Big Crane Lifts Big Gear

22 April 2024
Big Crane Lifts Big Gear small

By New Zealand Truckbody & Trailer Magazine 

Working in and around mines demands both heavy gear and a fair bit of flexibility, which is why C&R Developments went to TRT for what may be the country’s beefiest rear-mounted crane truck.

The crane truck’s operator, Ben Little, says C&R were looking for an even bigger Hiab to start with, the 1050 model, but that had to be centre-mounted on a truck and they wanted the rear-mount.

Going for the Hiab X-Hipro 858 meant they could use the length of the truck body as part of the counterweight, giving it the capacity to lift 18-tonne at a reach of 3.5m or 22-tonne at 3m. They also selected the EP4, which has a four-piece boom instead of the EP6, because they didn’t need the extra reach.

“That also made it a tonne and half lighter, which meant we could travel as a normal truck at 24-tonne.”

Ben says for heavy lifts, the truck-mounted Hiab is usually used with another crane to carry out a tandem lift, easing the strain on the gear. The new Hiab and another crane are shown lifting a 20-tonne “bathtub” rock tray on and off the back of a 785 Komatsu at C&R.

Hiab Snugged down on the deck

Snugged down on the deck

The pictures also show the new crane under test at TRT, working with TRT’s stack of test weights, to calibrate its performance.

Hiab Lifting test weights at TRT’s yard

Lifting test weights at TRT’s yard

Based in Cambridge, C&R supports heavy earth-moving operations at several mines in the region. Ben says they can be lifting and transporting digger buckets about once a week, taking them to the workshop to be fitted with new wear plates or teeth, to keep the gear in good condition.

The new crane was specified to handle an 18-tonne counterweight from C&R’s Komatsu PC 1250-8R excavator. The 18-tonne counterweight, and the dipper and bucket, which have a combined weight of 15-tonnes, have to be removed so the excavator can be moved by road on a transporter. The weight, or the dipper and bucket, can be carried on the truck’s trailer and still sit under the 50-tonne limit.

It’s the big brother to C&R’s 24-tonne Iveco-mounted crane which has been in the fleet for a few years already, and which proved the value and versatility of the rear-mounted crane.

20 tonne solo effort

20 tonne solo effort

To operate the new Kenworth-mounted crane truck in “heavy mode” two big steel billet counterweights, which together weigh 5.6-tonnes, are locked on with twist locks behind the headboard.

That also means Ben’s pallet-mounted “ammunition box” containing chains rated to 40 tonnes and other lifting gear is loaded by forklift, which takes the truck weight close to 30-tonne.

In that configuration it operates as a crane only.

Without the ammo box and the counterweight, it operates pretty much as standard 6.3m flat deck crane truck, which can carry any conventional load, such as a portacom. “It’s got the facility to be transporting anything,” says Ben.

Ben, known to everyone as Frenchy (because his colleagues had so much trouble understanding his north of England accent they said he might as well be speaking French) says while the counterweights add stability they come off when not required for heavy lifts to keep the tare weight down.

While he might be operating in heavy mode for a week for some jobs, Ben says the split between heavy and normal configurations is about 50/50.

The truck is also new, and a bit special, a 2022 K200 Kenworth 50th anniversary model, celebrating 50 years of Kenworth in Australia.

While it has a dual role “it is still a big truck,” says Ben. Having a 7.2-tonne crane on the back – effectively the weight of another small truck – plus auxiliary equipment, is noticeable when the counterweights aren’t on board so Ben says he takes a cautious approach going into corners. 

Rescuing a railway carriage from a field for conversion to a tiny home

Rescuing a railway carriage from a field for conversion to a tiny home