Stars of the show16 January 2023
Tower crane manufacturers are back with a bang, as seen at Bauma 2022.
Perhaps the most eye-catching of all the crane types, tower cranes are often seen as the ‘star of the show’ at construction sites around the world. And when assembled together en masse, such as in our Job of the Month (p8) or with the mix and match of makes and models seen at big construction trade shows, such as the Bauma trade show in Germany, the sight is spectacular.
It seems the enforced slowing of international trade over the last few years due to Covid has allowed engineers at various manufacturers some breathing space, some thinking time if you like, during which they’ve come up with new innovations and developments.
We look at some of the latest cranes and developments showcased at Bauma 2022.
According to the organisers of the show around half a million people visited the Bauma 2022 and the share of international visitors was around 50 percent.
With a stand around 15,000 square metres in size, Liebherr is traditionally one of the largest exhibitors at the show. "Our new products and services have generated a lot of interest among our customers from all over the world," confirms Marco Guariglia, managing director of sales at Liebherr Tower Cranes.
A highlight of Liebherr’s outdoor area were its new tower cranes with fibre rope. Liebherr used the show to launch the extension of its line of Fibre tower cranes with the 258 HC-L 10/18 Fibre luffing jib, the high-top 1188 EC-H 40 Fibre, and the 520 EC-B 20 Fibre and 370 EC-B 16 Fibre flat-top cranes.
Liebherr also showcased its first hydraulic luffing jib crane in combination with a slim and climbing tower system, with the 195 HC-LH 6/12, plus prototypes of the 195 HC-LH 6/12 hydraulic luffing jib crane and the revised L1-32.
The 1188 EC-H high-top crane with fibre rope was Liebherr’s most powerful standard crane on display at the show.
Liebherr says the lighter weight of the fibre rope enables a lighter crane design compared to that of a steel rope model, plus a longer service life than steel rope, with Fibre cranes achieving significantly higher performance values compared to their steel rope counterparts. The 1188 EC-H is Liebherr’s first high-top to use fibre rope.
With a jib head load capacity of up to 13.1 tonnes at an 80-metre radius the crane is an upward expansion of Liebherr’s standard product portfolio – with the Fibre model surpassing the 1000 EC-H steel rope crane by up to 2.1 tonnes in jib head load capacity.
The standard maximum reach of the 1188 EC H 40 Fibre is 90 metres and freestanding hook heights of up to 81.3 metres can be achieved using Liebherr’s compact 24 HC 1000 tower system.
All these qualities combine, Liebherr claims, to make the crane ‘a great choice' for bridge, power station and plant construction, especially with its 40-tonne maximum load capacity and smart assistance systems.
The high-tensile fibre rope is the result of ten years of development work by Liebherr and the rope manufacturer Teufelberger. The fibre rope is more durable, easier to handle when reeving due to its lighter weight, and maintenance is less complicated as lubrication isn’t required, says Liebherr. Operational safety is increased as operators are able to see at a glance when the fibre rope needs replacing due to the red layer which indicates that the rope has reached the end of its service life.
Liebherr’s first luffing jib crane using fibre rope is the 258 HC-L 10/18 Fibre luffing jib, which is available for order worldwide. The crane offers a load increase of up to 43 percent at the jib head and a 25 percent rise in maximum lifting capacity compared to the steel rope model.
The new crane is a particularly well-suited to construction projects in densely built-up inner city areas, says Liebherr, due to its high hook heights and minimal space and slewing requirements.
The 258 HC-L 10/18 Fibre achieves comparable hook heights to the 230 HC-L 8/16 steel rope model. At a maximum jib length of 60 metres, the jib head load capacity is 2.5 tonnes compared to the 230 HC-L 8/16 which manages 1.9 tonnes.
Liebherr has also increased the maximum lifting capacity of the 258 HC-L 10/18 Fibre by 25 percent to 10 tonnes in one-line operation.
The crane can use the 355 IC tower system for climbing inside buildings. There is also the option of using the 24 HC tower system, starting with the 24 HC 420, which offers assembly with only one taper pin connection per corner post.
