UGHES Cranes currently run a fleet of 11 mobile cranes with capacities ranging from 5t up to a 200t all terrain machine. Included in the fleet are five dumpers, and until recently, only one telescopic handler. The company has rented its driver operated mobile cranes to some of the largest construction companies on sites throughout Australia. Recently, they have found an increased demand for machines for railway maintenance work on bridges, tunnels and signalling systems, as well as jobs that require a level of mobility, flexibility and technical sophistication that a standard crane cannot provide.

This prompted the group to invest in a new Dieci Pegasus 4018 360° slewing mobile telescopic handler with a passenger conveying jib (PCJ) attachment. Just delivered and it went to work straight away on railway maintenance projects throughout NSW. Group managing director, Adam Hughes says, “With the new 4t telescopic handler, one person with one machine can access places along the railway network that would normally be difficult due to the rough terrain location or the complexity of the many jobs that are required to be carried out.”

For example, while being operated from the PCJ platform control panel, the machine can lift two people 18m high or manoeuvre the jib and position them under a bridge while the machine is parked on the road above. Hughes explains that until recently it has been traditional to access the underside of bridges by using railway mounted trucks with boom lift attachments or, on some occasions, building scaffolding platforms. Both systems required the use of many more people and a lot more time to achieve the end result.

Hughes estimates a 100 per cent increase in railway maintenance productivity and efficiencies directly as a result of this single investment in the new slewing telescopic handler. “On an average day we might be required to handle gravel as well as to lift railway sleepers or to use a crane for general purpose lifting. This machine has the ability to change attachments quickly, which means we could be using a 4 in 1 bucket one minute, then change to a winch or forklift tines the next: depending on the application. Because the machine is so versatile it means we don’t need to go to the trouble of using a number of different equipment types like front end loaders, cherry pickers or skid steers and cranes,” he explains.

While drivers must possess an approved ticket, it does not mean they would have the appropriate experience in handling a PCJ. Dieci’s distributor in Australia, AWD Equipment Sales , also run a driver training facility for their customers. “Most of the operators we put through our driver skills development programme have many years of experience in handling cranes and telescopic handlers. They do need, however, to get a few hours of PCJ operating experience under their belts. This is for safety reasons, particularly if they are going to be used in railway maintenance work,” stresses AWD managing director Shane Marcusson.

Source: Construction Contractor