Prefab homes on the road – SmartHouse, a manufacturer of modular houses, uses ABUS double girder cranes

What do a specialist for modular premium houses from Eastern Westphalia and a manufacturer of standard crane systems from the district of Oberberg have in common? Not much at first glance. However, if you take a closer look you will find that both companies use standardised components to satisfy the individual requirements of their customers. Both companies, too, often face great logistical challenges when it comes to transporting their finished products. In our case, as crane manufacturers, the main girders may attain lengths of up to forty meters whereas our customer SmartHouse ( —yes, this is the real name of the German company—builds house modules with dimensions of up to 4.50 width by 14 metres length. This company with headquarters at Löhne in Eastern Westphalia was founded in 2008 and has supplied several hundred modules to private and commercial customers since. The living area per module reaches between 15 and 50 square metres depending on customer requirements. Several modules might be combined to create complex living quarters or office buildings and it is possible to build up to two levels.

SmartHouse modules with their innovative and modular concept offer individual room design and the greatest possible flexibility. Each and every SmartHouse module is built in the production plant owned by the company. Special transport is then needed to transfer the modules to their installation place. The production procedures make for short and predictable production times of six to eight weeks and are not hampered by seasons or weather conditions. SmartHouse modules are customisable; they may be extended or moved to a different place even after many years. Like modern prefab houses, these modules are built in timber-frame construction. At the same time a dry building site within the production plant is of great advantage.

Transport of ABUS cranes on truck to East Westphalia Double-girder travelling crane with total lifting capacity of 25 t in company SmartHouse Transported house module by ABUS cranes Truck intended for transport of the SmartHouse Double-girder traveling cranes working in tandem operation to transport a SmartHouse Double-girder travelling crane with double rail trolley type DQA Double-girder travelling cranes for work with dexterity Load spreader bars on double-girder travelling cranes for safe loading Double-girder travelling cranes controlled by ABURemote button in company SmartHouse in Germany Optimized crane runway for 2 double-girder travelling cranes in German company Double-girder travelling cranes with span of 18.98 m SmartHouse transported by ABUS cranes on truck

Once such a module has been finished and is about to leave the production plant then logistics specialists have to do their bit: precision work is required to lift the house module onto the trailer for transport to the customer. Since mid-2015 SmartHouse has employed ABUS cranes for this task that requires a great deal of sure instinct and perception. Two double girder cranes of the ZLK type are used with total load capacities of 25 tonnes and spans of 18.98 metres. The planning phase of this project started already in July 2013 when the local ABUS agency Leßmann inspected the general conditions of the site, the height of the production plant, the condition and strength of the existing crane track, and the dimensions and nature of the house modules to be transported. It transpired pretty quickly that the main challenge would be the implementation of the required total load capacity of 25 tonnes. Several technical measurements were taken that allowed the crane track to cope with the increased load of a total SWL of 25 tonnes: the crane was fitted with lateral guide rollers, the wheel bases were increased, and the cranes were distanced in order to reduce static load. However, it was not only the crane track that needed optimising but the height of the building needed to be used to a maximum too. For this purpose a double rail trolley of the DQA type was chosen for the hoist. This wire rope hoist is characterised by an ultra low headroom thus fitting perfectly into the building with very little clearance above the crane.

Both cranes work together in tandem operation and are remote controlled. The ABUS radio remote control ABURemote allows the crane operator to safely load the modules while he himself is positioned outside of the loading zone. The ABUS agent Leßmann also assisted SmartHouse in sourcing suitable lifting beams to attach the load safely when loading the modules onto the trailer. If you are interested you might watch one such example of lifting and transporting a house module here: YouTube.

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