Above and beyond

26 February 2024

Investment in new facilities and continuing product innovation demonstrate a vibrant knuckleboom sector. Cranes Today reports.

Investment in facilities is usually a sure-fire indicator of a healthy company bank balance. Nothing demonstrates ‘success’ as effectively as a gleaming new R&D centre or shiny sales and service centre. They’re a proclamation: ‘we’re here’, ‘we’re doing well’, and ‘we’re investing in the future’.

Currently some of the knuckleboom loader crane sector’s biggest players are showcasing brand spanking new facilities.

First, Austrian crane and work platform manufacturer Palfinger has announced it is expanding its presence in Sweden with a new sales and service centre. The new 4,000 square metre Palfinger sales and service location has opened in Jordbro, around 26 km south of Stockholm. According to Palfinger the new centre has five service lines with state-of-the-art equipment and is staffed by a tight team of experts.

The investment, says Palfinger, is part of the company's strategy to intensify its sales and after-sales activities in the core region around Stockholm and is in line with its aims to drive its own distribution strategy forward.

“While other companies are withdrawing from some markets, we are increasing our service presence and thus focussing even better on our customers and their needs in our core regions, such as Stockholm,” says Gerhard Sturm, senior vice president global sales & service at Palfinger. “As a full solution provider, we are specifically driving forward our own distribution strategy.”

The network expansion follows the takeover of the Swedish sales partner Hinz three years ago. “Today’s opening is the best example of the successful transition from Hinz to Palfinger and of how the future can be proactively shaped,” Sturm said at the official opening of the new branch in December 2023. “It is our strategy to be as close to the customer as possible.

"We want to establish and expand long-term and successful partnerships by further strengthening our position as number one in Sweden.”

The new Jordbro branch now will work in close cooperation with Palfinger’s Swedish headquarters in Borlänge to intensify sales and after-sales activities.

Amongst the models the new sales and service centre is promoting are Palfinger’s new range of TEC cranes. In total there are nine new models ranging between 25- to 100-metre-tons which have been available since the start of 2023. See page 17 for more details on the PK 165.002 TEC 7 in action.

The new sales and service centre follows Palfinger’s EUR 10 million investment in a state-of-the-art education and training centre at its Lengau production site, Austria, which opened in May 2023. For more information see page 40 of our training feature in this issue.


Albino, Italy-headquartered manufacturer of truck-mounted cranes Fassi Gru has also opened a new facility: the Fassi technology hub. Located close to its headquarters, the technology hub covers an area of 11,500m2 comprising: offices and service areas; a new product showroom; and a specialist activity area for prototype construction, crane assembly/fatigue testing, and the development of hydraulic, electrical and electronic systems.

“The new technology hub is a place dedicated to research and development, to creating and designing machines and high-tech systems,” said Giovanni Fassi, president of the Fassi Group. “We created it to identify and experiment with unexplored solutions, a space open to all group companies (Fassi, Cranab and Marrel), where our technicians transform projects into prototypes, testing their potential and performance.”

“The possibility of being able to design on a blank canvas, without constraints but with the sole aim of creating a real innovation hub was the gateway to everything,” said Rossano Ceresoli, research & development director of the Fassi Group. “Since the 2000s cranes have become systems that integrate various technologies and specialisations: mechanics and metallurgy for the structure, hydraulics for power and movement, electronics for safety and control. They are real mechatronic systems. It is therefore with continuous research in these sectors and the ability to integrate them in the appropriate way that we evolve and innovate our products. The ultimate goal is certainly to satisfy the demands of our customers, but also to anticipate them by creating real new needs.”

Among the areas being explored at the technology hub are the autonomous and long-distance teleoperation of Fassi cranes, plus a focus on increased sustainability via lithium battery packs for emissions-free crane operation.

The result of Fassi’s focus on technology is evident in its most recent crane: the F1250R-HXP TECHNO, which was seen ‘in the metal’ at GIS in Italy in October 2023. According to Fassi the crane can be specified, for the first time ever, with a total of nine hydraulic extensions for a long outreach.

In its nine-boom iteration (with the L436 extension and three manual extensions) the crane provides a total horizontal outreach of 38.80 metres and a vertical outreach of 43.5 metres.

The crane’s secondary arm and telescopic extensions have an X-design profile for added strength. According to Fassi the shape enables better distribution of the forces between the sliding block and the side member, allowing for the thickness of the latter to be reduced and, consequently, the weight, thus increasing performance. As a result the crane has a maximum lifting capacity of over 96 tonnes. The crane folds into a compact shape when not being used thanks to fold-away pulleys.

The crane is controlled by Fassi’s latest control system: the FX990. This digital control system offers five connection types: two Ethernet and three CAN-bus and to provide, what Fassi describes as, ‘an electronic control unit characterised by processing power and flexibility in terms of intelligent functions and control’.

According to the company, while CAN-BUS communication is a known standard, its choice of hardware equipped with an Ethernet line makes it the only company in the sector that has identified it as a solution due to its multi-connectivity potential.

