Expanding upwards

25 April 2008

After many years designing cranes for other companies, Franc Jost heads his own company

After many years designing cranes for other companies, Franc Jost heads his own company

A visit to the Jost factory in Arneburg, Germany, late last year revealed a hive of activity as Franc Jost and his team of designers and engineers were creating their latest wave of machines. Jost, who had a long career in the design departments of, among others, BKT, Potain and Peiner, showed three new models at an open house event at the end of 2005 and revealed plans for the next stage of the company's development.

His son, Alexander, has joined in a marketing role to “push the brand forward” and raise awareness of the company as Jost Cranes prepares for what could be its biggest year so far. Franc Jost says that by early 2006, the Arneburg plant will be producing one crane a week, meaning that the 2005 total of 20 cranes should be, at the very least, doubled this year. Demand is high, Jost says, to the extent that “we are rejecting orders” and planning on expanding the size of the factory next year. Jost forecasts that crane buyers will create a boom in demand for luffing jib tower cranes

“We are taking things one step at a time,” Jost explains, “We have the product and now we have the sales network in place. We are also looking for new suppliers for certain parts. Some components are coming in from China because we cannot get them cheaper anywhere else.”

Like other crane manufacturers, Jost says that the price of steel will put prices up but he hopes that by shopping for cheaper components end users may be spared extra cost.

The open day saw the launch of three new models and attracted new customers from Australia, Belgium, UAE, the Netherlands, Russia and Singapore.

Star of the launch was the striking topless (flat top) luffer, the JTL108.6, which has a maximum load capacity of 6 tonnes at 30 m (on four falls of rope), and 3 tonnes at 45 m (on two falls of rope). When luffing the crane appears to be an almost vertical straight line and Franc Jost said that this design should alleviate problems regarding overhead working space that are in place in some countries such as the UK.

Also on show was the JL216.16 luffing crane, which lifts 16 tonnes at 30 m. An eye-catching feature on this crane is the Jost Moving Ballast System, which Jost patented in the mid- 1990s. The upper part of the ballast is designed with reduced weight to provide better balance, more space for maintenance and to reduce the amount of components such as buffers and springs.

The third model on show was the JT312.12, a flat top unit that lifts 12 tonnes on a 40 m jib and double reeving allows the maximum to be lifted out to 27.8 m. On a 75 m jib it will lift the maximum out to 18 m radius.

All three units are set to be exhibited at the Intermat exhibition in France this April, as Jost Cranes will have its own stand there for the first time.

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