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TRT: Safety first

TRT has become a key supplier of equipment for McLeod. Images: McLeod.

McLeod’s pursuit of safety and quality outcomes for clients has placed it among the top providers of cranes, hiabs and transport services in New Zealand. TRT’s products and services have been there every step of the way.

“It’s been a business doing pleasure with you” is a quote from McLeod Founder Curly McLeod that perfectly reflects the company’s different approach to personalised service, reliable operations, expert advice.

It’s also the ethos that drives the company’s determination to always exceed customer expectations, says Scott McLeod, Managing Director – McLeod.  

“The company was founded by my father in 1996, and I started in 2006 and took over in 2012 with my brother and my cousin. We’ve now got around 170 staff across three divisions, McLeod Crane, McLeod Hiabs and McLeod Transport. We cover everything from the Bay of Plenty to Waikato,” he says.

“We’re in multiple industries, covering nearly everything and anything that needs to be lifted. So, we’ve ended up in horizontal construction, vertical construction, industrial and also commercial jobs, including roading and infrastructure. We do a little bit of everything.”

McLeod describes the New Zealand-based company as versatile, with options able to cater for requirements across the whole market. Because of this, the company has a great number of assets, including machinery and equipment from global providers.

TRT machinery prioritises the safety of nearby crews and the operator, a key reason for McLeod’s interest in the product.
TRT machinery prioritises the safety of nearby crews and the operator, a key reason for McLeod’s interest in the product.

In his words, McLeod says the company’s philosophy and culture is considered just as, if not more important, than the business’ equipment.

This company’s commitment to safety in each of its divisions is just one example. As McLeod explains, the new generation of leadership set out to establish a legacy of prioritising safety wherever possible.

“My cousin (Phil Hutchinson) my brother Peter McLeod and I combined our knowledge together to change the way that we were doing things to place safety first. In fact, now on all of our machines we have the branding ‘safety first, McLeod first’. We decided that we wanted to do health and safety properly,” he says.

“We knew that we weren’t just going to tick some boxes for the sake of it. We wanted it to have a purpose, that was driven by legislation as well as best practice. That would make it easier for our own teams to embrace and follow these standards, then to live and breathe it.”

Such was McLeod’s success in improving safety across the board, the company has been recognised twice on a national level.

“We’re always thinking about how we can improve safety and this ethos led to us having success at the New Zealand Health and Safety Awards. It’s flowed down throughout our entire business, now our processes and steps just blend into the background. You don’t’ even notice that they are there, they just become a part of the job. It’s just a way of thinking,” McLeod says.

“It’s really refreshing also with our customers. We can be transparent around any investigations that we might do with incidents that occur on site. We just own it, and then we fix it. We don’t just make small changes; we make sure that we’re either eliminating or isolating the activity by putting in really robust administration around hazard controls. We work very hard to make sure it won’t happen again.”

It’s this hunger for optimising safety where possible that led McLeod to Tidd Ross Todd’s (TRT) range of pick-and-carry cranes, the TIDD Crane, each of which present their own developments in safety technology.

A mainstay of McLeod’s machinery fleet, TRT products are a range that McLeod says he takes great pride in.

“We believe massively in TRT’s decision to manufacture cranes in New Zealand, we think that’s amazing. They’ve not only set out to build cranes here, which is an undertaking that shouldn’t be underestimated, they’ve also gone out and built what I would say is the safest pick-and-carry crane on the market,” McLeod says.

McLeod currently has two models of TRT’s TIDD PC28-2, 28-tonne Pick-and-Carry Crane. This is on top of the company’s variety of Hiab truck cranes and mobile cranes, with TRT being the certified dealer for HIAB, Manitowoc, Grove, Potain and Kobelco crawler crane products in New Zealand.


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Whether it’s construction, civil projects, mining, or infrastructure, the versatile TIDD PC28-2 crane proves to be a suitable choice for various operating environments.