Liebherr also showed its 520 EC-B 20 Fibre (with fibre rope) flat-top, the largest addition to Liebherr’s ‘Tough Guys’ series, which is also available for order worldwide.
The crane has a lifting capacity of up to 20 tonnes and is in demand for handling heavy prefabricated concrete components, says Liebherr.
The crane offers increased performance due to the use of a wider fibre rope. The fibre rope for the 520 EC-B 20 Fibre measures 25 millimetres in diameter compared to the 20 and 22 millimetres versions already available.
With a maximum jib length of 83 metres, the 520 EC-B 20 Fibre is capable of lifting 2.9 tonnes at the jib head and comes equipped with a connection for the 24 HC 420 and 24 HC 630 tower systems. A freestanding hook height of up to 96 metres is also possible. The jib can be flexibly adjusted in 2.5-metre increments depending on site requirements.
The 520 EC-B 20 Fibre requires five transport units to deliver the slewing section and jib, including counter-ballast, to the job site.
Another crane manufacturer showcasing fibre rope technology at Bauma was tower crane manufacturer Wolffkran.
It has been working in conjunction with German rope manufacturer Trowis to develop a high-performance fibre rope named ChaRope.
The rope design consists of a multi-layered, twisted rope core made of high-tensile fibres and an abrasion-resistant, thin-walled fibre composite cover.
The fibre rope has the same diameter as a steel rope and is thus significantly thinner than comparable products from competitors, says Wolffkran. Wolffkran and Trowis are offering 12- and 16-mm diameter crane ropes at market entry.
“All Wolff cranes with 12- or 16mm steel wire rope can be equipped with the new chaRope fibre rope,” says Wolffkran’s chief technical officer Thomas Heidrich. “The ropes are fully compatible with the crane series, and no adjustments to the rope sheaves, hoisting gear, or load capacities have to be made. In our current portfolio, this applies to all models in the Wolff Clear series, the new Wolff 21 FX cranes, and the Wolff 8033.16 Cross."
With regards new crane models Wolffkran used the show to present the Wolff FX 21 Clear crane family. The new ‘crane family’ concept is designed to provide flexibility in switching between three flat-top models in the 141-200 tonne class: the FX 6021 Clear; the FX 6521 Clear; and the FX 7021 Clear.
This means, for example, that the Wolff FX 6021 base model can be upgraded to the two larger family members by exchanging just a few components. All three models have a tip load capacity of 2.1 tonnes.
The 200 tonne Wolff 7021 FX has a 70-metre jib and a lifting capacity of 12.5 tonnes. The Wolff 6521 FX, has a 65-metre jib and maximum lifting capacity of 12.5 tonnes. And the Wolff 6021 FX has a 60-metre jib and a maximum lifting capacity of 10.5 tonnes.
The Wolff 21 FX family cranes are pure two-fall cranes. They are each available with two hoist winches: the Wolff 6021 FX with an 8.5 tonne and a 10.5 tonne hoist winch; the Wolff 6521 FX and 7021 FX with the same 10.5 tonne hoist winch as their smaller sibling, and a 12.5 tonne hoist winch.
At the tip, all three models lift 2.3 tonnes with the Wolff Boost function activated and all three models are available with a 2.0 x 2.0-metre UV/TV 20 tower connection or a 1.5 x 1.5-metre connection for Wolffkran's new TV 15 tower system.
The jib section’s lower chord connection has been redeveloped with a patented design to make the jib easier to assemble.
Maximum component weights of 7.9 tonnes further facilitate assembly, allowing all three Wolff 21 FX Family models to be erected with a 100-tonne mobile crane at a tower height of 40 metres.
They are optimised for transport with 40 metres of jib fitting in one truck and 30 metres in a shipping container.
The hook block and trolley can be transported and assembled as a unit.
The Wolff 21 FX Family cranes are expected to be used both on the European market and in Asia. There will also be a US version with adapted electronics.
The new Wolff 21 FX cranes are the first Wolffkran models ready to operate the new High-SpeedPositioning-System as standard, which was demonstrated at Bauma on the 7021 FX.
