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Brisbane Crane Technology Taking Safety, Accuracy to New Heights


Brisbane based proptech company Verton has revolutionised crane safety and efficiency globally by integrating traditional engineering with its digital, disruptive and patented technology.

The six-year-old company, founded by Stanley Thomson, has developed and delivered the world’s first remote-controlled load-management system.

The hands-free technology, now being widely considered as well as used by leading construction and development firms globally, is aimed at solving critical issues associated with lifting and orientating crane loads.

Thomson said the idea, to reduce downtime and hook time on site, came to him during his time with construction firm Thiess.

“I was working on a significant construction project and became acutely aware of the six golden rules workers had to follow—one of which was to never walk under a crane load,” Thomson said.

“I had to sack a few people in my time there for breaking that rule, but it occurred to me that the decision to let that person go had come down to a few steps forwards or a few steps backwards.

“For a construction worker, whose job was to stand near and handle an incoming crane load, there is already a lot of pressure, and I thought there had to be a better way.”

Following his time at Thiess, Thomson founded Verton, initially road mapping and designing what would become the first of the company’s five core product offerings.

In early 2016, Thomson enlisted managing director Trevor Bourne who helped market the innovative idea and raise funding, which was eventually matched by the federal government under a commercialisation acceleration grant.

“Prior to that first round of funding, we had built some ‘toy’ concepts, but that initial raise allowed us to fast-track our progress and create our first full-scale prototypes,” Thomson said.

“While the physics and engineering behind the product was important, we knew it was very important to patent the idea as quickly as possible.”

Unlike Verton’s Everest 6 lifting beam, the new EVEREST SpinPods, which attach to standard spreader bars, provide a modular solution for precise remote load orientation and control.

The device uses powerful gyroscopic modules to create an output torque, rotating a crane’s load to its target heading while eliminating the need for taglines and the risks associated with personnel being in contact with or below suspended loads.

“The technology is very intuitive and easy to grasp and the application of Verton’s products is very straightforward to use,” Thomson said.

The company’s early adopters identified the technology as a way to improve margins by maximising project efficiency and automating repetitive lifts across construction sites, while also enhancing safety.

“Our early adopters saw the technology and got excited, but it wasn’t until they understood the behavioural changes and efficiencies it would create on-site that they understood the real value,” Thomson said.

“Our product not only neutralises a site hazard it also accurately rotates suspended loads into position and holds their exact orientation, making installation, removal, and change out operations faster and more efficient.

“This is made possible by removing personnel from the dropzone and hazardous area around lifting operations as well as avoiding the need to divert workers from other tasks.


▲ The device can be attached to an existing spreader or a Verton certified spreader bar, allowing the units to be customised for unique rigging arrangements. 

“Our products also allow our clients to plan, track, analyse, and deliver jobs with Verton’s smart technology integrations.

“Our live metrics and video-streaming capabilities assist with decision-making on-site while stored data informs for future efficiencies and decision making.

“Increased automation and faster lift operations delivered by a single person means a smarter allocation of resources.

“These detailed analytics allow clients to gain superior oversight to streamline their operations.”

The EVEREST SpinPod is currently in operation globally across a number of high-profile projects and, back home, is being lined up to be implemented on Queensland’s biggest infrastructure project.

Verton has also been approached by a number of the world’s leading wind turbine manufactures about integrating the Windmaster into their lifting and installation operations for a more customized solution.

“This kind of undertaking—lifting the blades into place for these massive wind turbine towers at great heights, with high winds and massive sail areas—is incredibly difficult,” Thomson said.

“However, we can modify the solution to make a very complex crane function and environment possible for a client.”

Thomson said the business had been approached and selected as a founding member of the newly established Proptech Initiative being driven by the Brisbane Economic Development Agency (Brisbane EDA).

Under the initiative, emerging local proptech companies are able to incubate, network and scale, while being bridged with connections to potential property industry partnerships.

“The Brisbane EDA team came out to our factory and very quickly I could see that they were switched on and in tune with all things property technology occurring across Brisbane,” Thomson said.

“We’re very excited to have the opportunity to be part of this initiative and the opportunities that will open up to us by attending their webinars and connecting with their large list of property industry partners.”


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Bridge to 2032 – Brekky Ck span approved, missing link for Games athletes’ village

Brisbane is set to have another major infrastructure project underway by the end of the year after Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner lodged the final design of the Breakfast Creek green bridge with planning officers for approval.

The $67 million project is likely to provide a smoother connection for pedestrians and cyclists moving between the fast-growing riverside development at Northshore Hamilton and the CBD.

The 80-metre arch will cross Breakfast Creek to connect Newstead Park with the existing Lores Bonney riverwalk which was part of the now completed Kingsford Smith Drive upgrade.

“This is a crucial step towards securing the final approvals we need to commence work on the green bridge that will provide a $67 million investment in local industry, deliver a new active transport options and create 140 local construction jobs,” Schrinner said.

“The Lores Bonney Riverwalk is currently used 2300 times a day, and this new green bridge will improve safety and increase capacity to the riverwalk by creating a continues walking and cycling connection.”

