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Smart Cranes are Transforming the Jobsite


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Photo courtesy of JASO Tower Cranes

Sydney’s skyline now boasts one of the largest electric cranes in the world—a Jaso J780PA undertaking the heavy lifting on Grocon’s $700m Ribbon Development at Darling Harbour.

Considered to be one of the largest electric cranes in the world, the $5 million Jaso J780PA was put to work by Australian supplier Titan Cranes as soon as it hit Australian shores from Spain. It is currently working alongside two other cranes building a 25-storey W hotel, featuring serviced apartments and a new IMAX cinema complex. 

“The J780 arrived in July and was immediately dispatched to the Ribbon Project."

The project has detailed, heavy steel components of around 50 tonnes each. Until the appearance of J780, electric cranes weren’t considered able to do that sort of lifting.

Jobsite spoke with Titan’s managing director Damon Hanlin about the Australian first. 

“The J780 arrived in July and was immediately dispatched to the Ribbon Project,” Hanlin says. “We sent two engineers to Jaso in Spain for eight weeks of training in maintenance and operations on the crane, followed by training of operators here in Australia. 

“Despite its advanced onboard technology, operators can manage the J780PA with the same tickets as for any tower crane. Nevertheless, we have utilised more experienced people, with ten plus years experience, in our crane specific training program,” he said.

The crane boasts a hoist speed of 310 metres per minute and a 75-tonne maximum lift capacity as well as reduced downtime due to being electric. 

“The crane is environmentally efficient with a low energy demand,” says Hanlin. “It runs at a much lower cost than a diesel machine, and it also requires much lower maintenance, resulting in more uptime. 

“It’s also not flammable, so there’s zero chance of it catching on fire. Since there are no oil and exhaust emissions, the driver has a much safer environment to work in.” 

“It’s also not flammable, so there’s zero chance of it catching on fire. Since there are no oil and exhaust emissions, the driver has a much safer environment to work in.” 

Another benefit of an electric crane is that it operates much more quietly. “Because it runs near silently, we can operate 24/7, which has enabled us to deliver projects which would not otherwise be possible with a diesel-operated crane,” explains Hanlin.

Titan Cranes is the first company to introduce the J780 to Australia, and the electric crane is not the company’s only ‘first’. Titan also pioneered the anti-collision concept into the Australian construction sector.  

“We created a crane-to-crane communication system with the ability to interface and avoid collisions between cranes as well as between cranes and buildings or walls,” says Hanlin. “The cranes can automatically cease operation to prevent a collision.” The technology uses cloud-based data logging for interrogation and diagnostic fault-finding and correction.

According to Hanlin, the Jaso J780PA has some pretty high tech specs. “The J780’s capacity, performance, cloud-based data logging, safety capabilities, and transportability is unlike anything the industry has seen before,” Hanlin explains. 

“The J780PA also has new design features like the machinery double deck. It also has numerous improvements, such as an increased maximum jib length by 5m to 70m. The machinery deck width is slim and designed as two pieces to ease erection and reduce weights. It has one motor in parallel to the drum and electrical cabinets embedded in the structure to protect from bad weather.” 

The heaviest item can be reduced to only 10 tonnes, and the crane features an all-new 220kw winch, providing 28-tonne single line pull and 310m/min maximum lifting speed. As the strongest European designed electric tower crane in its class, 75 tonnes can be handled in “3 fall mode.” 

Titan Cranes has projects lined up over coming years and is already planning to bring more J780s to Australia. 

Hanlin further adds: “To reduce overall power consumption while still optimising performance and output, the sole hoisting motor can supply two different power supplies, 110W/220W. This way, it reduces power consumption when the required ‘power for speed’ is smaller, such as when the crane is working with low underhook height at the start of a project. The crane can be tuned to each specific site and conditions.”

Titan Cranes has projects lined up over coming years and is already planning to bring more J780s to Australia. 

“Even though Jaso operates out of Spain, we have found the geographical distance no issue at all. The company’s global reach is part of the reason for Titan’s success in cranes. They offer great service and would be ideal for major projects around the world, including North America and Asia,” says Hanlin.  

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