The High-Speed-PositioningSystem (HiSPS) is an electronic assistance system designed to prevent load sway, allowing for precise positioning of loads. The patent-pending technology increases safety and efficiency on the construction site and sets the stage for the autonomous cranes of tomorrow, says Wolffkran. For more information regarding the system see our operator assistance devices feature on p28.
Wolffkran plans to deliver all Clear cranes with the HiSPS preinstalled as standard within the next two years.
Existing cranes can be retrofitted while, in a second phase, the system is also intended to be available for Wolff luffers.
At Bauma Wolffkran also debuted the Wolff 8076 Compact trolley jib crane. It is a pure two-fall crane with a tower top around 10 metres lower than that of a Wolff Cross model, a maximum lifting capacity of 40 tonnes, and a tip load capacity of 8.4 tonnes at 80 metres. "We wanted to design a large yet economical crane and get the maximum capacity out of the steel structure,” says Wouter van Loon, product manager at Wolffkran. “That's why we opted for a low-top design, which we call Compact."
New on the crane is the fourchord design of the first three jib sections instead of the usual three-chord design. “This allowed us to optimise the transfer of forces along the jib and reduce individual components weights, resulting in around 40% higher lifting capacity than with the three-chord design,” explains van Loon.
The Wolff 8076 Compact connects to the 2.9 x 2.9-metre TV 29 tower system. Combined with the next-largest Wolff TV 33 tower system, a freestanding height of up 100 metres can be achieved.
“We are evaluating a heavier lift version of this model,” adds van Loon, “as well as one with a longer reach.” Both will be designed around the same basic components of the new Wolff 8076 Compact.
At Bauma 2022 Wolffkran also showed its newest luffing jib crane, the Wolff 235 B, which was released in 2020.
Utilising a new connecting frame it was shown on Wolff’s new TV 15 1.5x1.5 metre tower system. On a 1.5 metre tower system the 235B can have a freestanding height up to 41 metres.
Next to the TV 15 tower system Wolffkran showed its 6x6 metre tower system: the TV 60. The tower section was developed in 2020 for a high-altitude dam project, where it served as a base for two 90-metre freestanding Wolff 1250 B luffing jib cranes.
Also launching a new series of flat-top tower cranes at Bauma was manufacturer Raimondi Cranes who launched the Class 110 and the Class 150 range – represented by the T187 and the T537 respectively. The two new flat-tops were shown alongside the company’s new extended crane cab, the Raimondi Lumina X.
Raimondi proclaims the T187 as a weight-optimised machine with best-in-class specifications for lifting capabilities and speed. It is the first of a planned eight cranes in the Class 110 series
“The T187 represents a big step forward for Raimondi as it has been designed as part of a full range of cranes – the Class 110 – and not as a standalone machine,” says Eng. Diego Borgna, CEO, Raimondi Cranes. “This approach has significant implications on both technical and operational levels.”
Key to this is the modular design of parts combined with the interchangeability of the jib elements.
"The T187 — as well as the whole Class 110 — was designed with rental companies in mind,” adds Cristian Bain, commercial director, Raimondi Cranes. “The flexibility of choices, 8 tonne and 10 t, II/VI falls or permanent II falls, allows fleet rental companies to address a wide variety of needs and projects.”
The crane has a 67.5m jib length and a 1.61 tonne tip load (in UltraLift mode).
The crane has a newly designed reinforced tower that allows greater freestanding heights. The T187 is aptly suited for the construction of medium-to-high buildings due to its maximum lifting speed of 115 metres per minute in the 37 kW winch version, and the drum capacity of 620m.
All new winches are also equipped with the Down Over Speed (DOS) system, which allows for a substantial increase in intermediate speeds on descents.
The crane comes with Raimondi’s new ConCore control system. Electronic sensors and dual control are designed to enable swifter crane set up, precise calibrations, and instant troubleshooting during operations.
Raimondi said it presented its second crane, the T357, to demonstrate the characteristics of its new Class 150 range of six flat top cranes.
With a maximum lifting capacity ranging between 12t to 24t, Raimondi says this new class was designed with the Central and Northern Europe, American and Canadian markets in mind.
