Scaling the heights

Nov. 18, 2002

As 2002 winds down, the construction equipment industry begins to tally the results of the year. For the lifting segment of the industry, sales in the U.S. are projected to be off from 2001 by a whopping 14.9%, by far the biggest drop among the equipment categories in the Association of Equipment Manufacturers' annual survey of its U.S.-based trade group.

As 2002 winds down, the construction equipment industry begins to tally the results of the year. For the lifting segment of the industry, sales in the U.S. are projected to be off from 2001 by a whopping 14.9%, by far the biggest drop among the equipment categories in the Association of Equipment Manufacturers' annual survey of its U.S.-based trade group.

As if to presage the results of the industry-wide survey, Manitowoc Co. Inc., one of the biggest manufacturers of cranes, announced that its third-quarter earnings would fall below consensus estimates. Manitowoc attributed the slide to a 10% decline in the crawler crane market in the third quarter, and the company announced it would make "direct labor reductions" in response to the downturn but did not specify the number of jobs to be cut, the Business Journal of Milwaukee reported.

There also was reorganization in the highest ranks of the Manitowoc Crane Group and its acquisition of earlier this year, Grove Worldwide, Shady Grove, Pa. In mid-August, the Manitowoc Crane Group announced a new senior management structure, with Marty Lakes as executive vice president to lead the Americas region; Jean-Yves Bouffault as executive vice president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa; and Eric Etchart as executive vice president for the Asia Pacific region.

Then in early September, the Manitowoc Crane Group announced that Jeffry Bust would take over as executive vice president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Grove to assist the president of Manitowoc Crane Group with major strategic initiatives, including Bust's role as transition manager for the Grove acquisition.

At the same time Steve Cripe moved from chief financial officer of Grove to controller of Manitowoc Crane Group. Larry Weyers left the post of senior vice president of sales and marketing for Manitowoc Cranes to become senior vice president of worldwide marketing and product support. And Pierre-Yves LeDaeron became the general manager of aerial work platforms.

On Oct. 11, Bust quit, saying that his job was done. On Oct. 15, Manitowoc announced that Terry D. Growcock had been named chairman of the board and CEO of Manitowoc Co. He was formerly president and CEO. Manitowoc's chairman position had been vacant for about 10 years.

Also in October, Grove closed a deal with rental company Maxim Crane Works for multiple cranes and multiple millions of dollars. The package included rough-terrain, all-terrain and truck cranes. Among them were two GMK6250-L all-terrains (Circle 916), the newest in the Grove line. These 250-ton capacity machines have an extraordinary tip height of 370 ft and feature the longest boom and jib combination in the 250-ton class, according to Grove.

The six-section, full-power boom extends from 51 to 236 ft and provides a tip height of 246 ft. The hydraulic power-luffing, bi-fold swingaway extension is standard and adds 43-72 ft to the main boom. The extension is hydraulically offsettable from 5° to 40° and provides additional operational flexibility with its full load power luffing capability. Two 26-ft inserts provide an additional 52-ft extension. This provides a total boom length of 361 ft with a total tip height of 370 ft. The crane can cover a 265-ft radius with full extensions.

A Grove crane was in action recently lifting bridge beams into place on the Goldenrod Road extension project. Jones Brothers, the general contractor, is expanding Goldenrod Road over the Bee Line Expressway, a major artery that runs directly from Orlando to Cape Canaveral. Each beam weighs 255,000 lb and 28 beams are being set over a two-month period.

The crane was on rent from the fleet of Crane Rental of Orlando Florida Inc. The GMK5240 all-terrain crane is the latest addition to Crane Rental's fleet and joins the other Grove cranes that make up the majority of Crane Rental's taxi fleet.

The GMK5240 (Circle 917) is rated at 240-ton lift capacity and features a standard boom length of 197 ft and a maximum tip height of 322 ft. All-wheel steering and multiple steering modes provide jobsite mobility while the Megatrak suspension system enhances driveability and traction on and off the road.


Elliott Equipment Co., Omaha, Neb., spliced some aerial work platform genes into a truck crane (or maybe vice versa) and came up with a crane with aerial work platform capabilities. The ECL-5-135 (Circle 918) features a telescoping boom that is fully powered in extending and retracting, with no jibs or extensions. The boom reaches a maximum working tip height of 135 ft.

