Europe is a vast market and with energy and infrastructure projects in development, the forecast for the next twelve months is good. Laura Hatton investigates...
For most crane manufacturers, the European market plays an important role, with many manufacturers saying that around 40 % of their turnover comes from the region. Crane rental companies are also experiencing a stable business.
A similar picture is forecast for the next twelve months, with the main applications, including wind energy sites, infrastructure and industrial and high rise buildings. The diverse range of applications, however, means that customer requests are constantly changing, as a spokesperson from crane rental company BKL explains, “The requests and needs of the customers differ very much, so we have to offer a wide range of crane types from different manufacturers. Latest regulations and regional variations concerning particular permissions equally influence the decision making.”
Steve Barnett, Manitowoc Cranes commercial director for the UK, Ireland and Scandinavia, adds, “The need to offer Tier 4 engines is being addressed and customers have to adapt to this for inner city regulations and rental work.”
Modifying fleets to meet current regulations, however, is not proving easy, as Marcel Riemslag, Hovago Cranes sales manager, explains, “The speed with which the emission requirements for Europe and North America are changing does not keep up with the speed of development with engine manufacturers. This will, and already does, create big problems for manufacturers since they can’t get enough engines for their 2015 cranes. It is also complicating international trade because of the variations in requirements worldwide.”
Andreas Cremer, global product director, Grove all terrain and truck mounted cranes, adds, “The change to Euromot 4 is a big challenge for all crane manufacturers. Engines and exhaust after-treatment systems take up more space and add weight, without improving the capabilities of the crane itself. This makes it increasingly difficult to stay within the 12 tonne per axle weight limit, while giving customers the capacity and boom lengths they expect. This has led us to create new concepts for our all terrain cranes. The 400 tonne capacity GMK6400, for example, features our single engine concept, which drives both the carrier and superstructure. This reduces the crane’s overall weight and improves fuel economy.”
The single engine concept is proving popular with most manufacturers. Crane manufacturer Liebherr, for example, introduced a single-engine LTM 1160-5.2 all terrain, which was launched at ConExpo 2014 in Las Vegas, USA. The LTM 1160-5.2 has a 62 metre boom and vehicle width of 2.75 m to make it easier to drive on public roads and constricted sites, the manufacturer said.
With emission regulations in mind, Palfinger launched the Palfinger Hybrid, which is fitted with an electrically operated engine pump for use in sensitive areas. “While conventional loading cranes always have to rely on the built-in combustion engine in order to provide the pressure required in the hydraulics for work purposes, the new pump group can, on request, manage entirely without any exhaust gases or noise at all,” a spokesperson from Palfinger explains. The system can be connected to a standard 3-phase mains electrical power and immediately start powering the crane hydraulics with up to 365 bar operating pressure, the manufacturer says.
When working in urban areas throughout Europe, obstacles such as site congestion and small working zones are factors to be considered. To help reduce working footprints, Potain offers a large range of tower crane bases, with chassis dimensions from 3.8 x 3.8 m to 10 x 10 m. New tower cranes from Potain include the 10 tonne capacity MDT 248 and the 12 tonne MDT 248. The 25 tonne MD 610 and the 40 tonne MD 610 have also been added to the MD range.
“Luffing jib crane usage is the perfect solution when a construction project needs several hooks in a confined area,” Alexandre Chanteclair, EMEA product manager, Potain top slewing cranes, adds, “Each crane can work without disturbing others, while productivity remains at a high level.”
New from Liebherr-Werk Biberach is the 53 K tower crane. It has a 4.2 tonne capacity, a maximum radius of 40 m and a lifting capacity at the jib end of 1.1 tonnes. Capacity can be increased to 2 tonnes by reducing the length of the jib to 28 m. The 53 K has a hook height of 31 m, which can be increased to 43.1 m with the 20 degree luffed jib. With a horizontal jib, the 53 K can be configured with seven different hook heights between 15.8 m and 31 m. “The new design of the 50 tonne-metre class crane is based on the successful K series concept and closes the gap between the 42 K.1 and the 65 K,” a spokesperson from Liebherr-Werk Biberach says.
Suitable for the European market from crane manufacturer Hiab is the 17 tonne-metre X-Duo 178, which is available in a B, or E-boom configuration. The B-boom is available up to four extensions with a capacity of 1,020 kg at 12.5 m. The E-boom can go up to six extensions with a capacity of 540 kg at 17.4 m. Also from Hiab is the X-HiDuo 188, an 18 tonne-metre remote-controlled crane and the 19 tonne-metre X-HiPro 192.
For waste handling Hiab launched the S-HiPro 130 remote-controlled, semi-automatic crane, which can lift up to 1.8 tonnes at 6.6 m reach. Also from Hiab is the XS 310L CLX brick and block crane. “The model has superb capacity, stability and load-cycle speed,” a spokesperson says. The crane has a 1.2 tonne capacity at a working radius of 17.5 m.