Virgin Atlantic Airways says it is bringing lifting and crane use for aircraft maintenance into the 21st Century with a unique Valla mini crane supplied by Hird.
The airline says the acquisition of the Valla 1725 48ES 22-tonne DC electric mini crane, via specialist equipment supplier Rushlift, significantly improves its aircraft maintenance capability.
It also says the mini crane, which will be used in its hangar at Gatwick Airport, makes a big contribution to the sustainability of its operations.
Virgin Atlantic now plans to work with its aviation suppliers to obtain approval to use the pick and carry mini crane to change engines on its aircraft.
This will be the first time that a mobile crane has been used to complete such a task anywhere in the world.
Hird is the approved UK and Ireland distributor for Valla Cranes, the recently acquired Italian-based industrial crane division of US lifting business Manitex.
Aviation ground support equipment specialist Rushlift approached mini crane hire and sales specialist Hird to supply the crane, as part of its equipment supply and maintenance service for Virgin Atlantic.
Andy Currey, Tooling and Ground Support Equipment Manager at Virgin Atlantic, said: “Working with Hird to develop the specification and deliver this crane for us represents a major step forward in lifting applications. The crane is a brilliant addition to our equipment portfolio.
“As an electric crane it has zero emissions and is low noise, so is a green solution, which is good for our staff and the environment.
“The pick and carry mini crane also allows us to complete many tasks faster, more easily. We are confident we can make a case with aircraft and engine manufacturers to allow us to use the Valla mini crane to carry out engine changes.
“It will definitely be a world first. We will be leading the way in what I believe, in five years’ time will be an industry standard for changing engines.
“Hird immediately understood what we needed and have worked very hard with us on the brief. They are passionate about what they do and I feel fully confident in the relationship going forward.
“Our engineers are really happy with the Valla mini crane. It’s easy to use, it’s a precision tool, it’s quiet, and it’s non-polluting. It also has all the latest COBO 3B6 digital load control systems, so we know precisely what weight we’re lifting and how it needs to be managed safely.”
The mini crane has capabilities unique to Virgin Atlantic’s needs. Its boom can slew through 360 degrees continuous, it has a maximum lifting capacity of 22 tonnes, a working height of 15.5 metres, and a reach of 13.5 metres.
The mini crane has fully-blocked and short-blocked duties, in both free on wheels and pick and carry modes.
Hird can provide a range of mini crane hire and mini crane sales solutions to meet the precise needs of our clients, both in terms of the crane’s lifting specifications and how it is supplied.
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