The T357 has a maximum radius of 77.5m and a maximum tip load of 2.67t in UltraLift. “The Raimondi T357 is aptly suited for construction of medium to-high infrastructural job sites due to its maximum lifting speed of 152 metres per minute using a 75 kW winch and the drum capacity of 800m,” says Badin.
At the show Raimondi sold the first T187 to Belgian construction concern ABHR. The crane is scheduled for delivery in January 2023 and will be put to work straight away.
Raimondi also showed its new Lumina X crane cabin at the show. The new cab is 2.14 metres high, 2.28 metres long, and 1.50 metres wide. Raimondi says it is one of the largest and most comfortable cabins in today’s marketplace. It includes an integrated refrigerator, multiple drawers, coat hangers, a wireless phone charger station and a Bluetooth audio system.
The new Lumina also features a new pneumatic seat made of a 1.50cm memory foam layer that stabilises according to operator body weight.
Raimondi sold a second T187 at Bauma to Italian rental fleet company Tecno Crane. Tecno has over 140 cranes in its fleet, including several Raimondi topless tower cranes such as the MRT84, MRT102, and MRT159.
Also at Bauma Raimoni sold an LR273 luffing jib crane to Australian company Clark Cranes (which is also a Raimondi agent for the Victoria and Queensland regions in southeastern Australia) and two MRT159 flat-tops to Turkish company (and Raimondi agent) Akem Group. It also says its French agent GP Mat International has agreed to buy 20 new cranes.
Spanish tower crane manufacturer Comansa launched a new luffing jib tower crane at Bauma: the LCH300. The company says the new crane marks a milestone as it is its first ever hydraulic model.
It has a maximum load capacity of 16 tonnes and a modular jib with a reach of 25 to 60 metres, with configurations every five metres.
The crane can be assembled with 2.5 x 2.5 metre tower sections. It has a minimum working radius of four metres and a minimum radius of nine metres when out of service.
It has manual transmission combinations of 1T (direct pulling) and 2T. The maximum load capacity is 8t with the 1T configuration and 16t with the 2T configuration. The maximum load at the jib end is 3.4t and 3.15t, respectively.
The luffer moves the jib and counter jib jointly by a hydraulic cylinder at the cathead and jib hinge assembly.
The hydraulic pump unit is located on a movable platform in one piece.
From the cabin there is direct visibility of the 50kW (standard) or 65kW (optional) lifting mechanism.
Effi-Plus technology is designed to increase the speed of the lifting mechanism without affecting consumption. This allows loading cycles to be reduced.
The design of this new rotating part - jib, cathead and counter jib - as well as the mechanism, cabin and hydraulic unit platforms, optimises the transport of this model, which can be supplied by eight trucks or containers, Comansa says.
The LCH300 incorporates the Cube Cab (L or XL) with Split type air conditioning. The cabin platform, like the lifting and hydraulic unit platforms, can be transported in a single piece.
Comansa says now, with the incorporation of the LCH300 hydraulic model, the luffing mechanism is optimised to offer even greater performance and an efficient assembly, as well as reduction of the radius when out of service.
Along with the new model, Comansa launched Crane Mate, a digital fleet management and crane monitoring system.
It provides real time technical information, location, alerts, and crane productivity and maintenance parameters.
It also makes it possible to report and configure events and record machinery lease periods.
All new Comansa tower cranes orders after Bauma 2022 are being equipped with Crane Mate and the company is offering free trials, online tutorials and technical support for its clients.
DOUBLE TOPS Spanish tower crane manufacturer Jaso launched two new crane models at Bauma: the low-top J390 and the flat-top J235.12.
The J390 low-top has a maximum load of 24 tonnes and a tip load of 3.8 tonnes for a maximum outreach of 75 metres.
Boom length can be increased in five-metre sections. It has versatile load chart options, says Jaso, and its features include a 15.3-metre swing radius, lay flat counterweights and a maximum free standing height of 81.4 metres with a 2.16-metre tower system.
The J235.12 flat-top crane has a maximum load of 12 tonnes and a tip load of 2.6-tonnes. It has a boom length of 30 to 65 metres, which can be increased in five-metre sections. It has a 14.9-metre swing radius, lay flat counterweights, 55.9-metre free standing height with a 1.75-metre tower system. Its lifting mechanism offers a maximum rate of 225 m/ min (65kW).
