Hoping for a lift

Near the end of another disappointing year, the lifting business thinks about tomorrow

Cranes Article November 14, 2003
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The lifting segment of the construction industry suffered
through another bad year in 2003, with sales in the U.S. projected to be off by
7% from 2002. This was on top of a 14.9% drop in 2002. Lifting equipment was
one of only two product categories to show expected decreases in U.S. sales in
the Association of Equipment Manufacturers' (AEM) 2003-2004 Outlook for
Construction Equipment Business, an annual survey of the U.S.-based trade
group. The only other category to see sales decline in the U.S. was concrete
and aggregate equipment, also down 7%. The numbers are third-quarter estimates
of the year's performance. Everyone surveyed is optimistic about sales in 2004
but, of course, optimism is cheap, and reality is often surprising.

U.S. sales were even more disappointing than sales of
lifting equipment in Canada (down 4.5%) and the rest of the world (down 2.7%).
And sales of lifting equipment (aerial work platforms; boom truck cranes;
all-terrain, hydraulic-truck and rough-terrain cranes; lattice-boom cranes;
rough-terrain fork lifts; hydraulic crawler cranes; tower cranes; and
telescopic handlers) is expected to continue to be sluggish in the rest of the
world in 2004.

For anyone still in the market to invest in equipment to lift
material or personnel, here are some of the latest products.

Bigger and better

Grove unveiled its newest rough-terrain crane at the
Manitowoc Crane Group Product Expo in September at the Shady Grove, Pa., plant.
The RT800E exemplifies the continuing progression of the "E" series
designation within the Grove rough-terrain lineup, according to the company.
The new model uses the same cab and control setup found on other E-series
rough-terrain cranes, so operators can quickly feel comfortable and productive
switching from one E model to another.

The RT800E replaces the RT875C and RT875BXL and offers a
higher lift capacity, a longer boom, a lower overall height and a standard
counterweight removal system. The boom is a 38-142-ft, five-section, sequenced,
synchronized, full-power Megaform boom. With the standard boom, the maximum tip
height is 150 ft. A standard 31-56-ft offsettable lattice swingaway extension
offsets 0°, 20° or 40° and stows alongside the base boom section.
With the swingaway installed, the maximum tip height is 205 ft.

Two 16-ft lattice extension inserts also are available and
provide a maximum tip height of 236 ft.

The graphic display in the cab shows load moment and
anti-two block system with an audio-visual warning and control lever lockout.
These systems provide electronic display of boom angle, length, radius, tip
height, relative load moment, maximum permissible load, load indications and
warning of impending two-block condition.

A Work Area Definition System also is standard and allows
the operator to define safe working areas. If the crane approaches the preset
limits, audio-visual warnings aid the operator in avoiding jobsite
obstructions.

Max lifting

Max-Trax gauge widening allows the 348 HYLAB 5 lattice boom
crawler crane the flexibility to adjust to various job conditions to provide
optimum lift capacities. The 348 HYLAB 5 is a new entry into the 275-300-ton
class from Link-Belt Construction Equipment Co., Lexington, Ky. At 300 ton, the
new machine is positioned in the market to outperform and exceed the lift
capacities in the 275-280-ton crane class, according to Link-Belt. In many
cases its lift chart pushes the lift capacities of bigger 300-ton cranes
because of Max-Trax. Link-Belt's patent on Max-Trax is pending.

The 348 H5 features a large, tilting cab, a new SML-10 load
moment indicator, slab-type counterweights, big-engine horsepower and a remote
hydraulic oil cooler.

The counterweight removal system on the 348 H5 can lower the
entire slab-type upper counterweight in a single package and set it on the
ground with no blocking required. Full counterweight is made up of 13 slab
sections, each of which is designed to transport with various boom sections to
minimize loads. Self-assembly is achieved by using a single hydraulic cylinder
mounted in the live mast. In situations where transport weight is especially
sensitive, the counterweight removal system itself can self-detach, reducing
the main unit transport weight as low as 91,500 lb.

The 348 H5 has the same narrow gauge--19 ft 2 in.--as other
275-ton machines when retracted, but with the patent-pending Max-Trax system,
the crane can be assembled in the extended wide mode to a track gauge of 22 ft
to increase the lifting platform.

