Page 1

January 2010, Volume 04 Issue 01

News (p04) Focus (p28) Products (p31) Backtrack (p32)

An ITP Business Publication Licensed by International Media Production Zone

USED BULLDOZERS

An expert shares some top buying tips with us

POWER HOUSE

Massive concrete pumps on industrial project

GOING

MOBILE A plant manager shares some OSHA advice Don’t be left flat - read our indispensable guide


001 JANUARY 2010, ISSUE 1 VOL 4

32 04

22 16

02 COMMENT 04 NEWS Some of the latest news updates from across the industry.

10 NEWS FEATURE Top tips from an industry expert on how to get the best from a large used bulldozer.

12 NEWS FEATURE The joystick controlled Cat 14M and a GPS system get a workout in Africa.

14 NEWS FEATURE A powerstation uses a telebelt and some extra long placing booms.

16 SITE VISIT We drop in at a crane yard and re-read some OSHA guidelines.

20 MACHINE MONTH Big 5 PMV news in pictures.

22 TOP EIGHT Our top tips on the latest advances in roadbuilding.

28 COUNTRY FOCUS Medina or Madinah is under our looking glass this month.

32 BACKTRACK A machinery firm falls victim to govenmental demands following a bail out package. Sound familiar? This happened in 1973.


002 COMMENT Registered at Dubai Media City PO Box 500024, Dubai, UAE Tel: 00 971 4 210 8000, Fax: 00 971 4 210 8080 Web: www.itp.com Offices in Dubai & London ITP Business Publishing CEO Walid Akawi Managing Director Neil Davies Deputy Managing Director Matthew Southwell Editorial Director David Ingham VP Sales Wayne Lowery Publishing Director Jason Bowman EDITORIAL Group Editor Stuart Matthews Editor Greg Whitaker Tel: +971 4 435 6263 email: greg.whitaker@itp.com Contributors Benjamin Millington, Matthew Warnock SALES Group Sales Manager Raz Islam Tel: +971 4 435 6371 email: raz.islam@itp.com STUDIO Group Art Editor Daniel Prescott Art Editor Simon Cobon PHOTOGRAPHY Director of Photography: Sevag Davidian Chief Photographer: Nemanja Seslija Senior Photographers: Efraim Evidor, Khatuna Khutsishvili Staff Photographers: Thanos Lazopoulos, Khaled Termanini,Jovana Obradovic,Rajesh Raghav, Ruel Pableo,Lyubov Galushko PRODUCTION & DISTRIBUTION Group Production Manager Kyle Smith Production Manager Eleanor Zwanepoel Distribution Manager Karima Ashwell Distribution Executive Nada Al Alami Managing Picture Editor Patrick Littlejohn Image Retoucher Emmalyn Robles CIRCULATION Head of Circulation & Database Gaurav Gulati MARKETING Head of Marketing Daniel Fewtrell ITP DIGITAL Director Peter Conmy Internet Applications Manager Mohammed Affan ITP GROUP

TALL TOWER AND TALL TALES The other day, I read in a local magazine one of the many ‘year in review’ type articles. There have been so many of these, I practically knew what it was going to say before I read it, but it did raise one point that made me chuckle. Most people will admit that 2009 was a difficult year for them, but very few will admit to it having been actively disastrous. The magazine pointed this out and suggested that some companies were either being economical with the truth, or some mystery contractor nobody had ever heard had taken an enormous hit, while everybody else had pulled forward cheerfully. I know what they mean. How many times have you heard or read quotes from local businesses which read something like: “Well, it has been a tough few months, but unlike some of our competitors, we weren’t wholly reliant on the construction market”. Really? Of course, you can’t blame firms and their spokespeople for putting on a brave face (particularly in

front of journalists) and there certainly is a feeling that now this ‘restructuring’ thing is out in the open we can begin to move on – but surely one lesson we can all take from 2009 is that transparency and openness really is the key to surviving these times? Anyhow, here I am talking about 2009, while by the time you read this the New Year will have been and done, and, hopefully the Burj Dubai will have opened. Many criticise the tower for being late, over budget and so on. Well, nobody ever said it would be easy. When you build something that has never been done before, something sensational, there are going to be problems. Good engineering is about finding solutions – and the huge team behind the Dubai tower have done just that. I hope it enjoys many years as one of the most magnificent buildings in the world. Happy New Year to you all.

Greg Whitaker, Editor greg.whitaker@itp.com

Chairman Andrew Neil Managing Director Robert Serafin Finance Director Toby Jay Spencer-Davies Board of Directors K.M. Jamieson, Mike Bayman, Walid Akawi, Neil Davies, Rob Corder, Mary Serafin Circulation Customer Service Tel: +971 4 435 6000 Scanning and Printing by Color Lines Printing Press Subscribe online at www.itp.com/subscriptions Certain images in this issue are available for purchase. Please contact itpimages@itp.com for further details. The publishers regret that they cannot accept liability for error or omissions contained in this publication, however caused. The opinions and views contained in this publication are not necessarily those of the publishers. Readers are advised to seek specialist advice before acting on information contained in this publication which is provided for general use and may not be appropriate for the reader’s particular circumstances. The ownership of trademarks is acknowledged. No part of this publication or any part of the contents thereof may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form without the permission of the publishers in writing. An exemption is hereby granted for extracts used for the purpose of fair review.

Let’s push forward in to 2010, like this electric drive bulldozer. You can read more about this in our roadbuilding list on P22. Published by and Copyright © 2010 ITP Business Publishing,a division of ITP Publishing Group Ltd. Registered in the B.V.I. under Company Registration number 1402846.

PMV Middle East \\ January 2010

Do you have any comments about the PMV industry, or the magazine? Please email: greg.whitaker@itp.com or post to: PMV Middle East, ITP, IMPZ, PO Box 500024, Dubai, UAE.

www.constructionweekonline.com


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004 REGIONAL NEWS

Fatal hoist accident prompts BSU warning CRANES An industry expert has warned about the dangers of using fall-protection hoists incorrectly following a fatal accident. The incident happened when a carpenter fell five meters from a scaffolding tower. Although he was wearing a harness, it was not fixed to a solid object. After landing on solid concrete, the man received multiple injuries and later died in hospital. The secretary of industry watchdog Build Safe UAE, Elias McGrath said: “The wearer needs to be trained to make sure he is using the PPE [personal protective equipment] correctly – otherwise it is just there for decoration.” He added that there have been a number of accidents of this type

Poor working practice caused a fatal accident. (Pic for illustration only)

in the past – and even cases where workers in confined spaces have got themselves tangled in their own harnesses.” McGrath added that the grade of equipment also had it’s part to play: “You have to look for the certification mark and each organisation needs its quality control checks – especially when it comes to helmets.” “If you don’t have a quality in the plastic, it really isn’t going to make a difference. This is one example where quality plays a really important role” he said. It is believed that the scaffold was being dismantled at the time of the incident, which happened during building works at a UAE hotel swimming pool.

