19 March 2018

Mariano Moritsch talks to Sotiris Kanaris about his return to tower crane manufacturing with Recom Moritsch

Recom Moritsch is based in Belluno, where Ferruccio Moritsch launched tower crane manufacturer Comedil in 1962, which is now part of Terex. Mariano and his sister Martina have been involved in the crane industry from a very young age, acquiring extensive knowledge on the sector.

They are now joint managing directors of Recom Moritsch, a company that Mariano founded in 2015. “I took the decision to be back in the market because it was the best way to use my experience of nearly 30 years. Another drive was my love for the product itself,” says Mariano.

“Starting from zero was something that scared me, as I couldn’t know how it will go. I had people close to me that told me to go for it and that they will fi nd ways to help me.”

The company rented an assembly factory 30km away from its offi ce and approached local crane parts suppliers. A number of engineers that used to work with the Moritsch family for many years joined the team and started working on the fi rst prototypes. “The oldest one is Redo, he has been making cranes for my family since the 80s.”

The company’s fi rst cranes were rope luffers. A prototype of the 18t capacity RTL 265 was erected in October 2016, with three cranes of this model sold in that year.

In 2017, the 20t capacity RTL 315 luffi ng jib crane was launched. The sales performance of 2017 exceeded Mariano’s expectations, as 30 cranes were delivered in countries around the world, including the UK, Canada, South Korea, Dubai, Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong.

Mariano says the market for tower cranes has changed after 2008, with crane rental companies now responsible for nearly all the purchases. He says the parameters that crane rental companies examine are different to the general contractors. Having worked as market development manager at Arcomet and disposal agent for Select UK, he understands the way of thinking of this side of the industry. “Rental companies think about cost, time of erection, safety and residual value after eight-to-ten years.”

In terms of safety, Recom Moritsch has worked with ABB for the software, looking into emergency procedures and the best way to communicate the signal to the PLC. On Recom Moritsch’s cranes, the PLC comes with a Sim card, which allows the manufacturer to monitor how they are working, the wind conditions, loads and other variables.

Mariano says: “In case of a problem we will be notifi ed by the system. Having the possibility with telemetry to understand where the problem is will help reduce downtime signifi cantly. If it is a software issue we can resolve it from here; if it requires a technician, this person will arrive at the site knowing what the problem is and having taken the right tools and spare parts.”

The system developed with ABB can also help crane rental companies reduce spending on inverters. “Most of the manufacturers sell the inverters with the software, so every time the inverters burn they have to buy it from the manufacturer at a much higher price than the market. With us, they only have to pay for the software once and then they can purchase the inverters directly from the market.”

New products and innovations

In order to enhance safety further, Recom Moritsch started using high tensile steel—as used in mobile crane booms—on the base tower section, which takes most of the stress during operation.

The company has also invested a lot on the operator cabins, choosing to make them very wide. To enhance comfort, inside the cabin there is: a Grammer seat, Gessmann joy-stick, air con, USB receiver, and a 6in or 10in screen.

The engineers are working hard as the company wants to launch a number of new crane models within the next year. Rope luffers have been the initial focus, but the company will soon launch a range of low top cranes.

Mariano says: “I call them low top because they are in the middle between a fl at top crane and a hammerhead crane. They will have a small A-frame with a single tie bar. We wanted to develop something unseen in the market, not only in the geometry of the crane but also in the way of erection and transportation.”

“We wanted most of the components of the crane to stay assembled during transport. We are working to develop a counterjib that is foldable, with all its platforms and hand rails. We’ve also looked at a new system in order to have the fi rst part of the jib, the trolley, the trolley ropes and winch, all assembled like a city crane. The prototype will be ready in March.”

By the end of 2018, Recom Moritsch will offer a range of low top cranes from 6t to 32t, consisting of eight models.

The company will also concentrate on developing a range of hydraulic luffers, as it sees a good demand for these cranes. It will fi rst launch the 185 tonne-metre crane, then a 145 tonne-metre and by 2019, a smaller 85 tonne-metre crane.

In order to offer a complete range of tower cranes to the market, the manufacturer has recently acquired fl at top crane manufacturer GP Autolift, based in Samarate, Lombardy. “They are currently producing cranes from 6t to 12t and by the end of the year under Recom Moritsch they aim to have six models from 150-290 tonne-metres,” says Mariano.

Business expansion

“In Europe, the main market for luffers will be the UK and I believe for the hydraulic luffers there will be a market in France as well.”

In the UK, Recom recently appointed Heathrow Cranes as its local dealer. The fi rst Recom crane in the UK was erected in January, an RTL 315 which will go to a 78m free standing height.

Mariano says the company will be looking to expand its presence in the UK, as it is a market that he has a strong connection with. “I learned a lot from the UK market since I started visiting for business in 1994. It is the most demanding in terms of performance and safety in the world,” he adds.

The manufacturer is close to reaching an agreement with a French and a German distributor. Mariano is optimistic for future business volumes in the rest of Europe, particularly with the low top cranes.

He says the company is also in discussions with dealers in the Middle East. In the Far East, the company is looking at markets where Chinese products have not taken absolute control. “There are some markets they understand what a real CE product is, in terms of safety and manufacturing, like South Korea, Australia and Hong Kong.”

Hon Trade represents Recom in Hong Kong, while Sydney-based Advanced Cranes is the distributor for Australia and New Zealand.

Last November, Toronto-based crane dealership Concrane was named as the exclusive distributor in Ontario, Canada. Mariano believes that Canada will be a strong market for the company, as upcoming regulation changes on safety will trigger demand for new equipment. Recom aims to enter the US market in the future. “I know in order to go to the US market, you need a strong partner and you need to be ready to give the kind of service that Americans expect.”

As sales and production continue to expand, Mariano anticipates that the company will soon have to move to a bigger factory.

“This is a niche market, which makes it diffi cult for new entrants, but we believe we can have a good presence. We mainly count on the passion we have and on the great knowledge of our technicians in order to give great quality cranes.”

Recom Moritsch’s test yard
RTL 265B-18 in Daegu, South Korea
RTL 265B-18 in Cheongju, South Korea