By Laura Hatton06 January 2014
Rough terrains are a workhorse of the crane world, often staying on site for months at a time, being used on many jobs with different operators on a daily basis. In more recent years, rough terrains are even taking on tasks that would in the past have been assigned to other crane types, such as small tower cranes or all terrain cranes. Their popularity is mainly due to their greater capacity but compact footprint, fast setup time and tight turning radii, a spokesperson from Manitowoc points out.
“Rough terrains are built for general lifting duties and are referred to as the wheel barrow of the jobsite,” Casey Smith, Link-Belt, adds, “You might use a rough terrain on a jobsite where you are using it as a helper crane or you might use a rough terrain where you have a jobsite that a crawler crane cannot enter.”
To be able to complete such a variety of lifts on a single job site maintenance intervals for rough terrains need to be kept to a minimum and operating systems need to be simple and easy to use. “Operators should be able to operate them independently of which machine they are usually operating,” a spokesperson from Terex explains, “This means that they should be easy to use. They should also be robust.”
Good transportability and manoeuvrability are other characteristics that rough terrains need to have. A spokesperson from Tadano explains more, “Having a compact carrier in width and height improves manoeuvrability and the ability to navigate smaller spaces for transportation. Having rough terrains that meet these criteria in the energy sector in North America is a major factor, as rough terrains need to move through tight spaces.”
To meet this demand Tadano introduced the GR-1600XL (for the US market) and the GR-1450EX (for outside the USA), a 3-axle compact carrier. The GR-1450EX /GR-1600XL has a 145 tonne capacity and the boom is 61 metres.
“The model also has a self-removable counterweight and outriggers which are cost-effective and provides ease of transport without requiring an assist crane,” a company spokesperson adds. The rough terrains include the HELLO-NET system, a machine data logging and monitoring system, as a standard function. It provides information on operational status, position and maintenance from owner’s desk, a company spokesperson adds.
Another area affecting the design of rough terrains is emission regulations, as Smith explains, “Emissions are one of the main components for modifications on our rough terrain Series II technology. These emission devices add weight and present a space challenge, but we have successfully incorporated these devices without sacrificing the transport weights, serviceability, and accessibility. For rough terrain cranes we have made the engine hood wider to house these devices while still providing six points of access to the operator’s cab.”
Despite the challenges presented by the regulations, crane manufacturers are finding ways to incorporate the new engines in the designs. Manitowoc, for example, has released new models and redesigned current products with Tier 4 interim engines (Euromot 3B). Crane manufacturer Sany has also overcome the design challenges and now offers models with Tier IV engines in North America and Europe, and Tier III in countries that can still sell them.
Return on investment
For rough terrains to provide customers with a decent return on investment, certain design and capability factors have to be taken into consideration. A result of this has meant that new models released this year have focused on reach, transportability and serviceability.
The latest rough terrain models from Terex, for example, include the Quadstar 1100 and the Quadstar 1075L. The Quadstar 1075L, which was launched at Bauma 2013, is produced in Crespellano, Italy. It has a rated capacity of 75 tonnes and a 42 m boom. The Quadstar 1100, which was launched at the beginning of the year, is produced in Waverly, Iowa, USA. The model has a rated capacity of 100 tonnes and a boom length of 47 m. Including jib extension, the maximum tip height is 70 m. Both models have cabs designed by Porsche Engineering. Both cranes come with a rated capacity indicator, which uses a graphical interface to display information about the functioning of the crane.
Other areas of focus on the design of these models include safety and ease of use. A spokesperson from Terex explains more, “The models have 60 % more decking area with anti-slip surface and improved ladder and access points. The hydraulic system has also been redesigned for improved performance, reliability, fuel consumption and longer maintenance intervals.”
From Link-Belt is the 80 tonne capacity RTC-8080 Series II. “The RTC-8080 Series II comes with all the updates we have given the Series II line,” Casey Smith, Link-Belt, says. It has a 3-piece bi-fold off settable fly, a 3 metre integrated fly, which was first introduced on the RTC-80130 Series II and the HTC-3140. “This is a great feature because you don’t have to worry about hauling a specialised fly to the jobsite then work out the logistics of installation,” Smith adds, “It’s also great for one-load two-line lifting procedures like placing tilt wall panels or manoeuvring large pieces from horizontal to vertical position for placement.”
The model also has a flat carrier deck and six points of access for the cab and carrier. “It also has a remote controlled 360 degree high intensity boom flood light that attaches to the end of the telescopic boom base section,” Smith adds. The RTC-8080 Series II is available with two engine options, Tier 4 interim packages (EuroStage IIIB) for USA and Europe and Tier 3 (EuroStage IIIA) for countries that do not require a particulate filter. Both options are fitted with a Cummins 6.7 litre engine with 270 hp (201 kW).
Since its acquisition two years ago by Media Finanziaria Group, crane manufacturer Locatelli has also introduced some new rough terrain models, including the 65 tonne capacity GRIL 8700T, which has a 32.3 m four section formed boom. Keeping manoeuvrability in mind, the GRIL 8700T has an overall length of 11.97 m, and is 3.7 m high and 2.9 m wide.
