Heavy lifting? No problem

Dec. 28, 2000
The cost of buying a crane is higher than it used to be

The cost of buying a crane is higher than it used to be. Meanwhile, competition has driven down the cost of renting a crane. Add these factors together and you get a shift toward a rental market.

The cost of buying a crane is higher than it used to be

The cost of buying a crane is higher than it used to be. Meanwhile, competition has driven down the cost of renting a crane. Add these factors together and you get a shift toward a rental market. More of the customers for Grove Worldwide’s all-terrain cranes are rental houses, according to Doyle Bryant, director of marketing and new product development. At a rental company, he said, "You’ll set a bridge today. You’ll be setting structural steel tomorrow. And the next day you’ll be slinging concrete."

Grove began production of one of these all-terrain cranes, the GMK5210, in September at its Shady Grove, Pa., headquarters. The GMK line, which is primarily manufactured at Grove’s Wilhelmshaven, Germany, production plant, is a European-style all-terrain crane, according to the company. There are eight GMK models, with lifting capacities ranging from 55 tons to 350 tons. Grove introduced three new models in the past year and plans to introduce another two models soon.

The increased capabilities of mobile cranes make it possible to use them on a wider variety of jobs, according to Bryant, where their ease of setup and use is an asset. "Instead of getting a crane in there like a lattice crane that you move in with a bunch of trucks and it sits there for a month, they’ll bring a big crane in just when they need it," said Bryant.

Being able to bring in a large all-terrain crane to do the job quickly keeps the contractor’s rental expense down and feeds the rental market by reducing the need to own your own crane.

Bryant said there also is a trend toward greater comfort for the crane operator, especially in heating and cooling the cab. "We’re seeing air conditioning being installed a lot more," he said. "When you have years like we’ve had this past summer around the Gulf Coast, where you can’t hardly stand to be outside let alone sitting in a cab, air conditioning really comes in handy."

The GMK6350 is the biggest of Grove’s all-terrain cranes, with a five-section, 197-ft main boom, a 200-ft luffing jib, a 370-ft maximum tip height and a 350-ton lifting capacity.

Grove’s GMK all-terrain cranes feature the company’s Megatrak suspension, Megaform Twin-Lock boom and the ECOS electronic crane operating system. Using ECOS, the operator can quickly and easily program the desired boom configuration. ECOS then automatically controls unpinning and extension of boom sections to the selected configuration. The process is reversed to retract the boom.

CAN-bus technology minimizes wiring and integrates ECOS with the load moment indication (LMI) system. The LMI system monitors crane functions, including actual and permissible load, radius, telescoping and various working conditions. An audiovisual warning and function lock-out along with an independent anti-two block system are also included. LMI systems have been around for 20 years or so, according to Bryant, but it has only been in the past few years that they have been equipped with graphic displays that are understandable at a glance.

The GMK5210 has a standard main boom length of 197 ft, a jib length of 125 ft, a maximum tip height of 322 ft and a lifting capacity of 210 tons. The suspension is built to handle off-road operation, and the five-axle steering provides excellent maneuverability.

Newer cranes, including the GMK6350, use hot water heaters to heat the cabs, whereas older models had propane heaters. The hot water heaters avoid the fuel tank and flame of the propane heaters. Air conditioning is optional in both cabs on the GMK6350.

Booming truck business

The Manitowoc Co. Inc. recently consolidated its three boom truck product lines—Manitex, USTC and Pioneer Cranes—into a single operation, called Manitowoc Boom Trucks Inc., Georgetown, Tex. The company said the consolidation would provide marketing and operational synergies.

For more than a decade, Manitowoc’s boom truck division consisted solely of Manitex, a boom truck manufacturer in Georgetown, Tex. In 1998, Manitex acquired USTC, a York, Pa., boom truck manufacturer. In early 2000, Manitex acquired Pioneer Cranes, Hutchison, Kan. Each company has been operating independently, with its own sales and marketing departments.

In its new structure, Manitowoc Boom Trucks markets four product lines: S Series rear-mounted cranes pioneered by Manitex; C Series traditional behind-the-cab cranes previously manufactured by both Manitex and USTC; X Series cranes previously designed and manufactured by Pioneer Cranes; and new T Series tractor-mounted cranes.

Every boom truck in the Manitowoc line will carry the new color combination of red, black and gray.

Manitowoc Cranes Inc.’s latest entry in the lattice boom crane market, the Model 999, began shipping in late June. The company, a Manitowoc, Wis., subsidiary of the Manitowoc Co., calls the Model 999 its "first new crane of the 21st century."

"The 999 offers all the benefits that have made Manitowoc’s other Epic cranes so popular with a broad range of customers, worldwide-superior performance, excellent versatility, easy mobilization and unmatched reliability," said Larry Weyers, vice president of sales and marketing.

