Spanish Crane Rental Firm Scores with Modulift

    

Spanish crane rental company Gruas Deca S.A. has rigged a mobile crane with a one-over-two below-the-hook solution from Modulift to replace roof sections at Estadio Municipal de Balaídos, the stadium of La Liga football club Celta Vigo.

The 650t Terex Demag crane with 60m telescopic boom was used with a MOD 110H and two MOD 70H spreader beams to remove concrete tiles weighing 85t each that have sheltered fans from the Spanish sun and other elements since 1969. The project was overseen by engineering and construction company Pescaira, who had to complete removal of the old roof in a three-week period as part of a larger scope of work scheduled for the football close season.

Juan Landesa, general manger, Pescaira, said: “The crane and below-the-hook equipment combined to form a crucial tool to the safe and efficient removal of the roof. We worked closely with Gruas Deca to implement a thorough lift plan to ensure we didn’t encounter any unforeseen problems onsite when we were up against the strict time schedule. The specifications of the job were very unique and its success demonstrated the potential for us to combine with the companies involved on future complex lifting applications.”

Miguel Galego, technical director, Gruas Deca, consulted Modulift on the appropriate below-the-hook equipment, given the challenging dimensions of the tiles that measured 21m x 8m x 5.6m and were made of reinforced concrete in situ almost 50 years ago.

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Testing Times

Sarah Spivey, the managing director of Modulift, reacts to the UK’s decision to leave the European Union, returns to Vertikal Days (with a brolly) and takes an exam.

There’s only one place to start this month’s blog. Last Thursday (23 June 2016), the UK voted to Leave the European Union (EU) with 51.9% of the votes versus the 48.1% who wished to Remain. A bumper 72.2% turnout demonstrated the extent to which the referendum captured the public’s imagination. I wondered throughout the campaign process, as we endured months of mud-slinging from both camps, how much the public considered the importance of the vote and the implications of putting a X in one box or the other. And now in the aftermath, it remains unclear who the winners and losers really are.

This isn’t a political blog, so I’m not going to go into what way I voted or what my company’s board would have preferred to see happen. Truth is, we’ve got to get on with it now. However, what I will acknowledge is that the result of the referendum has put the nation, indeed, the world, in a state of flux. We’ve spent a long time coming to terms with the oil and gas slump, but optimism was starting to return, while many were going as far as to suggest we were only six to nine months away from something of a rebound. That positivity has been stalled by the Brexit vote and we’re keeping our fingers crossed it hasn’t been derailed completely.

The trouble with markets and economies is they don’t follow set guidelines or defined rules. It isn’t always clear how they’ll react. They could give you a hug one minute and punch you in the face the next. What is certain is that markets don’t like uncertainty. Regardless of how you package the results of the referendum, these have become very uncertain times. Nobody can even say when exactly we’re coming out of the EU, for example, let alone the short and long term repercussions of doing so. There’s cloud cover, but will it clear to blue skies or develop into a raging thunder storm?

The shockwaves of the result—even many Leave voters and campaigners didn’t expect to win the day—have been felt in Europe and far beyond. As we woke to the news last Friday, the phone started to ring from the continent, further east and, later in the day, North America. Nobody was saying the result has definitively caused X, Y or Z, but everyone was unanimous in that it has created uncertainty and the risk profile has thusly been drastically altered.

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Modulift Raises Profile in Eastern U.S. with Landmark Distributor Appointment

Modulift has named I&I Sling Inc. its latest North American distributor, offering the below-the-hook equipment manufacturer comprehensive coverage of eastern regions of the U.S. from facilities in Florida, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Virginia.

The agreement aligns Modulift with a lifting equipment powerhouse, boosting outreach of its spreader beams and other equipment through a company that recently celebrated its 50th anniversary in the rigging business. I&I Sling is commonly associated with its world-renowned Slingmax® Rigging Solutions brand.

Sarah Spivey, managing director of Modulift, had earmarked I&I Sling as a potential lead distributor some time ago, but only after productive meetings at this April’s Associated Wire Rope Fabricators (AWRF) General Meeting & Product Information Exhibition in New Orleans, did talks reach advanced stages. As part of the agreement, I&I will stock the full range of Modulift equipment up to MOD 110H from its heavy lift spreader beam series.

