By Laura Hatton11 February 2013
While there has been a huge fall in crane sales, new product development has continued at an astonishing rate and China – the world’s largest crane market – still has relatively strong GDP growth at around 7%. Alex Dahm reports...
At the recent Bauma China construction equipment exhibition in Shanghai, one could be forgiven for thinking that the economy must be booming. Such was the extent of the new products on display, despite an overall fall of around 50% in crane sales in the home market. Domestic manufacturers have continued to develop and build an astonishing range of new products, many of which are claimed as firsts and records.
A fall of 45% in the number of new wheeled mobile cranes sold in China over the first six months of 2012 was largely due to the suspension of railway construction projects, according to an Off Highway Research report. It shows sales of fewer than 13,000 new wheeled mobile and crawler cranes in China – close to half the total sold in the previous six months to the end of 2011. The fall follows a continuous annual increase from 2006 to 2010, with a slight fall in 2011, where the annual total was still close to 35,000 units. More than 90% of them were truck cranes, the report said.
“Large volumes of new machines lie idle because of the suspension of many railway projects, and buying confidence has been impacted by falling rental rates,” the report explains, going on to say that the fall in rental rates is as high as 30%.
During the last Bauma China exhibition, in 2010, the Chinese equipment market was at the height of its boom, even though the rest of the world was in recession. The Chinese government’s stimulus spending boom was in full swing. More construction equipment was sold in China that year than the rest of the world put together. Since then dramatic change has seen the end of stimulus spending.
Measures to calm inflation and prevent the build up of a real estate bubble have hit the industry hard. To get things moving again, interest rates have come down and stimulus packages are back. Plans have been announced for a US$ 127 billion investment in metro railway systems in 25 Chinese cities. It should also help when the new government is settled in. Things are also changing in other ways in China’s crane market. Growing emphasis on safety, return on investment and now innovation are all positive developments.
The 2012 Bauma China show in November saw a 16% increase over the last show in visitor numbers to 180,000. There was a 46% rise in exhibitors to 2,718, and the amount of space occupied was up 30% to 300,000 square metres. A 3,600 tonne capacity crawler, 2,000 tonne capacity all terrain and an 800 tonne capacity lattice truck crane were just some of the highlights at the Bauma China exhibition. The show, in Shanghai 27 to 30 November, boasted an amazing collection of new cranes from Chinese and other manufacturers.
Taking the lead on capacity at the show was the Sany SCC86000A lattice boom crawler crane. The maximum load moment rating of the double boom design crane on four crawler tracks is 86,000 tonne-metres. This crane has done some work and a target application is nuclear power station construction. Even larger than the Sany crane, although not shown at Bauma, is the 4,000 tonne class XGC88000 crawler from XCMG, undergoing testing at the time of writing. It has two crawler tracks like a conventional crawler crane.
Another record-breaking crane at the Bauma show was the 2,000 tonne capacity QAY2000 (ZACB01) all terrain type crane from Zoomlion on a 12 axle carrier. Designed for erecting 3 MW wind turbines, Zoomlion said it sets three world firsts: lifting capacity, boom length and driving capability under load. Maximum lifting height, main boom only, is given as 106 m. The main carrier engine is 480 kW and there is an extra, 190 kW, drive unit as part of a detachable 3 axle section of the carrier. Its drive/steer configuration is 24 x 14 x 24. A 315 kW unit powers the crane in the superstructure.
Also on show at Bauma China for wind turbine erection was Zoomlion’s new ZAL16020B43W with vertical lattice type mast and luffing lattice jib. Maximum load moment is given as 3,000 tonne-metres. It sits on an eight axle all terrain type carrier designed for quick transit and setup, even with unmade roads, the manufacturer said.
XCMG said its 5,000 tonne-metre XCA5000 is an all terrain crane aimed at erecting 3.6 MW wind turbines. It has a 105 m telescopic boom in eight sections and its nine axle carrier has a 480 kW engine. Also aimed at wind industry applications, for erection of 3MW and larger turbines, the manufacturer said, is the new XCL800. It is an 800 tonne capacity lattice boom truck crane on an eight axle carrier. It can travel onsite between lifts with base boom, mast and counterweight support on board, the manufacturer says.
A novel design solution for wind turbine erection on show at Bauma China from Sany was the SSC1020, described as a wind power truck crane. It has an all terrain crane type upper works with a three section, 37 m telescopic boom, mounted atop a telescopic vertical mast, a bit like Grove’s GTK. Major differences are that the Sany is bottom slewing and it has an eight axle truck crane type carrier as opposed to a multi-axle trailer type. Its chart shows a capacity of 100 tonnes to 12 m radius on the base boom section at 15 m long. At the other end, with the boom fully extended, capacity is shown as 19.4 tonnes at 34 m radius. Maximum load moment is given as 1,300 tonne-metres and maximum lifting height 100 m. All up weight is close to 174 tonnes, with 23,340 kg on each of the first four axles and 20,095 kg on each of the rear four.
Staying with wind turbine erection, Sany’s new 600 tonne capacity SAC6000 all terrain has a 90 m boom and can erect 2 MW turbines where the requirement is to lift 80 tonnes to 80 m working height. Another new Sany all terrain on show at Bauma China was the 350 tonne capacity SAC3500 with 70 m main boom.
