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TRT: An iconic model

TRT’s team celebrating the 100th sale of its PC28 pick and carry crane model. Image: TRT.

Tidd Ross Todd’s (TRT) TIDD PC28 pick and carry crane model has been one of the safest and most efficient crane models in the market for years, contributing factors in the company’s 100th sale of the model. The TRT team looks back on the PC28’s early days, as well as what’s to come.

Just over a year after celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2017, crane manufacturer, designer and distributor Tidd Ross Todd (TRT) commenced production on the PC28, a model that would become a staple of the company’s pick and carry range.

The PC28 has long been one of TRT’s greatest successes. 

As the natural successor to the PC25, the PC28 concept aimed to provide the highest quality crane in its class.

Such was its innovative design and impressive output that Neil Webb – now TRT’s General Manager for Australia – immediately identified its potential.

“As a crane expert with over 30 years of experience, especially in the Pick and Carry space, I was keen to test the TIDD PC28-2 on the road and on the job. I had never tried it before, but after a thorough quality check, I was amazed by its quality, innovation, roadability, comfort and lift performance. I immediately recognised that the TIDD Pick and Carry crane was an industry leader,” he says.

“That experience was exceptional, especially when it came to the roadability, comfort and controllability.”

Mike Harrison, Group Assembly Manager – TRT says the PC28 is the culmination of the company’s development, incorporating feedback from the industry.

“Over a period of about six years, it was clear that as things evolved and the market kept moving forward, that there was a desire for even more capacity,” he says.

“That’s why, for even further lifting capacity, you can lower down the 2.3 tonne counterweight and pick up an additional 1.1 tonnes.”

The ‘Superlift Counterweight’ for years has allowed operators to lift up to 12 per cent heavier loads in both pick and carry, a contributing factor to the PC28’s long-time success.

To ensure longevity and stability with each lift, the PC28 unit is also equipped with an upgraded front suspension, which has since also been made available as a retrofit to older models from across the PC range.

This lifting capacity, when combined with the innovative and effective safety technology included as standard, helped to differentiate the PC28 model from other solutions in the market. So does TRT’s ‘Slew Safe’ safety feature. 

The PC28-3G represents the next generation in TRT’s development of the wider PC28 range. Image: TRT.
The PC28-3G represents the next generation in TRT’s development of the wider PC28 range. Image: TRT.

Introduced initially on TRT’s PC25, ‘Slew Safe’ was, and still is, a revolution to machinery control safety. 

Under the system, both the operator and the dogman are warned through visual and audible cues that they have moved into the red zone, restricting them from steering or slewing any further into the red zone.

This helps to stop the driver from ‘driving off the chart’, allowing them to correct the course of the crane back into the green zone, and also allowing them to operate all crane functions in the safe direction. 

The success of the technological features included on the PC28 has also led to further innovations across the TRT range. 

One example is the steering system used in the PC28, with that same technology allowing the company to develop and design its ESS trailers/electronic steering drivers.

“That would never have happened if we didn’t have that understanding and foundational knowledge that we gained by building the PC28,” Harrison says.

Celebrating the achievement 

TRT celebrated the sale of its 100th model in style, by combining all four of its sites across Australia and New Zealand – consisting of more than 200 staff – in a joint video call.

For Harrison, he believes the crowning achievement has been the ability to get the PC28 in the hands of tier one infrastructure companies.

“There’s been a relentless desire to improve. That’s some of the most common feedback that we’ve received, because TRT is a company that always listens to what the customers want next. The industry is constantly moving forward,” he says.

“We don’t always get it right, but we’ve never stopped improving.”

One way in which TRT ensures that it can keep improving is its fortnightly TIDD catchup, whereby staff members exchange ideas and feedback.

“We have a fortnightly TIDD improvement meeting covering everything from customer feedback to potential improvements with the design team, engineers, fabricators and assembly personnel. That’s where the innovation comes from and that’s where the improvements are made,” Harrison says.

“We’re a large enough business to excel at what we do, but we’ve still got the care and quality of a smaller organisation. We’re not like the big corporates.”


 

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Webb says the company’s emphasis on “sweating the small stuff” plays a key role in consistently exceeding customer expectations.

“That’s probably the biggest thing that excites me the most about TRT, it’s our innovation and drive to continually improve. We build these machines, but it’s the customers that play a key part in big and small changes being made,” he says.

Webb believes it’s the “people side” of the business that has been really key in the success of the PC28 range and its eventual 100th sale.

“It goes back to the people in our manufacturing facility. We don’t just assemble these machines, we manufacture everything in house and that’s what makes the difference,” he says.

“[The PC28] has been a big journey for TRT and that celebration will continue. We’re always reflecting, because without reflection we can’t make that next step and a greater product. In saying that, it’s not only about the future. We’re always thinking about our customers in the here and now.”

Webb adds that this passion and commitment for the best possible product won’t stop there either.

“My vision is to see our business and our products thrive and expand. I look forward to the day when we will celebrate the 500th or even the 1000th PC28 sold. We are here to stay and make a difference,” he says.

Following on from the other PC25 and PC28 models, the PC28-3G will house a brand new Cummins engine model. Image: TRT.
Following on from the other PC25 and PC28 models, the PC28-3G will house a brand new Cummins engine model. Image: TRT.

The next generation 

Now TRT is ushering in a new era for the PC28 range, with the release of the company’s PC28-3G iteration. 

This model not only improves upon the lifting capacity when articulated (average of 17 per cent increase) and working on a slide slope (up to 40 per cent improvement), it has also seen the introduction of what is one of the world’s cleanest diesel engines.

The PC28-3G is powered by a 6.7-litre 320 horsepower (238kw) inline six Cummins ISB6.7 engine, certified to the world’s toughest on-highway diesel emission standard, Euro 6, which achieves near-zero emissions.

Despite impending Federal Government vehicle emission standard changes only requiring engines to satisfy Euro 5 regulations, TRT made a conscious decision to exceed expectations by employing a Euro 6 compliant engine. 

Harrison says the sustainability aspect is one that he’s most looking forward to seeing evolve over the coming years as further developments are made to the PC28 model.

“We’re not waiting until the last minute or trying to bend the rules slowly. We’re innovative, we’re on the front foot and we made this commitment early on. We’ve not only made changes to meet the new emission rules, but we’ve also surpassed those requirements,” he says.

“We’re now competing in that market and an area that pick-and-carry cranes haven’t really stepped into yet. Yet we’re already doing it.

“We’re not just doing the minimum for the customer. We’re trying to go above and beyond, to do right by the environment as well.”

Webb says the Cummins diesel engine is still the best package for pick and carry cranes in Australia.

“We didn’t just say let’s tick the box on Euro 5, but at the same time we also thought ‘how can we make our crane safer? What other features can we add?’ So, we added the Allison Transmission retarder, which is now standard on our new models,” he says.

“Now the operator can have more control under braking, less brake wear and tear and there’s also reduced noise. We’ve improved the cranes performance on top of the new engine. That’s what we do, we want to continue to drive improvements.”

Webb says he’s excited for the growth of the PC28-3G in the Australian market, as well as the long-term future of the TIDD crane range.

“The production of the PC28-3G starts soon and we’re already thinking about the next big thing and what we can do better,” he says.

“If every one of our customers are happy at the end of the day, then we’ve achieved what we set out to achieve, which is a crane that’s fit for purpose, safe, reliable and has TRT standing behind it as a reputable brand.

“Nothing gets overlooked and nothings off the cards.” 

This article was originally published in the February edition of our magazine. To read the magazine, click here.

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