Evolution of the species

28 December 2021

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Adaptability is a key quality for survival and it is a attribute demonstrated throughout this issue.

Contributor Stuart Anderson's article on tele crawlers (p22) shows how this relatively new crane sector has evolved over the last 50 years from a niche crane sector to become "a global phenomenon" and currently "the product on everyone’s lips".

The perspective of time highlights how important choice has been in this process. As more manufacturers engaged in creating tele crawlers, end users had increasing options. The tele crawlers Anderson identifies as being key to the development of the market, though, offered contractors a choice of something new. The Mantis 3612, for example, provided not only compact dimensions but an earth auger to meet the needs of the US utility industry. Liebherr's LTR 1100 combined the company's crawler and all terrain expertise to produce not only the first 100-tonne tele crawler but a crane that could reach job sites that all terrains couldn't. In this way we see adaptation leading to the augmentation of the sector.

Another area we see the quality of adaptability is in the control systems feature (p36). Here Cranes Today feature writer Julian Champkin identifies the disparity between the rate of mechanical development and digital development with some older cranes, which are designed to last a long time, now requiring updates to their control systems due to the rapid evolution of digital technology. A result of this is the thriving retro-fitting industry – a process which Mohammed Ahmad, automation engineering lead at service, repair and upgrade specialist Alatas, likens to "taking an old ‘70s Mustang car and putting Ferrari electronics into it".

Adaptability is also demonstrated by the Crane Rental Association of Canada in our country focus (p31). The Association has grown from humble beginnings to a highly effective not-for-profit organisation championing the interests of the crane and transport industry, turning to the use of the internet to spread the word when Covid 19 made in-person meets impossible.

Christian Shelton, Editor
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