The crane industry's long march out of the slump caused by the global financial crisis continues like the final stages of the Compestela pilgrimage – a painful and exhausting crawl on bloody hands and knees.
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As the worldwide construction-equipment event cycle evolves, it has become harder and harder for any event other than bauma in Munich to really claim to represent the global industry. ConExpo in Las Vegas certainly makes a good showing, but with launches in a hard market recently focused on the German show a year before, it is hard for it to claim to be anything other than the biggest show in the Americas, not a transatlantic contender for the global crown.
The wind-turbine industry has provided the push for some of the most exciting innovations in the crane and special transport industries. From Grove's unique GTK telescoping-tower mobile cranes, featured on the cover of this issue, or Liebherr's giant LTR telecrawler, through to some of the most highly optimised crawlers available, the sector has pushed the boundaries of what can be lifted.
I write this comment as the Chinese New Year is celebrated. Like in many cultures, people in China have a series of traditions that say that, as your new year goes, so goes the rest of the year.
This month, as the year gets underway, we have articles looking back over the past 20 years, and forward to the year ahead. With ConExpo in Las Vegas, we also take a first look at some of the cranes we expect to see at the show.
At the start of this year, many of us would have been hoping for the upturn in world construction that we've been waiting for since 2009. It doesn't look much more likely now than it did 12 months ago. At the same time, the crane industry faces ongoing challenges from regulators and politicians.
In recent years, we've been working to refine Fleet File. This year, we've not made any further changes to the survey itself. We now have sections for wheeled mobile cranes, rough terrains, crawlers, tower cranes and compact cranes, all split up into capacity classes that broadly indicate the jobs they can take on. I'm pleased to say that we've this year got enough responses to provide a decent snapshot of the industry, without including any previous years' entries.
This month has been surprisingly busy for the crane industry. Often, autumn is the down season for crane launches, falling between the big trade shows in the spring. This October though, we've had four very significant pieces of news.
This month's issue spotlights some of the innovations, big and small, that drive the lifting industry forward.
This month's issue of Cranes Today is the 500th we've published. Looking back over issues of the magazine, it's easy to see how cranes have been transformed by technology, with a wealth of interconnected sensors and electronic control systems making lifting safer and the operator's job more comfortable.
Over the past few years, we've been working to refine Fleet File, our annual survey of crane fleets around the world. The 2016 survey is now open, and offers a quick, easy, and free way show the world what cranes you have available.