but when mastered its great.
I loved the operating of the crane, maybe it was the novelty of driving a diesel powered crane after only operating electric but its great, rev the crane up for a bit more power when you need it the accelerator becomes an additional control that you adjust the speed with. The noise, the feeling, its great, makes you feel like a man!
The crane does drive nice and smoothly and with max lifting capacity of 25 tonnes it handled this small job fine, even when having to move the scissor and boom lifts for the riggers so they could access their next sections. Very user friendly and it even has flashing lights on the outside. Red warning 100% capacity, orange 90% and green that within safe lifting capacity. Has an over ride where you can go above 100%, use at your own risk!
The crane has two hook blocks with the small block only capable of 3 tonnes but with a fast hoist speed as it is only reeved in single part. The big block will do max 25 tonnes but we use it seldom as required as it is very slow with multiple reeves.
Unfortunately the crane does not have air-conditioning so make sure you have plenty of water during the day, you will need it.
I enjoyed operating this crane, the cabin was quite comfortable apart from the lack of air con.
The down side is having to set the crane up on site and driving it on the roads in our notoriously terrible traffic. Thankfully this company had a driver to bring it to site and take it away and the riggers were awesome helping set up the crane. All I had to do was push out and level the outriggers which will keep the crane steady (hopefully) whilst I operate the crane.
A good reliable old mobile crane with only a couple of faults (I forgot to mention the display computer was completely in Japanese, so I could read the numbers but the buttons and writing I had no idea) such as air con in the cabin. Whilst I could see myself opening one of these permanently the hourly pay difference between a mobile crane operator and tower crane operator is too much of a deterrent.
I am giving the Kato NK 250 mobile crane 4 out of 5 stars.
This week we will be reviewing the 12 tonne Comansa CC2070 flat top tower crane
The configuration for this crane was a 50m mast with a 70m jib
This crane was built in early 1996, so its one of the older tower cranes working in Sydney at the moment. This crane is as stable as the come, its rock solid with barely and twisting or deflection of the tower, it takes a little bit of time to slow down the slew, but nothing more than your typical 12t tower crane and the backslew works a treat.
The hoist speed is ok in 2 part but it would be painfully slow in 4 part. The hoist stops pretty much immediately, even when hoisting in full speed, this is unusual as most tower cranes keep going for a little bit, slowing down before coming to a stop. I like the immediate stop although it can put stress on the crane.
The levers are big and clunk into speed, very easy to use unlike those terrible levers that are fitted to the Ramondi cranes. It only has 3 speeds on the hoist and slew and the trolley was missing 2nd speed, no fault of this model but it was poorly maintained by the current owner and time was taking its toll, with no 2nd speed on the trolley it make operating interesting. The free slew was not wired up (it has a push button from the cabin) so for month after month it was never freeslewed, this lead to excessive play in the slew brake.
The aircon was the original from 1996 and would constantly shut down especially when it was hot, often making it uncomfortable to operate.
The crane cabin was a little bit squashy and the ladder on the tower was on a very steep incline, making climbing harder than what it could of been.
Although this crane had a few problems they were due to poor maintenance so to be fair on the crane I will rate it on how it should be.
I am giving this crane 4 out of 5. A good crane that will last you many projects if maintained properly.
This week we will be reviewing the 12 tonne Jaso J300 tower crane
The configuration for this crane was a 40 meter mast with a 35 meter jib
A nice well maintained Jaso, I was quite impressed with this crane. It drove like no other due to the short jib, usually these cranes are set up with the max 75m of jib, so for it to only have 35m of jib the slew motors had plenty of power, the slew would start immediately and stop immediately, no gliding to a stop, once you stop slewing on the controls the crane stops, at times it was more like operating an excavator than a tower crane. By far the easiest and most users friendly tower crane to operate in have ever come across, even in strong winds of over 70kms the crane was not affected.
The hoist speed on this crane was fantastic, we had it in 4 part to do concrete panels the largest of those 10 tonnes and there was no need to change back to 2 part, plenty of speed even with 4 part.
There was not much deflection on this crane, to be expected given the short jib and tower size
The crane cabin was big and comfy, the aircon worked a treat, tinting all over the windows, it even had cctv on the hoist drums as a safety feature.
The crane cabin chair reclines all the way back, like a chair on a first class flight. You can catch some sleep when its quite, its very comfortable. How good is that!
There was nothing I disliked on the crane so its getting 5 out of 5, perfect crane.
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