Getting around the city

21 November 2017


Small truck and all terrain cranes are becoming very popular in urban areas or wherever a quick lift is required. Paola De Pascali reports. Designed to travel directly to the jobsite and get to work with little or no set up, taxi and city cranes can perform multiple jobs in a day.

They are a bit more feature-rich and capable than simple boom trucks, but more optimised and compact than bigger all terrains.

Link-Belt product manager for telescopic truck and all terrain cranes Rick Curnutte explains that a minimal setup for a truck crane goes hand in hand with working in urban areas, where additional space for overflows and equipment is at a premium.

“For most taxi jobs an operator is not going to bring all of the counterweight,” Curnutte says. “This aspect of crane work has been built into our cranes. An operator can road our truck cranes with variable counterweight configurations and still handle the bulk of jobs.

“Another element to working in urban areas usually involves getting on site in the early hours of the morning or late at night. We have added a great lighting package for those who work in the dark. Seven component storage compartments are illuminated. Additionally, there are six work lights mounted on the superstructure, two adjustable boom floodlights and one remote controlled boom floodlight to light up the jobsite around the crane.”

Link-Belt’s HTC hydraulic truck cranes and HTT hydraulic truck terrains have a purpose-built chassis engineered for efficient transport configurations and superior lifting capabilities. Optimising the transport of the crane can also reduce the number of overflow trucks, saving time and money getting to each job, as well as during setup and tear down of the crane.

The manufacturer says the carrier engine is designed to deliver more than enough power to get to a job quickly. The transmission, suspension, axles, wheels, and even tyres are all shared components from the commercial truck industry so replacement parts can be readily available and cost effective.

At Bauma 2016, Link-Belt introduced the HTT-86110, an all-wheel steering version of the HTC- 86110. It has all the features found on the HTC version, with the added feature of rear steerable axles with super single tyres instead of conventional axles with dual tyres.

Curnutte says: “The gains for the HTT are better jobsite manoeuvrability using a simple, yet effective approach to controlling the rear axles with a momentary toggle switch for independent front, independent rear, combination, and diagonal steering. Unlocking the steerable rear axles provides a multitude of additional steering combinations. Since the controls for the front and rear axles are independent on the HTT line, an operator can seamlessly change steering combinations without ever stopping.

“The HTT-86110’s optimum turning radius is less than 8.3m (27.25ft) from the centreline of the tyre; this is comparable or better than similar four-axle all-terrain cranes and without all the complexity that an all-terrain crane uses to operate its all wheel steering.”

The counterweight system for the HTT and HTC truck cranes is configured to provide multiple configurations for multiple capacities for any size job. For example a fully equipped HTT- 86110 with 1.8mt (4,000lbs) of the standard 7.2mt (16,000lbs) counterweight can be on-board and still be under the transport capacity for most of North America and Europe. With no counterweight, the HTT-86110 can travel under 11mt (24,000 lbs) per axle.

Amongst the jobs carried out by the HTC-86110 is the lift of trusses for the Outdoor Learning Centre in Northlake, Texas. F.B. McIntire Equipment placed 17 3t (6,300lb) rigged trusses with their newly purchased Link-Belt HTC-86110 hydraulic truck crane. Woodlaminated trusses were placed in two days and spaced apart to span the length of the 60m long building.

Each truss was 19m long and covered in plastic until roof decking is placed to prevent damage to the trusses. The HTC-86110’s farthest radius for lifting was 32m, with most trusses placed at a 26m radius with 38m of boom extended at a 43° boom angle.

McIntire’s operator, Rusty Kunkel said: “There are a lot of different boom configurations that help strengthen the boom on this 86110. Link-Belt has come a long way since I started with an HTC-8650 in 1986. You have a lot that you can work with for each individual project in the different mode options. They are definitely beneficial to me as an operator, whether they are for a lift with a long radius or a heavy up-close lift. It can be a lot of reach without a lot of counterweight which makes it cost effective for our customers.”

Small all terrains

Director product management all terrain cranes at Terex Frank Schröder explains the full-powered telescopic boom on the Terex AC 40/2 makes it quick to set up to the desired boom length and adapt to each jobsite configuration.

The AC40/2 is a two-axle crane with a compact chassis and has two steered and driven axles. It can be helpful in environments where space is limited, but where boom length is a key factor of success. With 37.4m main boom length, the AC 40/2 can perform various applications.

