Canberra Airport has appointed Toga Far East Hotels – a joint venture between developers Toga Group and Far East Orchard – to operate its new 4.5 star hotel that sits adjacent to the new terminal at the airport in Australia's capital city. Construction of the hotel has posed some challenges in terms of location and space restrictions, but local crane and rigging specialist, RAR Group, found the 20 t capacity Manitowoc's Potain MCT 385 topless crane to be the perfect solution.

RAR Group installed the MCT 385 topless crane on site in June 2014, and it was used to lift all the precast concrete required for the build, plus a host of other materials. It was configured with a 50 m jib and erected to a 40 m height under hook, to meet the local airport's strict limits on equipment working heights. Because topless cranes have no cathead, they are perfect for airport projects as the jib can be configured at a taller height than would be possible with a more traditional top-slewing crane. The MCT 385 was in use for 10 months and then disassembled in February.

Manitowoc Potain MCT 385
Jeff Rumble, partner at RAR Group, said: "The MCT 385 suited this site as it was easy to erect and take down with the minimum main boom extension on the mobile crane we used to put it up. This was important because of the airport height restrictions. It has been a perfect fit for the site, we've had no issues or breakdowns – it's been very reliable."

The MCT 385 was Potain's first topless tower crane to be manufactured in Asia, when production started at the company's Zhangjiagang factory in China back in 2012. Designed by Manitowoc engineers from Europe and Asia, the crane focuses on easy assembly and transportation with its narrow design and streamlined jib and counter-jib. This is combined with high-strength structural components which provide higher capacities, enhanced durability and longer service life. The crane is well suited to congested urban areas or sites with restricted space – such as job sites close to airports.

RAR Group owns a fleet of nine Potain tower cranes including one 5 t MC 85 B with a 50 m maximum jib, one 8 t MC 175 B with a 60 m maximum jib, four 12 t MC 310 K12 units with a 70 m maximum jib, and one 10 t MR 160 C with a 50 m maximum jib. The company also has a 14 t version of the MCT385, which is badged MCT 385 L14.

"The MCT 385 is the largest tower crane in our fleet and it has enabled us to bid jobs that our competitors cannot." Rumble explained, "It's an exceptional mid-range crane with an impressive lift chart. We are pleased with our entire fleet of Potain units and with the service support we receive from Manitowoc Crane Care."

The upscale new hotel, designed by architectural firm Bates Smart, centers around a full-height atrium and will accommodate 191 rooms and suites over seven storeys. A local contractor, Construction Control, is leading building work on the job and RAR Group is providing the lifting equipment. The project commenced in May 2014 and is scheduled to open to the public in November this year.
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