Muhibbah Engineering of Malaysia enjoyed a good end to 1998, producing in December the most powerful Favelle Favco construction crane, from Australia, an oil rig crane in Singapore and new mobile units in the USA, reports Tod Kennedy.

In December the first of the model M440 D-HS luffing boom tower cranes was commissioned at the Sydney plant and delivered to a concreting company in New York. This is probably the highest powered crane of its type in the world, providing a 40t maximum lift and sporting a main winch line-pull of 20t at speeds up to 190m/min.

It is designed specifically to meet the growing demands for high-rise building in congested cities where access and reach by traditional mobile cranes is becoming more limited and slewing space is getting too tight for hammerheads.

Commented Ted Favelle, who is technical consultant in Sydney: “These locations restrict you to the smallest footprint to put a crane on the job. Also, to avoid over-sailing adjoining properties, and the possibility of lawsuits, the luffing crane is about all they can use. Hammerheads have too much out the back. The more compact the crane the better.” The team from Favelle Favco cranes in Australia are adequately meeting the American constraints with the M440 which has a boom length to suit radii up to 65m, a luffing speed of 50 seconds (max to min radius), and a large rope capacity of 680m on either main or auxiliary winch drums. The 8t auxiliary hoist works in unison with the main hoist for putting concrete slabs on buildings and standing them up, using both winches simultaneously.

This kind of manufacture is ideal for the Australian plant which, unlike the European and US suppliers, is accustomed to building “specials” owing to the smaller population in Australia.

An important criterion was met by being able to assemble and/or dismantle the crane upper in about four hours, since quick erection is sometimes required for crane use overnight only. The climbing system is suitable for external or internal beam climbing or ladder climbing, and the towers are supplied from the company’s manufacturing plant in Texas.

The crane is powered by a Caterpillar 700hp engine driving variable speed hydraulic motors through a gearbox and splitter. The cabin can be fitted to either side of the machine deck to allow climbing down in either direction with the crane snug to the building.

The operator has three hand lever controls in the comfortable all-weather cab. The Robway safety system provides continuous readouts of load and radius, and the electric-over-hydraulic control system will shut down if overload is reached.

This high powered luffer is being used in New York for lifting kibbles of concrete weighing up to 10t, and will later be tilting up flat stone and columns of varying weights, using its auxiliary winch. A second M440 D-HS is being built for another American concreter, and further orders are anticipated.

A Favelle Favco offshore luffer, based on the model PC 250, has been recently sent to Singapore for installation on a Norwegian semi-submersible rig which will service drilling production operations in Asia Pacific waters.

Favelle Favco is also building hydraulic crawler cranes in the 40t to 50t range at the Texas factory, which is also currently building 12 offshore cranes.

Following the merger with Krøll, the two companies have been able to offer a much wider range of cranes and share such well-tested technology as electric and diesel drive systems.

In Malaysia, Muhibbah continues to build and service offshore cranes despite the drop in the local currency exchange rate and cuts in oil prices.