Regarding the possibility to travel without special permits fully loaded with all counterweight on busy city roads, Schröder says: “In many countries there is a regulation limiting the axle load. For a given maximum capacity, all things being equal, adding a third axle will allow lower axle loads. We can reach numbers below 10t, or where legal drive with 12t (or more) per axle, and carry lifting accessories, boom extensions and others.

“The difficulty of the exercise is to add an axle without ever compromising jobsite manoeuvrability. This category of all-terrain cranes 100t and below, will have a standard truck width, and merge with normal traffic easily.”

Schröder says the AC 40/2(L) all terrain crane has been and still is a very popular model across the world. Earlier this year, Norwichbased Quinto Crane & Plant added two units of this model to its fleet and Horizon Reinforcing & Crane Hire, based in Scotland, purchased one unit.

In this market segment, Liebherr offers the LTC 1050-3.1 compact mobile crane, which drives on public roads with its full counterweight of 6.5t at an axle load of 12t.

The hook block is reeved during driving and the support plates are fixed to the support cylinders. This means that the LTC 1050-3.1 can start with lifting as soon as it arrives at the construction site. The supports are extended fully hydraulically and are controlled using the BTT Bluetooth Terminal or from the crane cabin.

Head of sales promotion Wolfgang Beringer, says: “Four integral lights provide excellent lighting of the support area. The crane cab is moved to the front of the vehicle on a telescopic arm for driving on the road and secured mechanically. In this position the crane handles well even at high speed and the driver feels like he is driving a two-cabin crane. The adjustable cabin enables Liebherr to offer perfect visibility in the LTC 1050-3.1 city crane.”

The height of the LTC 1050-3.1 is only 3m so it can go through narrow spaces. The length of the chassis can be further reduced by removing the front storage box.

“The full counterweight is included in the weight of 36t so the compact design is perfect for city roads,” adds Beringer.

The LTC 1050-3.1 is being used by Bremerhaven Waterways and Shipping Office (WSA) in Germany for transporting marker buoys, also known as seamarks. These are up to 11m in length and with a diameter of around 3m, and some of these marker buoys weigh up to 6t. The new Liebherr LTC 1050-3.1 compact crane was purchased to handle these massive markers.

The main purpose of the crane is to transport the marker buoys between the yard and the hall, a workshop for structural steel and painting work in which the marker buoys were refurbished and fitted with new signalling systems. The crane provides the equipment working ships on the quayside and also helps to load and unload vessels.

“In addition to the marker buoys, it loads containers, boats, equipment and machines. Our crane is actually in use every day,” says Wolfgang Witzleb from Bremerhaven Waterways and Shipping Office.

The proposed working conditions at the WSA were actually simulated by Liebherr in Ehingen on a test rig.

The rather low door to the workshop at just 5.40m was simulated and the crane moved through it carrying an appropriate load. The customer wanted reinforced tyres as well as a modification to the front of the crane so that bull bars could be installed to protect the crane against impacts caused by raised loads.

Fitted with an assembly jib that is permanently at an angle of 20°, it generally moves the marker buoys with the mast telescoped only slightly. Precision manoeuvring using the five steering programmes enables the crane to deliver maximum flexibility and manoeuvrability in the restricted spaces in the small workshop and the yard outside it. A remote controlled safety load hook under the hook block provides additional working safety for fastening and releasing the awkward load.

City cranes

A little over two years ago, Rivertek Services worked with Japanese manufacturer Kato to reintroduce their city crane range to Europe, starting in the UK and Ireland, but now making sales across Europe.

The newest Kato city cranes in this range is the CR-130Ri of 13t; the CR-200Ri of 20t; the CR-350Ri of 35t. These three models can be used with minimal set up.

A key feature of these city cranes is the single cab design, which allows the operator to access all instruments from one cab, eliminating the need to jump from chassis cab to the superstructure of the cab like on a conventional all terrain crane.

Another feature is the quick stow hook blocks that enable the operator to set up or stow the crane hooks in a record fast time, unlike conventional all terrain cranes which normally have their hooks tied into the chassis.

In addition, rear camera systems are fitted as standard on the range of Kato Cranes to assist the operator with rear view.

Rivertek managing director Colin Cleary explains the reason why these three model Kato cranes are able to work in restricted urban environments.

“The main features include compact physical dimensions of the Kato city crane range make these cranes ideal for use in restricted urban environments,” Cleary says.

