Manitowoc premiered the VPC-MAX concept at ConExpo. The system adds to the maximum extension available on the MLC650’s main VPC system, increasing the crane’s overall capacity. This March, the company announced it had completed testing of the new crane in this configuration.

The VPC-MAX attachment includes additional counterweight and a beam that automatically extends the counterweight beyond the rear of the crane based on lifted load, increasing its load moment. For the max load test, the crane was positioned to apply the maximum stresses through the structure, including the boom positioned over the corner of the crawler crane.

Dustin Soerens, marketing manager for lattice-boom cranes at Manitowoc, said the testing went according to plan and the company’s engineers couldn’t have been happier with the results.

"We attached hundreds of strain gauges to the MLC650 and picked a number of loads in the test yard to test its capacity with the VPC-MAX attachment," he said. "The testing went very well with no surprises. No changes are needed on the crane, as it performed superbly. We’re well on our way to releasing this innovative crane to the global market."

The two new VPC cranes launched at ConExpo represent a major investment by Manitowoc as it looks to set a new standard for mid-to-high capacity traditional crawlers. A new deal with German manufacturer Sennebogen will make sure the company’s Grove brand offers a complete and competitive range of lower-capacity mobile cranes in the Americas.

The new telecrawlers, badged as Groves with a GHC designation, were launched at Shady Grove late in March. Manitowoc will be selling the three cranes in the Americas on an exclusive basis, and supporting them through its Manitowoc Crane Care service division. At the launch, all three cranes, the 55USt GHC55, 77USt GHC75 and 132USt GHC130, were on display.

David O’Connell, president of Shawmut Equipment, a Manitowoc dealer, said, "We expect that companies working in the utility, bridge-building and marine industries are going to find considerable use for these cranes. This is because of the quick setup times, the 100% pick and carry capacities, the cranes’ full 360-degree swing capabilities, and because the GHC series cranes can still pick a load when not completely level."