The market for new and used mobile cranes in Italy seems to be rather good these days, at least that is the view of domestic and foreign manufacturers . Italian manufacturer Ormig says that not only has the market already been healthy for two years, it seems to be improving further. Marchetti says that sales are going well across the range this year, and Locatelli reports a strong increase in demand for rough terrain cranes, its main product line.

Sales are being driven by commercial and industrial construction. Main domestic customers for mobile cranes, according to both Marchetti and Liebherr Italia, are companies that lift and place prefabricated concrete elements, typically used for the construction of commercial centres and factories.

Liebherr Italia director Giorgio Lupi says there is an explosion of work in this area and he estimates that up to 70% of the rental companies are buying mobile cranes to meet this demand. It used to be that 30t or 40t cranes could do this work but as the concrete elements are now larger and heavier, larger capacity cranes of 70t to as much as 100t are used. They tend to be fitted with a second winch and a short fixed lattice fly jib. All seven units sold in Italy so far this year of Liebherr’s 100t LTM 1100/2 model have been fitted with these options, Lupi says.

Work for cranes in Italy also continues to come from the construction of the high speed railway network.

Italian contractors are also buying cranes for projects abroad. Locatelli recently sold 18 units of 20t and 30t capacity rough terrain cranes for an oil project in Kazakhstan. Main export customers for Locatelli at the moment are port authorities, according to export manager Maria Mortarino. At the end of April, 10 units of the 20t capacity rough terrain model were delivered to Tartous port in Syria, and the ports of Sudan and Chittagong have taken delivery this year of Locatelli rough terrain cranes. Other important export markets for Locatelli are Libya and Turkey. The company is also now looking for a UK dealer.

Ormig says that outside of western Europe, the USA and parts of the Middle East are good export markets at the moment.


With all-terrain cranes being imported in volume into Italy, Italian mobile crane manufacturers have responded by building truck-mounted cranes. Ormig’s marketing director Gian Paolo Aschero says its best selling crane is the 804AC, a crane fitted on a commercial truck chassis-cab that allows free travelling by road without the need for permits. It is particularly suitable for rental companies, he says, where the road traffic limitations that affect all-terrain cranes can be avoided. The 804AC has four axles, each with a maximum loading of 8t, to give a total all-up weight of 32t. Rental customers also like the reduced overall dimensions and the lifting capacity, Aschero claims.

A further advantage of this type of crane is that the load, such as a piece of machinery, can be towed to the jobsite on a trailer behind the crane and then installed, all with one self-contained unit.

Marchetti also offers two models of this type of crane and Eurogru Amici and TCM have offered this style of crane for some years.

New ATs from Italian manufacturers are planned, however. Ormig has two new ATs under development – ‘to confirm our leading position in the medium-high capacity cranes range,’ according to Aschero. We can expect to see these models introduced by the end of the year, he says.

Rigo is planning an 80t capacity AT on four axles – the RTT 804 – which is intended to be ready for next year’s Samoter show in Verona. This model will fill the gap between Rigo’s three-axle 60t and four-axle 100t models. A new 100t capacity AT with a hydraulic luffing jib is also under development. Rigo is also homolgating a two-axle trailer for its RTT 904 with a cart for the counterweight to make it road legal. It is more compact than rival five-axle models, the company says, and the trailer will have an ABS braking system. Expect to see it available next year.

Marchetti and Locatelli had new launches at Bauma in April. Marchetti introduced its new city crane, the MG20.35. Described as a compact and versatile multipurpose crane, it is particularly aimed at operations in confined spaces and indoors.

For pollution-free operation both the MG20.35 and its smaller brother the 12t Trio are available with battery-electric power. Marchetti delivered the first 12t MG 12.28 Trio Batt, as it is called, to an Italian customer just last month.

Locatelli showed two new models at Bauma, the new ATC 20 city crane and the 12.5t capacity RT, Gril 8125. The 20t-capacity ATC 20 has a 23.8m six-section boom, Euro 3 engine, and hydrogas suspension. It can be fitted with hook, platform or forks. A new proprietary electronic system, Locatronic, controls the engine, travel and crane motions, and the LMI. Locatelli is planning to build 20 units this year, using German componentry, and the price is lower than the Kobelco model that it competes directly against, Mortarino claims.

The Gril 8125 can also operate as a telehandler, has 360° continuous rotation, three- or four-section boom and can also be supplied in electric form.

Numbers are up

There are no official statistics for mobile crane sales in Italy but according to figures from the VDMA, the total AT market in Italy for 2000 was 106 units. This is quite a dramatic increase from the 40 or so ATs that were delivered in Italy in 1997 and 50 in 1998.

Of the total, Demag puts its share at 30%, in terms of number of units and claims 100% of the 200t-plus category.

Grove sold about 25 units, says sales manager Willem Hilderink.

A further 31 came from Liebherr, according to Liebherr-Werk Ehingen managing director Friedrich Bär.

Tadano Faun’s distributor Salvatore Pennisi – Mister Gru – has also had success in his four years representing the product line.

Terex PPM struggled in the all-terrain market in Italy last year, shipping just nine units, but in the rough terrain sector sister company Terex Bendini claims 68 deliveries in Italy, out of a total market of 108 units.

The market for used cranes in Italy has always been strong, says Giorgio Lupi, at least back to 1984 when Liebherr Italia was established. Lupi says that in addition to the 31 new machines, Liebherr also delivered about 30 factory reconditioned units last year. These cranes tend to come from the German market and are generally between four and six years old. Only two models are likely to be any older: the LTM 1070 (70t) with 42m boom, and the four-axle 50 tonner with 38m boom, which can be up to 9 years old.

Reconditioned models have a six month guarantee, new tyres, new paint in customer colours and are difficult to distinguish from new units, Lupi claims. Sales of so many used cranes in Italy disturbs the domestic manufacturers, Lupi says, because each one sold means one less new unit sold by a domestic manufacturer.

Liebherr’s performance suggests further growth in the market this year. Including both new and used cranes, Liebherr Italia’s order intake figure for the January to April four-month period shows significant growth in the past two years, from DM13.5m ($6.1m) in 1999, to DM 21.1m ($9.6m) in 2000, to DM29m ($13.2m) in 2001.

Compared with the 31 new units sold in the whole of 2000, this year 28 new units are already in the programme for delivery by July. Delivery times are a problem though, averaging five months, which can be unacceptable to many customers, Lupi says.

Despite that, the boom in orders during January and February means that, at the beginning of May, there were 19 cranes awaiting delivery at the Liebherr Italia facility in Monfalcone over the following two months.

Expansion plans at Liebherr Italia include the recent purchase of 30,000m2 of land, close to the existing facility, to build new offices and workshops and about 10 more employees are needed to take the total up to around 50. By developing a stronger base in northern Italy, Liebherr is building itself a springboard for expansion into eastern European markets. If others use a similar strategy, it can only be to the benefit of the Italian lifting industry in general.