Giraf Track is launching its first telescopic compact crawler crane. It is designed for pick-and-carry duties on construction sites and complements its range of existing range of telehandlers on tracks. Euan Youdale reports
In previous issues IC has explored the closing gap between crane types like boom trucks, truck cranes and all terrains, where there is a trend to produce hybrids of these machines. Now Giraf Track has introduced the eight tonne capacity GT580-3CCB telescopic crawler crane, which will eventually double as a telehandler on crawler tracks with the addition of attachments such as personnel basket and pallet forks. It showed the prototype at the Intermat Exhibition, Paris, France in April.
The company has been installing hooks on its telehandlers for some time. Stijn De Lille, Giraf Track managing director, explains, "Initially there was a winch installed on the back of the telehandler-style machine, with a 4.5 tonne capacity. The machine proved it had very good pick-and-carry capacity, but it's never enough so we got the clear request from customers to develop a compact crane."
Although the machine is undergoing final testing it can be ordered now, says De Lille. When testing is complete, optional equipment, such as a bigger hydraulic cylinder, can be installed to bring it up to a 10 tonne capacity. At this higher capacity, the pick and carry option will no longer be available.
"I won't say construction sites are turning away from the telehandler but, in some applications, lifting with a crane style machine is preferred because a telehandler, for some people, maybe just does not provide enough capacity," explains De Lille, "Also, the telehandler is getting more and more restrictions safety-wise. The override switches, and so on, are disappearing. It was often the case that people used the override switch and drove around with loads that were not permissible. But you do need to drive around with these precast concrete panels, which can weigh 6 or 8 tonnes."
The eight tonne capacity is, therefore, an important achievement for the company, says De Lille. Special tests up to 6 tonnes have already been carried out. "You have to take into account the dynamic effect but we now have a way of testing the machine with six tonnes and that seems to have gone really well and it's already a lot more than any other similar machine."
On the level
The model can lift 3.4 tonnes to a height of 16 metres, and its full eight tonne capacity is reached at a boom height of 8 m. Horizontally the boom can lift 4.6 tonnes to about 4.5 m and some 760 kg at the maximum radius. It can operate below horizontal to -7 degrees.
The front levelling blade is for compensating on steep inclines. "There are some other compact cranes with a blade at the front but you are not allowed to lift over the blade, it is just to level the ground so the machine can be more-or-less horizontal," says De Lille. "The blade we have developed can compensate for a slope of up to 12 degrees. We can level the machine on a steep slope, say at the entrance to a tunnel or a garage."
De Lille continues, "We are now doing all the testing: maximum allowable slope, maximum capacities, reach, etcetera, so we expect to be able to produce a final load diagram anywhere between now and in a month or so.
"We are already offering the machine as we are quite confident of it, but the production will start before the December shut down."
The near future will see the addition of a fly jib. "People want to lift over 20 m high. We already have all the technology of a telehandler in-house to install a jib with a basket as a platform."