The Terex Comedil CTL 630, which lifts a maximum of 32t and 9.5t at 60m, is being used by contractor Skanska on the Swiss Re building project in the City of London. This crane is the biggest luffer that Comedil has ever built, and is owned by its UK distributor Select Tower Cranes. It was erected on site in September with a 54m tower and 60m jib. The tower is 2.3m by 2.3m, and all components can be transported in standard sized containers.

By early December it had a freestanding height of 72m, which no other luffing crane in the world can match, according to Select director Mike Studd. The tower will reach a final height of 162m, with a height under hook of 222m. It will have just four ties, up to 10m long, connecting it to the building.

The crane has a new computer system, similar to Liebherr’s Litronic, called the Comedil ICS system which allows settings to be adjusted remotely at Comedil’s factory in Italy. It also allows for remote diagnostics.

Also on site are two CTL 400 luffers, with 150m high towers. These lift 24t maximum and 8t at a radius of 50m.

The rapidly growing Select now has more than 170 tower cranes, Studd says, with the smallest ones in the 200tm class. During 2000 Select bought 70 new Comedils and also took over the 38-unit fleet of EPL, the equipment subsidiary of contractor John Laing. Laing’s construction business, including EPL, was bought by Select’s parent company, O’Rourke for the princely sum of £1 (there were a few liabilities thrown in with the assets).

Studd added that within three years his fleet would entirely comprise luffers and flat-tops, moving away from A-frame saddle jibs. Already the company has ten of the big Comedil flat-top CTT 561 cranes which have an 85m jib.

The Swiss Re building is a 41-storey office tower whose unusual appearance has earned it the nickname ‘the Erotic Gherkin’. It was designed by architect Sir Norman Foster.

Comedil has also recently sold a CTL 630 to Grand Bahama Shipyard Ltd, which was shipped to the Bahamas last month. It has a 30m tower and 50m luffing jib, and is rail mounted, travelling on a portal base. The shipyard has an option for a second unit.