What can you, as a supplier and manufacturer of cranes and offshore equipment, do about sustainability and circularity? Mechanical engineer Dilu Beenker and a team of colleagues are looking for improvements, both in the primary business and in their own operations. A Circo Track with other entrepreneurs gradually made it clear where KenzFigee could take the biggest step forward. CIRCOLLAB of the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences and trade organization FME then put the company in touch with a graduate student to further develop the circular strategies.
“A Circo Track helped identify the biggest circular step”
What is the circular step you have made?
“That step is actually still in development. Our sustainability team initially didn’t know where to start. It helped enormously to spar with other entrepreneurs who are also looking for ways towards circularity. This is how we discovered that in our primary process we should not focus so much on further improving our cranes, but that we should mainly use our so-called up-tower cranes more widely.
Up-tower cranes are compact and modular. They are temporarily mounted on top of wind turbines for repair work and the exchange of important parts. That is safer and more efficient than a large mobile crane. You are much less bothered by wind, but it also saves you having to drag a lot of material around. For comparison: a regular crane requires twenty trucks with equipment; an up-tower crane can be placed in one container. To make these KenzFigee up-tower cranes accessible to a broader target group, we are now analyzing whether a lease construction can contribute to this.”
“There will be a lease construction for our up-tower cranes”
What is the biggest gain?
“By offering a leasing option for these compact cranes, the threshold is lower for potential customers to invest in the benefits of this technical solution. Especially in emerging economies, where the greatest growth is in the wind turbine market, the impact of a broader deployment of up-tower cranes can be significant. The more remote an area, the more transport movements you save by using this compact crane. Depending on the location of the work, estimated emissions savings from using up-tower cranes are between 60 and 85 percent.
It also becomes more attractive for the customer to take over the crane at the end of the lease contract. The investment is then more manageable. In addition, we return the crane to perfect condition at the end of the lease period; and if necessary, we will replace parts or refurbish the crane. The alternative is that we receive the crane back at the end of the contract, after which we also check the condition of the crane and bring it into immaculate condition. This means the crane is ready for the next lease period. KenzFigee designs high-quality cranes, which are also easy to repair, meaning the lifespan of our cranes easily exceeds twenty-five years.
“We save out transport movements and raw materials”
What is the biggest challenge?
“We are in a conventional market, in which it is often thought that new is necessary. Yet we will have to move towards a circular economy together. We want to communicate this urgence more, to take away the cold feet for refurbished equipment.
Another challenge is the application of up-tower cranes in offshore wind farms. Offshore has traditionally been our expertise and area of work, but this type of crane requires some necessary adjustments for offshore work, because everything at sea is moving due to the wind and water. We have already developed cranes for the wind turbines that are located on the seabed (bottom-fixed). The biggest challenge will be the floating wind turbines in deep water. In addition to our cranes, other challenges come our way. Due to the great depth of the ocean, the jack-ups, which are usually used for bottom-fixed wind turbines and are also located on the seabed, cannot be used to carry out repairs or replace parts in a stable manner. This is currently still in development.”
“We want to take away any fear for refurbishment”
Which next circular steps are planned?
“Ultimately we want to bring more refurbished cranes onto the market. To date we have already refurbished several up-tower crane sets and many offshore cranes. The introduction of lease contracts will undoubtedly bring us closer to our goal more quickly.
Furthermore, the involvement of an intern of the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences during this process has led to meaningful new insights for KenzFigee. We are therefore proud to announce that the intern will continue these initiatives within KenzFigee.”
“Ultimately we want to have more refurbished cranes on the market”
This interview was initiated by Circulaire Maakindustrie.