UK rental company Ainscough Group has joined the growing ranks of crane owners to add a Sideways Superlift attachment to a big Demag mobile.

Demag Mobile Cranes has retrofitted a Sideways Superlift (SSL) attachment to Ainscough’s AC 650 truck crane, which Ainscough calls the AC 2000.

The SSL attachment, also know as ‘the butterfly’ (for reasons anyone who saw it at Bauma will understand), enhances lifting capacity in parts of the chart by as much as 250%, with the greatest advantage achieved in long boom, short radius lifts.

Demag says that the AC 650 can travel with the SSL mounted on the boom. The attachment is heavier than the traditional Superlift which is mounted to the rear of the boom. The SL system weighs around 5t, while the SSL weighs 11t. This increases axle loadings on the eight axle machine from 14.25t per axle with conventional Superlift to 14.8t per axle with SSL, according to Demag.

With SSL fitted, maximum recommended travel speed is 40km/h. Extra attention will be needed to maintenance of the axles and brakes, Demag advises.

The time needed to remove and install the system on to the boom is 30 minutes to 45 minutes for each operation, depending on site conditions, Demag says, which makes it viable to remove the attachment if it is not required for a particular assignment. The use of hinged pendant bars keeps it simple. If you are planning on any rigging and de-rigging, you will need an assist crane to dismount the attachment. Other transport requirements of the system include an extra truck in support.

According to Demag, it is easier to operate the SSL than the original Superlift (SL). To activate the system the driver has an automatic operation that is initiated by one dashboard button. To erect the SSL to its working position at 90 degrees takes five minutes. To open the sideways feature takes less than five minutes.

Furthermore, Demag claims that not only is the SSL easier and safer to rig than the SL, it also reduces the rigging time for the luffer.

Liebherr is planning to respond with its own version of the Sideways Superlift. Assuming it avoids infringing Demag design patents, the market can expect to see this within three months.