New figures show UAE-China trade volume drop TRADE The total volume of trade between China and the UAE has dropped by almost half to US $ 14.9bn in the first nine months of 2009, down from US $28.16bn through the whole of 2008, according to newly released figures. Imports to the UAE make up the bulk of the 2009 figure, being 13.29bn, with US $1.7bn being exports to China – roughly the same split as last year. The bulk of imports were construction materials such as bricks and dressed stone, while hardware supplies and heavy machinery made up a percentage of the total, which have been released by the Commercial Office of the Chinese Consulate in Dubai.

US $14.9bn Bilatterel trade between the UAE and China in first three quarters of 2009

PMV Middle East \\ January 2010

Currently, the UAE has the highest number of Chinese companies in the GCC with over 2,000 firms registered, compared with just 20 in Saudi Arabia. The location of the UAE and its close proximity to markets in central Asia, the Indian subcontinent and Africa are said to be the major attractions for them. Satish Khanna, one of the organisers of the oddly-named Autumn Fair, a trade show actually held in mid January to promote Chinese goods in the region said: “Most of the Chinese goods and services exported to the UAE are re-exported to other countries in the Middle East, Africa and even Europe. Trade between the UAE and China rose 40.5 per cent last year, and exports from China to the Gulf are expected to rise next year with China consolidating its position as the hugest exporter to the region. Exports from China to the UAE were $60bn last year.”

Machinery from China is still in demand, but total trade volumes have seen a steep decline.

www.constructionweekonline.com


005

REGIONAL NEWS

Emirates Road Salik proposal provokes debate TRUCKS Hard pushed fleet operators are dismayed to hear that a number of toll gates are set to open on the Emirates Road through Dubai. A report in several Arabic newspapers has suggested that the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) raised the proposals at a meeting of the General Budget Committee, which explores Dubai’s revenue streams for 2010. If implemented, this will be a shift in policy away from using Salik fees as a method of encouraging drivers to use less congested routes, to that as a simple revenue generator. Understandably, the proposals have been given a lukewarm response by local businesses. Ninan George, a manager at Al Wasit machinery said: “The roads

A new Salik gate has been proposed on Emirates Road, much to the chargrin of fleet operators who rely on the highway.

need to be paid for – but now is not the right time to introduce this.� Paul Austin Price, a manager at trailer factory Gorica has another suggestion. “It might be simpler to charge all heavy good operators

some sort of levvy for using the roads.� He added that fining haulers for dangerous or overloaded trailers would have the added benefit of raising revenue, increasing road safety and by encouraging drivers

not to overload their vehicles, reducing road wear in the first place. The RTA confirmed that the proposal had been raised, but declined to speculate on the exact location.

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006 REGIONAL NEWS Worker dead in freak storm SAFETY A construction worker was killed and two injured when lightning struck the roof-top of a two-storey house under construction in Bahrain in December – believed to be the first such incident of its kind in the Kingdom. A spokesman from the Ministry of Labour’s safety department said the labourer was believed to have died instantly when he was struck by lightning in Hamad Town. His colleagues suffered “medium injures” and are receiving treatment in hospital. The investigating safety officer, Hussein Sharmy, described the incident as a freak accident but said none of the men were wearing protective safety gear, which could possibly have prevented the severity of the impact. “A safety helmet would have offered some protection, and wearing safety shoes would have isolated the body and prevented the current from reaching the ground,” he said. “It would not have stopped the workers being injured, but it may have slightly lessened the impact, maybe enough to save this man’s life.” Sharmy said the contractor, Mohammed Saif Ajlan Almannai Contracting Company who was employed by the Ministry of Housing for the project, will be taken to court for not ensuring its workers used appropriate safety equipment.Sharmy said the Labour Ministry had no regulations for working during lighting storms.

1:700.000 Odds of being hit by lightning according to an American study

PMV Middle East \\ January 2010

Drill operator cleared of murder TRAIL An operator accused of deliberately crushing a worker to death with a drilling rig on a construction site in Bahrain was cleared of murder by Bahrain’s High Criminal Court in December. The defendant may still face criminal charges for the accidental death which occurred in October last year at the Tubli flyover project, currently under construction by Nass Contracting. In court the prosecution alleged that the 31-year-old drilling machine operator for Keller piling contractors, deliberately rammed and killed a 32year-old JCB digger operator for Al Haidariya Heavy Equipment Hiring. The pair was reportedly involved in a heated argument over a minor accident between their vehicles moments before. However a project manager, who also works for Keller, told the court that although he arrived on the

Machines similar to these were involved in a terrible incident in Bahrain

scene after the incident, he was sure Sebastian’s death was not deliberate due to the positioning of the vehicles. It was argued that the JCB could only make a 90 degree turn. Defence lawyer Fatima Al Hawaj, who cross-examined the project manager, argued that her client was charged with premeditated murder

because witnesses claimed his drilling machine made a full turn, thereby hitting the JCB digger and crushing the operator. Al Hawaj requested the court to release the suspect as he has been in jail for a year, but judges refused and adjourned the trial until January 4 for the final defence statement.

New contract for troubled tower CONTRACTS Global consultancy Hill International has been awarded a contract to provide project and construction services for the Qatar Silhouette Tower – Intercontinental Hotel and Conference Centre in Doha. A recent statement from Hill said the company’s role is to manage the completion of the 59-storey tower, which has suffered several delays and internal problems since construction began in 2006. The statement did not reveal the cost of the contract, but said the current construction cost is estimated at $400 million (QR 1.5 billion), with a completion period of 16 months. The tower, which includes 365 hotel rooms and 180 serviced apartments, was previously expected to open in March 2009.

Qatar Islamic Bank is financing the project for the owner Mohamed Bin Ajaj Al Kubaisi. Hill was also recently awarded a contract to provide project management services during the construction of the Al Waab Mall project in Doha.

A statement from Hill said the Al Waab Mall will be a 3-storey retail development with parking facilities for 1,300 cars located in the Fereej Al Amir District at the centre of Doha City. The US $110m project is expected to be completed by January 2012.

