Weldox gives Palfinger cranes a lift
Need to move a heavy load of bricks from a truck on a road, up an inaccessible incline, across the brow of a hill and manoeuvre it directly into a building on a construction site? Then Austrian crane manufacturer Palfinger almost certainly has a solution – powered by Weldox 1300 – to help you do just that.
Less crane weight, same strength
Palfinger’s knuckle boom cranes are renowned across Europe for their long outreach, load capacity, quality, and electronic features. Palfinger also wins consistently high praise from customers for their ability to operate almost anywhere, under practically any conditions, while substantially slashing labour and fuel costs for operators in today’s highly competitive market. Little wonder then that Palfinger ranks as a market leader when it comes to hydraulic lifting, loading and handling systems, with about 30 percent share of the global market.
Herbert Ortner, CEO of Palfinger AG, says that the choice of steel is vital to the company’s operations. Palfinger’s cranes require high-strength steel that reduces weight without losing strength.
“The lighter we can make the steel without losing strength, the more payload we can load onto the crane truck,” says Ortner. “If, say, we can reduce the weight of the crane by 300 kilos it delivers an immediate, tangible economic benefit to our customers as well as to their customers because the driver with the truck doesn’t need to deliver a second time.”
Weldox 1300 high strength steel
“Because we pride ourselves on offering the best quality and value of cranes available anywhere in the world, we also only want to work with the best steel producer in the world. And that’s SSAB! No one else matches the high-strength steel quality we get from SSAB. Of course, all the other crane manufacturers rely on SSAB too, but I believe we’re the largest user of SSAB’s excellent Weldox 1300 structural steel that has a strength-to-weight ratio equalling many aluminium alloys,” says Ortner.
Until recently, knuckle boom cranes were most popular in Europe, due to the continent’s narrow road conditions and legislative restrictions on truck use. However, the flexible cranes are now rapidly penetrating markets in the US, Asia and elsewhere that are growing increasingly more enthusiastic about the benefits knuckle boom cranes offer.
Built onto a truck as an integrated unit, a knuckle boom crane can fold down to a compact size behind the drivers cabin, creating a clear space for a payload. And thanks to being able to load or unload itself, a truck-mounted knuckle boom crane offers operators a really efficient and vastly more versatile handling tool. The strong yet lighter Weldox 1300 high-strength steel enables Palfinger to maximise payloads, thus saving time and money.
“No one else matches the high-strength steel quality of SSAB”
Expanding to China with SSAB
To its competitors, the company is emerging in relatively good shape from the worldwide recession that slammed many European and North American industries so hard. Looking to the future, Palfinger has high hopes for China as a fast evolving market offering very high potential, although Herbert Ortner believes that it will take a few years to realize the expectations.
“Obviously our strength is the quality of our product and the ability of our partners to help us deliver it everywhere in the world. I think it’s very reassuring that SSAB is establishing a foothold in China, despite the difficulties of setting up a wholly owned business. I believe it’s important that SSAB is close to us in China, where we already have our own assembly operation just outside Hong Kong.”