She said: “Once we got taking about partnering, it was quickly apparent to both parties that this could be a very fruitful relationship. Thomas De Soo [director], Tim Shears [purchasing manager] and I explored the U.S. market and implemented a strategy through which we can supply our range of below-the-hook equipment to the myriad of industries and applications I&I engages with on a weekly basis.”

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Product Update - Component Warning!

Dear Customer,

For many years now Modulift UK Ltd have supplied some of the bigger components from our modular spreader beam range complete with welded deck eyes.

The purpose of these deck eyes is twofold. Firstly, they enable a safe and effective means of handling the components throughout the various stages involved in manufacture. Secondly, they offer a safe and effective means of handling the individual components by you, the customer, when loading, assembling and disassembling our spreader beam systems.

It is important to note however that these welded deck eyes should never be used as a means of lifting when part of a spreader beam assembly (i.e. they should not be connected to the hook, the load, or any other lifting accessory when the spreader beam is being used). Spreader beams are designed for axial compression, not bending, which is what could occur if the deck eyes are used for any other purpose than component handling.

To ensure that this is clearly communicated to all customers and end users we have taken the decision to include signage on relevant spreader beam components stating “For Component Handling Only” adjacent to all deck eyes. All of our modular spreader beam components that are provided with deck eyes will be supplied with this signage from 1st June 2016.

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You be the Judge

Sarah Spivey, the managing director of Modulift, explains why it was important to respond to a recent ruling by a U.S. judge that has caused a stir in the lifting industry.

The crane and rigging industry is still reeling from the impact of a shockwave. The pulsating disturbance caused crane operators, riggers, engineers and anyone else who knows the difference between a hook and a shackle, to stand thunderstruck. It was a tremor felt around the world after a U.S. judge inexplicably decided that a spreader bar should be redefined as part of the load—not the rigging.

Consider the volume of best practice guidance and standards that prevent riggers and other personnel from being under (or near in some cases) the load. Now ponder what goes into attaching spreader bars and other below-the-hook equipment to the item to be lifted—the load, as we know it. If crane professions can’t access the area beneath the spreader (because it’s been redefined as part of the load), how can they feasibly connect it to, er… the load?

It’s a rhetorical question that the world’s engineers couldn’t answer. But the industry has been confronted with that very issue after an administrative law judge with the Federal Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) Review Commission did not accept a crane rental company’s argument that the spreader should not be considered part of the load, after a citation alleged that they were negligent when personnel were beneath it during a site inspection.

I’m not going to repeat the whole report from the MSHA—it can be easily found online—but certain facts were seemingly acknowledged by all parties, ruling out the possibility that this was a unique set of circumstances or the judge could have been confused by the different elements he had to consider. This was a routine operation and the spreader was lifted without a load attached. It was rigging equipment being lifted by a crane. There was no load involved, or at least not one that any crane professional would acknowledge.

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Melting Pot

In her latest blog, Sarah Spivey, the managing director of Modulift, reports her findings from three recent trade events.

It’s good to see for oneself, as last month (April) proved.

I wrote a blog last September that advised businesses how to identify the demographics of trade shows and set a mission for each event accordingly. I used three events we had attended at the time and explained why getting the most from them could only be achieved once we’d considered the organisers, the audiences they attract, the markets they represent and the format they follow.

That content can be revisited here: http://www.modulift.com/blog/blog/show-up-with-intent

This blog is again about three equally different events but, having applied the guidance from the earlier post, it explores how we can use the takeaways from the stands, aisles and related networking to paint a picture of the state of a market. Getting the strategy right and knowing how to read the signals are key components of business planning.

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Modulift Custom Below-the-Hook Solution for Dockside Lift

  

 

Modulift supplied a custom below-the-hook solution to lift an 85t load from the dockside onto a vessel at Hyundai Heavy Industries’ shipyard in Mipo Bay, Ulsan, Korea.

The below-the-hook equipment manufacturer supplied the bespoke rig, based on a one-over-two spreader beam configuration, to marine engineering specialist MAATS Tech, which was given a scope of work by the shipbuilder to provide a lifting solution for the piece of deck equipment.

