Crane company delivers for steel distributor

Konecranes delivers reliability cranes to Southern Steel.
Konecranes delivers reliability cranes to Southern Steel.

Southern Steel, the largest privately owned steel distributor in Australia, is extending its long running relationship with Konecranes with the successful installation of seventeen new overhead cranes in Australia in the past 12 months.

With over 50 years experience in the steel industry, and an enviable reputation for reliability, flexibility and excellent service, it comes as no surprise that Southern Steel turns to Konecranes for the reliable and efficient lifting of its steel products.  

And with close to 100 cranes spread across its numerous facilities in Australia, Southern Steel knows which overhead cranes can take the demanding workload steel distributors demand, and which can’t. 

Dr Anthony Sive, Southern Steel’s General Manager Business Development, explains that reliability and downtime are major issues for the company. 

"The fact is, if we don’t have cranes operating, we don’t have a business. That’s why we always turn to Konecranes for our lifting requirements," he said. 

Dr Sive explained that price is not the overriding issue when it comes to purchasing overhead cranes. "Inevitably there are cheaper offers around, but we find that if something is cheaper then there is a reason for it, with the cranes usually being a lower spec’d offer." 

"At Southern Steel we run very high spec’d cranes, typically C6/M6, because if our cranes stop, our business stops.  We use Konecranes’ CXT technology hoists and we use the highest spec those hoists can get to. 

"Unlike a fabrication shop, where the crane might get used three times a day to pick up a piece of steel and roll it over and put it down again, we really use our cranes. We are typically running two shift operations across the country and the cranes run continuously for the two shifts," Dr Sive said. 

"In our business, a crane is a hard working materials handling device used to move the steel in and out of the facility.  
"And it’s not just for selling steel, we also have to receive the steel, it has to come off the trucks from the mill, stored in the warehouse and then reloaded out to the customers when they want it, just in time. For every tonne that goes out, there has to be a tonne come in. 

"And if the crane is not working we aren’t making any money. We are very busy and our business is growing rapidly and most of the steel we buy needs to be moved with the assistance of a crane. 

"So our Konecranes have to work hard all day, and they carry out their strenuous role to our general satisfaction," Dr Sive said.   

David Rodmell, Southern Steel’s General Manager - Operations Technology, says that because safety is a major issue for the company, all hoists feature remote radio controllers. 

"The radio controls give the operators the chance to stand back and get a very good look at the load they are carrying and see that they are not exposed to the proximity of anything that could go wrong. 

"At our Milperra plate processing facility in south-west Sydney, we have installed six new overhead cranes; one 20-ton crane, three 10-ton cranes, plus two 5-ton semi-portal cranes, with Truninger electro-magnets hanging off three of the bigger cranes to facilitate easy lifting and moving of large heavy loads," he said.  

Rodmell explained that the controls of the magnets are incorporated into the remote radio controllers for the cranes. "Rather than two controls, it’s all on the one control, making it easier and safer for the controller. 

"All the cranes are designed to handle plate both in stock sizes for sending out as stock sheets and also for loading and unloading profiles and putting those cut pieces on the trucks as well. 

"The largest plate we bring in on a regular basis is 12m x 3m which weighs around the 7-ton mark. However the reason we installed the 20-ton crane is we handle heavier slabs where the dimensions are smaller but are much thicker at 250-300mm plate and weigh up to 15-16-ton.  It also allows us to both carry and profile the longest plates in the market – up to 20m in length. 

"Konecranes has also installed two new 10-ton cranes and upgraded and relocated two overhead cranes for us at our new Southern Sheet and Coil facility, also in Milperra," Rodmell explained. 

At Southern Steels’ Adelaide subsidiary, Brice Metals, Konecranes installed five 10-ton cranes, with one designed to have plate magnets attached.

"The other four," Rodmell said, "have twin hoists designed for handling general long products such as structural and tubular steel plus angles and channels." 

Also in Adelaide, Southern Steel has recently acquired the premier plate processing business Ferrocut also serviced by a number of Konecranes up to 20-ton in capacity and again handling plate up to 20m long. 

"We have also put in one more 10-ton crane in Victoria, in our Dandenong Surdex operation, yet again a plate handling crane with magnets on it. 

"Over at our Greenfield site in Perth, we are installing three new 10 ton overhead cranes and two refurbished Konecranes from our Kwinana facility.

"In addition to the new cranes, we have also replaced six hoists on cranes in Brisbane and Milperra, with four more to be replaced soon in Campellfield," Rodmell said. 

Dr Sive explained that while Southern Steel did have a couple of minor problems at Milperra, mainly due to the structure being slightly behind schedule, overall he said he was very satisfied with the installation work carried out by Konecranes which also included the crane rail installation. "This is a very important area and needs to be done right," he said.  

"We have a long term relationship with Konecranes, and like any long term relationship you have your ups and downs but we always seem to be able to work our way through any issues that might arise and get back on track again. They are professional people to deal with," Dr Sive said. 

Konecranes, the world’s largest producer of overhead cranes and lifting equipment, has built its most advanced safety, ergonomic and reliability technologies into its high performance CXT series of industrial cranes and wire rope hoists.   

The CXT cranes, with individual hoist capacities up to 80 ton, are designed to be industry benchmarks of safety and ergonomics; with easy and effective load handling and optimum dimensions for maximising the hook travel.   

Konecranes National Sales and Marketing Manager Warren Ashton said, "As world leaders in crane design, manufacturing and servicing, Konecranes has over the years established a track record that includes a number of industry firsts.  

"The newest innovations are found in our groundbreaking CXT crane design, a type which is now in increasingly widespread use throughout Australasia.  

"Not only is the CXT hoist a forerunner in technological terms, the design innovation has reduced the number of maintenance and wear items on the hoist, thus reducing the cost of ownership for the end user.  

"Whilst we recommend Konecranes as the service provider of choice, any service agent with basic crane knowledge and experience can effectively maintain a CXT hoist through its lifetime." 

"CXT cranes have excellent hook approaches at both ends of the crane and the headroom requirement is minimal. CXT cranes are designed to eliminate unused or under-utilised square meters because the crane can operate closer to the walls and lift the load higher," Ashton said.
The Konecranes group employs nearly 10,000 people in 43 countries and has more than 366,000 cranes of all brands under service contracts. Konecranes industrial cranes and hoists are used by many industries including automotive production, energy and resources, manufacturing, metal and mineral processing, primary product and paper processing and ports and infrastructure projects globally.
Sales inquiries 1300 937637 (Australia wide) or visit our website

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