Interview: Features & Benefits of Modular Cranes


The application of modular cranes in Asia’s offshore oil and gas fields has come a long way since 1994, when Thunder Cranes first established operations in Malaysia. We sat down with David Withers, Sales & Special Projects Manager, for an interview to discuss: Why modular cranes are employed in many offshore projects today; and what are their key features and benefits?

What are modular cranes?

Modular cranes are cranes that are transportable in modular component pieces. Depending on the crane type, they can be assembled within 8 to 15 working hours on offshore installations to provide the lifting capability the project requires, and then they can be rigged down and returned to shore. We call them “portable, modular cranes” or “modular cranes” for short. In the new API guidelines, they are now referred to as “temporary installation cranes”.

When are modular cranes required?

Many offshore installations, especially on older platform, may not be equipped with the right lifting capacity for the project. The fixed platform crane may lack sufficient lifting capacity, may not be functioning, may be de-rated, or may lack sufficient reach over the intended working area. With modular rental cranes we can provide temporary lifting solution where and when required.

What are the common uses for modular cranes?

Modular cranes are often required to provide the lifting capabilities needed for supporting well intervention services, facilities engineering, plug and abandonment, and decommissioning. Over the past 30 years the increasing use of modular cranes has gone hand in hand with the increasing use of rigless methods. Rigless methods are generally employed where possible in order to reduce costs, since rig day rates can be very high. However, rigless methods often require more lifting capacity than the average fixed platform can supply. This additional capability can be supplied either by lift vessels or modular rental cranes or a combination of both. Even when a client has a lift vessel available, they may determine that a modular crane package is required in order to execute safer, more precise lifts due to modular cranes fixed-on-deck (versus floating) operating conditions. Dynamic sea conditions can create limitations when lifting from vessel cranes.

What are some of the features and benefits of modular cranes?

Thunder Cranes’ modular cranes have a number of features and benefits, which can be quite exhaustive and we can go into more details about later, but which can be summarized as follows:

1) Designed for self-lifting capability, quick and efficient installation with minimum or no modifications to the platform required.

2) Designed & maintained for maximum reliability and safety in the offshore environment.

3) Powered independently from the offshore platform utilities via zone rated diesel hydraulic power pack.

4) Designed to be versatile and adaptable – from tie down options, boom reach options, re-positioning, and maximizing available deck space.

Can you give a project example of how these features have created valuable benefits for a client?

In each of our assignments the benefits of our crane technology, and our commitment to customer service, creates value for our clients. The best way to learn more about how this is applied in the field would be to read some of our project case studies which you can find on our website at

That we provide valuable results for clients is evidenced from our long list of high quality clients, and our growth from a small firm with just 2 cranes in 1994, into Asia-Pacific’s largest supplier of modular, offshore rental cranes.