Power to lift
Representing a leading manufacturer of truck-mounted loader cranes, HMF Group has a long history for delivering both innovation and quality
Founded in 1945 the Danish company, HMF Group A/S has seven decades of experience in the design and manufacture of truck-mounted loader cranes, dump bodies, cable lifts and truck body building. The business is presently preparing to celebrate its 70th year in operation during 2015 with some of its key partners and has reached this important milestone through an enduring tradition of innovative design, high-quality manufacturing and trusted customer service.
At the heart of HMF is its range of truck-mounted lifting products, which are designed to meet the specific needs of its clients. “The company’s core product is our range of truck-mounted loader cranes, which span capacities from 0.5 tonnes through to 85 tonnes,” says CEO, Ove Trankjær. “The cranes are created using high-grade steel during production and HMF also has a design team who work to ensure that the cranes are as light as possible. The cranes must of course take up as little space as possible on the truck chassis, as there must be some accommodation for payload. Presently the market is strongest within Europe, the US and Australia.”
To ensure that it meets the high demand for quality and safety relating to the operation of cranes, HMF works hard to comply with the needs of its clients as well as industry regulation. “We have always worked hard to ensure quality and comply with ISO 9001 as well as ISO/TS16949, which is a standard used in the motor industry,” Ove explains. “We work in accordance with the European machinery committee directive EN12999, which means that we have to monitor and control the loads on the cranes. The cranes are what we call ‘lifetime calculated’, which means that we can monitor the dynamic loads acting on the cranes and determine when over time fatigue can appear. It is also necessary to ensure that there are not any overloads so we fit microprocessors to the cranes, which control the load on the crane and also the stability of the vehicle to ensure that it does not tip. Our software engineers are constantly looking for new ways to monitor the loads on the crane.”
Through continuing research and development, the problem of stability for truck-mounted lifting equipment is one that HMF has long since solved. Part of its solution in this area was the introduction of its EVS stability safety system. EVS is unique in that it is the only system of its kind, as it offers continuous active stability control. The system employs calculations of the vehicle’s actual working conditions such as payload, crane extension position and movement, terrain incline and stabiliser beam extensions to optimise reach, capacity and safety of the vehicle. Where it differs from other stability systems is in its enhancement of crane movement where limits are reach, whilst other systems would automatically stop once a theoretical limit is reached.
Aside from the EVS software, the company’s core competence is to bend and weld high quality steel. In order to ensure that its cranes continue to meet stringent quality and safety standards, HMF is always looking to modernise and advance its manufacturing process. The manufacturing facilities utilise bending and welding robots to ensure high degrees of consistent accuracy. “We invest in new welding robots almost every year,” notes Ove. Further investment keeps up with environmental demands. “We have a modern approach also directed towards our coatings plant where we develop our coatings,” explains Ove. “I think that we currently have one of the best coatings in the business. We call this EQC, meaning environmentally friendly quality coating. The environmental demands for factories in Denmark are perhaps some of the highest in the world. We use a powder coating, which means it is hardened, with no fluids in it there is nothing released into the air. As it is also necessary to degrease components before coating, we clean these with an alkaline, environmentally friendly detergent.”
Where HMF’s success is realised is in its customer base. “Every time we develop something new we work with our clients in focus groups, where we invite our customers as the ones who use the equipment to have some input,” explains Ove. By doing this, the company ensures that it has its finger on the market’s pulse, and the customers’ expectations are met. Being tuned into the market and being able to launch the right, high quality products means that HMF has experienced a strong recovery since the economic downturn. “We see that the company is growing after the crisis in 2009,” highlights Ove. “Last we had growth of around 30 per cent and this year we expect to continue this growth.”
The future for HMF is very much defined by this continued growth. The company has a goal to increase turnover by 50 per cent over the next five years, and looks to achieve this through improving efficiencies in manufacturing and looking for new opportunities to grow. Ove concludes: “We will develop new technologies, and look to maintain lean manufacturing in order to continue to grow in out current and new markets.” Ultimately, by keeping its focus trained carefully on the market, and therefore continuing to deliver the most up-to-date and high quality products to its customers, HMF looks set to achieve the success it aims towards.
Products: Truck mounted lifting products
Sites: HQ Denmark, three subsidiaries and global dealer network