Crane manufacturer Condra ended 2019 on a high note, announcing a new, fully‑automated overhead crane capability and delivery of the first of these technically advanced machines to Lonmin.
The automated option will lower labour costs, reduce damage, increase productivity and lower the capital expense associated with other lifting systems in mining and general manufacturing. It serves as an example of Condra’s successful strategy of ongoing technical development executed simultaneously with consolidation in the local market and further market penetration in central Africa, South America and Europe.
The company’s next technical offering is in the developmental phase: fully automated 12-metre-high hydraulic container‑straddlers for the world’s ports; machines which will move on rubber-tyred wheels to lift individual shipping containers over others waiting in the row for transport.
For Condra, the year just ended began with a shipment that combined South African manufacture with North American design to deliver an overhead crane and five hoists for installation in a bauxite project in Guyana, South America. Company management cites this delivery as an example of the increasingly common global spread of consultant, manufacturer and end-user.
Also shipped early last year was a feature-rich grabbing crane with relatively tight travel and lift dimensions. Delivered to the Sishen Iron Ore Mine, the design challenge of this order lay in configuring a tight-tolerance clamshell grab to operate within a crab designed to the customer’s relatively small travel and lift dimensions. Cross-travel speed was 16m/min for an end-to-end travel distance of just 7,2 metres, while long travel speed was 32m/min for a gantry length of 20 metres.
Another interesting local contract was for four 32-32 ton portal cranes delivered in September to manage materials handling at Wilson Bayly Holmes-Ovcon’s pre-cast yard in Northern Cape. This order positioned supplier Condra as the leading manufacturer within this market niche, and brought to six the number of these giant machines delivered by the Johannesburg-headquartered company to pre-cast yards in the preceding nine months. Eight gantry cranes were manufactured over the twelve months prior to the WBHO delivery.
In Europe, sales secured by the Bulgarian subsidiary remained steady throughout last year, while the South American order intake showed an increase.
Management attributes Bulgarian sales to lower overall lifetime costs across the Condra range. The company is now aiming for similar success in Serbia, Romania and Montenegro as cost advantages become better known in that part of Europe.
For the Condra group as a whole, the highlight of the year came with December’s announcement of its fully-automated overhead crane capability as an alternative to traditional pendant and remote control. The option is available across the company’s product offering of single‑girder and double-girder overhead travelling cranes, gantry cranes, bridge cranes and cantilever cranes for markets worldwide.
Johannesburg-based Condra boasts a manufacturing pedigree going back 50 years, and claims the highest local content of any overhead crane supplier in the central and southern African region. This allows the company to deliver overhead cranes with the lowest possible lifetime cost, supported by a comprehensive back-up service and rapid spare parts delivery.
All Condra products are manufactured to ISO 9000 standard, with the full range of cranes and hoists covering capacities from 250 kg to 500 tons.