Deman Rolbruggen of Belgium has been manufacturing electric overhead travelling cranes for more than 30 years. It moved into EOTs when the market for its telescopic self-erecting cranes became saturated. With the maturing of the EOT market, it has embarked upon a new strategy.

Kurt Deman says that the company has had problems in the past five to seven years competing in the standard cranes business against more aggressive competitors such as Abus, which has “a good standard product and a good price,” he says. With Abus producing about 100 cranes a year and Deman managing only 100 with its less advanced production techniques, it was clear that some new thinking was needed.

“We had to decide whether to keep going on standard cranes or just do special cranes,” says Kurt Deman.

Deman has responded to its problems by investing in new machinery which enables it build cranes in 40% less time than previously. But it also needed a bigger market. Deman felt that setting up sales and distribution offices overseas would take too much time and effort for little guarantee of success. “There are enough people selling standard cranes already” says Kurt Deman.

Instead Deman is targeting firms that are already in the crane business but do not have the capacity or the machinery to build standard cranes at a good price. It is looking for them to be its distributors.

“It has been very successful,” he says, adding that the timing of the initiative has helped, coming as it does so soon after SWF Krantechnik decided to stop building complete cranes and just sell hoists. Deman has had 50 interested visitors and so far has signed up 15 companies as dealers. The first to sign was Klein of the Netherlands, an SWF hoist distributor suddenly in need of a crane builder.

Deman itself is an SWF dealer and has the blessing of the German company in its enterprise, Kurt Deman says. He adds that interest has also come from distributors of the French manufacturer Verlinde’s hoists.

Deman has labelled the concept Basic and is offering the service in three forms:

• Basic start Deman builds one or two box girders and assembles these with the wheel boxes supplied by the client. The bare crane is painted and shipped to the client for further assembly.

• Basic The client supplies the hoist, wheel boxes and all electrical components. Deman builds the girder(s), assembles the crane totally and puts the client’s name-plate on, if desired. Client arranges transportation from Deman’s plant and takes responsibility for installation and service. These clients are called basic dealers.

• Basic+ Deman provides a standard overhead crane with SWF components and offers all services for the end-user. Deman is continuing to offer cranes directly to end-users itself but is also looking for companies that occasionally get requests for overhead cranes but do not have them in their product range (building contractors, for example) to become basic+ partners.