The Liebherr LTM 11200, like Manitowoc’s GTK 1100 and the forthcoming AC 1000 from Terex, is only allowed to drive on roads if its telescopic boom travels separately. These bigger cranes and much of their operating costs are dominated by transportation expenses, says Rüdiger Zollondz, senior product manager for Terex Cranes. Boom sections must fit into different countries’ varying regulations that are usually limited by width, height and weight, and each must be managed on a case-by-case basis.

Road regulations worldwide are extensive enough that it is a science in itself simply managing all regulations within each country while transporting these boom sections, Zollondz says.

While there are numerous options to transport these booms, when it comes to meeting the diverse restrictions as well as choosing an option that is easy to handle, the list narrows. Klaus Baehr, a project engineer for Goldhofer, explained it is possible to use a fairly normal eightaxle semi trailer or any product in the company’s range that can carry the actual weight, but choosing one of those options, users will be sacrificing convenience because the handling is much more awkward and securing the load is much more complicated. “It’s a question of time and handling and the effort you have to spend securing and fixing the load,” he says.

New products are being developed as solutions to this patchwork of weight limitations, and the associated costs. Nooteboom and Mammoet have worked together to create the Masttransporter (also called the Boomtransporter). Goldhofer also released its STZ-DH 7 and DH 8 flatbed trailer earlier this year. Both companies have developed these trailers to be used with Liebherr’s LTM 11200.

Mammoet approached Nooteboom looking for a way to transport the LTM 11200’s main boom throughout Europe. The solution would need to add as little weight as possible to the combined weight of a truck and trailer in order to stay inside of the 100t gross vehicle weight.

Philippe Chavernac, sales director for Nooteboom, says with the boom weighing approximately 80t, the team working on the project was able to calculate how many kilograms were still available for the trailer. “And that’s where we saw that there was not enough room left to fit a trailer,” he says.

“A truck and trailer combination that can carry this weight would weigh more than 20t.” The conclusion was that for Mammoet, Nooteboom would have to build a dolly.

The LTM 11200’s boom, including the support leg and Y-rigging, is used as the trailer. “We just add wheels to it to transport it,” Chavernac says. During manufacture, Liebherr welds a support onto the boom, making it compatible with the self-steering seven-axle dolly and four-axle tractor. The support is optional but necessary if customers want to use the Masttransporter, and it can’t be added later on.

A self-steering dolly provides better manoeuvrability, Chavernac says, with the first three axles counter steering against the rear axles and providing an “ideal turn.”

The biggest advantage, after the reduced weight and increased ease in obtaining permits, is that there is less investment cost, Chavernac says. Interms of purchasing, it is cheaper than a big trailer and in the long run, users will spend less on fuel and maintenance: “This is the lightest and cheapest way to transport this crane part.”

Profits in the crane industry are largely dependent on the logistical costs of moving equipment, he says. “Everybody’s always focusing on the crane job. But it’s the company that is the smartest in getting the crane at the right moment at the right place. That is the one who makes the profit and who gets the job.”

Dutch rental firmVan Marwijk Kraanverhuur considered purchasing the Masttransporter, but has decided against the idea, says Corina Koetsier, the company’s planner in charge of assigning available cranes among the workload. Van Marwijk has a six-axle trailer to carry the boom for its Liebherr 11200, and chooses to use that rather than a dolly. Most of Van Marwijk’s jobs are located in Holland where it is legal to drive with a six-axle trailer, compared to Germany, France and Belgium, where a dolly is required because of the weight, Koetsier explained.

Not all European countries are as lenient as Holland. And users may want to transport other crane parts as well as the boom. Nooteboom has eight- or nine-axle extendible semi low-loaders that are an alternative to this. These can also transport the boom within the legal four metre transport height and can be used for other cargo that is loaded with a crane.

Mediaco chose an eight-axle extendible semi low-loader from Nooteboom because it meets France’s standards, says the company’s president, Christian-Jacques Vernazza.

In Germany, a nine-axle semi low-loader is necessary due to the more stringent allowed axle load.

This is a very complex topic, says Wolfgang Beringer of Liebherr’s sales promotion department. Besides the weight restrictions, axle distances and total weights also vary. “We as crane manufacturers have to design the equipment and booms in order to be able to transport it within standard dimensions and standard weights,”he says. “Only then can cost effective transportation be realised by the crane users.”

To help with this, the LTM 11200 boom has been designed so that boom sections are easily disassembled so the customer can transport the boom in sections in order to reduce the weight.

With the new Goldhofer trailer, telescopic booms up to 105t can be loaded onto crane supports done by the crane manufacturer. These are fixed to the flatbed by inserting consoles. The frames and lashing options on the trailer have been especially adapted to the LTM 11200 boom’s contours and centre of gravity. Goldhofer says that more than four customers are using this option.

Both Goldhofer and Nooteboom are open to working with other crane manufacturers who develop products of this size. Baehr says it would be fairly easy for Goldhofer to adapt the new trailer, assuming that the overall dimensions are similar, “meaning we can adjust the length of the trailer without much problem,” he explained. “We can adjust fixation for any holding device.

“So more or less any boom that comes along which is in the same payload class [the trailer] would be fairly easy to adjust.”