Breaking Bread

27 December 2023

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A heavy-duty knuckle boom crane used for the most delicate of glazing jobs; a freestanding tower crane installing a wind turbine gantry atop a 157-metre-tall concrete tower; electric 'tow and go' cranes charging from residential homes whilst they work; and mini cranes in the USA – the land where big has traditionally meant better. These are just some of the striking innovations included within this issue; changes shaking up the lifting industry in this crazy post-modern world we live in. A world where everything is in flux and nothing can be taken for granted.

Speaking about his new Palfinger PK 165.002 TEC 7 mounted on a modified Scania truck (used for the aforementioned glazing job) Loïc Sonnerat, who runs French company Gil & Fils Levage with his father, notes, "our customers have an increasing need for outreach and performance. As jobsites become more difficult to access and the weight of materials increases, the truck often needs to be positioned further away. This [crane] should also allow us to develop new applications." A case of necessity leading to innovation; and innovation, in turn, opening up new application areas.

Take Tadano, for example; one of the oldest crane manufacturers in the Far East, with a mature, established home market. The company is far from sitting on its laurels, though. It knows the world is changing. It recognises the challenges of changing demographic trends, plus the increasing importance of reducing emissions – something it now refers to as its 'true mission' – for future survival. Read more about what the company has to say about the current state of business in its home market, and its plans for the future.

Another example of change can be seen, where we detail how Chinese manufacturer Sany has now opened up a UK wing. "Establishing a dedicated direct sales channel for cranes fits with the company’s aim to be a key player in the European, and global, crane market,” outlines country manager UK & Republic of Ireland, Andrew Snow.

Perhaps with all this upheaval and uncertainty it's no wonder we value life's constants. One of these, for us construction trade journalists at least, is the 'Liebherr international construction trade press information tour' which took place in early November and, this year, marked its 50th edition (just a year younger than this magazine).

I enjoyed the trip immensely. Not only did it deliver an insight into Liebherr's strategy for the future but it also provided an opportunity for one of the most fundamental elements for communication (and business): the opportunity to forge human relationships. It's all very well 'connecting' via LinkedIn but nothing beats sitting down and breaking bread – especially when it's a good German Schwarzbrot! It was interesting to experience how one of the world's oldest traditions – gathering to talk, eat, and share information – perfectly facilitates discussions of the future. And it's deeply ingrained in our human psyche to ask 'what will happen next?'.

With regards to the future of lifting, Liebherr presented its concepts of digitalisation and alternative drive technologies. Like Tadano, Liebherr also understands the importance of reducing emissions and is exploring all angles. A key 'take away' from the information tour, regarding alternative drive technologies, was that, like life, there is no 'one size fits all' solution. This approach recognises the complexities of lifting requirements, the uncertainties of the modern world, and the possibilities of the future. Stay tuned for further updates.

Christian Shelton, Editor