British rental company Initial GWS is investing “several hundred thousand pounds” on an overhaul of its 20 year old MK 1500 lattice boom tuck crane, which is based at GWS’s Southeast Asian operation in Thailand.

Mannesmann Dematic is to replace the control system, motors and engines.

The crane, built by Gottwald in 1979, was originally designed as a 1,000t capacity machine and was first owned by Sparrow and Montelev in an Anglo-French joint venture. When GW Sparrow & Son was bought by BET Plant Services in 1985, Montelev’s interest was bought out.

The following year the crane was sold to a US construction company for a project which was subsequently cancelled. The crane, not having even left the UK, was sold to Scott Greenham Group which in 1988 was bought by BET, thus returning the MK 1500 to its original owner.

Grayston White & Sparrow bought a complete new boom system for the crane in 1988, enhancing lifting capacities by up to 50% in parts of the chart, though increasing maximum duty less dramatically from 1,000t to 1,200t. The old main boom was fitted as a fly jib and the crane was used in this configuration most often. It was shipped to Thailand in 1994.

Initial GWS Crane Hire managing director Andrew Makepeace said: “The MK 1500 is the largest crane in our Far Eastern fleet and has proved extremely popular with our customers during the five years it has worked in the region. The decision to completely replace the controls, motors and engines on the crane will take advantage of modern digital control systems, giving a more robust operating system, with lower maintenance requirements.” Allan Jackson, operations director Far East, claimed that the upgrade would make the MK 1500 “the most reliable crane available in the Far East”.