Both crane manufacturers and rental companies are working towards minimizing the carbon footprint of the whole industry on the environment. In this three-part article, we explain different efforts being made to decrease the adverse impact.
Kitting out the crane
Crane rental companies are also putting measures in place to reduce the impact their crane operations have on the environment. In case of hydraulic hose ruptures, for example, TNT Crane Rental equips its fleet with spill kits. The kits consist of a 5 gallon bucket which is filled half way with oil absorbent granules to pour on an oil spill, an oil boom to put around a drain and oil absorbers to wrap around leaking hoses.
“Our operators are trained how to control a spill and minimize any environmental damage. These kits are for immediate action should we have an oil leak. When a spill occurs the service department is immediately dispatched to the scene with the proper equipment to contain and clean up the spill,” explains Randy Dobbs, TNT Crane Rental.
Tires are another factor that can have a negative impact on the environment. Statistics from the Environmental Agency state that in the UK around 55 million tires are put to waste every year. Used tires, however, can be recycled in a number of ways, including re-molding. In the UK alone, 11 per cent of used tires were re-treaded and put back on the road in 2010.
Focusing on recycling, Continental Tires has introduced the Continental LifeCycle tire, a tire made out of recycled tire casings. For the re-molding process 65% of the old tire is reused and 35% of new raw material is added. “With customers’ help this large-scale recycling initiative will help bring down the number of scrap tires needing disposal and reduce CO2 emissions,” a company spokesperson from Continental said. Alongside this project, Continental is researching the possibilities of using Russian dandelions as an alternative source for natural rubber instead of rubber trees. Potentially the material could be used for all tire applications.
Producing zero emissions and zero noise pollution is another trend that is picking up throughout the industry and as a result electric cranes are becoming a popular choice for end users. Aimed for this market, Italian crane manufacturer Galizia has manufactured the GF400 battery-electric pick and carry crane. The GF400 has a capacity of 44 tons, a compact chassis and comes with radio remote control for traction, steering, boom and winch functions. It also has removable counterweights. In addition, Bailey Crane has also introduced a hybrid electric drive system for their cranes division. “The hybrid drive provides workers and the environment with clean, quiet and safe lifting equipment and reduces the potential for carbon monoxide poisoning,” a company spokesperson said.
Also aimed at reducing emissions, Unic Cranes Europe offers the battery powered Eco-095 spider crane on wheels. The 1.1 ton capacity Eco-095 mini crane and the higher capacity 3.2 ton Eco-295 model have a rechargeable 48 v battery, which provides power for 2.5 hours of continuous operation. They have been developed by Japanese manufacturers Furukawa Unic for use in sensitive environments, such as historical sites, churches and museums. The models are 750 mm wide and can be transported in a goods elevator, moved through a standard doorway and controlled using radio remote. Additionally, Unic mini cranes can be supplied with an LPG power option (liquefied petroleum gas) which only releases non-toxic fumes. Filtration systems can be also fitted to the crane’s diesel engine.
Graeme Riley, CEO Unic Cranes Europe said, “The Eco-095 meets the demand from customers and principal contractors for a more environmentally friendly lifting solution that helps to reduce their carbon footprint without compromising on effectiveness. It provides a perfect alternative for lifting in confined areas where diesel or LPG powered cranes aren’t suitable.
Author: Laura Hatton, KHL Group
Source: KHL Group