Twin booms

20 June 2019

At Bauma, Marchetti's Marcello Maestri talked to Will North about how a small manufacturer can meet a wide range of customer demands.

Marchetti takes an approach that is increasingly rare among manufacturers of mobile cranes: designing booms and upperstructures, and then fitting these to carriers in line with customer requirements. It's a policy that has seen some successes: in the UK, Maestri reports that AGD has 22 cranes currently, with four due to ship just after Bauma.

Maestri says, "We can never forget we're a small company. We keep our feet on the ground, and continue with three lines of machines.

"The truck cranes and crawlers have the same boom. This is the best way to make different machines, using the same components. This means half the stock, and half the problems."

The 65t crane on show at Bauma is an upgrade to the company's recent 55t crane, with different counterweight boosting the load chart at radius. The company's largest crane is a 70t. Maestri sees a market for bigger machines of, say, 100t. But doing that using the company's current strategy depends on finding customers for a truck crane of that size.

This isn't impossible. Maestri points out that Marchetti already has to put in the legwork to find customers: often, there is demand for one crane in one market, two in another, and so on. But finding fouraxle trucks that can carry a 100t upper, suitable for countries that, even in the EU, have differing GVW requirements, can be a challenge.

Another area where the company is looking to innovate is through electrification. The company's old 12t and 20t Trio line of city cranes had been available with electric power. Maestri sees potential for new plug-in electric machines. As the company's telecrawlers are often used indoors and underground, electric power would eleminate exhaust emissions. For customers using cranes overnight in cities, electric power would reduce noise.

It's one of the ideas on the table, at a very early stage of development. Maestri says full electromobility—with an electric carrier and upper—would be costly, for both manufacturer and customer. Lithium batteries are still very expensive, and can only work for eight-ten hours before needing extensive downtime to charge. But, he thinks, plug-in electric power for the upper may be a big draw for some customers.

Marchetti offers crawler and truck cranes, using the same telescopic boom and many other shared components on the upperstructure.