The rights to the Starlifter mini crawler crane have been bought by Tim Sparrow and his father Gordon, owners of UK rental company Sparrow Crane and service company Alatas.

The Starlifter was previously produced by Sandhurst Manufacturing Company (SMC) but in the past couple of years the product has been dormant as SMC focused instead on production of lighting towers. In the past SMC produced some 60 units of the Starlifter 30 of the 3t capacity CX-3T model and 30 of the 8t capacity CX-8T. All but one were sold to UK customers.

Tim and Gordon Sparrow established a new company called Starlifter Cranes Ltd to acquire the rights from SMC. All aspects of branding and product identity are to remain the same, Tim Sparrow said. Spare parts and product support will be provided by the international network of Alatas. Discussions are being held with potential distributors for regions where distributorship agreements are considered useful.

Initially the cranes will be assembled in Bristol, UK but the Sparrows are considering the posibility of also assembling at Alatas’s Houston facility in the USA for the Americas market.

Under Sparrow ownership, two new models are planned: a long boom version of the CX-8T, and a new 10t model. The 10 tonner will be the same as the CX-8T but will have enhanced lifting capacity by using higher grade steel for the 12.5m long telescopic boom. Similarly, using high grade steel enables the new manufacturer to offer a 17.5m boom version of the CX-8T. The older version could only reach 17.5m with the addition of a 5m fly jib.

As part of the deal, one stock machine also changed hands. Tim Sparrow said that this machine was close to being sold to a goldmine in the USA.

Sparrow Crane itself already had seven Starlifters in its fleet of mini cranes. Tim Sparrow said that he saw potential for the machines in urban areas and congested sites.

The new company’s website ( has the following to say about the cranes: “Starlifter mini crawler cranes are compact and tough, and suitable for all types of terrain. The low overall operating weight, compact dimensions and alternative power sources allow the cranes to access sites other cranes simply would not be suitable for.

“The cranes low headroom allows them to be used indoors or even underground. The powerful rubber tracked CX-8T with 360 degrees slew and 4 stage telescopic boom, lifts 8t, yet occupies a footprint of only 3.48m x 3.48m.”