“The boom design of the Kato city cranes is a six section type which means when the booms are fully retracted, they offer the user the shortest retracted boom lengths available in the industry. This configuration is ideal in restricted urban environments, and inside factories and warehouses. The length of outrigger’s sensors allow the operator to set up these Kato cranes in a range of different outrigger configurations while automatically adjusting the Cranes Safe Load Indicator to suit the required configuration.”

The physical weight of these cranes allows them to be set up in urban environments with minimal impact on ground and surface, says Cleary, for example the weight of the Kato CR-130Ri is only 13,815kg.

Fly jib systems on these models are designed to be mounted by one person and can be fitted without the use of any tools in an urban environment. The Kato range of cranes are all fitted with hydraulic luffing fly jibs as standard equipment with the 35t Kato CR-350Ri also offering a hydraulically telescoping fly jib as standard.

Amongst the most relevant jobs, Cleary says that a Kato CR-130Ri owned by Gruas Roxu, has been lifted onto a new bridge project in Spain to assist with construction works. Gruas Roxu now own and operate a number of Kato CR-130Ri’s and use them for specialised jobs on a regular basis.

Mentner Krane based in Meißen, Germany, is using its Kato CR-130Ri to place a CNC Machine inside a very confined space within a factory floor. “Using the cranes crab steering and thanks to its very compact physical size, jobs like this are ideal for these compact city cranes,” says Cleary.

Truck-mounted cranes

At ConExpo, Manitowoc introduced the 100t (115 USt) Grove TMS9000- 2 truck-mounted crane. The Grove TMS9000-2 uses the Crane Control System (CCS), Manitowoc’s standardised operating system that works across several crane brands and models.

One of the key benefits of CCS is its Boom Configurator Mode, which makes it quick and easy to select the optimum boom position and length for a specific lift. The operator can put in lift parameters and the system calculates the best configuration, enabling contracting teams to speed up the set-up process and get to work quicker.

John Bair, product manager at Manitowoc, says: “The TMS9000- 2 has four possible outrigger configurations at 0%, 57%, 79%, and 100% while previous-generation truck-mounted cranes only had three possible configurations. The new outrigger system is also 30cm narrower, measuring only 7m at full span. With greater flexibility in outrigger positioning, the TMS9000- 2 is much more accommodating in restricted urban environments.

“The TMS9000-2 is about 363kg lighter than its predecessor, the TMS9000E, even with an additional 8m of main boom. Its reduced, best-in-class gross vehicle weight enables a wider range of flexibility in carrying counterweight, cribbing, and other items. That helps users optimize the crane for a variety of applications.

The optimized truck crane will meet a diverse range of roading regulations across North America.” Italian manufacturer Marchetti offers truck cranes mounted on a commercial carrier rather than purpose-built chassis.

As UK dealer of Marchetti, Robert Law, managing director at AGD Equipment says: “The main advantage of using this kind of machines is a fast move than normal chassis at a speed of 100km per hours. They usually can carry out two or three jobs per day and move around like a taxi.”

Law highlights that taxi cranes work not necessarily in the urban environment, but also in the countryside. “It’s wherever you need to do a quick lift, so for example it can be on a farm, on housing development and they just want to do a small mono lift,” he says.

As crane hire company Bryn Thomas offers two 35t truck machines from two manufacturers, Marchetti and Liebherr.

“We operate Marchetti MTK35 and the other crane in the fleet which is a similar machine is LTF1035-3.1 Liebherr,” says Dylan Thomas, managing director at Bryn Thomas. “These cranes are very similar in duties and both machines have been a great assets to the business on certain types of projects—especially timber frame housing projects. Their compact dimensions are ideal for running on long journeys. These truck machines have been busy and has been heavily involved with a long term project in the North East at Lynemouth Power Station.”

A Link-Belt HTC-86110 100mt (110t) hydraulic truck crane lowers building trusses in Northlake, Texas, USA for an educational building.
A Link-Belt HTC-86110 100mt (110t) hydraulic truck crane places steel beams for a new partial cloverleaf interchange near Newark, Ohio, USA.
Terex AC 40/2L all terrain crane designed for a quick setup to the desired boom length and for each jobsite configuration.
The use of the angled assembly jib enables the crane to pass through the workshop door measuring just 5.4m with a load attached.
The new Liebherr LTC 1050-3.1 can go through very restricted, confined environments.
Mentner Krane based in Mei├čen, Germany using their KATO CR-130Ri to place a CNC Machine within a factory floor.
A KATO CR-200Ri owned by BRAY Cranes in Newcastle, being used inside a factory to move concrete products.