He said the Breakfast Creek project would join the now-approved Kangaroo Point green bridge as fast-tracked investments to create jobs as the city headed out of the coronavirus pandemic.

Brekky Ck

The council has also linked the project to the 2032 Olympics, saying it will be a “key connector” for the planned Athletes Village at Hamilton and provide a critical transport link for the Games.

Two other cross-river pedestrian and cycle links connecting Toowong to West End and St Lucia to West End remain on the council’s green bridge program books but are yet to be funded.

The council insists the remaining bridges need federal and state government funding to go ahead.


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Green ‘Grand Central’: Cross River Rail unveils changes to parklands vision

Cross River

Developers of Queensland’s biggest infrastructure project, the $5.4 billion Cross River Rail, appear to have bowed to public pressure and moved to preserve more public space in its redesign of the city’s Roma Street parklands precinct.

The Cross River Rail Delivery Authority has confirmed it will allow more public open space in a revised development plan for the area.

A new development scheme for the Roma St precinct, which will contain the state’s most most important transport interchange (dubbed Grand Central) as well as the proposed Brisbane Live arena, identifies new green areas and more affordable housing than was originally planned.

The Palaszczuk government has insisted that the development of an underground Roma St station as part of Cross River Rail is a chance to revitalise an under-used part of Brisbane into a major opportunity for private investment.

The government expects that over the next 15 years there will be nearly 4200 new residents and more than 19,700 new workers within the 32 hectare Roma Street priority development area, bounded roughly by Wickham Terrace, North Quay and College Rd.

However, the delivery authority came under fire for giving over part of the Roma St parklands which houses a public car park and Brisbane City Council maintenance depot to residential and commercial development.

The authority now says under the finalised development scheme the precinct would have more “publicly accessible open space”.

“The existing 11 hectares of publicly accessible open space within the Roma St Parklands will not only be protected forever, but will be expanded even further by more than two hectares,” the authority said in a statement.

“The development scheme also provides for new social and affordable housing as part of new residential buildings parallel to the rail corridor, adding to the existing apartment complexes along Parkland Boulevard.”

“This scheme is all about renewing one of Brisbane’s most underutilised inner-city locations while protecting and enhancing the beautiful natural features that already exist. ‘

About 46,000 people each weekday are expected to use the new high-capacity underground station at Roma Street by 2036.


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Brisbane Olympics to Push Property Market’s Limits


Brisbane house prices will hit the $1-million median well before the 2032 Olympics with suburbs near venues tipped to move up to $3.9 million.

Property projections from PRD Research indicate the median price would reach $1.7 million by 2033 and would be “immensely” boosted on the Gold and Sunshine coasts.

PRD chief economist Diaswati Mardiasmo said it was clear that hosting major events had served the property market well.

“The year after the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Newington (site of the athletes’ villages) and surrounding suburbs’ median house prices grew by 13.4 per cent,” Mardiasmo said.

“Median house price growth was not limited to the year after the Olympics. It grew by 38.5 per cent two years after, and 66.4 per cent three years after.

“The year after World Expo 88, South Bank and its surrounding suburbs grew by an average of 19.1 per cent and by 10.3 per cent after G20 Summit 2014.”

Brisbane property price predictions: Olympics 2032

Suburb 2011 2021 Projected Growth G20 Average
Hamilton house $824,000 $1,650,000 $3,990,670
Tennyson house $515,000 $970,000 $2,052,520
Chandler house $1,040,000 $1,600,000 $3,385,600
Woolloongabba house $623,000 $951,000 $2,012,316
South Brisbane house $805,000 $1,210,000 $2,560,360
Redland Bay house $450,000 $638,000 $1,350,008
Ipswich house $325,000 $435,000 $1,052,086
Herston house $697,000 $908,000 $1,921,328
Spring Hill house $950,000 $1,150,000 $2,433,400
Coomera house $353,000 $550,000 $1,163,800
Broadbeach units $463,000 $625,000 $1,322,500
Alexandra Headland house $570,000 $1,110,000 $3,348,760
Twin Waters house $651,000 $1,077,000 $2,278,932

^Source: PRD Research, AMP Pricefinder

“Bearing in mind the 2032 Olympics are still 11 years away, and based on how the Brisbane market is travelling, the potential to eclipse this price point is high,” Mardiasmo said.

“Regardless of the calculation method, the conclusion points us to Brisbane becoming a $1-million median house price city sooner rather than later. ”

Domain’s latest house price report showed median house price in Brisbane was $678,236, up 13 per cent annually.

Meanwhile, prices on the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast hit $792,000, up 18.2 per cent on last year, and $825,000 up 23.1 per cent, respectively.

Domain chief of research Nicola Powell said at the moment, low listing numbers and interstate migration were driving the price hike.

“It suggests that upgrading homeowners are fuelling house prices, as well as interstate and expat buyers moving from more expensive cities,” Powell said.

Melbourne and Canberra officially joined Sydney in the $1-million home club in the July results.


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