The European debut of the World Class Crane Management Seminar was held in Amsterdam from 27 to 29 May. The event opened with a short introduction from Rolf Lovgren, chairman of the ISO committee for the use, operation and maintenance of cranes and organiser of this event in North America.

Different crane types were discussed and most of the papers had direct relevance to the factory lifting sector. The first paper was presented by Marc Ostertag, general manager of PAT-America who gave a history of crane safety systems, an overview of current technologies, and an insight into the possibilities of the near future.

Next up was Walter Länge, technical director of Liebherr-Werk Nenzing, who explained why electronic control of cranes gives better performance and is more reliable than either hydraulic or electric controls.

Tomas Sörensen of Datek gave a comprehensive explanation of radio remote control systems and their safety features. This was followed by a presentation from Ivar Horst, managing director of Piab, exploring the causes of failures in lifting operations and the role that different types of overload guards can play in preventing them. The first day was rounded off by Tom Bremer of Hitec O explaining the opportunities offered by crane simulators for training operators.

Day two saw Alain Voyatzis, general director of SMIE, explaining how tower crane anti-collision systems work. These systems have constraints but also enormous benefits which, Voyatzis suggested, need not be limited to tower cranes. Next to the podium was Rafael Mira, technical manager of Tycsa, who convinced the audience that with wire rope it is a case of ‘you get what you pay for’. High performance ropes such as those impregnated with plastic (PFI, or plastic full impregnated) may cost more, but Mira made the benefits very clear.

The final session of the seminar, on Wednesday morning, was a paper by Lars Tuve Hansson of ABB Crane Systems on how to reduce costs of motion controls on EOT cranes with a high asset value. He also spoke about market trends. Demand for ladle cranes will increase because of the age of the installed base, demand for standard EOT cranes will decrease but demand for modernisation and overhauls will increase. He also said that automation would reach the steel industry.

The subject of trends was picked up by the next speaker, Kimmo Hytönen, who believed that the load sway problems associated with EOT cranes would be a contributing factor to declining demand. Hytönen is managing director of Innocrane and, very effectively using a yo-yo as a visual aid, explained ways that load sway can be reduced.

The seminar ended as it began, with Rolf Lovgren. Lovgren’s presentation included just a small proportion of the masses of statistics that he has collected on the performance of cranes, all of which demonstrated that effectively structured crane maintenance reduces operating costs of any organisation.

The event was sponsored by Liebherr-Werk Nenzing. Companies taking stands at the exhibition accompanying the seminar were: Liebherr, Mammoet, Indic, Measurement Systems International, Hitec O, Köhler Kran-Service.

Many of the papers will be reproduced in an edited format in either Cranes Today or its sister magazine Hoist over the coming months. Look out for preliminary details of next year’s seminar in a forthcoming edition of Cranes Today.

If you would like details of next year’s seminar, or if you wish to purchase a full set of papers from the 2002 seminar for £70/US$100 (including postage and packaging), please contact Julie Rossiter (, tel: +44 (0) 208 269 7823, fax: +44 (0) 208 269 7803).