The Wolffkran Way of end-to-end lift management
As a manufacturer and rental company, Wolffkran has total control of its supply chain, which enables the company to offer end-to-end lift management with a range of services including planning of the crane foundation, erection and dismantling; crane operational methodology; anti-collision systems; service and maintenance; and spare parts.
Rental rates shouldn’t be the only parameter to select a tower crane supplier. Those who compromise on safety and engineering to get the lowest rental rates for cranes will eventually bear higher costs at later stages of the project,” warns Martin Kirby, managing director, Wolffkran Arabia, pointing out that end users often bear the brunt of significantly high total cost of ownership due to poor choice of rental crane services.
“Anybody can be a tower crane rental supplier, but the challenge lies in the crane planning and lift engineering for safe and cost-effective operation, which requires highly experienced technicians who can work together with clients and contractors from the tendering stage of a project to its completion,” says Kirby.
Martin Kirby, managing director, Wolffkran Arabia.
“Safety is our top priority for any project, and all our operations are in accordance with BS 7121-1:2016 code of practice for the safe use of cranes. If we notice any other brand of crane working alongside a Wolffkran crane on a job site without a service history to guarantee safety, we provide the inspection and service free of charge, because we want to avoid even the slightest possibilities of crane failure or other safety risks in the future,” adds Kirby.
Wolffkran tower cranes at the Museum of the Future construction site in Dubai.
Wolffkran Arabia, the UAE-based rental arm of Wolffkran, maintains a fleet of 120 flat top, hammerhead and luffing jib tower cranes for the UAE and Oman markets. Among the company’s prominent ongoing projects in the UAE is the Dubai Expo 2020, where Wolffkran Arabia has employed the Wolff 500 B and 355 B luffing jib cranes for the construction of the dome structure of the Expo’s central Al Wasl Plaza. Wolffkran is also involved in the construction of the UK Pavilion with a 500 B luffing jib crane.
“We provided a cost-effective crane engineering solution for the Al Wasl Dome construction with a single tower crane, which eliminated the need for 3–4 crawler cranes and higher expenses associated with renting them. Initially, we used the 500 B for the heavy lifts and, at a later stage, replaced it with a 355 B crane,” says Kirby.
Getting tower cranes in and out of job sites quickly while minimizing the number of mobile cranes, is a skill and efficiency unique to Wolffkran engineers and technicians. The construction site of the Avenues Mall in Silicon Oasis, Dubai, is one such example. Six hammerhead cranes – five 7532.16 models and one 8033.16 model – are currently working at the site. The erection and jacking of the cranes was done in two days. As the project nears completion by end of 2019, Wolfkrann’s plan for dismantling the cranes is one crane per day, taking into account road closures.
Wolffkran tower cranes at the Avenues Mall construction site in Silicon Oasis, Dubai.
“We specialize in crane erection and dismantling in less in a day, sometimes in a few hours. This helps reduced the costs of renting mobile cranes significantly. In most cases, we need mobile cranes for only a day each for assembly and dismantling. Furthermore, we offer additional cost savings with the energy efficiency of Wolffkran cranes which have frequency converters regulating all drives. The average power requirement of conventional cranes is 300kVA and that of Wolffkran cranes is 150kVA; this translates into average power savings of at least 30–50% on job sites,” says Kirby.
For customers that want used Wolffkran cranes with service and support, Wolffkran Arabia offers its used cranes whenever its fleet is upgraded with new models.
“Whether new or used, a Wolffkran crane reflects our brand promise. Therefore, our service and support remains the same for new and used Wolffkran cranes. We ensure that our used cranes live meet the reliability, safety and performance expectations associated with the Wolffkran brand. That’s what makes our used cranes attractive to customers who would otherwise be left with the opting of buying a substandard used crane without the required support.”
As the construction industry in general continues to face the pressures of cash flow, payment delays and undercutting of prices, Wolffkran Arabia has managed steady growth in business with fairly high utilization of its rental fleet and a promising pipeline of projects in the UAE. Kirby attributes the company’s success and resilience to its operational process – the Wolffkran Way.
“We execute projects in partnership with our clients, by getting involved in every stage of the project with regard to cranes operations and safety.As a manufacturer and rental company, we have total control of our supply chain, which enables us to offer end-to-end lift management with a range of services including planning of the crane foundation, erection and dismantling; crane operational methodology; anti-collision systems; service and maintenance; and spare parts. The Wolffkran Way is an integrated offering of all these services,” says Kirby.
Wolffkran’s near-term plans for the GCC include the revival of its activities in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Wolffkran ISS, the UAE-based branch office representing Wolffkran’s manufacturing business, recently appointed Kuwaiti Cranes as its new agent in Kuwait.
Dr. Mohamed Abouelezz, general manager, MENA and South East Asia, Wolffkran ISS, says: “Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have the greatest potential for infrastructure projects in the near future. We have already sold over 200 Wolffkran cranes in Saudi Arabia, where there’s huge market opportunity for both crane sales and rental services. Similarly, we aim to tap into the opportunities in Kuwait with the appointment of Kuwaiti Cranes as our agent.”
With regard to product development, Abouelezz indicates that Wolffkran will be launching new flat top and luffing crane models in 2020 for all markets. Alongside tower crane R&D, the manufacturer is investing in a breakthrough fibre rope technology that could achieve weight savings of up to 80% and allow for higher load capacities. This year, Wolffkran co-founded and acquired a stake in Trowis GmbH, a German company dedicated to the development and production of high-performance fibre ropes for applications in the lifting and materials handling industry.
“Trowis fibre ropes have the potential to replace steel ropes because of advantages such as lower weight, higher load capacity, faster and safer assembly, longer service life, and lower maintenance costs. The ropes have sensor elements that can detect fibre breakage and therefore inform the operator that a defined fibre breakage level has been reached and the rope needs to be discarded shortly. In case of reaching the discard-level of a rope, the load will be safely lowered. We will be testing these ropes extensively in our labs and on job sites and try to bring them to market as early as possible,” says Abouelezz.