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JCPlant's Skyhook fleet

PLANT HIRE

PRESENTING its cranes to the market used to be something an issue for JC Plant, since they were classed by maximum load moment - yet load moment does not mean much to many clients, who are interested in lifting capacity.The 10 tonne/m units would be sold as 5-tonne capacity, but then customers would expect it to lift 5 tonnes at a radius of more than just 2 m.

So now Mr Cooper describes cranes in terms of how far the crane can lift a tonne out to. For example, the 8 tonne/m model can lift 1 tonne out to 7 m and the 10 tonne/m crane can lift a tonne out to 9 m, both through 360 degrees.He says: 'That extra metre might not sound a lot, but it can make a difference.'

The Skyhook range is being extended both at the top and bottom end of the range, with the introduction to the rental fleet of a 3.3 tonne/m model and a 12 tonne/m model.The latter crane is mounted on a JCB Fastrack 2135 tractor, stripped down and modified for the purpose.

The baby of the family, the 3.3 tonne/m rig, features the new Hiab 033T crane, which has a maximum front outreach of 6 m. Its maximum capacity is 2.5 tonnes and it can lift 500 kg at 6 m.

This machine is different from the rest of the fleet in that it only has one pair of outrigger legs - it is an important distinction that here they are outriggers rather than stabiliser legs, taking the weight of the machine and the lift.Only one set of outriggers is needed because the crane lifts only over the front, slewing through just 90 degrees. It is also the first Skyhook to have a pick-and-carry load chart, as well as a chart for lifting with outriggers deployed.The safe-load indicator detects automatically whether the outriggers are properly out and down. If not, it automatically de-rates the crane to the pick-and-carry chart.

Given its lift truck roots, the tyres of the 3.3 tonne/m Skyhook are solid, so there is no risk of a blowout.With such tyres, it clearly does not have the rough terrain capability of the larger members of JC Plant's fleet and is designed for use on smooth, made ground.

It is diesel-powered, but could easily be made to be batterypowered, says Mr Cooper.

It is mounted on what looks like a forklift truck base unit, a suggestion that stirs Mr Cooper into vivid animation.'It is not a forklift. People say, 'Oh look, there's a crane mounted on a forklift'.No it's not. Show me where there is a fork. It's a Skyhook.'