A new contract should finally allow the Silhouette tower to rise from the dust.

www.constructionweekonline.com


008 REGIONAL NEWS Business Briefs In Erratum Last month we attributed the final quote of the ‘Financing’ feature to Mohit Rajpal when it should have been Khalid Pappert, who was also present at the session. The World Far from being at a standstill, developer European Kleindienst Group is about to start to build holiday villas on Nakheel’s The World project. “We have interests in industrial, commercial, hospitality and residential real estate, but The World is where we now see the strongest market potential,” explained Kleindienst Group chief executive Josef Kleindienst. Sad farewell A moment of silence please for Contract Journal. After no less than 130 years in print, the UK-based publishers decided to pull the plug on this famous old construction trade magazine. Tower cranes The Committee for European Construction Equipment endorses a campaign by major tower crane manufacturers to ensure the EN 14439 product standard for tower cranes. The directive issues rules about ergonomics, operation and, surprisingly, noise levels. KSA merger Eleven contracting firms are set to merge to form the Saudi Consolidated Contracting Company, worth US $1 billion (SR4 billion), it has been announced.

8 tonnes Amount of rebar stolen from a building site

PMV Middle East \\ January 2010

Crane driver is accidental thief

A crane driver unwittingly moved a pile of steel reinforcing bar in order that another employee could load it on a truck and steal it.

HUMAN RESOURCE An operator unwittingly became an accessory in a brazen heist of eight tonnes of steel rods, the Dubai court of first instance has heard. The driver alleges that a site foreman asked him to remove the metal from a pit. What the crane driver did not know was that the foreman, and an accomplice who

also worked for the firm planned to steal the rebar, presumably to sell it to another contractor. In an interesting twist, another employee, a Lebanese engineer, has come forward to say that the Pakistani foreman had threatened the Nepalese accomplice with death if he did not comply with his demands. “When I discovered that

the big load of steel rods was not in the site, I asked the second defendant about it. He alleged that the foreman stole the load from the site at night,” the engineer is quoted as saying. Despite taking place at around 9pm, there were witnesses. One told the court that he saw the steel being loaded onto the truck, and presumed it was just part of normal operations.

Venue change for PMV Show EXPO The venue for the Saudi PMV Show has changed from the King Abdullah Economic City to Jeddah Gate, a short distance away from the original site. All other details and exhibitors remain the same: the show will enjoy a similar sized surface area and the dates – between the 7th and 9th of March 2010 are unchanged. New exhibitors have been signing up thick and fast. Recently, two starlwarts of the last two events, Zahid Tractor and Atlas Machinery have confirmed their largest ever stands, while other top brands such as Toyota will be making its first appearance at the show. Speaking about the event show director Kimon Alexandrou said; “The Saudi PMV show is designed to bring discussion on how major projects impact on their business”

Back bigger than ever, the Saudi PMV show has more exhibitors than previous years.

“Hundreds of billions of dollars will be invested in the construction and fit out of these major projects. The question for the cranes & machinery market is how do we resource this expansion program?

These are all things that will be discussed at the show.” For more information about the event, including how to attend, click on: www.saudipmvshow.com

www.constructionweekonline.com


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010 BUYERS GUIDE

Buying: Large used ‘dozers The heaviest bulldozers can become money pits if not correctly operated and maintained It’s weird, but the bulldozer, for all the destruction it can wreak is often seen as a sign of peace and prosperity. Bulldozers are used for construction, and wherever there are tracks and a blade, chances are there is new investment and ambition behind them. It stands to reason then, that there is a huge market for these machines, especially with the number of road building projects going on in the region. In fact several very heavy models more usually suited to quarry work are battling the elements in a bid to grade the way for. While a number of manufactures have brought super-heavy class bulldozers into the region over the years, the two major players are Komatsu and Caterpillar. Without looking at the brand decals the easiest way to tell the two apart is the position of the drive sprocket. Komatsu models have ‘flat’ tracks, while all Cat D8, D9, D10 and D11 models built after the 1970s have the treads form a triangular shape at the rear. This is known as the ‘High Drive’ system and it eliminated the traditional final drive system in favour of one that uses planetary gears capable of withstanding more torquesince it spreads the forces over multiple gear teeth instead of a single tooth as in the traditional system. The reason for this design is to make the system modular for easier maintenance, as well as protecting the drive init from the worst of the dirt and the grit.The disadvantage of the system is that track life can be reduced, due to extra movement between the planetary gear and the track, although Cat say this problem has been eliminated with the addition of a sealed lubrication package.

PMV Middle East \\ January 2010

The main point to check on any used bulldozer is the condition of the undercarriage. Very large machines are rare at auction.

According to Keith Lupton of World Wide Auctions, the main point to check on any used bulldozer is the undercarriage. “Check the condition of items such as the idlers and the final drive sprocket. If you can shave with the teeth it won’t have been doing the tracks any good and a rebuild can be very expensive” he said. He added that the very large ‘Cat dozers such as the D10 and D11 are rare items at auction, although some do appear from time to time as the Abu Dhabi government apparently owned a fleet at one stage. More common in the heavy class is the D9L, as these are popular in the region’s quarries, though they are usually being sold for a reason. “These machines work extremely hard, and even though the sand might have made the blade look clean and shiny, very often the frame is bent and torn.” He pointed out that the maintenance on larger models is expensive too.

“Check the condition of items such as the idlers and the final drive sprocket. If you can shave with the teeth it won’t have been doing the tracks any good” - Keith Lupton

Tracks sagging like this suggest that the machine to which they belong is scrap.

www.constructionweekonline.com


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012 NEWS FEATURE

Good grades for GPS road project The latest machine automation hits one of the world’s least developed areas for a giant build reporting improved quality and earlier completion at different stages of the road build.

GRADER

Grading is much faster with the modern machine.