A video of the crane can be seen here: www.youtube.com/ watch?v=uVtOvmWrhaA


In October 2023 lifting, loading, stacking, compacting and tipping equipment manufacturer Hyva announced the official opening of a new branch, Hyva Italy, located in the heart of Carpi, Modena province. The company says the expansion reinforces its commitment to enhancing its service capabilities and exceeding customer expectations.

"Carpi's location is advantageous in several ways,” said Gian Marco Fulgeri, country manager for Italy and sales manager at the new branch. “We are situated in a significant logistics hub with excellent service and transport access, ensuring prompt response to all customer needs. Additionally, our proximity to Reggio Emilia, home to another Hyva subsidiary, Hyva Capital Equipment, specialising in cranes, enables us to build valuable strategic partnerships."

Hyva says the new branch is staffed with a highly qualified team of professionals dedicated to providing tailor-made solutions.


It’s not just new facilities that are being showcased. Innovation with new crane models continues, too, and Swedish loader crane manufacturer Hiab is enjoying a boost for the roll-out of its new iX.162 HIPRO BSS-2 loader crane with a with multi-million pound investment from UK building material distributor Travis Perkins.

Travis Perkins is the UK’s largest distributor of building materials and, as of January 2024, it started taking delivery of 400 new Hiab truck loader cranes.

The new Hiab iX.162 HIPRO BSS-2 cranes are, according to Hiab, the first of their kind and will replace existing cranes on the group’s heavy side delivery vehicles in the Travis Perkins merchanting and Keyline Civils Specialist businesses over a three-year period.

According to Hiab, its iX.162 crane is around 150kg lighter in weight than the previous model, Hiab X-HIDUO 162. This, it says, allows the truck to increase its payload and lower its fuel consumption. To further reduce carbon emissions, the new cranes have been developed so the engine can be stopped and restarted from the crane remote control. This results in a significant reduction in idle time emissions and noise.

Despite being lighter, the new crane model is stronger than the previous model, says Hiab. This is to give operators more flexibility and enables them to deliver heavy loads in even the most challenging customer environments safely and with greater accuracy, Hiab claims.

They also come with Hiab’s new CombiDrive 4 remote control, which has confirmed view sensors and automatically detects operator positioning to minimise accident risk and promote better safety for operators, customers and the public.

“These new cranes represent a significant investment,” said Richard Byrne, Travis Perkins Group HSE & fleet director. “They support our plans to innovate and grow, and they cement our place as a leading partner to construction by serving our customers with improved safety and efficiency.

"All new cranes will come with a maintenance contract, which means they will be maintained to the highest standards by Hiab. They also support our own commitment to net zero and the decarbonisation of our customers’ supply chain; a commitment we share with Hiab, whose values very much align with our own.”

The 400 Hiab cranes are being supplied with HiConnect telematics in order to monitor the performance and safe operation of the crane. They will also be supplied with, the service contract solution ProCare, available for Hiab equipment. This is designed to provide proactive maintenance and expert assistance to maximise equipment performance, reliability and lifespan.


In 2023 Hiab also launched a new 135 tm range loader crane, the iQ.1400 HP, under its Effer brand. The super heavy loader crane is a 135 tonne metre (tm) crane that combines the V10- Force decagonal boom for vertical performance and improved overall precision with Hiab’s SPACEevo control system.

It has a maximum vertical reach of 39.5 metres and with a jib of 26 tm. The boom can work at an 83-degree angle. Hiab says this means it is well suited for operations in metropolitan areas and it can deliver materials with an 'up and over' of 26 metres.

Being able to work closer to the buildings, makes it less obtrusive to the surroundings, and the boom profile reduces the side oscillations for high-precision load delivery, says Hiab.

The crane’s low weight and compact frame size also make it possible to install it on smaller trucks than is usual for this lifting category, which lower purchase and operating costs, as well as CO2 emissions.

“Customers will be able to experience a whole new level of heavy load lifting,” said Marcel Boxem, vice president, sales and product management, loader cranes heavy & super heavy, Hiab. “The engineering, combined with a CombiDrive4 remote control from Olsbergs gives operators unprecedented precision even at high heights. The 135 tm range delivers performances similar to bigger segment cranes.”

So we see the knuckleboom crane sector is evolving not only in terms of facilities and but also in the development of highperformance, technologicallyadvanced crane models. The collective efforts of industry leaders, as showcased in this feature, reflect a shared commitment to driving progress, meeting customer expectations, and contributing to the overall advancement of the sector.

As we look ahead, these investments and innovations position the sector for sustained growth and success in the future construction landscape.


Mitterhauser uses new Palfinger PK 165.002 TEC 7 to dismantle overhead crane and install new one.

In Gresten, Austria there’s a global manufacturer of roll formed metal sections and steel profiles called Welser Profile. The company needed to replace an old overhead gantry crane it had been using since 1993. Welser Profile commissioned Weireth, Austria-based lifting and transportation services company Mitterhauser to do the job.