Both cranes are optimised for transport/assembly and feature the energy efficient ECO Mode system to reduce the carbon footprint.
Manitowoc had a large stand at Bauma 2022 which featured two new tower cranes: the MDT 159 topless, and the MR 229 luffing jib.
The topless model was the latest addition in its Potain MDT City crane range. The six-tonne capacity MDT 159 fills the gap between the MDT 139 and MDT 189.
It has a 60 metre maximum jib. The crane is suited to small- to mid-sized building projects of up to ten floors, says Potain, and it has been specially designed for tight urban job sites, requiring just three containers to transport the crane’s full upper section.
Assembly is aided by Manitowoc’s Crane Control System (CCS) which is designed to increase the efficiency of communication between the crane and on-site staff. It also enables the lifting and distribution ropes to be fixed at ground level, reducing assembly work required in the air, says Potain.
The MDT 159 has two new trolley systems, one with permanent four falls and the other with an automatic reeving system. The DMP trolley requires only limited maintenance, while the permanent double reeving means no adjustment to the ropes is needed on site, Potain claims. This means that the crane’s maximum capacity of six tonnes is permanently available.
The DMP trolley also offers 0.5 metre greater height under hook compared to the SM/DM Quick Lock alternative, Potain qualifies.
The other trolley, the SM/DM Quick Lock, can automatically change reeving at the flick of a switch. This process is managed by the CCS.
The Potain MDT 159 is one of the first models to come equipped with the new Potain Connect telematics system which enables remote access to crane data.
The luffing jib tower crane Manitowoc launched at Bauma was the MR 229 which the company describes as the first of a new generation of Potain luffers.
The MR 229 is the first Potain luffing jib crane to feature Manitowoc’s CCS.
This addition means the crane operator can now activate Potain Plus – designed to maximise load curves and optimise lift speeds – from the Ultra View cab via joystick control. It is also Potain’s first luffer to come with the Potain Connect telematics system.
For operations requiring close control a speed limiter gives increased precision by recalibrating controls so bigger joystick movements deliver restricted responses from the mechanisms.
The speed limiter can be adjusted in increments of 25%. Operators can also customise the controls to their own liking, setting pre-defined speeds and dynamism of movements to suit their preferences.
The MR 229 has reduced windvane spans for easier installation on constrained jobsites and a small out-of-service radius between 10 and 12 metres.
The crane has a new luffing mechanism design for improved assembly plus an integrated basket at the jib end, for more secure installation, inspection, and maintenance.
Once assembled, maximum capacity for the new crane is 14 tonnes and it can be fitted with up to 55 metres of jib.
At its 55 metre jib end lifting capacity is 2.7 tonnes. Lifting power comes from a choice of hoists, including the 110 HPL 35 from the High-Performance Lifting range, capable of reaching speeds of up to 207 metres/minute.
Chinese manufacturer Zoomlion used Bauma 2022 to debut its R-generation of flat top tower cranes, specifically with the R90 and R220 models, which it says have been tailored for the European market.
The larger of the two, the R220-10S, was one of Zoomlion’s flagship products on the stand.
It can lift up to 10 tonnes at a radius of 65 metres, while the R90 lifts up to five tonnes a radius of up to 50 metres.
The R220-10S has a choice of 15 arm length options and includes one-button super-lifting, on-load speed, zero-speed hovering and one-button debugging functions as standard features.
The crane has been designed for ease of transport with the integration of rotary mechanisms and the use of narrow boom structure technology. Zoomlion says the crane has a standard service life of 30 years.
The R90-5RE has a round tenon tower body which offers lower wind resistance and easier assembly and disassembly, says Zoomlion, and it is well-suited to work on small housing construction projects.
The company says the new line has been jointly researched, developed and manufactured by its Chinese and German teams and offers high quality backed by a network of authorised repair shops throughout Europe.
From the abundance of new tower cranes and related products presented in this article it is evident that a lot of product development work was carried out over lockdown. With the next big trade show, ConExpo 2023, just round the corner it will be interesting to see if this momentum continues, especially at a stateside show.