A first at the Bauma China show was the 200 tonne capacity RT200E rough terrain from XCMG. Its oval profile six section boom extends to 62 metres. It follows a conventional two axle RT design format but offers advanced features, the manufacturer says. Electronic control on the hydraulics decreases fuel consumption by 15% in crane operation, XCMG says. And a torque converter with lockout gives a 20% fuel saving during high speed travel.
Another RT on show at Bauma China was the new 100 tonne capacity Zoomlion RT100. It has a 43 m boom and joins the RT35, RT55, and RT75 models in the Chinese manufacturer’s range, which is distributed worldwide by Global Crane Sales.
Also on wheels and a first at the Bauma show were 220 tonne capacity truck cranes, the largest of their type available, from Zoomlion and XCMG. Zoomlion’s QY220V is on a six axle carrier with 12 x 6 x 8 drive/steer configuration. Its maximum load moment, on the main boom only, is given as 735 tonne-metres. The boom is 67 metres and adding up to 36 m of jib gives a maximum hook height of 104 m. In the carrier is a 390 kW engine while a 199 kW unit powers the crane in the upper works. XCMG’s XCT220 is also on a six axle carrier. Its 68 m seven section boom has an oval profile and there is an hydraulically adjustable jib.
Down the truck crane capacity scale is the CLG TC500, a new 50 tonne capacity model from Liugong. It has a 43.5 m U-profile telescopic boom and is rated at 182 tonne-metres. Power is from a Cummins ISLe340 30 engine to China III emission regulations.
Another new truck crane is the 36 tonne capacity Toplift 036G, built in Luzhou by Terex China. It has a 38 m five-section telescopic boom and a 51 m maximum tip height is achieved with a 14 m jib swingaway jib with 1- and 30-degree offsets.
“The Toplift 036G follows the two award winning models introduced last year. They are true Terex cranes that share more common features and styling details than ever before,” said Ken Lousberg, Terex China president. “The new crane incorporates design elements (or features) based on extensive customer and dealer feedback. They blend Chang Jiang’s legacy for strength and lift performance with the latest Terex innovations.”
Claiming another record was XCMG for its 400 tonne-metre truck mounted knuckle boom crane, as the largest in China. The 80 tonne capacity SQZ4000A was shown at Bauma China mounted towards the rear of a five axle flat bed truck. A target application is heavy industrial equipment installation. Maximum hydraulic outreach is 11.08 m where capacity is shown as 30 tonnes.
Another new crane on wheels was Fuwa’s FRC 25-2, a 25 tonne capacity rough terrain type crane with application in restricted city job sites and in industry. Maximum hook height, on the main boom, is just over 26 m, while a lattice jib extension adds around 10 m. Its two axle four wheel drive carrier has a 177 kW engine, multi-mode steering and pick and carry duties.
Big news from Chinese manufacturer Fuwa at Bauma China was its complete new range of lattice boom crawlers. The aim is to have European design, combined with Japanese manufacturing quality, while achieving a competitive cost level associated with China, project leader Hemmo Luijerink told IC.
Smallest in the seven model range is the 55 tonne capacity FWX55, while the largest will be the 285 tonne capacity FWX285. Emphasis in the FWX series is on good lifting duties in the working range, with reduced machine weight, instead of a maximum headline capacity, Luijerink said. The FWX55 is a standard lift crane with a 210 tonne-metre load moment rating and 22 mm diameter hoist rope. It is the strongest machine in its class according to the manufacturer. Maximum main boom and fly jib combination is 40 + 18 m. The 225 tonne capacity FWX225 was the largest on show. A luffing jib will be available, giving a maximum combination length of 58.8 + 70 m. For full details on this range, see IC October 2012, page 16.
A new crawler from Terex is the 55 tonne capacity Powerlift 1000 aimed at lifting contractors in China, Russia and India. “Built in our Jinan, China facility, the crane offers the most compact design in its class for fast and efficient transport without sacrificing lift or reach capabilities. This is just one example of how Terex Crane’s global presence and wealth of applications experience delivers value and competitive advantages for our customers,” said Ken Lousberg.
XCMG’s first foray into the tower crane market shown at Bauma China was the XGTL1600-100. Not one to do things by halves, XCMG’s offering is a 100 tonne capacity diesel hydraulic luffing jib model rated at 1,600 tonne-metres. It is aimed at high rise construction above 200 m and can achieve an under hook height of 700 m, the manufacturer says. Maximum working radius is 76 m.
Another 100 tonne capacity luffer is the Yongmao STL1800C. Rated at 1,800 tonne-metres, it lifts its 100 tonnes out to a radius of 24.5 m and maximum jib length is 70 m.
The 2012 China International Crane Summit on 26 November had more delegates than the last event. CICS was launched in 2010 as an independent forum for all stakeholders in the crane industry worldwide, said James King, managing director of KHL, organiser of the event, in his opening remarks.
In his opening remarks, Su Zimeng, secretary general of the China Construction Machinery Association, outlined key issues in China’s crane sector. One of these was the negative impact of the harsh economic environment in the last 12 months. As an example he cited a 38% year-on-year drop in crawler crane sales in China over the last year.
The event’s first speaker and event chairman was Ted Plafker, Beijing correspondent, The Economist. Plafker gave his take on where China stands “in its own always interesting situation and in the world.”
Other speakers at the one day event include Ken Lousberg, Terex China president, Gao Song managing director of China Nuclear Huaxing Tat Hong Machinery Construction Co, and VP of Tat Hong in China, and Bryan Cronie, regional SHE-Q and training director, Mammoet.
Video recordings of the presentations at the CICS and at other KHL events are available for download at www.khl.com