The load was 19m x 7m x 7.5m and included a pipe/cable tensioner; container housing and power cabinets; product guide chutes; and space frame. David Smith, project manager, MAATS Tech Limited, explained that the dimensions presented a challenge to locate the centre of gravity.

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Buoyant Quarter—Buzz Off

In her latest blog, Sarah Spivey, the managing director of Modulift, looks beyond the numbers in reflection on an uplifting opening quarter to the year.

Pretty soon, companies that report to shareholders or inform capital markets about their operations, will be releasing Q1 2016 financial results. Journalists and commentators will pore over announcements as they try to assess the state of the marketplaces in which those businesses operate.

The usual buzzwords and phrases will appear. You know the ones—‘order intake’, ‘order book’, ‘sales’, ‘capacity’, ‘investments’, ‘buoyant’, and, dare I say it, ‘cautious optimism’.

I know what CEOs and CFOs mean when they strike a cautiously optimistic tone, but I think it’s important to put retrospective analysis in real terms, especially when managing directors—like me—need to chart a path and, more importantly, motivate a team of sales professionals, engineers and marketers.

Most entered 2015 in an all too dangerous (ignorant, even) cautiously optimistic frame of mind but, as this blog discussed throughout last year, the 12 months that followed were turbulent (there’s another buzzword) for many. For some, the future even started to look bleak. Of course that isn’t because of the phrasebook they used to compile their shareholders’ reports, but those pages can only tell us so much.

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Modulift Below-the-Hook Equipment for Bern Bridge Project

Two 70t Modulift spreader beams were integral to the reinstallation of a bridge, lowered back into position by two mobile cranes lifting in tandem.

Swiss crane rental company Senn AG used two Liebherrs, each rigged with below-the-hook equipment, to return the refurbished bridge across the Aare river in Bern, Switzerland’s capital.

Oftringen, Switzerland-based Senn is a multifaceted business, which is also a specialist in the provision of steel construction and infrastructure projects. Its scope of work for installation of the bridge in Aarwangen in the north of the city included manufacture and transportation of the steel structure.

Jörg Senn, CEO, Senn AG, explained that the expansive job specification actually simplified selection of the lifting and rigging equipment from the business’s crane and transport department, eliminating the requirement for specifications to be sent to another party, as would typically be the case.

Two big problems remained, however. First, Senn AG had only six weeks to remove the bridge, renew the foundations and replace it; and, second, once the bridge was returned to the site it had to create a stable lift using both the cranes’ outriggers and below-the-hook equipment.

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Alternative Fuels

In her latest blog, Sarah Spivey, the managing director of Modulift, sticks with old faithful, looks again at risk management and prepares to launch a new below-the-hook product.

With this advisory blog in mind, I make notes throughout the month as events unfold and learning experiences present themselves. I will remember this month for much more than the quadrennial 29th day (or leap day).

Few industries enduring a downturn would continue to command the attention that oil and gas receives despite the state of the market. But such is the sector’s ability to deliver mega orders for heavy lift equipment and its undoubted long-term importance, it has again been a major talking point of the year so far.

Just when diversification was looking like the new buzz word, the phone rings and we receive an order for more custom below-the-hook equipment from old faithful. In this case the order was for two 303t capacity, 6.8m span custom subsea spreader beams for the Kraken project, one of the biggest subsea heavy-oil field projects under development in the UK sector of the North Sea.

Even at the time of writing, the industry was the topic of conversation as our local distributor, Bullivants, reported positively from the Australasian Oil & Gas Exhibition & Conference, which took place 24-26 February. They are featuring Modulift equipment at Stand B18 and many are talking about an imminent upturn in activity, particularly off the west coast of the sprawling island.

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Custom Modulift Subsea Spreaders for Major North Sea Oil Project

Modulift has manufactured two custom subsea spreader beams for one of the worlds leading Subsea Construction Company’s who are currently conducting a large-scale engineering, procurement, installation and construction contract for EnQuest’s Kraken Development. The Kraken Development, is one of the largest subsea heavy-oil field projects under development in the UK sector of the North Sea.

The below-the-hook equipment manufacturer delivered the 303t capacity, 6.8m span spreaders to their customers on site, where the scope of work includes template and manifold installation at three drill centres.

