8 March 2018, 15:07
Hiab, part of Cargotec, invites the world's best crane operators to submit their entries for the third World Crane Championship. Local heats begin soon, and the winner will be crowned at the finals, which will take place at the IAA Commercial Vehicle Show in Hannover, Germany, on 22-23 September 2018.
The World Crane Championship aims to showcase the skills and abilities of loader crane operators from around the world, and give them the chance to test their skills against their peers, using the latest load handling products from Hiab. The first-ever World Crane Championship in 2015 started a new tradition in the industry, and generated such huge interest, that Hiab decided to make it a biannual event.
The idea of the contest is quite simple: using a HIAB X-HiPro 232 crane, move water cans from a truck, accurately and with precision, around a circuit of obstacles, in the shortest time possible. The operator with the lowest time and fewest faults is crowned the winner, and takes home a prize worth €25,000.
The first qualification rounds for the 2018 contest will take place in Germany and Austria in early March. To date, there are entries from 16 countries, including Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, The Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, The UK and Ireland, Spain, France, Poland, Slovenia, and Israel.
The winner of the second World Crane Championship in 2016 was Tim Hansen, from Denmark, with a time of 2 minutes, 51:42 seconds. Aged just 25, Mr Hansen, of Tim S Hansen ApS, and the third generation of crane operators in his family, said, "Winning was a bit unreal.but it felt pretty good to win the prize and be able to call myself World Crane Champion." His modesty belies his dexterity and agility at operating the HIAB X-HiPro-equipped crane with pin-sharp precision and accuracy whilst in the glare of the spotlight.
The operators are the key people in any crane business. It is their skill and precision in operating a crane that determines how quickly and safely goods can be delivered to end-users. "The competitors take their entry into the competition very seriously," says Lotta Sjöberg, Global Marketing Manager, Loader Cranes, Hiab. "I have been told that some set up a replica course in their work yards, and practice on a daily basis to hone their skills. They ask me all sorts of questions about the rules, the penalty system, and the course. So, this year, we are keeping all elements of the test course, the crane, and the truck the same, because contestants want to test themselves against the two previous winners on a like-for-like basis, and try to beat them." There is intense, albeit good-natured, competition amongst the contestants, who are proud to represent their companies and their countries. "Afterwards, they swap contact details, so they can stay in touch with one another," says Sjöberg. "If you are part of this competition, you become part of a wider Hiab family, and people really like that."
Indeed, feedback from contestants and their companies is very positive. Being the country-level champion is almost as good as being the world champion. "We are proud to have the World Crane Championship UK-country champion driving our company vehicles," said Gary Halford, Plant Manager at Agetur UK Ltd, after the 2016 contest. And the winning UK-country driver, Trevor Tack, expressed his thanks to the whole Hiab family for an experience he will never forget.
"We invite competitors from around the world to take up the challenge of testing themselves against each other," says Joakim Andersson, Senior Vice President, Loader Cranes, Hiab. "I am looking forward to this year's contest, and seeing the breathtaking levels of skill and precision that will be demonstrated by our finalists. We are proud to be able to host this competition, and be a part of the growing Hiab family of crane operators around the world."