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The Slag Taurus slag pot carrier transports hot metal with a temperature of 1,200 degrees from furnace to steel mill. It handles up to 140 tonnes a time running on huge rubber tyres rather than the more conventional rails. The Multi Tasker, a railway crane, can lift the weight of 40 elephants while at the same time being easy to manoeuvre and extremely safe to operate. High-tech titans like these have turned medium-sized company Kirow from Leipzig into a global market leader. Managing director Ludwig Koehne’s eyes light up as he navigates his way through the huge production halls where the specialist machines are built, in the Westen district of Leipzig. “Good enough isn’t good enough for us, we carry on making improvements and changes until we’re completely satisfied. German engineering expertise means they function flawlessly and are very durable, something our customers value particularly highly,” says Koehne. It’s a short and sweet recipe for success from a native of Düsseldorf who has lived in Leipzig since the 1990s.

Kranunion: the world’s leading heavy duty crane specialist

These specialist machines are in operation all over the world, from China to Brazil and Russia. The company exports more than 90% of its production. Kranunion is an association of three crane manufacturers that specialise in lifting and transporting heavy loads: Kirow, Ardelt and Kocks. Kirow is the international market leader for railway cranes and slag pot carriers. Ardelt is the world’s leading maker of double jib level luffing cranes, while Kocks is a global leader in Goliath cranes and container cranes used in shipbuilding. Together, the trio have a 400-year history. The three companies were acquired by the Koehne family after German reunification. “We had to take some tough decisions to make the business competitive, which included cuts in Leipzig,” says Koehne.

Pictures: (c) Dirk Brzoska