The Model 999 delivers up to 275 tons of lifting capacity. Standard features include modules sized for easy trucking, fast-aligning connectors, an optional self-assembly system and a comfortable, ergonomic cab. The Model 999 can use Manitowoc’s Max-er attachment for higher lifting capacity with longer booms and longer reaches and the Ringer attachment, which provides 661-ton capacity on the boom or 275-ton capacity on the luffing jib.

Limited engagement

The LR 883 Litronic crawler crane can be seen this month working to preserve Chicago’s Lake Michigan shoreline as part of the $301 million Chicago Shoreline Project. The LR 883 from Liebherr-America Inc., Newport News, Va., was chosen by the subcontractor for its lifting capacity, its strong line pull and its ability to power attachments without a separate power pack.

The LR 883’s 462-hp diesel engine supplies up to 350 hp of hydraulic power to the attachments, such as the vibratory hammer used on this job. Transferring power from one attachment to another is as simple as flipping a switch, which automatically adjusts the hydraulic flow and pressure for the other attachment.

For the Chicago project, the LR 883 is equipped with a 125-ft main boom and a 1.6-ft hammer head made of high-strength steel. The sheet piles used in the project are driven with a hydraulic vibrator; the battered piles are driven with a hydraulic hammer. "By eliminating the additional control panel and integrating the attachments control," according to the company, "the whole work process got much safer."

In all, 850 piles, each 54 ft long, have to be driven.

The crane’s integrated electronic load moment limiting device prevents the crawler crane from overloading and contributes to stability. Operating information such as ground pressure, working radius, load position and maximum load for the current configuration is displayed on a high-resolution monitor. The self-assembly system permits assembly and disassembly without requiring an auxiliary crane.

Self-assembling crane

The LS-108H II lattice boom crawler crane was designed by Link-Belt Construction Equipment Co., Lexington, Ky., to offer maximum versatility in a small crane.

"The smallest of the HYLAB crane series, the LS-108H II has big crane proven features," said Pat Collins, lattice crane senior product manager for Link-Belt, "but is affordable and ideally sized for bridge builders, general contractors, excavation/waterway specialists, pipe liners, demolition contractors and pile-driving specialists."

The LS-108H II features a 50-ton lifting capacity and an available third drum that is interchangeable with the drums on Link-Belt’s larger lattice boom crawler cranes, the LS-138H II and the LS-208H II. A standard quick-reeve universal top section provides convenient connecting points for pile driving lead adapters in addition to allowing for quick change-out of various other boom attachments and connections.

The modular design of the LS-108H II makes it easy to transport the crane in only two loads and assemble and disassemble it without an auxiliary crane. The basic machine with base section and full counterweight plus optional third drum has a transportation weight of less than 90,000 lb.

King crane

The latest addition to the Kobelco America Inc. line of hydraulic lattice boom crawler cranes is the 85-ton model CK850. The Stafford, Tex.-based company has built the CK850 with a 213-hp, six-cylinder engine, with a displacement of 460 cu in. The engine is water-cooled, fuel-injected, intercooled and turbocharged.

The CK850 also features a computer-controlled Engine Speed Sensing system that reduces engine speed changes during simultaneous operations for smoother, more efficient performance.

The crane’s maximum lifting capacity is 85 tons with a base boom of 40 ft and a working radius of 11 ft. The maximum boom length is 200 ft, with a maximum boom-plus-jib length of 240 ft.

The CK850 has forced-circulation, oil-cooled, wet-type multi-disc brakes installed in each winch drum. By placing the brakes within the winch drums, Kobelco has made them wider, increasing capacity and reducing the chance of uneven winding, according to the company. The forced circulation of oil through the brake’s discs maintains the brakes’ efficiency and keeps temperatures down during long, continuous operation.

The CK2500 hydraulic lattice boom crawler crane incorporates many of the features of the CK850 but with almost three times the lifting capacity (250 tons) with a base boom of 50 ft and a working radius of 14 ft. With 250 ft of main boom and 40 ft of jib, the lifting capacity is 29.5 tons; with 140 ft of main boom and 100 ft of luffing jib, the lifting capacity is 59 tons. The maximum boom length is 300 ft.

Ergonomic crawler crane

The latest cranes from Hitachi Construction Machinery (America) Corp., Houston, are the CX hydraulic crawler-mounted lattice boom cranes. Hitachi’s CX cranes come in five models with load capacities ranging from 77 tons to 220 tons.

To provide more operator comfort, the CX cranes have an easily adjustable, ergonomic seat, conveniently placed operating controls, high-speed swing motors that are easily controllable from zero to maximum with a single lever and an easy-to-read moment limiter. A slow boom hoisting/lowering stop mechanism kicks in whenever the boom overhoist or overload protection devices activate.

Rising above terra firma

The HC80 hydraulic lattice boom crawler crane by Terex Cranes Inc., Conway, S.C., has a maximum lifting capacity of 80 tons and a boom length of 200 ft. An available jib can extend the maximum tip height to 230 ft, and a luffing jib is available to expand application opportunities.