Modulift’s spreaders will be used to lift the manifolds into position on stage one of the project, before going into storage for six to 12 months before being reused on later stages.

Liam Botting, new business development manager at Modulift, said: “This is a landmark project on which to showcase the engineering behind our new range of spreaders for subsea use. The range incorporates our drop link design to ensure the beam doesn’t have any bending force through it—other than due to self-weight—thus reducing the overall size and weight of the beam, creating a more efficient design.”

Botting added that the design features an open section to ensure that there are no issues with pressure equalisation, and that all surfaces can be covered with a high build epoxy paint suitable for subsea environments.

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Innovative Spreader Beam Configuration for Narrow Construction Lift

Innovation below-the-hook in lifting operations can reduce downtime and enhance safety on construction projects in urban environments, as proved by a lift in a narrow London street last December.

Safe application of tower cranes can be particularly challenging in high-rise development, which is inherently concentrated in areas where busy streets, restricted access and congested sites are prevalent. This was certainly true of a project near the famous Fleet Street in England’s capital city, where Modulift engineers were called onto site by LSC Facades.

A complex rigging solution was required to lift pallets from a lorry in Fetter Lane, using a tower crane that was already on the construction site. Below-the-hook equipment manufacturer Modulift designed a one-over-two-over-four spreader beam configuration to lift four non-standard pallets for the contractor, which provides exteriors for a variety of projects, including a number of landmark public buildings.

The loads were fixed to pallets measuring approximately 3.5m x 1.5m with the heaviest weighing 950kg. The narrow street combined with the height of lift and limited visibility for the tower crane operator presented challenges. The street was not closed during the lifts but traffic was not allowed to pass during lifting operations.

Tom Cox, production supervisor, Modulift, explained that as the load was “basketed”, it had the potential to be unstable, thus, the Modulift engineering team leaned towards the one-over-two-over-four spreader beam configuration.

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Learn Something New Every Day

In her first blog of 2016, Sarah Spivey, the managing director of Modulift, explains why the most successful people never stop educating themselves—or their staff.

We start 2016 in a challenging business climate. This time last year there was broad optimism among fellow company leaders in the lifting industry, a positivity that was shared by many financial forecasters and business commentators. We weren’t viewing the world through rose-coloured spectacles; the indicators were pointing to a prosperous year. That quickly changed.

I reflect to make the point, certain things will always be beyond your control. Many a great thought leader will tell you not to worry about what you can’t control, rather what you can. The factors that influence an economy and industry can be like Mother Nature; you can’t control them and they have no mercy. What can be controlled however is a business’s ability to weather a storm or thrive in a challenging marketplace. That usually comes down to the dynamism, tenacity and savvy of the individuals within it.

Personal development

I’ve blogged about diversification before and I will allude to the importance of it again, outlining how that will manifest itself as Modulift diversifies further throughout the year, but I want to lead on personal development. Qualifications and a person’s abilities are most commonly referenced during recruitment processes and by those in the early throes of their careers, but it is equally important for C-level professionals, company owners and directors to constantly add to their skill-sets.

It’s no coincidence that the more inspirational, dynamic, successful business owners and senior managers I have met are the ones who are prepared to learn something new every day, often embracing courses, seminars and other educational opportunities. On the other hand, the more aloof top brass who believe they are beyond such enlightenment can be found wanting in terms of their ability to diversify when the going gets tough. This is particularly true if they attempt to apply old sciences to new challenges.

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Rope and Sling Provides Modulift Spreader Beam Lifting Rig for Forth Road Bridge Project

Rope and Sling Specialists Ltd provided a below-the-hook solution to infrastructure management company Amey to lift a truck-mounted access platform during maintenance on the Forth Road Bridge in Scotland.

Amey, on behalf of Transport Scotland, undertakes services associated with the operation, management and maintenance of the Forth Road Bridge and its approach roads. It carried out overnight repairs on the bridge last month (December). Rope and Sling provided a spreader beam lifting rig to lift a 35t Bronto Skylift (a mobile elevating work platform or MEWP) provided by Nationwide Platforms.

