Tadano said that the acquisition would support its strategy to diversify its lifting equipment business. Through the takeover Tadano is aiming at “expanding our business in the field of lifting equipment by means of incorporating Mantis’s range of products, development capabilities [and] production know-how … into our group’s benefits.”

Tadano America president Kenichi Sawada has been named representative director and president. There is no news about whether SpanDeck Mantis CEO Bill Mitchell, who, according to Tadano, had 12% of the company’s shares at the time of the acquisition, would continue to play a role in the company. The largest shareholder was chairman Bill Mitchell Sr, with 50.4%.

SpanDeck had sales of USD 34m in the 12 months to November 30, according to Tadano. Other headline figures were operating income of USD 3.3m, net income of 2.7m, net assets of 10m and total assets of 23m. Its headquarters is in Franklin, Tennessee and has a factory there and in Richlands, Virginia, USA.

SpanDeck started making cranes after acquiring rights to the Turtle telescopic-boom crawler crane in 1979, according to Telescopic Boom, Cranes Today contributor Stuart Anderson’s history of the mobile crane business.

In 2007 the company showed its first 100 US ton capacity telescopic crawler crane, after launching a 45 US ton model.

That year, Mitchell told Cranes Today that the telescopic crawler crane industry was “very niche-orientated” and not a volume business. Mantis crawlers are built to order. “Mine are made 10-20 at a time. If I was making cranes in serial production, it would be a different marketing and sales focus. I can’t imagine making 50 or 100.”

“The cold hard fact is this. You and I could build a car in a garage. It could be a really great car, but we would have to compete with huge manufacturers, their dealers, and computerised data mechanisms to manage and support the product line. We now have a successful network in the US. But you don’t have to step back very far, to Manitowoc, Terex, Liebherr and Sennebogen, to see organisations that are far superior in reach than we are.”

But in the past few years, telescopic crawler cranes have caught the attention of larger crane manufacturers in the USA and Europe, and Asia as well.

Even at Bauma China in November, there were three telescopic crawlers on show, including a model from international manufacturer FUWA Heavy Industry, formerly known as Fushun. Its FWT-55, has a lifting capacity of 55t and an elevating cabin. Maximum boom length was 38m, and a 7m jib is also available. The crane is powered by a 128kW (at 2,000rpm) Cummins engine. Total counterweight is 15.6t.

Also shown was the 25t DaiFeng QUY25, from Taishan Construction Machinery. The crane has a 27m maximum lifting height, is powered by a Cummins 6CTA8.3-C215, and has an operating weight of 34.5t.