Two Cat 14M motor graders equipped with the firm’s own AccuGrade dual GPS systems with cross-slope capability are part of an extensive fleet of equipment that includes seven track-type tractors, five excavators, two wheeled loaders and six graders being used for road construction and refurbishment in the African republic of Burundi. Owned by contractor Sogea-Satom and supplied by dealer Tractafric, the graders join a D7R II already on site, allowing the three machines to boost performance and productivity on the road project by sharing the machine control systems according to job progress. While the initial requirement was to equip both 14M motor grades with dual GPS systems, the ability to also have a track-type tractor with guidance was reckoned to offer significant benefits with earthmoving activity ahead of road formation. SATELLITE These two are the first satellitebased systems being used by the contractor to replace traditional surveying and staking methods on its earthmoving projects. The

PMV Middle East \\ January 2010

system is being thoroughly trialled on three road projects in Burundi that are valued at €70m. These include the 35-kilometre RN14 Kirundo-Gaseyni trunk road, the 104-kilometre RN12 Gitega-Muyinga trunk road and 31-kilometre of road and pavement refurbishment in the capital, Bujumbura. It is reckoned that Sogea-Satom will implement this new technology in its processes in Africa, to improve machine performance and productivity on the three road building projects. The longest section of road is the RN12 which runs through a mountainous region some 15001600 metres above sea level and is heavily shadowed by trees and vegetation that could, in some areas mask satellite signals for the system. Despite this, Sogea-Satom reports that after 12 months of using the systems on-site, the equipment has given +/- 1 cm accuracy when the road formation is surveyed. Sogea-Satom reports that the first application for AccuGrade was with the D7R, removing 30 centimetres of poor material to allow foundation and road base materials to be installed. Previously, this requirement was

met using an excavator and just one truck, with productivity at just 100 metres a day. And in many instances, up to 50 centimetres of material was being unnecessarily removed. Using the D7R with the system, 100 metres of road were completed in 30 minutes, vastly improving productivity. With the new motor graders, the quality of work has been dramatically improved too, compared to relying on stakes every 25 metres. On-site surveyors now have more time for data preparation and grade checking, and they have been

From H to M series, the grader line becam a lot simpler to use (see the top tips feature) This new generation no longer uses a traditional control layout, but a pair of joysticks with each offering seven control functions that fall to hand easily, compared to the levers of its predecessor. Collectively, these two sticks reduce hand and wrist movement by as much as 78 percent compared to conventional lever controls says Cat, which has carried out a motion study comparing its two operating systems. In simple terms, the lefthand stick is used for machine driving, while the right-hand stick controls the mouldboard. Linked with GPS machine control, the machine has given the contractor the potential to grade much more road distance on a daily basis, compared to traditional methods. Being able to grade faster has needed better management of the truck cycle to ensure there’s enough material brought to the graders to prevent idle time.

Setting up the base receiver for a high-tech road construction job in Burundi.

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014 NEWS FEATURE

Boom time for power station Long-reach boom pumps and bulk material conveyors at power plant construction site FLEET MIX CRUCIAL The order to deliver over 220,000 m³ of concrete was received by the concrete pumping service Beka in Kerpen. Crucial in the assignment was the fleet composition of the pumping service, which consists of over 40 truck-mounted concrete pumps. Thus, in addition to machines from the 20, 30 and 40 metre class, the firm also has three M 52-5s, three M 58-5s and two M 62-6s. Due to the vast boom lengths and large working range, made possible by the machine’s arms which have up to six joints, Also, long-reach boom pumps gave it a crucial advantage in the invitation to tender. In addition, there was the possibility of supporting the large 5 and 6-axle trucks in OSS mode on one side, if the construction site conditions allow for this.

55M STATIONARY BOOM The long boom and telebelt technology is similar to that being used at Jeddah port.

An energy supplier is investing around EUR 2bn in the construction of one of the world’s most efficient coal power plants with a total output of 1,600 Megawatts. The placement of around 250,000 m³ concrete of different property classes and consistencies is predominantly carried out using truck-mounted concrete pumps with up to 62 m placing boom height and two stationary placing booms. Interestingly, a Telebelt telescoping conveyor belt is also used on the vast construction site to deliver the different bulk materials in a construction plan which is similar to the current refurb works at Jeddah port. The construction of the new power plant includes a building

PMV Middle East \\ January 2010

complex of engine and boiler houses, switching system buildings and water centre, four stair towers, seven silos with up to 10,000 m³ capacity for limestone, cement and ash as well as two 165 m high cooling towers.

An interesting interaction between truck-mounted concrete pumps and stationary concrete placing booms can be seen during concreting of the power houses: The two PM stationary booms with 32 m horizontal reach are supported on a tubular column, or on a lattice tower, which is extended to up to 55 m in height

A total 220,000m3 of concrete was used.

as the construction progresses. Via a special tube support system, the delivery line is secured on the lattice tower. It is supplied with concrete at the bottom end by one of the BEKA truck-mounted concrete pumps. Both the outer walls of the four stair towers, which are up to 120 m high, and the seven silos, which are up to 70 m high, are constructed using the sliding formwork procedure. It is important when concreting with sliding formwork that the concrete composition is adapted to the respective outside temperature and sliding speed. Dipl.-Ing. Andreas Michnik, head of work preparation at the construction site said: “As the concrete is placed round the clock here, but only relatively small placement jobs are required, we work with a crane bucket.”

NEW COAL POWER PLANT WITH EXEMPLARY HIGH EFFICIENCY The two new power plant blocks of RWE Power AG in HammUentrop will be fired with coal and petrol coke. With an efficiency of approx. 46%, the new two-block plant will be one of the most modern and efficient coal power plants in the world. A lot of concrete needs to be poured for this build, as the silos will stand 70m high.

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016 CRANE TALK

SERVICING ISSUES We drop in at a mobile crane rental firm to learn more about maintaining these giants

Y

ou see them everywhere – still. Mobile cranes are still about to lend a boom whenever the need arises, though as Arty Wartanain, general manager of Gallagher International – a regional mobile hire firm, points out: “A lot of our business at the moment is about removing tower cranes – it’s a growth industry at the moment.” The fleet of more than 50 units at the firm is in constant use, with a number of brands and sizes and models in action, so it is important to keep the fleet going at all times. so constant maintenance is one of the key factors here. As the facility in Jebel Ali has all the machines and facilities to maintain the fleet, cranes belong-

PMV Middle East \\ January 2010

ing to other customers are welcome to be booked in. During our visit a team of technicians were busy stripping the brake drums from a crane belonging to another rental company. Many of the staff have been with the company a great number of years, with a few of the staff having been there from around the time of the company’s inception in the early 1970s.

VANS Mobile servicing is also an important part of the business. To this end, the firm has purchased a pair of Iveco vans, which have been kitted out with a workbench and vice, as well as all the tools as well as the grease, fluids and materials needed to service the cranes on

site. “Being able to do this means no downtime. Keeping the cranes ‘up’ at all times helps the client, just as it helps us” said workshop manager Simon Abraham. The vans can go wherever the cranes work, enabling the technicians to work on practically anything. At this point, we thought it would be useful to have a look at some of the OSHA guidelines, as followed by this firm, to learn more about the best way to keep these mobile machines working safely.

BRAKES It’s not just the lifting gear that it is important to maintain. These are also vehicles that get driven in the region’s hectic road traffic, so keeping the cranes running is important.

