Link-Belt launched its crawler at its Crane Fest event last month at its Kentucky headquarters, and Manitowoc launched its at an open day at its Shady Grove, Pennsylvania plant. Their capacities seem similar, as do official statements about their marketability.

Both cranes are designed to the traditional multi-purpose crawler mainstream. “While the 298 fills out Link-Belt’s crawler crane line between 200 and 300 tons, it more importantly provides the replacement answer for all the aging 230-ton crawlers in fleets around the world,” Link-Belt says.

The 220 US ton capacity Manitowoc 14000

The 220 US ton capacity Manitowoc 14000

The Manitowoc 14000 US-built design is a replacement for Manitowoc’s 230 US ton capacity mechanical 4100W. “We are positioning the 14000 to be a suitable alternative as companies begin replacing these older units,” says product marketing manager Al Kadow.

“The Model 14000 is a fully hydraulic crawler crane of modern design whereas the Model 4100W was one of the stalwarts of our traditional crane line, but they share many of the same characteristics,” he says. “They will also share much of the same client base. Customers for the Model 14000 will be contractors working in virtually all types of applications – commercial construction, bridge building, tunneling work, fabrication yards, petrochemical plants, etc. The Model 14000 is a good, solid all-round crane.”

“We added this crane to our lineup to fill a spot in our product line between the Model 777 and the Model 999. We didn’t build this to compete with any other manufacturer’s crane,” says Tom Cioni, Manitowoc spokesman.

The Link-Belt 298 HSL

The Link-Belt 298 HSL

The 298 HSL is Link-Belt’s second crane to come from the alliance with Hitachi-Sumitomo. The first crane was the 110 US ton capacity 218 Hylab HSL, launched at ConExpo. The crane’s control system is a scaled-up version of the 218 HSL. Front and rear hoist drums are driven by variable displacement hydraulic piston motors that power the double planetary drive. Hoist and lowering control is further enhanced by hoist drums with adjustable speed control. Optional on the 298, is front and rear drum “freefall” using a new wet brake design. Link-Belt’s 300 US ton capacity 348 Hylab 5 is the next larger model in the range.

The 298 HSL’s counterweight removal system removes the hydraulic cylinders and integral frame in one piece with the counterweights to reduce the main transport load weight. The removal system has remote control. Counterweight pin releases are within one person’s reach.

The 298 HSL’s cab has adjustable boom, swing, and load hoist controls; six-way adjustable seat and an AM/FM digital clock radio. Audio and visual alarms for swing, full engine instrumentation, and a service monitor augment the controls. For hot days, air conditioning is standard.

Link-Belt’s rated capacity limiter with colour graphic display is standard equipment.. The limiter also features a function kick-out for both overload and anti-two block occurrences. The system uses a sensor in the boom hoist dead end to feed data to the load limiter computer. Standard left, right, and front catwalks that remove and stow easily for transport. A third drum is optional.

Like other Manitowocs, the 14000 will feature the company’s CAN-Bus control network with EPIC control system. Besides enabling smooth operation, this system allows the management of six independent closed-loop hydraulic circuits. The 14000 also includes Manitowoc’s air-conditioned Vision Cab, which the company says provides greater visibility and more ergonomic placement of joystick controls than previous cabs. MCG’s FACT crawler and boom connection technology is standard on the 14000. A self-erect system for boom and counterweight and third drum are optional.

Deliveries of the 14000 will begin in early 2007. Manitowoc says that at launch date it had received “several dozen” orders for the crane.