Trailer Magazine

Better by design

  • From the October 2019 issue.
Better by design

Running a busy operation spanning greater Melbourne and regional Victoria, Victorian Crane Trucks relies on Gough Palfinger as preferred supplier and servicer of its truck-mounted cranes. The company recently ordered five Palfinger PK42002SHD units mounted to Kenworth T359 prime movers hauling semi-trailers used for a range of tasks including shifting portable buildings, lengths of steel and roof trusses.

One of the key requirements of any successful transport business is having reliable equipment that’s fit for purpose and with a build quality that ensures it will continue to offer sterling service over many years of operation.

Another key requirement is that this equipment is backed by a supplier with the smarts to not only initially spec the equipment correctly for its intended role, but also to provide the appropriate after-sales support in terms of servicing and repairs.

According to Mitch Blencoe, General Manager of Victorian Crane Trucks based at Dandenong South, both these boxes are well and truly ticked by truck-mounted crane specialist Gough Palfinger Australia.

“We’ve been using Palfinger cranes for many years and we’ve found them to be the best for longevity,” Mitch explains. “We’ve had other brands where booms have cracked, and they’ve generally been unreliable so we’ve pretty much standardised on Palfinger.

“Also, on the technical support and service aspects we’ve found Gough Palfinger to be exceptionally good, which is a very important thing when you need equipment to consistently work hard over a long period of time.”

Victorian Crane Trucks operates a total of 45 trucks including 10 semi-trailers and the remainder rigids, with around 35 of the trucks fitted with cranes. Mitch says the oldest Palfingers in the fleet are now 20 years young and still going strong. 

In regards to the latest five units Mitch says, “We wanted the largest possible crane mounted to Kenworth T359 6x4 prime movers. We chose this model of Kenworth because they have the lightest steer axle weight which enables the heaviest crane to be installed.”
Mitch explains that the type of work the company does requires the crane to be mounted on the prime mover instead of at the rear of the trailer.

“We have looked into trailer mounted cranes but for our type of work they encroach on the load space too much,” he says. “Our trucks do a lot of extendible work as well as high and wide loads – we were recently transporting trusses that were 25m long and 4.5m wide which you just couldn’t do with a trailer mounted crane setup.”  

The task of specifying the new units ensuring everything was within the prescribed legal limits fell to Marc Pisani, NSW Sales Manager at Gough Palfinger Australia.

Marc has been involved with spec’ing and selling Palfinger cranes for more than 40 years and he says getting everything right can be a complex and time-consuming task. He says this was certainly the case with the latest order for Victorian Crane Trucks.

“We needed to engage our own engineering department and PACCAR’s (Kenworth) engineers along with Mitch Blencoe who provided details of the previous sub-frame mounting system the company had used,” Marc explains. “The trucks had to be built in a way that enabled the steer axle weight to be right which was a fairly involved process.”

He went on to say that the first unit has now been completed and everything went to plan, paving the way for the subsequent four units. Further to this, Marc says this is by far the largest crane he has seen fitted to a prime mover.

“Prior to this I have only seen cranes around the 26 to 30 tonne-metre capacity fitted to prime movers,” he says. “However, these units are 42 tonne-metre capacity which is a huge increase. I now know that if the truck build is done correctly this is possible.

“I’ve found it to be a very interesting scenario – getting the engineers from both our organisation and PACCAR involved and getting it right. This meant about four people were working in close co-operation to bring the project to fruition.

“Victorian Crane Trucks is a long-standing customer and they love Palfinger cranes so we knew we had to find a way to make it work,” Marc adds. “We really had to think outside the box to get it over the line.

“At Gough Palfinger Australia, our goal is to create solutions that meet our customers’ needs and expectations. This is a prime example of that.”

Fast Fact
Thanks to the combined engineering expertise of Gough Palfinger Australia and Kenworth manufacturer PACCAR Australia, Victorian Crane Trucks is adding expanded capabilities to its fleet of prime mover and semi-trailer combinations used to transport a range of oversize loads.

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