There are four basic principles that govern a crane’s mobility and safety during lifting operations, namely the centre of gravity, the amount of leverage, stability and structural integrity. The centre of gravity of any object is the point in the object where its weight can be assumed to be concentrated or, more simply put, it is the point in the object around which its weight is evenly distributed. The location of the centre of gravity of a mobile crane depends primarily on the weight and location of its heaviest components (boom, carrier, upperworks and counterweight). Leverage Cranes use the principle of leverage to lift loads. Rotation of the upperworks www.constructionweekonline.com


017

CRANE TALK

MOBILE CRANE MAINTENANCE CHECKLIST (AS RECOMMENDED BY OSHA)

WINCH Testing the cables andwinches of the mobile cranes is a regular occurance.

BRAKES Maintaining the roadgoing elements of the crane is just as important as the superstructure.

(cab, boom, counterweight, load) changes the location of the crane’s centre of gravity, its leverage point or ‘fulcrum’. As the upperworks rotates, the leverage of a mobile crane fluctuates. This rotation causes the crane’s centre of gravity to change www.constructionweekonline.com

and causes the distance between the crane’s centre of gravity and its tipping axis to also change. Stability can be affected by the fluctuating leverage the crane exerts on the load as it swings. The crane’s rated capacity is therefore altered in the load chart to compensate for those changes in leverage. Stability is the relationship of the load weight, angle of the boom and its radius to the centre

1. Check that all exposed moving parts are guarded. A removed guard may indicate that a mechanic is still working on part of the crane. 2. Visually inspect each component of the crane used in lifting, swinging, or lowering the load or boom for any defects that might result in unsafe operation. 3. Inspect all wire rope (including standing ropes), sheaves, drums rigging, hardware, and attachments. Remember, any hook that is deformed or cracked must be removed from service. Hooks with cracks, excessive throat openings of 15%, or hook twists of 10 degrees or more, must be removed from service. 4. Check for freedom of rotation of all swivels. 5. Visually inspect the boom and jib for straightness and any evidence of physical damage, such as cracking, bending, or any other deformation of the welds. Look for corrosion under any attachments that are connected to the chords and lacing. Watch carefully for cracking or flaking of paint. This may indicate fatigue of the metal which often precedes a failure. On lattice booms, look for bent lacing. If they are kinked or bent, the main chord can lose substantial support in

that area. When lacing is bent, the ends also tend to draw together which pulls the main chords out of shape. This precaution is especially important on tubular booms where every component must be straight and free from any dents. Do not attempt to straighten these members by hammering or heating them and drawing them out. They must be cut out and replaced with lacing to the manufacturer’s specifications, procedures, and approval. 6. Inspect tires for cuts, tears, breaks, and proper inflation. 7. Visually inspect the crane for fluid leaks, both air and hydraulic. 8. Visually check that the crane is properly lubricated. The fuel, lubricating oil, coolant and hydraulic oil reservoirs should be filled to proper levels. 9. Check that the crane is equipped with a fully charged fire extinguisher and that the operator knows how to use it. 10. Check all functional operating mechanisms such as: sheaves, drums, brakes, locking mechanisms, hooks, the boom, jib, hook rollers brackets, outrigger components, limit switches, safety devices, hydraulic cylinders, instruments, and lights.

January 2010 \\ PMV Middle East


018 CRANE TALK of gravity of the load. The stability of a crane could also be affected by the support on which the crane is resting. A crane’s load rating is generally developed for operations under ideal conditions, i.e., a level firm surface. Surfaces that are not level, or soft ground therefore must be avoided. In areas where soft ground poses a support problem for stability, mats and or blocking should be used to distribute a crane’s load and maintain a level stable condition.

LIFTING Accidents can be avoided by careful job planning.

STRUCTURE In addition to overturning, the

Stability failures are foreseeable, but in structural failure it is almost impossible to predict what component will fail at any given time. No matter what the cause, if the crane is overloaded, structural failure can occur. As stated above, cranes are carefully designed, tested, and manufactured for safe operations. When used properly they can provide safe reliable service to lift or move loads. Because cranes have the ability to lift heavy loads to great heights, they also have an increased potential for catastrophic accidents if safe. operating practices are not followed.

PLANNING

LEGS Outriggers are vital for the correct working of a mobile crane.

structure of cranes can fail if overloaded. Structural failure may occur before a stability failure. In other words, a mobile crane’s structure may fail long before it tips. As loads are added beyond its rated capacity, a crane may fail structurally before there is any sign of tipping. Structural failure is not limited to total fracture; it includes all permanent damage such as overstressing, bending and twisting of any of the components. When a crane is overstressed, the damage may not be apparent. Nevertheless, a structural failure has occurred and overstressed components are then subject to catastrophic failure at some future time.

PMV Middle East \\ January 2010

“Keeping the cranes ‘up’ as much as possible helps the clients as it helps us, which is why we have mobile servicing” - Simon Abraham The crane’s main frame, crawler track or outrigger supports, boom sections, and attachments are all considered part of the structural integrity of lifting. in addition, all wire ropes, including stationary supports or attachment points, help determine lifting capacity and are part of the overall structural integrity of a crane’s lifting

capacity. The following elements may also affect structural integrity and these are the load chart capacity in relationship to stability and the boom angle limitations which affect stability and maximum capacity. Additionally, the knowledge of the length of boom and radius in determining capacity.

Accidents can be avoided by careful job planning. The person in charge must have a clear understanding of the work to be performed and consider all potential dangers at the job site. A safety plan must be developed for the job and must be explained to all personnel involved in the lift. Before operations begin for the day, a walk around inspection needs to be conducted to ensure that the machine is in proper working condition. Only qualified and properly designated people shall operate the crane. Regular inspections are important, they provide a means of detecting potential hazards or conditions that could contribute to a sequence of events leading to an accident. Safe, reliable, and the economic operation of lifting equipment, cannot be ensured without regular safety inspections and thorough preventive maintenance programs. A thorough inspection program can forecast maintenance needs or potential equipment failures or malfunctions. The lack of such a program could result in serious deterioration of the equipment which might lead to excessive replacement, or repair charges, as well as an increased potential for accidents. www.constructionweekonline.com


020 IN PICTURES

MACHINE MONTH Stories you might have missed from the world of machines last month Big man walking A giant puppet being constructed for some modern street theatre in Glasgow gets dressed with the help of a Genie Z-45/25J RT cherry picker. The puppet – called ‘Big Man Walking’ can apparently stride around of its own accord, and is going to ‘walk’ between Scottish cities as part of the arts initiative.