“They’ve designed the TIDD PC28-2 in such a way that it’s actually moved the market. Previously the market was quite stagnated when it came to health and safety in this space. But TRT’s designs have helped to move the ball forward,” McLeod says. “I could quite confidently say that there’s others that are now playing catchup as a result.”

A key feature of the TIDD PC28-2 is the machine’s ‘Slew Safe’, which gives the operator maximum control and security while lifting and moving. The Slew Safe system reduces steering speed down to 15 per cent in the unsafe direction and 100 per cent steering speed in the safe direction with an override alarm audible in and outside the cab.

“With the Slew Safe feature, you effectively know when you’ve entered ‘no man’s land’, or exceeded the capability of the crane. You’re no longer just flying by the seat of your pants, it accurately shows the exact point that you need to stop at to stay within the capability of the main lift rated charts that are set out by industry,” McLeod says.

“By now having that knowledge, that makes the crane massively safer. The innovation is industry leading. By eliminating dangers through engineering controls, we’re setting up our operators to succeed every time.”

The safety features don’t just stop there. As McLeod adds, improvements over time are helping to maintain the PC28-2’s position as one of the safest options currently available in the pick-and-carry market.

“I’ve watched as things have developed from the PC25 to the PC28 and the product is leaps and bounds better,” he says. “They’ve eliminated the pain points, increased the capacity and made it safer. 

“For example, if you look at the computer system, in real time it’s telling you where its safe and where it’s not. If you’re working off a 75 per cent chart when you can work off
a 66 per cent chart, you can dial it back.
A contractor might want us to work at a lower percentage to increase the safety. It’s very clever stuff.”

Jordin Hutchinson, New Zealand Crane Sales Engineer – TRT says the PC28-2 presents the market with a purpose-built tool, replacing methods in the past that have relied on the services of cranes not entirely suited to an individual task.

“In the past, operators have been able to use other tools, but businesses like McLeod have found that having a second pick-and-carry crane is a more productive tool for the sort of works that they’re getting involved with,” he says.

The culture is changing in a positive way towards pick-and-carry cranes in New Zealand.

“Customers are finding more preferred tools for different sites. Bringing a machine like the PC28-2 that serves a specific purpose is definitely a safer method”.

He adds that the quality design and output of a crane such as the PC28-2 can play a role in increasing the confidence and morale amongst operators.

“The biggest benefit I guess is the efficiency. It’s having that confidence that the machine will work in the most safe and efficient way possible,” he says.

“Another key aspect of TRT’s machinery is constant innovation, which is another thing that we’ve heard consistently from Scott and the rest of the team at McLeod. The upgrades that we’re bringing to the market are second to none, there are similar products out there in the market, but none are on par in terms of the safety and technology.”

“That’s where I believe we trump others.”

TRT will soon release its latest iteration within the PC28 range, with the PC28-3G set to provide a more sustainable option for businesses. 

The PC28-3G’s Cummins ISB6.7 Engine consists of a diesel particulate filter, as well as selective catalytic reduction technology. Both systems help to create near-zero emissions while also ensuring no compromises are made to fuel economy and performance.

This means the PC28-3G still has a 28-tonne maximum lifting capacity on the lug and 27.6 tonnes on the hook block.

“I love that the new version takes another massive leap, this time with the engine. If you’re really passionate about the environment, as our business is, then that’s a brilliant step forward,” McLeod says.

For McLeod, the existing professional relationship between the company and TRT is likely to expand and grow even further.

“We’re a growing company, alongside our customers. It’s not just growth for growth’s sake, because our customers are coming to us and helping us to broaden our scope. We’re a big believer of that and the way I like to describe it is like a deck of cards, we like to make sure that we’ve got the right card for the job,” he says.

“When the opportunity comes along and the growth of the business gets to a certain point, I’m certainly a customer who will be knocking at TRT’s door again.” 

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

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