If you don’t have a safe plant to work in, you can’t roll out that vision of safety to others17 June 2021
This month, Hoist shines the spotlight on The Crosby Group. and speaks to Wim Fabricius, who has taken over from Jason Colwell, as the managing director for Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) region. Fabricius has been with the company for more than six years, most recently as vice president, commercial for EMEA and will now be responsible for leading the business in this region as Colwell moves back to the United States after nearly a decade in Europe.
The Crosby Group manufactures and distributes products and services to make lifting and load securement safer and more efficient, with brands such as Crosby, Gunnebo Industries, Crosby Straightpoint (CrosbySP) , Acco, McKissick, Crosby Feubo, Trawlex, Lebus, and CrosbyIP.
It recently acquired BlokCorp, based in the UK, which designs and manufactures camera and alert systems for tower and mobile cranes, which provides crane operators with critical visual and audio capabilities for safer and more productive lifting operations, and earlier this year it made a ‘significant investment’ in Verton Technologies based in Queensland, Australia for its disruptive advancements in load orientation technology.
In an exclusive video interview with Fabricius he tells Hoist why the company wants to bring an elevated level of safety to an increasing number of workers and why it has launched a Technology Solutions business unit.
The new division, inclusive of BlokCorp, Crosby Straightpoint, and Verton, will enable a heightened focus on creating disruptive and integrated lifting technologies.
“It’s an exciting time to take the helm of the European organisation. We have obviously gone through a major lockdown and some lockdowns still remain in certain parts of Europe. We clearly see a difference in how countries roll out their vaccination programs and how this affects our business in different ways but we do see the light at the end of the tunnel, which will spur activity in our end user markets,” said Fabricius, who is based in The Netherlands.
“One of the things we want to accomplish is better and safer ways in which people can use our products and our lift and rigging equipment. Through this pillar of innovation is where BlokCorp falls into, providing a very high level solution to increase safety to lifting, by adding visuals such as a camera to their lift. We think the future will have more of these solutions combing data analysis, visuals with a camera and AI (Artificial Intelligence) to make the lifting environment a safer place to work in and technology plays a very important role in that.
“Verton supplies technology to make the lift safer by enabling the operator to rotate an object they are lifting remotely, whereas previously you had to have two to three riggers to move the load, now they can position it remotely.
“In terms of the EMEA region, there are multiple markets in the Middle East including construction, which from a safety perspective, still has a long way to go. We do see a vision for the Middle East, the UAE and Saudi Arabia to make it safer, but we are not there yet. It’s definitely a growth opportunity. In the end, everybody will appreciate more and more the value of life and that’s what we are investing in.
“My role is multi-faceted, in one respect, it is how we produce our products. We have a lot of plants across Europe and we want to work on safety in the plant. If you do not have a safe plant to work in you can’t really roll out your vision of safety and embrace it fully so we implement and continue to carry out a lot of safety measures within our own facilities. We are virtually integrated, which means we control pretty much every aspect of the production process. Secondly, our commercial team’s main objective is to train and educate our end users about the concept of safety and to understand the risks associated with lifting heavy equipment and make everyone aware of that vision within the market. We want to make the workplace a lot safer.”
BlokCorp’s portfolio includes BlokCam camera systems for tower and mobile cranes and it recently launched BlokAlert, an audio/visual warning system to alert crane operators when workers are in harm’s way. Going forward, the BlokCorp portfolio will go to market under the brand name Crosby BlokCam.
Verton’s technology includes Everest 6, a 20-ton load orienting spreader beam, Everest 30, a modular load orienting system for a broad range of working load limits, and Windmaster, a load orientation device for wind turbine erection.
One example of how The Crosby Group supports the offshore wind industry was recently demonstrated by an order for chain accessories from Crosby|Feubo, for a floating offshore wind turbine (FOWT) project from a European client.
The scope of work included the design, manufacturing and testing of longterm mooring shackles which had to be completed within a three-month timeframe. The team delivered the chain accessories, complete with extensive in-house machining and testing, all on time.
The company also recently launched the HFL Kenter, a high fatigue life shackle, under the Crosby|Feubo brand for the wind energy market. The shackle showcases design improvements on the popular Crosby|Feubo NDur Link, an accessory used for temporary and mobile mooring applications such as rigging and anchoring offshore platforms or vessels. The product can connect to a variety of stud link anchor chain or other mooring accessories such as sockets and swivels.
Another example of how The Crosby Group supported the offshore wind industry is with the delivery of turnbuckles for a wind turbine OEM at Kriegers Flak wind farm in the Baltic Sea off the coast of Denmark. Despite the tight delivery schedule, the company delivered 700 turnbuckles to be used together with wire slings to tighten both sides of tower sections, ensuring they don’t ovalize during transport and storage.