Dam down Ironically, water is being used to knock down a dam in Sweden. Hydrodemolition techniques are being used for the refurbishment contract on Sweden’s Jäpströmmen hydropower station dam wall and

PMV Middle East \\ January 2010

three spillway gates using Aquajet’s Aqua Cutter robotic equipment; including underwater operations and night-time temperatures of -25ºC. The dam will be replaced with a bigger one over the next few years.

www.constructionweekonline.com


021

IN PICTURES

H China blast Two parallel railway tunnels 32.6 km long are being driven through the Guanjiao mountain range in western China at an altitude of nearly 3,500m. It is the longest tunneling project that has ever been undertaken in China. Specially modified Putzmeister equipment has been brought in to deal with shotcrete and the problems encountered with thin air and extremely low temperatures. We’d be interested to see how the locomotives cope at that altitude.

Burj nearly there The last Favelle crane came down from the Burj Dubai some months ago, but the opening date has been pushed back to January 4th, meaning the project is running a year late. Besides obvious technical challenges in building an 800m-plus tower, the project has been delayed by a problem with the cladding supplier, materiel shortages and industrial action.

An all-terrain crane from BTB-Logistik lifts the top part of an east German watch tower back into place in the so called ‘death strip’ of a preserved segment of the Berlin wall

www.constructionweekonline.com

Red cranes A number of craned have been selected from the German maker Wolffkran to build a new tower in Frankfurt. While 185m is no great achievement here in Dubai, it will be the tallest building on the local skyline. Additionally, the contractors have to work to an extremely tight schedule, with completion in 2011.

on November 6, 2009, ahead of celebrations marking the 20th anniversary of the wall’s fall three days later. The segment, part of the ‘wall memorial’, is currently being extended.

January 2010 \\ PMV Middle East


022 TOP LIST

ROAD BUILDING

MACHINES While the theory of roadbuilding hasn’t changed much, the machinery to do it with certainly has. so we’ve put together a list of some of the newest advances in technology

1

BULLDOZERS

Before a single groove can be cut into the ground, the surface needs to be clear of shrubbery, root balls, chunks of building waste and any other debris that you might find littering the site. For this, a bulldozer will first need to blast it’s way through this junk, before returning with it’s ripper down to clear a channel. Of course, given that you are reading this magazine, you will be only too familiar with what a bulldozer does and if you need them on site you probably have a good idea of which model to choose. However, there are a number of interesting new technologies

2

that have been launched over the last year, the most fascinating of which is the new electric drive Cat D7E. Unlike previous attempts at dual power tractors, it really does work with an electric motor all the time, with the energy needed generated by a diesel power pack, rather like a diesel/electric train. Besides using a very precise amount of fuel, enabling site managers to plan for the amount of it needed on site. The electric motors are said to give a massive amount of torque – one reviewer found recently that the blade was if anything too small for the abundance of power on offer.

PAVERS

The news on pavers is that of increased efficiency, rather than any radical change in the way that they work – after all, the concept of using a screw to provide an even flow has been around since the time of Archimedes. You are most likely aware that pavers are specified by width, but you might not know that engineers are busy working on ways to bring vibration down to a minimum. This

PMV Middle East \\ January 2010

isn’t just for the comfort of the operator, but also helps lay the screed evenly Special dampers help iron out the vibes on the new Dynapack SD series, for example, while this range also offers the choice of traditional gas burners to heat the screed or an electric furnace, including one with a ‘high compaction electric screed’ which is said to lower those greenhouse-warming CO2 emissions. www.constructionweekonline.com


023

TOP TIPS LIST

S 3

ELECTRONICS ELECTR

Road building ing has always been an art where doing it properly the first time really pays off – anyone who had to try to navigate Dubai’s flooded industrial back roads during the recent rain will know what we mean. As mentioned, the use of chains, stakes and string is still commonplace in the industry, as is the use of older theodolite equipment for surveying. Doing it this way requires a surveyor who knows exactly what his job is, and more specifically, needs extremely precise machine operators who can follow the stakes. These days devices know as ‘total sta-

4

tions’ ccan accurately and automatically take measurements, with the aid of GPS positioning and laser levels for accuracy. The fact that it can take dozens of measurements and automatically relay them to a computer means that the surveyor gen get on with other things, wile still being able to have a most exact picture of what it happening on the cleared ground. “The client can walk in at any time to ask how the project is progressing and we gan give them an accurate response” said Peter Silvius, a chief surveyor at Van Oord.

MACHINE AUTOMATION

The next step from having total stations is to examine machine automation. Often covered in these pages, so far it is only used by a few contractors in this region, though those that do can see a clear advantage in the amount of production. Walid Daher from Bin Narwi, a contractor that has employed the methods said: “As many as seven bulldozers can follow the path graded by the first machine.” He added that he was extremely greatful for the system, having www.constructionweekonline.com

used it in the past for other sites. “On this system, you just need to teach the operator how to use it, and he can do the job of both supervisor and foreman” he said. Mick Hales, from system manufacturer Topcon said: “Different people will tell you different, things, but I’m pretty sure [the Bin Narwi sites] will get triple the productivity from each ‘dozer.” Add the cost and time savings up, and you will see they make sense for most larger roadbuilding projects.

January 2010 \\ PMV Middle East


026 TOP LIST

5

ROLLERS

Having cut and filled the roadbed, the next step is to use a compaction roller. One of the best known developments in vibratory compactors is the oscillation With dynamic compaction systems the compaction performance of a roller can be clearly improved. These systems are based on the fact to stimulate the surface by vibrations in such a way that a grain relocation can take place into a closer position. With the vibration compaction the material which has to be compacted is set in vibration by vertical forces. Oscillation rollers are particularly demanded for bridges. They allow high compaction performance and produce no damaging vibrations. Just on such buildings the bitumen cools down faster by the sea breeze. That is no problem for the oscillation because with oscillation it is possible to work on even lower bitumen temperatures.

