Van Leeuwen
Tubes on a high level for crane building

Tubes on a high level for crane building

If you look closer at a tower crane, it is evident that you need a lot of tubes to build them. The column and arms of a crane almost entirely consist of steel tubes. Often these are round tubes, but they can also be square or rectangular. It is therefore no surprise that the crane building industry has always been an important sales market for Van Leeuwen.

My name is Martin Robbemond and I have worked for Van Leeuwen since 1990. I have always been active in sales and work as account manager for many years now. I am specialized in tube applications in mechanical engineering markets, of which crane building is an important segment. Do you want to know why crane builders often choose Van Leeuwen as their supplier? I am happy to tell more about it in this blog.

Each crane is different

When talking about cranes, you probably think of a tower crane as you can see on building sites. However, there are many different kinds of cranes which all have different designs. For example, there are cranes in a harbor to load or unload bulk goods, mobile cranes for building or maintaining large installations, cranes on trucks and cranes on ships.

These last mentioned cranes are used for maintenance on offshore platforms, for laying subsea installations (pipelines on the seabed) and for the installation of offshore windmills. These windmills become higher and heavier all the time, so higher and stronger cranes are needed to lift and install them.

Cranes on trucks are a good illustration of our combined expertise. Think, for example, of a truck that delivers terrace tiles or other building material on your doorstep. Our tubes are used to build both the crane and the trailer on which the material is transported. Our sister company Van Leeuwen Precision delivers the tubes and bars for the cylinders that extend the legs to stabilize the truck during crane operation.

Involvement of all participants in the supply chain

In fact, each crane has a customized design. If a new crane is needed, the crane building company extensively investigates the requirements and purpose of use with the end user. On the other side, material suppliers like Van Leeuwen are involved to establish what can be made and supplied from their end. If an engineer designs a new crane, only to find out that the tube dimensions or lengths cannot be supplied or result in a lot of cutting waste, the whole process needs to be redone.

Our early involvement in the design of the new FOCUS 30 crane by our customer Mammoet a few years ago illustrates this process very well. This crane is designed to use in areas with complex infrastructure and limited space, such as crowded cities and existing fabrication plants. Other cranes need a lot of space to be erected and operated, but the FOCUS 30 crane does not.
During the engineering phase, I was invited to advise on available tube dimensions and lengths. Our knowledge and excellent relationship with leading tube mills is of great advantage here. Once we had established which dimensions and lengths are available and can be produced in an efficient way, the crane was designed. The FOCUS 30 crane is now ready and operational. Click here for a more information and short video if you are curious to learn more, or here for the testimonial of Mammoet in our Annual Book 2020.

No crane without high strength steel

In order limit the weight of the crane and to make it as strong as possible at the same time, high strength steel is often used for the construction of a crane. The most applied quality is S690. Moreover, we supply a lot of seamless hot formed tubes and hollow sections to EN 10210 in the quality S355J2H, which we stock in a wide variety of dimensions.

Traceability and quality assurance of high importance

Safety is a very important aspect during crane operation. A crane has to meet many quality and safety requirements. Therefore, traceability and quality assurance of the applied materials are two very important demands of crane builders. With our strict quality policy and our ISO 9001 certification we fully comply with these demands.

Van Leeuwen supplies all its tubes with a 3.1 certificate, which is the minimal requirement for crane builders. With this certificate, traceability to the source of the tube is possible and the mechanical and chemical properties are documented. Moreover, tubes are often additionally tested or inspected by relevant agencies like Lloyds or GL. We have a lot of experience in this area and facilitate these inspections on our own site.

To ensure a constant product quality, we work with uniform procurement specifications and only buy our tubes at mills that are audited and approved by us. This is also an important reason why crane builders choose Van Leeuwen as their supplier. Luckily, customers tell me that my personal commitment, knowledge and expertise is much appreciated. That’s what I do it for!

Contact us if you need more information or if you have an inquiry.




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