“Besides the GRIL 8700T, another launch from Locatelli was the GRIL 8800T, which we presented at Bauma Munich 2013,” a company spokesperson adds. “This model is the biggest and most powerful in our range. It has a lifting capacity of 82 tonnes and a 5 section boom with a maximum reach of 40.5 metres. In addition, it measures 12.68 metres long, 3 metres wide and 3.71 metres high.”
From Sany America is the 40 US ton (36 tonne) SRC840, the 65 ton (63 tonne) SRC865/SRC865XL models and the 85 ton (77 tonne) SRC885 rough terrain. The SRC840 has a 31 m four section main boom and a 7.9 m to 13.7 m extension. It has a capacity of 40 US tons (36 tonnes) at a radius of 3 m. It weighs 32 tonnes and measures 12 m long, 3.4 m high and 2.6 m wide.
The SRC865 has a 34.4 m four section main boom and a 9 m to 16.3 m extension. Capacity is 65 US ton (58.9 tonne) at a radius of 3 m. Maximum height with extension is 53 m. With manoeuvrability one of the focuses of the design, the crane weighs 40.7 tonnes and measures 13.7 m long, 3.3 m wide and 3.7 m high.
Keeping reach in mind, the SRC865XL has a 42.3 m five section main boom and a 9.2 m to 16 m extension. The model is fitted with a large cab and has a maximum capacity of 65 US ton (58 tonnes) at 3 m radius. The SRC865XL weighs 44.6 tonnes and has a length of 13.9 m, a height of 3.7 m and a width of 3.3 m.
Kyle Nape, senior vice president Sany Lifting Group, North America, Sany America, says, “We are in development of a larger rough terrain model for the North American market. With all Sany global cranes, we use US-built Cummins engines, Dana transmissions, Braden winches and Axletec axles as standard equipment.”
From Manitowoc is the 65 US ton (58.9 tonne) capacity Grove RT770E rough terrain crane and the 50 ton (48.5 tonne) Grove RT550E. Speaking on the design ideas behind the models, Michael Herbert, director, product planning and marketing Manitowoc Cranes, North America, says, “The RT770E offers a full-power, Megaform boom with dual operating modes for structural and stability load charts. The RT550E offers a Twin-Lock Megaform boom, which is our first introduction of this boom technology to this size of rough terrain crane.”
Due to the environments that rough terrains are working in, especially for the energy-related sectors in North America and the Middle East and more recently mining sites in South America and Australia, customers are starting to require models with larger lifting capacities.
“This trend is primarily stemming from the facilities at jobsites becomes larger due to continuous growth of scale for both the energy sector and mining sites,” a spokesperson from Tadano explains. “This is the reason why our former largest class rough terrain GR-800EX/1000XL is the most popular capacity in Tadano. Among the five types of our rough terrains, the GR-800EX/1000XL has the top share by 35 % of sales.”
A spokesperson from Manitowoc points out another reason for the increase, “Larger-capacity models offer better tip heights and multiple boom extension configurations for improved versatility and reach. Our new models, such as the Grove RT9150E and Grove RT770E, have best-in-class tip heights that have made the cranes more useful, even where a small tower crane or an all-terrain crane would have been used in the past.”
These demands are being experienced in India, with customers requiring higher capacity rough terrain cranes with longer boom length. To meet these needs, TIL, a provider of equipment for the Indian construction industry, provides five different rough terrains with 20 tonne, 30 tonne, 40 tonne, 55 tonne and 75 tonne capacity. The models meet India’s BSIII (CEV) emission standard, which is in line with US Tier III and Euro Stage 3.
“The latest ranges of rough terrain cranes have a much longer boom length compared to the earlier models,” Somnath Bhattacharjee, president material handling solutions and equipment and project solutions business, TIL says, “These machines are easy to operate and maintain and are compact. They are also supplied with trapezoidal booms, which are patented by Grove, USA. In addition, the 75 tonne capacity machine has a turning circle radius of 8 m with four wheel steer.”
Link-Belt has also seen a noticeable increase for larger capacity rough terrains, especially the 65 ton (58 tonne) RTC-8065 Series II. Smith explains more, “Our range of rough terrains is from 30 to 130 ton [27 to 117 tonne]. We added the 80 ton [72 tonne] to give operators and dealers an option in the 65 ton to 90 ton [58 to 81 tonne] class with the 80 ton [72 tonne] RTC-8080 Series II falling in between.”
The trend is also seen at Sany, as Nape explains, “The Sany SRC885 model at 85 tons [77 tonnes] has proven a great replacement for the 70 ton [63 tonne] class. Customers are moving up in capacities. For example, the 65 to 70 ton [58 to 63 tonne] machine has replaced the traditional 50 ton [45 tonne] class and contractors generally seem to be looking for greater capacity.”
Bhattacharjee adds, “In India the demand for 40 tonne range of rough terrain crane is very high and as such it is most popular among all the rough terrains cranes in terms of demand size. However, we are experiencing an increased demand for 75 tonne capacity rough terrain cranes, which shows that the market is gradually moving towards a higher capacity range of crane requirement.”