Five-day factory workweeks sustained through the pandemic, an increasingly strong order book and the recent purchase of Cape Town’s BB Cranes: all indicate the possibility of Condra becoming southern Africa’s leading crane manufacturer.
Industry observers are saying this may already be the case going by permanent staff headcount. It follows continuing growth resulting from carefully-planned expansion of company capacity and capability in crane design and manufacture, automation being one example. There has also been steady extension throughout central and southern Africa of the after-sales service network.
Condra’s automated crane option, available since 2019, represents the culmination of fifteen years’ experience in semi-automated installations. Using new developments in sensors, controls and software to precisely control load uplift and positioning in repetitive operations, automation increases productivity and reduces the risk of load damage in specific manufacturing and mining applications. The option is available across all three types of Condra crane: overhead (bridge) designs in single and double-girder configuration, portal (gantry) cranes, and jib (cantilever) cranes.
Long production runs
The company also manufactures an extensive line of hoists in two main ranges: the KSeries and the SH (short headroom) Series. There is additionally a variety of modular component sub-assemblies such as crabs, endcarriages, bottom blocks and cable-loop systems, all fabricated to customer specification from some 200 modular parts produced in long production runs to achieve competitive prices through economies of scale. Short lead times are achieved through large inventories.
End-carriages are configured with either standard speed, dual-speed or variable speed drives, using individual drive or idler bogies from 125 to 630mm in diameter. Hoists are supplied with capacities of 250 tons and more.
Condra customises all component sub-assemblies to the customer’s precise requirements, thus the client avoids the time-consuming administration needed to transact and liaise with many different suppliers, while focusing on the specific application. All components carry a standard twelve-month guarantee.
Growth at Condra was organic until the company in 2016 acquired a majority shareholding in BB Cranes, a leading Cape Town lifting equipment manufacturer and long-standing customer of Condra’s hoists and end-carriages, which BB marries to crane girders fabricated at its own factory.
The remaining shareholding was bought on March 1 of this year, making BB Cranes a wholly-owned Condra subsidiary and allowing it to begin increasing market share in the Western Cape through expanded manufacturing and refurbishing capabilities, and improved productivity. Immediately after the acquisition was completed, a girder jig was installed at BB’s factory to enable quicker, more efficient manufacture of cambered girder box sections, reducing production time by some 75 percent.
BB Cranes’ staff and branding continue unchanged. The company is currently working towards the ISO 9000 certification enjoyed by the parent group.Condra’s growth into a position of leadership in overhead cranes and hoists is set to continue. Significantly large orders have recently been secured. Details are to be released when production is underway.