Flying high

Altrad Sparrows is making a name for itself in the mining industry’s overhead crane sector.

Prior to last year, Sparrows Group was widely known as a crane and lifting equipment contractor that specialised in Australia’s offshore oil and gas sector, while Altrad was one of Australia’s largest industrial service providers with a major presence in the global mining industry.

Altrad was previously unrepresented in the cranes and lifting space, but that all changed when it acquired Sparrows Group in 2022.

The merged entity, known as Altrad Sparrows, wants to bring its combined capabilities to the Australian mining industry.

“The Sparrows acquisition was largely a vertical integration strategic move that was designed to incorporate aspects of the business that Altrad hasn’t worked within, but compliments and supports Altrad’s existing capability,” Altrad Sparrows cranes and lifting manager Australia Matthew Byles told Australian Mining.

“Altrad has a heavy footprint in the WA mining industry, with significant contracts with many major miners. That experience, expertise and performance in the mining industry will provide a pipeline to Sparrows, while adopting the new brand of Altrad Sparrows.

“We’re effectively combining Altrad’s reputation and mining footprint with Sparrows’ expertise in cranes and lifting.”

Altrad Sparrows wants to bring its combined capabilities to the Australian mining industry.

More specifically, Altrad Sparrows is looking to move into the overhead crane sector.

“We’re looking to apply our offshore record and expertise in project management, asset management, compliance and maintenance inspections, and the processes that come along with that,” Byles said.

“It’s very challenging for a company like Altrad Sparrows to get a large crane maintenance contract with a major miner because we haven’t had that presence until now. But providing turn-key solutions for new cranes, crane modernisations and overhauls, and end-of-life assessments is where we have a high level of expertise and experience.”

Altrad Sparrows’ departments such as safety, quality and contract management are based in key areas of regional Western Australia, making maintenance easier for clients.

“Altrad has existing warehouse and maintenance facilities throughout the Pilbara, such as in Newman, Karratha and Port Hedland,” Byles said.

“That is a differentiator between us and the rest of the market because no other crane company in WA has multiple physical facilities anywhere in the Pilbara.

“This is important because mining clients prefer to have stock for things like spares on hand. For example, they might need to bring a hoist down off a crane and then to do an overhaul locally, as opposed to bringing it to Perth, which would incur significant more cost.

“We’re leveraging Altrad’s capability and their existing footprint in the mining industry with Sparrows’ capability, engineering, inspectors and technicians that we’ve currently got available in order to focus on high-end projects.”

Altrad Sparrows is looking to enter the mining industry’s overhead crane sector.

Altrad Sparrows’ main objective for 2024 is to gain awareness and conduct the delivery of new crane projects, along with crane overhauls, compliance inspections, and project and asset management.

“We’ve already demonstrated these capabilities offshore with a reputation for world-class delivery, and we’d like to bring them onshore,” Byles said.

“Another differentiation is Altrad Sparrows’ consultative approach. Crane maintenance service providers should be an asset manager and advisor for their clients, not just a guy on the ground in boots and hi-vis who carries out maintenance every three months.

“The way that preventive and predictive maintenance has matured in industrial equipment, especially in mining industries, is you need to have someone who’s a consultant and adviser to the client, who can provide advice around end-of-life decisions, modernisations, and maintaining the equipment and ensuring it’s compliant.

“Altrad Sparrows has a large team of crane technicians and engineers readily available to deliver all aspects of crane maintenance.

“We want to bring that capability and transfer it to the mining industry.”

This feature appeared in the December 2023 issue of Australian Mining.

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