The unit is mounted on a standard tandem-axle truck chassis.

"By doing it on a conventional tandem-axle chassis, you are able to go to basically any truck dealer and have the availability of that," Jim Glazer, president of Elliott Equipment, told Roads & Bridges. "And because it's more of an off-the-shelf kind of item, it's lower cost."

The fact that it is on a conventional truck chassis means it can get from one jobsite to another quickly, at highway speed, without needing to load it onto and off of a trailer.

Elliott gave the boom proportional remote control for smooth operation.


What follows are brief descriptions of a few of the crane and lift product announcements we have received recently. It is not meant to be a comprehensive survey of products currently on the market.

A wide platform

A new pivoting access platform called THP24s has a width of 94 in., a length of 41 in. and a capacity of 550 lb. The platform width is more than double the width of the standard platform and adds significantly to the accessible work area, according to the maker, Caterpillar Inc.

The THP24s (Circle 920) can pivot 90° to the left or to the right, which enables the operator to work a large area without moving the telehandler. The platform can be used with Cat's TH63, TH83 or TH103 telehandlers equipped with three-section booms.

Cold Brook crane

One of Link-Belt's newest cranes was on the job recently near Redford, N.Y., where contractor Luck Brothers was replacing the Cold Brook Road Bridge. Luck Brothers was tearing down and replacing a deteriorating bridge that carries heavy traffic over U.S. Route 3 over the Saranac River.

The bridge is located over trophy trout waters within the environmentally sensitive Adirondack State Park. Government environmental agencies and the group Trout Unlimited were closely monitoring the construction.

The original structure was a steel beam bridge with spread footers, concrete abutments and a poured concrete deck. It was situated at the confluence of Cold Brook and the North Fork of the Saranac River.

The HTT-8660 truck terrain crane (Circle 919) from Link-Belt Construction Equipment Co., Lexington, Ky., had the reach to span the 130-ft-wide river if necessary, but it also had the speed and mobility to easily drive around the rural detour road from one side to the other.

The HTT-8660 has a four-section, full-power boom with an optional two-piece, bi-fold or one-piece lattice fly that is stowable and offsettable to 2°, 20° or 40°.

Tallest in the bunch

Genie Industries, Redmond, Wash., has introduced the Z-80/60 articulating boom (Circle 921) as the tallest boom in the family, with a maximum working height of 86 ft, outreach up to 60 ft and up-and-over clearance of 29 ft.

To maximize productivity, the design allows the operator to ascend and descend from the ground to 80 ft with a single function of the primary boom. The lower riser does not need to be lowered to bring the platform to the ground.

Crane body

The DSC20 is a specially designed crane body rated for up to 20,000 ft-lb and engineered for small to mid-size equipment maintenance and lifting applications. It can utilize the IMT 2020 telescopic crane.

Iowa Mold Tooling Co. Inc., Garner, Iowa, designed several innovative features into the DSC20 (Circle 922). The rear bumper was integrated into the crane body, including an outrigger, for strength.

Road legal

In its stowed configuration, the Model S158 MDT from Bronto Skylift, Westfield, Mass., is only 8 ft wide and 12 ft 8 in. high, with a weight under 54,000 lb, making it the highest-reaching aerial work platform in North America that can be driven over most roads without a special permit, according to the company.

The lift also features the Bronto +2 control system, which monitors the outrigger settings and platform load for increased safety with maximum productivity. The S158 MDT (Circle 923) has a 158-ft working height and 1,000-lb unrestricted platform capacity.

Totally hydraulic

In the realm of hydraulic lattice boom crawler cranes, the HC 60 is the latest from American Crane Corp., Wilmington, N.C. The HC 60 (Circle 924) has a 60-ton maximum lifting capacity, a boom length of 160 ft and a maximum boom and jib length of 170 ft. It is a fully hydraulic machine with hydraulic-over-hydraulic controls activating propel, swing and hoist.

Two identical independent main and auxiliary load hoisting drums provide ample lifting power.

Safety first

Mustang telehandlers are now available with the Work Platform Safety (WPS) System. Activated from the operator's station, the WPS system (Circle 925) neutralizes the telehandler's movement and monitors the frame level, providing the platform worker with an extremely stable working environment. The WPS system is available on the 742, 944 and 1155 telehandlers from Mustang Manufacturing Co. Inc., Owatonna, Minn.

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