The 348 HYLAB 5 cab features a totally new, wider cab with
20° tilt, air conditioning and a full complement of easy-to-use gauges and
controls, such as backlit gauges, adjustable armrest-mounted single-axis
controls and low-effort hydraulic pedals with minimal pedal range of motion.

Extended capacity

The Iowa Mold Tooling Co. Inc., Garner, Iowa, has added two
truck-mounted articulating cranes to their line of material-handling systems:
the 52/380 series (Circle 917) and the 72/516 series. These additions nearly
double the rated capacities of the company's machines. The new cranes are
designed for two to eight hydraulic extensions. With eight hydraulic
extensions, both models have a horizontal reach of 67.6 ft and a vertical reach
of 77 ft. They have maximum lifting capacities of 26,000 lb (52/380) and 35,500
lb (72/516). The cranes can be equipped with an optional hydraulic jib.

Bigger service

Maintainer Corp. of Iowa Inc., Sheldon, Iowa, has introduced
a 12,000-lb-class service body crane that provides extra reach. The new model
6220/24 crane with 12,000-lb lift capacity comes with fully hydraulic extension
to either 20 or 24 ft. The crane's features include proportional controls, a
worm-gear winch with a high-torque motor, 615° of rotation, a live swivel
hook and short or tall tower configurations.

Engine option

The newly designed Caterpillar Tier II-compliant diesel
engines are now an option on many of the telescoping boom lifts from JLG
Industries Inc., Hagerstown, Md. The Cat Model 3024C, 50.9-hp engine is
available on boom lifts with 40-46-ft platform height. The Model 3044C, 63.3-hp
engine is being phased in on boom lifts with platform heights 60 ft and up.

Pro-Fit is a series of five electric-powered scissor lifts
from JLG including what the company claims is the world's first machine with a
30-in. width and a 26-ft platform height. The Pro-Fit machines feature an
electric drive system that uses two independent electric motors for the drive
wheels. An improved control station permits one-handed control of both the
proportional drive and lift functions.

Primary lift

An innovative lift structure enhances the operator
productivity of the new Z-80/60 articulating boom lift from Genie Industries,
Redmond, Wash. The design allows the operator to ascend and descend from ground
to 80 ft with a single function of the primary boom. The lower riser need not
be lowered to bring the platform to the ground, saving the operator time. The
Z-80/60 has a maximum working height of 86 ft, outreach of 60 ft and
up-and-over clearance of 29 ft. Drive options include combinations of two-wheel
or four-wheel drive and two-wheel or four-wheel steer.

Renewed lift

After pausing production for a while, Manlift, now under
Manitowoc's management, has decided to reintroduce the T40 telescopic
straight-boom aerial work platform. The T40 extends to a 40-ft platform height.
It features standard four-wheel drive and 60-hp dual-fuel or diesel power.
Horizontal reach is 34 ft. The 36- x 94-in. platform has a swing gate, inside
hand rails and 180° platform rotator. Platform capacity is 500 lb. The
overall length of the T40 is 25 ft 2 in. with an outside turning radius of 15
ft. The proportional controls are adjustable for individual preference.

Stellar service

The Model 4420 telescopic service crane from Stellar
Industries Inc., Garner, Iowa, is available in either a 12-volt
electric/hydraulic or full hydraulic configuration. The crane can lift a
maximum of 4,000 lb at 4 ft. It uses a planetary winch system with a 25-ft/min
single-line winch speed and a maximum horizontal reach of 20 ft. The boom is
hexagonal in cross-section to eliminate flex and side-to-side movement.

Climbing the walls

The Max Climber 2000P Passenger Hoist is designed to provide
an easier and safer method of lifting construction personnel. It features 5-ft,
95-lb galvanized mast sections and is easily installed with four bolts. The Max
Climber 2000P from Beta Max Inc., Melbourne, Fla., is space-efficient and comes
with a fully enclosed passenger cabin, ground enclosure and safety features making
the hoist ideal for all personnel lifting requirements. The system has an
overall base footprint of 6.5 x 7.5 ft and features interlocking floor landing
gates for maximum worker safety. The lift can be easily installed when using
the drop-down installation platform built into the cabin.

About the author: 
Allen Zeyher is associate editor of Roads & Bridges.
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