TH White, Palfinger’s dealer for England and Wales, has launched a range of roll loader cranes for the UK market.

The announcement was made at the opening of TH White’s new 15 bay workshop in Bradford in the north of England. The roll loaders have been produced in partnership with Kennis, the Dutch specialist in this niche, as well as with Palfinger. The crane comes from Palfinger and the base unit, that travels on a rubber-tyred trolley up and down the deck of a specially adapted trailer, comes from Kennis. At the Bradford opening ceremony, TH White showed a roll loader with a 12tm Palfinger PK 12000 knuckle boom crane. Further models based on the smaller PK 7501, 9501 and 10000 cranes are promised.

Mark Rigby, general manager of TH White’s crane division, said that the roll loaders were a response to customer requests.

The advantage of roll loaders over fixed-position truck loader cranes, explained technical manager Mick Wright, is that a smaller crane is needed. Instead of having a single crane covering the whole trailer, a smaller crane travels up and down it. Running costs are also lower because the crane and roller are powered by a two cylinder 17kW Hatz diesel engine instead of the truck’s own engine. The only disadvantage, Wright said, was that a special trailer was needed, with tracks on it.

Kennis export manager Eric van Hal, who was at the launch, said that the market for roll loaders is no more than 500 units a year, with Kennis producing about 350 and Hiab about 150, he said. Most of the roll loaders than Kennis sells have Kennis’ own cranes on them, although supplies some base units to Atlas UK. The Netherlands is the dominant market for this type of crane, although Hiab and Atlas between them sell up to 100 units, in a good year, in the UK.

Kennis has adopted a pragmatic attitude regarding whether it sells roll loaders with its own knuckle boom cranes on, or just supplies the rolling base units. Van Hal acknowledged that if TH White has success with roll loaders, it could encourage Palfinger to open up a wider partnership with Kennis.