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Choosing a look, choosing names
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...
A sliding window of opportunity
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.
An inventive season
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.
Precise planning for perfect practice
My first job on Cranes Today was reporting on one of our London conferences.
Keeping cranes safe on the roads
Ten years ago this year Ann Copeland and her two young daughters, Niamh and Ciara, were killed when her car skidded out of control after running over a patch of oil leaked from a poorly-maintained all terrain crane. Barry Copeland, who lost his entire family in the accident, pushed for owners of all terrain cranes to face the same requirement for roadworthiness testing as cars and heavy goods vehicles.
A step forward for safe wind work
I've written previously about the good work being done by the European crane and special transport association, ESTA, and manufacturers' group, FEM, on wind safety.
Necessary training, sufficient evaluation
In late May, US regulator OSHA published a much-anticipated new notice of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register. This further clarifies how the US federal government plans to set rules for operator certification.
Valuable shows, sustainable growth?
I write this month's comment shortly after returning from Intermat in Paris. As I wrote in my pre-show comment six years—two Intermats—ago, the purpose of the French show is at times unclear. It is at once too big to be a tightly-focussed national lifting show, and too small (and overshadowed in the triennial trade show cycle) to be a global launch show.
Steel yourself for higher crane prices
For many people in Western countries, globalisation has been far from an unalloyed blessing.
Visiting the North of Italy in January may not be on most people’s list. Putting aside the cold and Milan’s inexplicable fog, it was an enjoyable week; full of beautiful scenery, delicious food and interesting discussions with local manufacturers. These discussions will turn into articles, full of exclusive information, which you will find in this and the following issues of the magazine.
Knowledge matters, for all in lifting
Two recent stories demonstrate the efforts the industry is making to build knowledge of lifting, for both apprentices and customers. Next month, in Hamburg, ESTA's wind energy summit will take place for the third time, after making impressive progress in building links with with energy firms; recently, in England, the industry successfully launched a new programme for apprentice lifting technicians.
Lifting with limited room to move
As much by chance as by intention, this month's issue includes a series of articles looking at how crane designers and project engineers squeeze lifting power into restricted environments.
A year of slow improvement
It's the time of year when I look back over previous copies of Cranes Today to see what the industry has achieved. I think it's fair to say that 2017 has not been a great year—few sales records have been set, the big trade show had few big surprises—but it has not been a bad year.
Conflicting interests, split opinions
I've had a series of interesting conversations over recent weeks. It's a time of year when we get many invitations to product launches and factory open days. I've also had a chance to catch up with a few senior executives as they take on new roles, or as their companies go through a transition.
A ladder into the crane industry
This month, we look again at the important role training and certification plays in the industry. There's some good news from the two big certification outfits, the NCCCO in the US, and ECOL in Europe.
Fibre rope returns to the mainstream
The potential benefits of fibre rope, versus the steel wire rope routinely used in the industry, have for a long time been a focus for crane manufacturers and rope experts. When I started on this magazine, a little over ten years ago, crane engineers were considering ways to overcome problems with how rope would (or rather, would not easily) spool on the drum. Today, those issues appear to have largely been fixed, not by major changes to crane...
Stronger fleets, in a stronger Fleet File
As the crane rental industry around the world leans towards recovery—we saw confidence at ConExpo in the USA, and, as described in this issue, at Vertikal Days in the UK—many this year will be hoping to see fleets upgrading and growing.
Disaster and hope in London
As this issue of Cranes Today was being written, London was hit by one of its worst disasters in decades. A fire took hold in the Grenfell Tower, a social housing block in one of the city's richest areas, Kensington, killing around 80 people. The details emerging from the police investigation—which treats the disaster as a potential manslaughter case—are horrifying.