Kurt McKenzie is no stranger to cranes but he is a relatively new crane owner. He explains why he started Zeus Cranes and why his first crane is a Tadano GT300EL truck crane.
McKenzie’s career started in the Royal Australian Navy.
“I started off in the Royal Australian Navy as a junior sailor. This is where I obtained my riggers tickets and a basic awareness of cranes which were being used for general lifts around the naval base.
“I left the navy and worked for Boom Logistics where I quickly got moved onto the Heavy Lift Crew working with the 450t & 350t all terrains based in the Brisbane depot. I then moved around with a couple different crane companies working with various cranes over the years.
“I moved into a supervisor role in a dynamic crane business, and it is here that I gained an understanding for what was needed at the ‘back end’ of a crane business. It was an amazing learning experience to work in a rapidly growing business which started with one 80t capacity crane and grew to 18 cranes in approximately four years,” he said.
McKenzie goes on to explain why he started Zeus Cranes and the reasoning behind the name of the business.
“For some years, it has been a passion of mine to own a business. I get a thrill from winning the work and looking after my customers, but most of all I love getting things right. I felt I had the skills to run a business in what is a highly demanding and challenging industry. Every job has issues and I love finding a way to make a job happen and finding the right solution to a customer’s problem.
“I also love the challenge of a job that most would think is too hard or in too tight a spot for a crane to operate. I have a can-do attitude towards the work and I have carried myself this way for many years now. There is a solution to every problem, it just takes the right minds to figure it out,” he said.
“In ancient Greek mythology, Zeus is the father of all gods and the God of Sky and Thunder. When I was thinking about a name for the business, I looked at the nature of the work we do, which is lifting loads skywards. Once the name came to me it stuck. I believe it stands out and is easy to remember which is half the battle,” said McKenzie.
McKenzie explains why he picked a Tadano GT300EL to start his business with.
“Truck mounted cranes have come a long way in recent years and the Tadano GT300EL is a perfect example of this. I learnt to drive in old truck mounted crane many years ago and have always liked them. The price was a strong selling point as I had to be mindful of expenses being a start-up company. This model was also perfect for the clients that I have and the type of work I love to do. I already had a project lined up for this size of machine, so it was a great starting point,” he said.
The GT300EL redefines what truck cranes should be by offering enhanced safety and performance in all crane operations. The newly designed carrier also boasts refined performance, enabling it to withstand even the harshest running test conditions. Tadano has utilized years of development experience to craft this cutting-edge, Japanese-manufactured truck crane.
Specifications for the GT300EL include:
4-section long boom: 34.0 m
2-staged jib: 8.5
Maximum lifting height: 34.0 m (Boom)
40.0 m (Jib) Maximum load radius: 32.0 m (Boom)
Overall length: approx. 12,620 mm Overall width: approx. 2,550 mm Overall height: approx. 3,800 mm Max. Traveling speed: 85 km/h.
The carrier has been newly designed, right down to the suspension, to pass long and rigorous road tests in a variety of environments and substantially improve crane mobility. The cabin has also been remodelled with features that contribute to comfortable and safe driving, such as automatic mechanical transmission. The ride quality has been optimized to ensure the driver’s comfort and protect the carrier.
Rounded boom construction
The rounded boom is made of high tensile steel which decreases its weight while increasing its strength to realize smooth
and powerful crane operation, while the high-performance AML-C assists with safe and comfortable operation. In addition, the newly developed Smart Chart expands workability into whole new areas to improve operation efficiency.
The crane cabin provides improved and comfortable working environment for the operator.
The crane’s operating levers are of finger control type and steadily respond to the operator.
Automatic Moment Limiter
Tadano’s new AML-C is easy to use. It allows the operator to simultaneously monitor:
Boom angle, boom length, operating pressure of the elevating cylinder, the extension width of outriggers, slewing position, rated lifting capacity and present hook load. All of this enables the AML-C to move easily through lifting capacity changes without changing configurations and codes to make a lift. The AML-C provides both audio and visual warnings when a condition exists that will overload the crane and automatically employs our slow stop function to avoid shock loads. The AML-C with “OPERATOR” pre-set working range limits and automatic slow stop functions will assist the operator to deliver safe smooth operations.
McKenzie confirms he had been looking at a truck crane for some time and he hasn’t been disappointed with the performance of the GT300EL.
“Once I had decided to go out on my own, I had my eye on this exact machine for over 12 months. When I was ready to buy, Tadano had the machine over in Perth. Even though it is a 2019 model it was commissioned in April 2021, so it gives me the all the advantages of a new machine.
“Up until the purchase of the crane I didn’t have a relationship with Tadano. But I spoke to Jason Perry, sales manager QLD/NT/PNG about the GT300EL and he was excellent to deal with. He took my many phone-calls over a 12 month period, and answered all my questions. He didn’t need to influence my decision; once I’d seen the specs on the crane, I knew I wanted it,” he said.
“The Tadano team performed as any crane owner would want them to. They were really responsive to my questions and the
pre-delivery was excellent. It took a few weeks for the crane to arrive, but this was due to shipping delays which were out of Tadano’s hands. I ran through the machine with Dan Greer in product support and he showed me everything I needed to know. For the size of this machine, I was very impressed with its lifting capacity. The crane has performed perfectly. It is a solid and well-built machine which is very simple to operate for any level of experience.
“We will look at anything and everything that needs to be lifted. For the past 18 years, general crane hire has been my background and if it can be lifted, I will find a way to do it. I have long term relationships with customers, and many have become friends along the way. We generally operate around Gold Coast and Brisbane area but will travel from Ballina through to Noosa and the surrounds if a customer needs us to. Customer service and satisfaction is of the upmost importance in the business, right alongside safety and efficiency and I know the Tadano GT300EL will meet the standards I have set for it,” he said.
Get in touch with Zeus Cranes
Article written by:
Simon Gould (Editor)
Prime Creative Media