One of the things that makes the crane industry so interesting to report on, is the level of innovation coming out of a relatively small and tightly-knit industry. Unlike other sectors I've covered, it has been relatively easy to meet a broad range of suppliers and users; and, where some industries progress only slowly, just in the decade or so I've been covering the sector, I've seen new crane types come into regular use.
For travellers on London's underground railway, the warning to 'Mind the gap' quickly becomes part of the background of daily life: the city's old, curved, station platforms don't fit neatly with tube carriages, meaning there's often a substantial hop from train to platform. That phrase, painted on every platform edge and spoken over the tannoy at every stop, seeks to prevent us hurling ourselves absentmindedly under the train. By and large it works.
On any crane contract, the first and most vital commercial step is to make sure that the crane you bring to the job site matches the clients' lifting requirements: big enough to work safely, but not so big that you're wasting capacity (and, therefore, investment that you can't earn back with profitable rental rates).
In this issue, two of our lead features look at the impact of infrastructure projects on demand for lifting equipment.
In our lead news items this month, I've tried to find answers for at least a few of the questions readers may have about Tadano's planned acquisition of Demag from Terex. As you'd expect for a deal at this stage, I wasn't able to get a lot more detail.
Sometimes, how a thing is presented, how it looks or how we name it, shapes how we think of it, even if the thing itself is unchanged. Think, for example, of how 'premium' and 'basic' products are packaged at the supermarket: glossy packaging, metallic embossing, and an emphasis on ingredients for 'premium' goods; primary colours, simple design, and a focus on price and value for 'basic' goods. Often, the gap between the two is not as great as the name or the package might suggest.
There is a concept in political science known as the Overton Window, after its creator, Joseph Overton. Overton argued that political policy is set within a window—ranging from 'more free' to 'less free'—of public perception of acceptable ideas. Over time, the limits of this window of acceptability change, and the policies politicians propose change with them.
This month, I've been taking a look back over our news coverage for 2018. There have been quite a few significant developments over the year.
Security expert Bruce Schneier has, for decades, warned of the overlooked risks associated with the computer age. Sometimes, politicians, regulators, and industry leaders have paid heed.
We have a surprising flurry of new crane launches this month. This includes a series of new tower cranes, new loader cranes, and a new rough terrain.