6

ASPHALT PLANT ASPHA

The smell of the hot tar mix x might be an acquired taste, but taste bu the technology of the mixing drum has not changed that much in recent years, except the accuracy and the amount the drum can produce has increased significantly. The main thing to know about asphalt plant is that two types exist, one with a batch heater which weighs the raw aggregates into a heater drum, where the batch is then heated up to

PMV Middle East \\ January 2010

temperature. The hot aggregate is discharged into a mixing drum where filler and binder are added. The blend is mixed and discharged either directly into the delivery vehicles or into a small weighing and collecting hopper. To increase throughput, the heater can be heating the next batch while the previous is being mixed. Batch heater plant is used where short production runs are common (a different recipe can

be used on each mix) or where total volume is low. Mobile batch heaters are available.The other type of asphalt plant is known as a continuous mixer. In the continuous plant, raw aggregate is brought up from ground hoppers at a precisely controlled rate and fed into a heater drum similar to that used in the asphalt plant. Once heated it is immediately coated in the same drum (with

the binder spraybars situated behind the burner) or in a smaller drum situated immediately behind it. Finished product is almost invariably discharged into a hot store rather than directly into delivery vehicles. Changing mix is achieved by varying the feed rates of the aggregate, filler and binder feeders, with time delays so that the change of blend occurs at the same point in the coating drum. www.constructionweekonline.com


027

TOP LIST

A STICKY SITUATION Tar was first used to coat the streets of what is now Baghdad, however modern asphalt is very different to the old goo – for a start, the modern material has a compound of aggregate in the mix, to help keep it bound together whatever the heat. Asphalt is typically stored and transported at temperatures around 300 degrees Fahrenheit (150°C). Some dump trucks route the hot engine exhaust through pipes in the dump body to keep the material warm. The backs of tippers carrying asphalt, as well as some handling equipment, are also commonly sprayed with a releasing agent before filling to aid release.

7

PROGRAMMABLE LOGIC CONTROLLERS

Precise control of the mix is an absolute necessity, Modern plant will usually use a computer-based system known as programmable logic controllers. Similar to the process control on a concrete batching plant, a series of gates can be set to open and close at precise intervals, thereby ensuring a perfect mix. This is all linked a computer, and very often to a computer network so that a plant manager can control the mix along a vast stretch of highway with a number of plant for example. Traditionally, this industry has regarded the advancement of such computer control with some suspicion, but more and more plant managers are now seeing the financial advantages.

8

GRADER

Graders are known as being the trickiest items on site to drive. The most common ‘old’ graders were the Caterpillar H or G series – which required the operator to be supremely well coordinated and probably with prehensile legs and feet. Fortunately, the latest generation of graders have dealt with these problems. The M-series from Cat for example has dispensed with the multitude of levers, and even the steering wheel, in favour of two joysticks mounted on the end of the armrests. These sticks, with a number of ‘fire’ buttons control pretty much all of the functions of the machine, with www.constructionweekonline.com

a readout making it as simple as anything else on site to drive. Visibility is increased too, as the new machine has a six-sided cabin with a massive glass area, which enables the operator to see the circle of the mold-

board. There are loads of other improvements as well, such as the compatibility with the company’s patented satalite guidance system – all of which make for a safer and much more productive piece of kit.

Those who think new technology means higher maintenance can think again. Shims and other wear parts have been designed to be accessible, as the old models had a reputation for being difficult to work on.

January 2010 \\ PMV Middle East


028 COUNTRY PROFILE

SAUDI FOCUS CITY PROFILE: MADINAH, SAUDI ARABIA

M

adinah or Medina is a city that is not only planning to go far, but also creating options for those wishing to stay put As the second holiest city in Islam, and a vital destination as part of the Hajj, it should come as no surprise to learn that improving access in and out of Madinah takes the highest construction priority. The city is one of several stops scheduled for the Haramain high-speed rail project, which will link Madinah with Makkah, Jeddah and the King Abdul Aziz International Airport area. The first contract, worth US $1.8 billion (SAR6.8 billion) for the Makkah-Madinah portion of the high-speed railway contract was been awarded to a Saudi-French-Chinese consortium of developers.

TOP PROJECTS (US$) Knowledge Economic City 7 billion Haramain high-speed rail 6 billion

LIFT Madinah is currently a magnet for heavy machinery.

PMV Middle East \\ January 2010

The Al-Rajhi construction group together with France’s Alstom and China Railway Engineering won the civil works contract. The contract is the first stage of a $6 billion plan to build a 444km high-speed railroad linking the two Islamic holy cities of Makkah and Madinah through the Red Sea port city of Jeddah. The project aims to ferry hundreds of thousands of pilgrims at speeds reaching 360km per hour. However, more static projects are also planned for the city. Madinah will be the site of Knowledge Economic City, a $7bn new city project developed by the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA). The 4.8 million m² development will include medical, health, science, multimedia, education and biotechnology services, a hi-tech park for knowledge-based industries with potential for cutting-edge fit-out contracts, and an educational theme park. The project contrasts somewhat with what is currently available in Madinah, in terms of new construction, but the project’s concept designer remains confident in its future.

SAUDI ARABIA SETS RECORD US $144 BILLION BUDGET

BUDGET More Riyals allocated to construction is good news for plant owners.

Saudi Arabia has unveiled the largest budget in its history, projecting expenditures at US $144 billion (SR 540 billion) and revenues at $125 billion. The budget expenditure has increased by 14% compared to 2009 and has a deficit of $18.6 billion. It is the second consecutive annual budget deficit for the Kingdom. “We’ll channel our financial resources to areas which require more spending in order to boost economic growth and development, make our economy more attractive for investment, and create more jobs for Saudis,” said King Abdullah in his address to the nation regarding the new budget. Arab News reported that $36.5 billion was allocated towards new projects in education and training which covers 1,200 schools, new universities in Dammam, AlKharj, Majmaa and Shaqra, the completion of campuses of existing universities and the establishment of new technical colleges and vocational institutes. $16.3 billion was allocated for health and social development, including eight new hospitals and the expansion of 19 existing hospitals. Allocations for the water, industrial and agricultural sector amounted to 12.3 billion, which included funds for infrastructure projects required by mineral industries in Ras Al-Zour. The municipal service sector will receive $5.9 billion, and the transport and telecom sector $6.4 billion. www.constructionweekonline.com


029

TENDERS

TENDERS BAHRAIN Issuer: Ministry of Health Tender No: 325/2009/5310 Description: The supply of an 11KV VCB switch board panel for Sheikh Khalid Al Ali Mall. Closes: December 23 Fees: BD15 Contact: Tender Submission Office, 7th floor, Tender Board Office at Al Moayyed Tower, Manama.