Other features of the HC80 include power-up/power-down and free-fall on the main, auxiliary and optional third hoist drums; two-speed travel; and a shockless stop system. The operator’s cab is designed for quiet, comfortable operation and maximum viewing range. The crane can be transported with full boom and jib on only three trucks.

The HC80 is just the smallest of eight models of hydraulic lattice boom crawler cranes from Terex. The line has lifting capacities from 80 tons to 350 tons. Maximum boom length ranges from 200 ft to 330 ft, with maximum tip heights from 260 ft to 400 ft.

All-terrain lifting

The first ATF-1300XL to be sold in the U.S. was scheduled to be delivered this month to United Space Alliance at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida. The new 130-ton, five-axle, all-terrain crane incorporates the latest technology, according to Tadano America Corp., Houston, including a five-section, 167-ft telescopic main boom. A four-section, 98-ft lattice telescopic boom extension, which can be offset to 5°, 20° or 40°, provides a maximum height of 275 ft.

The ATF-1300XL is powered by an eight-cylinder, 476-hp Mercedes Benz engine that provides a maximum speed of 50 mph. The crane features a six-speed automatic transmission with hydrodynamic torque converter, eight-wheel drive and all-wheel steering.

Telescoping truck cranes

The 900 Series telescoping truck crane from National Crane Corp., Waverly, Neb., features a hydraulic, four-section boom that extends to 90 ft; an optional, two-section, side-stowing jib extends the maximum above-truck-frame reach to 146 ft.

Other features include seamless boom lift outrigger and stabilizer cylinders, a tandem balanced-vane pump system, dual controls, planetary 375° noncontinuous rotation and high-performance planetary winch with spin-resistant 9/16-in. cable.

Hydraulic telescoping

The 11,006H hydraulic telescopic crane from Auto Crane Co., Tulsa, Okla., has a maximum lifting capacity of 11,000 lb at 6 ft. The boom extends from 12 ft to 20 ft, with a manual extension to 25 ft. The crane’s features include 360° noncontinuous power rotation, automatic overload protection, 30-ft remote control pendant, hydraulic control system with manual override and proportional crane control.

Remote crane-trol

The Model 9620 telescopic truck crane has standard features including a proportional radio remote control, a 20-ft hydraulic reach and a 60-ft/min winch speed. The state-of-the-art radio remote provides precise crane control and allows the operator to stand clear of the load, according to Stellar Industries Inc., Garner, Iowa, thus giving maximum safety and visibility. The remote also controls engine start/stop, emergency shut-off, engine speed and compressor start/stop.

The 9620 has a maximum lifting capacity of 8,600 lb at 6.4 ft. It also has two hydraulic extensions of 20 ft each and a planetary winch that can reach speeds of 60 ft/min.


Scissor lifts

The RT Series of four-wheel-drive scissor lifts from Mayville Engineering Co. Inc., Beaver Dam, Wis., features maximum working heights of 31 ft, 39 ft and 47 ft. and lifting capacities from 800 lb to 1,750 lb.

All three models—4191RT, 3391RT and 2591RT—have platforms measuring 74 in. x 132 in., including a standard roll-out deck, which provides extra space for workers, tools and materials.

Mayville moved the control panel and switches at the machine’s base to one side for easier access and combined all hydraulics in a single block instead of in thee blocks with three covers.

The largest lift is powered by a 33-hp, liquid-cooled, dual-fuel engine. The other two lifts are powered by 23-hp engines. Other standard features include a remote, removable control station; 31-in.-diam Super Terra Grip pneumatic tires; ground clearance of 111/4 in.; a non-skid steel deck; and fold-down guard rails.

Electric boom lift

The E/M600 electric boom lifts from JLG Industries Inc., McConnellsburg, Pa., are equipped for both indoor and outdoor jobsites and off-slab applications. They have a maximum working height of 60 ft and a horizontal reach of 43 ft. An on-board generator permits greater productivity with quick battery recharging.

With a 500-lb capacity and 30% gradability, the E/M600 Series provides automatic traction control, 8 in. of axle oscillation, all-wheel drive and 12-in. ground clearance for better traction while off slab.

The lifts’ lighter weight helps prevent them from getting bogged down in soft mud, according to the company, while at the same time their low emissions and quiet operation make them ideal for use in public areas.

Going aerial

A 65-ft working height, 48-ft working side reach and 6,000-lb crane capacity are offered by the ECL-3-60 aerial work platform by Elliott Equipment Co., Omaha, Neb.

Optional equipment for the ECL-3-60 includes welding leads, pressure washer and oxy/acetylene.

The removable, replaceable work platform mounts on a 26,000-lb chassis.

About The Author: Zeyher is associate editor for ROADS & BRIDGES