The newly expanded Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) in Australia is leveraging the benefits of the latest electric chain hoist technology from VERLINDE, including 24 STAGEMAKER SR5 D8 and 12 STAGEMAKER SR10 D8 models, along with corresponding STAGEMAKER Flight Cases. The investment was made in conjunction with the new expansion, when the new facility was also supplied with over 70 STAGEMAKER electric chain hoists installed throughout various new spaces.
As part of a $200 million expansion, MCEC has added 20,000m2 of space, including 9,000m2 of flexible, multi-purpose event space and new exhibition halls. The project cements MCEC’s position as the largest convention and exhibition space in Australia, with an increased total size of over 70,000m2. As a result, the venue will attract even more events and thousands more visitors to Melbourne.
Of course, for such a large and important venue, selecting the right hoist technology is vital in order to ensure safe, reliable and efficient operations.
“The 36 STAGEMAKER SR electric chain hoists recently purchased were in addition to our existing floating stock of 24 STAGEMAKER SM2 D8, 12 STAGEMAKER SR5 D8 and four STAGEMAKER SR10 D8 hoists, bringing our total floating stock of chain hoists to 76,” states Production Manager at MCEC, Dale Krumins. “We chose Verlinde this time around as we already had existing Verlinde stock that was performing perfectly well and it made sense to buy more of the same working type.”
When making the initial decision to go with Verlinde, MCEC had a stringent list of selection criteria to fulfil, including price.
“The hoists needed to be of good quality, but at an attractive price point,” says Mr Krumins. “We weren’t looking for cheap, no-name brands, but specialty products to suit the requirements of everyday use.”
Reputation is important, as MCEC’s vision is to be the world’s best events destination. So when looking at what the market had to offer, a product was picked that supports its vision.
“I wanted to choose a brand that was known for its innovation – similar to our company values,” confirms Mr Krumins. “Verlinde has made chain hoists for many years, like most, but it has kept the brand invigorated through constant innovation. Any chain motor can lift the weight listed on the sticker, but having nice handles, a good looking body and a black chain as standard, along with the option for it to come with a case off-the-shelf – not having to design and build our own – put the product ahead of its competitors.”
Another aspect picked out by Mr Krumins as a key factor in the purchase decision, was supply. After all, Australia is the sixth largest country in the world by land area, so hiring other similar products from other states, or even other countries, is a challenge.
“Having VERLINDE hoists available at a local level is very reassuring, and is in contrast to some other brands, which are barely represented here,” says Mr Krumins. “With this in mind, acquiring more similar hoists locally for a specific event isn’t an issue.”
The recently specified VERLINDE STAGEMAKER hoists were purchased, delivered and commissioned through a local distributor, Eurocrane Australia, which also provides MCEC with inspection and maintenance services.
Eurocrane Australia has been a supplier to MCEC for the past three years, delivering around 100 VERLINDE STAGEMAKER hoists to the venue in the past 12 months alone. A number of these have been D8 and D8+ standard, indicating the market trend for highly specified equipment in terms of safety.
“Safety is at the heart of every Australian businesses,” states Monika Colligan, Product Technology Systems Specialist at Eurocrane Australia. “This is especially true for industries which deal with the public. The Australian government has a long history of implementing the highest safety standards and thus the national market has adapted to the new safety requirements.”
Local support is clearly important to MCEC, which means that added-value services from companies such as Eurocrane Australia are highly prized.
“Eurocrane Australia’s dealings with their clients go further than simply supplying a product,” says Ms Colligan. “We see our clients as partners and offer continuous services which include inspection and maintenance, while also offering 24-hour breakdown support. However, we are so confident with the VERLINDE products that we offer complementary extended warranty on the STAGEMAKER range.”
Mr Krumins also has high levels of confidence in the products: “All of our VERLINDE STAGEMAKER hoists, which use Kinesys controllers, have been great – we’ve had no issues whatsoever.”
A final note from Mr Krumins relates to safety requirements. Australia has no laws or regulations governing the use of chain hoists in the events/entertainment industry. However, MCEC chooses to deploy best practice and abide, where possible, to worldwide industry standards. As a result, the venue selects a minimum D8+ safety level for all installed chain hoist motors. The German BGV-D8+ specification allows a hoist to suspend loads above persons without the need for a secondary means of suspension. D8+ therefore demands extra features such as a higher safety factor and double brakes.
STAGEMAKER SR is D8+ ready and features a double-lifting brake as standard. For this reason, MCEC has 38 STAGEMAKER SR5 D8+ (500 kg capacity) and 36 STAGEMAKER SR10 D8+ (1000 kg) electric chain hoists permanently installed in the newly expanded venue. In total there are around 150 hoists from VERLINDE in service at MCEC.
“I really like the fact that Verlinde makes an effort to keep their products modern – current to today’s work, health and safety needs,” concludes Mr Krumins. “As long as the company continues to innovate, we will continue to support them. There are a few stagnant brands in the chain hoist world, so I’m pleased to say that I support an innovative brand.”