I write this comment as the Chinese New Year is celebrated. Like in many cultures, people in China have a series of traditions that say that, as your new year goes, so goes the rest of the year.
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This month, as the year gets underway, we have articles looking back over the past 20 years, and forward to the year ahead. With ConExpo in Las Vegas, we also take a first look at some of the cranes we expect to see at the show.
At the start of this year, many of us would have been hoping for the upturn in world construction that we've been waiting for since 2009. It doesn't look much more likely now than it did 12 months ago. At the same time, the crane industry faces ongoing challenges from regulators and politicians.
In recent years, we've been working to refine Fleet File. This year, we've not made any further changes to the survey itself. We now have sections for wheeled mobile cranes, rough terrains, crawlers, tower cranes and compact cranes, all split up into capacity classes that broadly indicate the jobs they can take on. I'm pleased to say that we've this year got enough responses to provide a decent snapshot of the industry, without including any previous years' entries.
This month has been surprisingly busy for the crane industry. Often, autumn is the down season for crane launches, falling between the big trade shows in the spring. This October though, we've had four very significant pieces of news.
This month's issue spotlights some of the innovations, big and small, that drive the lifting industry forward.
This month's issue of Cranes Today is the 500th we've published. Looking back over issues of the magazine, it's easy to see how cranes have been transformed by technology, with a wealth of interconnected sensors and electronic control systems making lifting safer and the operator's job more comfortable.
Over the past few years, we've been working to refine Fleet File, our annual survey of crane fleets around the world. The 2016 survey is now open, and offers a quick, easy, and free way show the world what cranes you have available.
I am writing this comment shortly after the UK referendum on the country's membership of the European Union. A scant majority of British voters chose to leave the EU.
Late in May I received a press release from Sims Crane, announcing that they would be appealing a decision earlier that month by a US Mining Safety and Health Administration judge that would, they say, redefine spreader bars and similar equipment as a 'load', making it impossible to rig them.
This year's Bauma showed some positive signs, for the first time in almost a decade. We saw some exciting new products, heard good sales reports from parts of the industry, and learnt of some positive regulatory news.