EGYPT Issuer: Egyptian Railways Integrated Services Company Description: Engineering, design, installation and commissioning of four stationary train washing systems in Cairo. Closes: January 24 Fees: EP5000 Bond: EP200,000 Contact: The Railways Workshops, Al Farz, El Sharabiya, Cairo

OMAN Issuer: Oman Power and Water Procurement Company Tender No: 353/2009 Description: Provision of a temporary rental power to Oman’s main interconnected system. Closes: December 21 Fees: OR1500 Contact: www.tenderboard.gov.om Issuer: Ministry of Education Tender No: 313/2009 Description: Construction of 20 classrooms in a boy’s basic education school in Al Khrayis, Wilayat Al Seeb. Closes: December 21 Fees: OR330 Contact: www.tenderboard.gov.om Issuer: Ministry of Health www.constructionweekonline.com

Tender No: 312/2009 Description: Construction of a health centre in Al Ajaiz. Closes: December 21 Fees: OR500 Contact: www.tenderboard.gov.om Issuer: Public Authority for Electricity and Water Tender No: 324/2009 Description: Construction of chlorination unit in Al Khoud Reservoir. Closes: December 28 Fees: OR200 Contact: www.tenderboard.gov.om Issuer: Majis Industrial Services Tender No: 332/2009 Description: Construction of a seawater intake pumping station in Sohar. Closes: December 28 Fees: OR125 Contact: www.tenderboard.gov.om Issuer: Ministry of Manpower Tender No: 326/2009 Description: Construction of a vocational training centre at Al Burami. Closes: January 4 Fees: OR1450 Contact: www.tenderboard.gov.om

QATAR Issuer: Public Works Authority Tender No: PWA/GTC/053/09-10 Description: Construction, completion and maintenance for modifications and additions to existing schools around Doha. Closes: December 22 Fees: QR2000 Contact: Contract department, Public Works Authority

. Closes: December 29 Fees: QR4000 Contact: Contract department, Public Works Authority Issuer: Public Works Authority Tender No: PWA/GTC/051/09-10 Description: Construction, completion and maintenance of administration offices and car parking for the Supreme Council of Justice. Closes: January 5 Fees: QR1500 Contact: Contract department, Public Works Authority

SAUDI ARABIA Issuer: Ministry of Transport Description: Construction of Bisha dual carriageway in Makkah. Closes: December 21 Contact: www.mot.gov.s Issuer: Saline Water Conversion Corporation

ONE TO WATCH... Issuer: Abu Dhabi Education Council Description: Construction of 18 new schools. Open date: March 2010 Project value: unknown Contact: Abu Dhabi Education Council, PO Box 36005, Abu Dhabi.

Issuer: Public Works Authority Tender No: PWA/GTC/056/09-10 Description: Civil works in Ain-Khalid

January 2010 \\ PMV Middle East


JEDDAH GATE, JEDDAH, KSA


031

PRODUCTS

LATEST PRODUCTS

Tools and toys to help you with the job in hand

DYNAPAC PAVER Mentioned elsewhere in this issue, the new Dynapac SD series tracked pavers offer a number of improvements over previous models. The main development is much reduced vibration, thanks to some clever engineering. This not only ensures that the operator doesn’t get shaken to bits, but also helps a smooth flow of screed. The new range features a choice between a traditional gas heating element, or a more environmentally friendly electric unit. www. dynapac.com

JUNGHEINRICH FORKLIFT Jungheinrich has improved operator comfort and safety on its Series 4 and 5 electric counterbalance forklifts. The forklifts are now supplied as standard with either Jungheinrich’s solo-pilot or multi-pilot control systems integrated into a vertically and horizontally adjustable armrest. Safety features that have been introduced to the 4 and 5 Series as standard include Jungheinrich’s Curve Control which reduces the truck’s drive speed as it enters a corner and automatic parking brake that intelligently monitors the truck’s workplace. www. jungheinrich.com

BOBCAT MINI TRACK LOADER There is no respite to this brand launching either new, or improvements to existing products. The latest offering is the new, and very small T110 tracked skidsteer. At just 1.2 m wide and less than 2.3 m long without attachment, it is driven by a four cylinder, 31.2 kW Kubota V2403 naturally aspirated diesel engine running at 2200 rpm. The model offers a rated operating capacity of 505 kg and a tipping load of 1443 kg. At 101 dB(A), the bystander noise level is significantly lower than the required by various new EU directives. Also, new cushioned engine mounts ensure minimal vibrations. www. bobcat.eu www.constructionweekonline.com

January 2010 \\ PMV Middle East


032 BACK TRACK

POCLAIN Far left: A TY45 model model. Over 30,000 built, but now a rare sight. Top: The EC1000 marked a turning point for Poclain.

A TALE OF A BAD BAIL OUT Once the largest excavator manufacturer in the world, Poclain had a rapid change in fortunes

W

hen looking at excavators around the Middle East, you will see any number of brands, old and new toiling away in the dust. While most of them will be from one of two wellknown marques, there are countless others that were either bought long ago, or have been bought cheaply at auction since. It isn’t uncommon to see Kobelco machines working alongside Hysters and Atlas’s. We even saw a Zeppelin creaking away in Jumeriah recently. One brand you won’t see though is the French maker Poclain – but why is this? It is true that the name hasn’t been used for a few years, but with

PMV Middle East \\ January 2010

more than 30,000 of it’s best-selling TY45 model built, you’d think there might still be a few about. The firm came about from a boy named Georges Bataille who had an infantile obsession with the heavy machinery on his parents’ farm. After the Second World War, Bataille and his sons wanted to build some hydraulic machinery, as the rest of the world was doing. Development work produced a system of rams that worked at great pressures with narrow diameter bores. However, Poclain’s most significant contribution was the development of the hydraulic motor, which was done over a period of years. These moves turned out to be fantastic for the company as through the fifties and sixties it changed from being a small-time manufacturer of farm machinery

to being the world’s largest maker of excavators, most of which were mounted on the curious tripodal wheeled chassis. Poclain’s moment of glory came in 1969 when it built the EC1000, which was at the time the largest hydraulic shovel in existence. However, this moment was quickly over as the machine was not reliable, and a huge financial disaster for the firm. The early 1970s, and the associated oil crisis cut into sales, but the French government would not let it cut back on it’s workforce while also blocking a shares sale deal with another company, and so effectively suffocating the firm. A further kick to the downed man was the fact that Caterpillar chose this time to enter the hydraulic excavator market, while Japanese Komatsu suddenly upped the game, making the French com-

pany’s products look unreliable and dated. Though propped up by the government, Poclain went into decline and was snapped up by rival firm Case in a firesale in 1974. That wasn’t the end, as Case built a number of Poclain branded products for a time afterwards. The founding family held on to the hydraulic motor division, which survives to this day. Unfortunately, it seems this once famous name on finished machines will fade into obscurity, a victim of indifferent built quality, muddled product range and government interference. Had the company not been so tied to the state it might have survived, or at least negotiated a deal on better terms. In this age government bailouts and stimulus packages, manufacturers should take note before accepting the blank cheque.


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