Positioned within the construction, oil and gas, and wind energy industries, Vest Kran is one of the leading full service providers of engineered heavy lift and logistics in Scandinavia. Established in 1992, Vest Kran has proved to be a natural progression for the Emblem family, which first ventured into the lifting industry as far back as the early 1960s with the introduction of mobile crane services. During this time the booming Norwegian oil and gas industry saw an increasing prevalence of complex heavy projects, and over the years Vest Kran's equipment has become increasingly sophisticated to meet these demands.
Notably Vest Kran has always been quick to invest in leading technology, particularly since its milestone purchase of the largest mobile crane in Scandinavia in 1994. This was followed in 2005, and again in 2007, by further orders for the largest mobile cranes in Scandinavia at those times. These investments were all made in order to best serve the needs of the customer.
At present Vest Kran boasts seven branches all along the cost of Norway, including its head office, which is located in Ågotnes, near the Coast Center Base, as well as a presence in Sweden. Most recently, Vest Kran has expanded its interests outside of Scandinavia with the formation of Vest Kran Turkey together with a leading partner in the Turkish business community. Vest Kran has an 80 per cent stake in the ownership and its partner has 20 per cent.
Working within the same areas as its Scandinavian business, Vest Kran Turkey will place a strong focus on the larger projects where it can make use of the equipment and expertise gained through the company's prior activities. In particular, Vest Kran Turkey will be working on the construction and maintenance of wind turbines and larger systems. Already the business has secured work for the future, and has plans to have its first cranes in place before 2012.
Across its three core business areas, Vest Kran offers a comprehensive package of services including heavy lifting, engineering, personnel, crane rental, sales, and maintenance, logistics, and project management. Vest Kran's technical manager Kim Emblem highlights some of the key aspects of this service: "One area where we are particularly pioneering is our engineering and simulation capabilities, which enable us to plan each job and how we will approach it, before the work actually begins. We always strive to find the cheapest, safest, and quickest way to complete each project, even if this means developing new equipment. In this respect we have fully optimised our CC2800 narrow track crawler crane for the wind turbine industry with custom upgrades. We have engineered the crane so that it is much stronger and better for us to use particularly in the wind industry. We are also mounting a special device for fast rigging, lifting and turning of the turbine blades."
With many years of industry experience behind it, Vest Kran acts a complete supplier of lifting and logistics to even the most challenging construction projects. This includes its own dedicated construction rigging and assembly teams, along with specialised equipment especially designed for construction sites.
Vest Kran also has an enviable reputation in the Norwegian oil and gas industry having undertaken projects at many of the countries leading facilities. As a result the company has developed specialised cranes for offshore work, which are approved for use in fire or explosive hazardous areas and equipped with all necessary safety equipment required by the Norwegian Petroleum Safety Authority.
It was more than 13 years ago that Vest Kran began installing onshore wind turbines in Scandinavia. By making this early investment in the wind energy industry, Vest Kran possesses extensive experience and expertise in all aspects of wind farm construction, maintenance, installation, logistics and project management. The company remains committed to developing new technology and cost-efficient solutions to support this burgeoning industry.
A primary example of this is the company's patented SeaLock system, which is targeted at the upcoming offshore floating wind farm movement. This system enables these floating wind turbines to dock and undock at a moored floating deep-water docking station. Each turbine is assembled onshore and then towed to the docking station and installed ready for operation within only a one to two day period.
The ‘quick connect and disconnect' nature of this service reduces offshore wind farm installation costs, and enables the turbines to be brought back to shore for servicing and maintenance programmes. This minimises downtime, as well as the cost of deploying specialist offshore maintenance vessels, and means that these essential programmes are less dependant upon weather conditions. Equally, there is also the potential to quickly replace turbines in the event of failure, reducing any operational loss.
"All of our wind industry staff are trained at the world's leading wind training centre in Denmark to ensure that we can serve our customers in the best possible way. This expertise has enabled us to complete a record assembly of 26 wind turbines at the Høg- Jæren wind park in Norway, at a rate of three Siemens mills per week. We have also just finished the assembly and installation of a further 11 wind turbines at Nygårdsfjellet in north Norway for Siemens," comments Kim.
Having established itself firmly in its home market, Vest Kran has its sights clearly set on new possibilities within the international construction business. Vest Kran Turkey represents just the first step in achieving these ambitions, and with extensive contact continuing between the company and key personnel in several other European countries there are positive signals of establishing a presence in these targeted markets. Ultimately Vest Kran intends to become recognised as the leading heavy lift and logistics service supplier in Europe, and a global player in the international wind energy industry.