To replace the gantry as quickly as possible, in order to minimise production line disruption, Mitterhauser used its new Palfinger PK 165.002 TEC 7 knuckle boom loader crane ( the same crane as featured in our November 2023 ‘French Film Premiere’ Job of the Month: https://content.yudu.com/ web/442ay/0A444jv/Cranes1223-Pros/html/ index.html?page=8&origin=reader ).

On day one it dismantled the old overhead crane; on the second day it installed the new one.

According to Mitterhauser crane operator, Stefan Haas, the new Palfinger is well-suited to working in confined environments, such as the steel forming factory, because it offers great control and precision plus it has new, convenient functions compared to the PK 78.002-SH (that he’s been using for the last eight years).

"We always have very cramped conditions in our halls,” confirms Loibl. “The set up and the height also cause difficulties for such a job. Finding the right crane has always been a challenge but we’ve now found a very suitable model."

What makes the model so suitable? For starters, the PK 165.002 TEC 7 has a strong, light P-Profile boom system. This means it has the drop shape that’s characteristic for all Palfinger TEC cranes. The multi-edged profile of the boom allows for extremely efficient application of force, says Palfinger, thus making it strong and light. Indeed, the PK 165.002 TEC 7 has a maximum lifting moment of 124.8 mt and a maximum lifting capacity of 32000 kg. Its maximum hydraulic outreach is 21 m. Add a fl y jib, this extends to 36.1 metres.

The crane has a continuous slewing mechanism for an unrestricted radius of action. It also has Palfinger’s Power Link Plus system – a double linkage system providing 15 degrees of reverse linkage. This can be used for reaching though low doors and working inside buildings.

Without a double linkage system, Palfinger says, the distance between the bolts and cylinder pivot point changes during the motion sequence and the crane can lose up to 70% of its power.

Palfinger explains that with the Power Link Plus this distance stays constant providing a constant lifting moment independent of the boom position.

Increased comfort and safety is the purpose of the crane’s Soft Stop system. It is an electronic limit position damper that provides gentle braking of all crane movements before the mechanical limit stop is reached. As a result jerky movements and load impacts from oscillating loads are avoided.

One of the functions Haas likes the most is the crane’s P-Fold assistance system, which is designed to make folding and unfolding the crane an easy job using only one operating lever via the radio control. This was useful on the jobsite as the crane was put away overnight to enable factory production to continue. “One really cool thing about the P-Fold is the automatic mounting and folding,” says Haas. “I use that a lot.”

The crane’s remote control can also be used to mount its stabilisers. “It’s a big help,” Haas, who has been an operator for Mitterhauser for the last 13 years. “You can stand behind the crane to see... you don't have to keep running from side to side.”

The P-Fold works in combination with the crane’s RTC (Rope Tension Control) system – an automatic rope tensioning device that helps to fold and unfold the crane. Both systems support the crane’s set-up processes and keep set-up times to a minimum.

All of these features meant that the crane made light work of installing the new overhead crane. With the main gantry beams weighing around five tonnes each Haas was able to complete the multiple beam installation in around just four hours, enabling factory production to continue as quickly as possible.

“I always say work is something I do at home; at work I'm indulging in my hobby,” laughs Haas. “Working with the crane really is a lot of fun. I used to play with remotecontrolled cars; now I get to play with a remote-controlled Palfinger crane. It's a little bigger and a lot cooler.”

A video of the job can be seen here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=-dB-yvJJg6M


Danish truck-mounted crane manufacturer HMF Group has started construction of a customer experience centre in Galten, Denmark. HMF says the centre is designed to enhance proximity between ‘customer-oriented employees and the customer centric processes’, thereby enriching the customer journey.

The new centre is on the same site as its former production facility which was lost to a fire in 2021.

The construction project will result in the establishment of a department with a focus on administrative functions and technology development.

Currently situated in Højbjerg, customerrelated activities will now be consolidated at the new location in Galten.

Mikkel Winther Andersen, CEO of HMF Group, says, "Our new building is an integral part of our growth plan designed to future-proof HMF and establish a foundation for sustained expansion. This development aligns with our commitment to elevating customer focus and satisfaction."

The new facility is anticipated to be operational in early 2025 and will house key departments, including management, research and development (R&D), export, product management, and marketing. HMF says the relocation of these functions to Galten reflects its dedication to streamlining operations and fostering a more customer-centric approach.

Fassi’s F1250R-HXP TECHNO
Palfinger’s new sales and service centre in Jordbro, Sweden
Hiab’s Effer iQ.1400 HP
Fassi Gru’s new tech hub
Hyva’s new branch in Carpi, Italy
Travis Perkins is now taking delivery of 400 new Hiab iX.162 HIPRO BSS-2 cranes
Travis Perkins is now taking delivery of 400 new Hiab iX.162 HIPRO BSS-2 cranes