Thursday 18th Aug, 2022

Page Macrae expands range of port equipment

The New Zealand-based manufacturer has developed a new range of bulk grabs and buckets for port cranes.

A New Zealand port recently approached Page Macrae Engineering with a challenge. Unlike other ports, this one used mobile harbour cranes instead of standard (ships) cranes but wanted to load logs into vessels at the site.

Page Macrae has been in the log loading sector for more than 30 years, but the company does not usually develop products for harbour cranes.

Bruce Ennis, business development manager of product solutions at Page Macrae, said while the company tends to make equipment for ship-based cranes, its interest was piqued by this opportunity.

“Ship-based cranes are electric; they’ve got a power supply we can use for grabs and buckets. This also lets us use an electrical hydraulic system in the grapple,” Ennis told ABHR.

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“Harbour cranes have a much higher load rating than a ship-based crane. It goes from a 22-tonne working load to 35 tonnes or more.

“They also have higher duty requirements. Harbour cranes work quick, and where you might have three of four cranes on a ship, there’s probably only one or two shore-based cranes.”

Page Macrae’s engineers began designing its log loading and bucket equipment for the cranes, using the same kinds of mechanical parts upgraded to handle the higher frequency of use. 

One of the design constraints that Page Macrae needed to work with was the ability to operate across different cranes, with different power supplies.

The new product the company developed includes a dedicated electric motor that runs faster than most cranes to which it is attached to ensure it has the (rating) required for a worst-case scenario.

Another feature in development is cross compatibility between different grabs and buckets, which would allow ports to change the log loader to a bucket easily and quickly.

Peter Swan, Page Macrae’s GM of sales and marketing, said versatility is vital for smaller ports.

“Big ports often have a massive mixture of cargos coming and going, but smaller ports might not be able to justify capital expenditure for dedicated cranes,” he said.

“Being able to move more tonnes of cargo faster also improves productivity, which ports around the world are looking to improve.”

Page Macrae is investigating the widespread issues in the port sector to better understand the future direction of its product development. It’s found the global supply chain disruption has created congestion, with potentially dozens of ships waiting to offload their cargo. 

Swan said that if the business could find a way to ease the chokepoints and constraints for its clients, it would represent is a massive opportunity for new business.

Page Macrae has manufactured and delivered the equipment to the New Zealand site, and it is now in the process of commissioning the equipment. An electrical engineer has been on-site to help the port and crane manufacturer map out the new wiring.

The new product is Page Macrae’s first bite at the new market, Ennis said, and the company will be pushing hard to establish itself.

“We really want to get develop more products for shore-based cranes,” he said. “They are more reliable, have higher capacity and require less manpower. 

“It’s still early days, but we’re excited to be branching out and supporting the industry in new ways.” 

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