Access was required to make a repair to a support truss on the bridge’s northern pier. The pier from the north tower is sited on the Mackintosh Rock, a whinstone outcrop that made for an ideal foundation during construction.

Rope and Sling hired to the project a modular spreader beam type MOD70H with two MOD34 beams, manufactured by Modulift, with various round slings and shackles from its hire stock. The rig was assembled in line with computer-aided design (CAD) drawings of the MEWP, sent to Rope and Sling by Nationwide Platforms.

The lifting rig was used below the hook of a barge crane—the bridge spans the Firth of Forth—that lifted the truck-mounted hydraulic platform onto the barge from the shore, travelled to the site, then lifted it to the base of the bridge from where it would lift personnel, stabilised by outriggers. Upon completion of the work, the rig was employed again to return the MEWP to the barge, remove it from the scene by water and return it to shore.

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Treading the Boards

Having delivered an acclaimed presentation at the LEEA Lifting & Rigging Conference Middle East in Dubai, Anthony Culshaw, Modulift’s senior design engineer, guest blogs for the below-the-hook equipment manufacturer.

I’m honoured that our managing director, Sarah Spivey, turned to me when looking for someone to cover her blog this month. I’m not an experienced blogger but I’m going to approach this in the same way I would a presentation. I aim to provide an educational angle that gives the audience (or reader) valuable information.

As we’ve not long packed up our exhibit at the LEEA Lifting & Rigging Conference Middle East here in Dubai, where I gave a one-hour talk on the opening day yesterday, I’ll start by outlining what I feel are key ingredients to a presentation at an industry conference. They were guidelines I followed myself when preparing a paper titled ‘The Design, Engineering, Manufacture and Use of Lifting Beams and Spreader Beams for a Specific Project’ and one I gave a few months earlier at the The Crane Industry Council of Australia’s event in Perth, called ‘Lifting and Spreader Beam Design and Use’.

You can’t judge a book by its cover but the title of a presentation is very important. Note that I didn’t use the name of the company in either one as I didn’t want to give the impression it was a sales pitch or contained commercial content. ‘The Design, Engineering, Manufacture and Use of Modulift Lifting/Spreader Beams for a Specific Project’ or ‘Modulift Lifting and Spreader Beam Design’ would have aroused suspicion among the delegates, which would have had an adverse effect on the reputation of myself and the company.

Therein lies the crux of my point. People want to be educated by conference presentations, not sold to. I’ve been to a variety of industry events and I always take note of conversations and the reaction of attendees after sessions as they leave for exhibition areas or networking functions. Where the presenter has been self-serving or made references to specific products or services, the audience is left cold and often share their discontentment with fellow participants.

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Modulift Names Two New Distributors in Colombia and Saudi Arabia

 

Modulift has welcomed two new distributors to represent the below-the-hook lifting equipment manufacturer in Colombia, South America and the Middle Eastern hotbed of Saudi Arabia.

Rigging specialist Green Line Colombia S.A. has become Modulift’s first official representative in South America, while Saudi Dutest Industrial Company LLC will distribute the product range, including spreader beams, lifting beams, and other equipment, throughout the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Sarah Spivey, managing director, Modulift, said: “We have been referring to 2015 within the Modulift family as the year of the distributor and it is fitting that we conclude that year with an announcement that we have added two new partners to our network, representing us in markets integral to our growth strategy in 2016 and beyond.”

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Singing in the Rain

In her latest blog, Sarah Spivey, the managing director of Modulift, explains how to take the lessons of the past into a bright future.

Whether a company’s financial year runs from January to December, April to March or another 12-month period, one can’t escape that we’re approaching a time of reflection and contemplation. As 2015 draws to a close, everyone in the lifting industry—and many others—is approaching the last hurdle of the final lap of the year and looking forward to 2016.

Many (most) have had enough of this year. It will be remembered for not only hitting the oil and gas industry hard, but then kicking it a few more times as it lay there, winded. And then going back to boot it again. I heard recently that offshore industry in the UK alone has lost around 65,000 jobs since the beginning of last year. In the Gulf of Mexico, meanwhile, I read with interest about high profile companies like ConocoPhillips and Marathon Oil taking drastic action over assets and future exploration.

