November 19 - Tutt Bryant Heavy Lift & Shift has taken delivery of Australia's first Manitowoc MLC650 crawler crane, equipped with variable position counterweight (VPC) technology.

Malcom Smith, national crane operations manager at Tutt Bryant, explained that the company chose to invest in an MLC650 due to increased productivity gains for the end user; decreased costs; efficient operations; risk mitigation; and flexible lifting applications.

"With the VPC, there are fewer pieces of crane to transport and it takes less time to erect the MLC650, which saves costs for us and our customers. Also, the flexibility in the crane's configurations enables us to work on a wide range of projects with various capacity needs," added Smith.

He explained that before the Manitowoc crane was delivered to the company, Tutt Bryant already had several projects planned for it, including the lifting of 64 pipe spools - each weighing up to 250 tonnes and measuring up to 80 m long - at the Australian Marine Complex just outside Perth.

The spools are being lifted and tested, prior to being loaded on a barge and transported offshore for subsea installation as part of the Wheatstone LNG project. The MLC650 will be assisting this project for a 20-week period.

"This is the perfect crane for this project and we got it set up with minimal ground preparation," said Smith. "It's 100 percent pick-and-carry chart and high wind speed rating have made the work much more efficient. The VPC-Max enables us to perform multiple load outs in a single shift that would have been unachievable with a floating tray superlift crane."

After the Australian Marine Complex work, the country's first MLC650 has two potential projects lined up - lifting suction cans for the Prelude FLNG vessel, and further pipe spool lifting for the Julimar gas field.

"This crane is perfect for the installation of tunnel boring machines, infrastructure, road bridge beams, refineries, coal-fired power station shut downs, and wind tower erection and maintenance. Renewable energy is a significant market where we believe the MLC650 will succeed too," added Smith.