The first Russian 100t-capacity telescopic mobile crane on a purpose-built all terrain chassis was finally unveiled to the public on Tuesday 25 May.

The Ivanovets KC-8973 from Avtokran Ivanovo was exhibited at the CTT construction equipment fair in Moscow.

The machine clearly represents a significant development for Russian crane manufacturing and offers customers wishing to buy a crane with anything more than 50t capacity a Russian option for the first time. For government organisations and the military, such an option is likely to be attractive. However, given its 41.4m main boom length and its generally heavy characteristics, this model seems unlikely to make a major impact on the world market. Boom lengths of German all terrains in this class vary from 50m to 52m. With a 16m jib, the maximum height under hook on the Ivanovets KC-8973 is 58m, compared to 85m on the Grove GMK 5100, widely regarded as the best in this class.

Similarly, private buyers in Russia may feel that if Avtokran sticks to its launch price tag of E750,000, a two- or three- year German model for E600,000 is the more attractive option.

A key selling point of the Ivanovets KC-8973 in the domestic market is its ‘Russian-ness’, judging by comments made by senior representatives of the company at the official launch press conference. They emphasised the Russian componentry. However, the engine on the upper comes form Deutz of Germany, the steel comes from Weldox of Sweden (700E and 960E – a first for Russian cranes), the axles are from Kessler of Germany, the load moment system is from PAT of Germany, the transmission is from ZF of Germany (Ecomat 6HP900) and the tyres are from Michelin of France. The crane was designed in Austria by Horst Zimmerman and Eccon Consulting. The boom was cut and shaped by Vlassenroot of Belgium, although the U-sections were welded together in the Ivanovo plant.

Assembly of the crane was a co-operation between the Ivanovo plant, which has produced 135,000 mobile crane on commercial truck chassis since it began exactly 50 years ago, and its sister company BKZT in Bryansk. The Bryansk plant used to make carriers for heavy military vehicles. Both plants were taken over by NAMS in 2000.

The gross vehicle wright of the five-axle crane is 76t, Alexander Lezhnin, Avtokran’s chief designer, told Cranes Today. With 16t of counterweight removed it weighs12t per axle, thus conforming to European standards. The four-section boom accounts for 14.5t of the weight – ‘including fuel in the cylinders’. The first three sections extend with hydraulic cylinders; the fourth by rope.

Avtokran Ivanovo plans to build two more units this year and a fourth in January 2005.

It also plans to raise the Russian bar with a 150t-capacity all terrain.

The name of Yul Armani, the US-based businessman who was active in the development of the KC-8973 project and claimed to be a partner of Avtokran, was not mentioned and has apparently been erased from the records. After Armani and Avtokran parted company acrimoniously last year, NAMS management said that Armani had only ever been ‘a hired hand’.