Caught by surprise

Despite all that, I’m optimistic about next year. True, many of today’s challenges will come with us over the crest but companies are now adapting to the lower oil price and our guard is up. That was the problem in Q1; we didn’t see it coming. At Modulift, we budget from January to December and this time last year I was very excited about the next 12 or so months. As early as February 2015 there was a sense of impending doom.

I think it was outdoor scribe Alfred Wainwright who said: “There's no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing.” I know what he means. The industry is prepared to weather the storm and, at Modulift, we’re going to dance in the rain.

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A Postcard from Amsterdam

In her latest blog, Sarah Spivey, the managing director of Modulift, writes from Amsterdam about how to stage the perfect product launch.

At the time of writing, it’s Tuesday afternoon here in Amsterdam. Anthony Culshaw, our senior design engineer, and I have just set up our exhibition stand at the Hotel Krasnapolsky ahead of tomorrow’s World Crane and Transport Summit, which finishes on Thursday afternoon. The venue is on Amsterdam’s main square with views across to the Royal Palace. It’s a picturesque backdrop to the launch of our latest product—the Trunnion Modular Spreader Beam.

Over the next two days, there will be a ballroom and co-located conference facility full of fellow exhibitors and lifting industry professionals at a venue that has been welcoming guests since 1855. Here’s how we’ve planned to execute the launch so everyone goes home talking about us and the historic, industry-wide launch of a spreader beam of this kind. Much of our strategy could be applied to any product launch, however.

It is important to choose the right audience. The World Crane and Transport Summit has established itself as a key meeting place for users and buyers of cranes and transport equipment as well as manufacturers and distributors. The event regularly attracts audiences in excess of 250 people, from all over the world, including many of the largest crane and transport equipment owning companies.

As always on the eve of a major product launch, there is a temptation to get carried away with the marketing message, but it’s important to talk about the problem being solved not the products and services being sold. It doesn’t matter if it’s a spreader beam or a screw. What does it do? How does it help? How is it better than what’s already being used for the job?

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Modulift Launches Trunnion Modular Spreader Beam for Heavy Lift Applications

The new Trunnion spreader beam is set to revolutionise the rigging industry by offering lifting professionals an efficient, lightweight and economic below-the-hook solution.

Modulift, a manufacturer of spreader beams, lifting beams and other below-the-hook equipment, has launched the product primarily to ease the attachment of slings when rigging heavy lifts.

The game-changing Trunnion Modular Spreader Beam offers a myriad of benefits to high capacity lifting operations, including significant time savings when compared to similar applications using standard rigs below the hook, taking only half the duration in the rigging up phase, tests suggest.

A trunnion is defined in engineering as one of a pair of projections attached to opposite sides of a container to provide a support about which it can turn in a vertical. Practically, the Modulift spreader has been modified and a drop link removed to make way for the trunnion pin and cross pins. This allows for direct connection of slings to the spreader beam.

The trunnion spreader will initially be launched in three sizes— TRUN MOD250, TRUN MOD400 and TRUN MOD600—covering a range of capacities from 250t to 1,000t. The shackle-less solution is in essence a standard modular spreader, using the same struts and bolting configurations and is, thus, fully compatible with current and legacy equipment.

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Show Up With Intent

Welcome to the Modulift blog, written by me, Sarah Spivey, the managing director of the premium supplier of spreader beams, lifting beams and other below-the-hook lifting equipment.

I wrote last month about the importance of a trade show strategy, as demonstrated by the first few weeks of exhibition season. It’s a time of year that ages the unprepared beyond recognition and chews up the unworthy like an exhibition hall canteen sandwich. If approached with a battle plan, however, trade events are a feast of plenty.

We had a very different presence at each of the Crane Industry Council of Australia’s (CICA) conference in Perth, Australia; Offshore Europe, in Aberdeen, Scotland; and the Specialized Carriers & Rigging Association (SC&RA) Crane & Rigging Workshop, in Denver, USA, all of which took place in September.

Getting the most from these events could only be achieved once we’d considered the organisers, the audiences they attract, the markets they represent and the format they follow. They are key considerations regardless of the industry in which you work and the market you’re hoping to penetrate through a trade show or conference.

Here’s how we looked at the demographics of the three events above and set a mission for each.

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