Demag is a legendary brand
07 February 2022
While it has come and gone through various ownerships, the Demag crane brand has a proud history.
The Demag brand has been around for nearly a century, more or less. The company was founded in 1910 in Duisburg, Germany, through the merger of Märkische Maschinenbau-Anstalt L. Stuckenholz and Benrath Machine Works.
Two years before the merger, Märkische Maschinenbau-Anstalt L. Stuckenholz had built the world’s largest floating crane that was used to build huge passenger ships, including the RMS Olympic and RMS Titanic. Through the years the company’s Demag division would make excavators, trains and railroad cars as well as armored fighting vehicles, overhead cranes and gantry cranes.
In 1973, the Demag division was acquired by the Mannesmann Group. Demag Cranes have long been known for their prestige, engineering, solid performance and their strong German heritage. Ownership of the company changed several times until the early 2000s when Terex Corporation purchased the Demag crane manufacturing facilities in Zweibrücken, Germany. Initially, Terex rebranded Demag cranes as Terex-Demag. In time the Demag brand was dropped, and the crawler and all-terrain cranes produced in Zweibrücken were integrated into the full Terex Cranes product line, and subsequently branded with the Terex name. But then in 2016, Terex resurrected the Demag brand, dubbing it a “legacy” brand and equating it with quality workmanship, innovation and longevity.
I have been to the Demag plants in Zweibrücken twice, and I was impressed by the quality control process and the efficient, clean factory. Workers were dressed immaculately alike in their orange coveralls, and Demag’s proud history was illustrated throughout the all-terrain and crawler crane factories. The last time I was there was in October 2017 for the unveiling of the Demag city crane line, specifically the AC 45.
At the time Terex CEO and president John Garrison was adamant that the Demag brand was strong, and that Terex was committed to the cranes produced in Germany.
“We want you to pass along the message to customers that the Terex Cranes business is not for sale,” Garrison said. “We’ve been building cranes for 100 years, and we are going to build cranes for another 100 years.”
A little more than three years later, in August 2020, Tadano acquired Demag Cranes from Terex Cranes in a US$215 million deal. Initially the cranes produced by Demag were branded Tadano Demag. But last spring, as a part of its OneTadano strategy, Tadano consolidated its crane lines under the single Tadano brand.
While Demag produced a full line of mid-to-large capacity latice boom crawler cranes, the Demag CC 2800 became a mainstay in fleets around the world. With a capacity of 660 US tons (600 metric tons), the crane is often used to erect wind towers and perform heavy lifting on all types of industrial and petrochemical jobsites.
“The Demag CC 2800 became an industry standard for many years,” said Alan Barnhart, CEO of Barnhart Crane & Rigging. “It is still in production and many of the units built 20 years ago are still working each day.”
Frank Bardonaro, former COO of Maxim Crane Works and former vice president at Terex Cranes said, “The CC 2800 was the machine that built Demag.”
The American Cranes & Transport ACT100 list of North America’s top crane-owning companies lists eight Demag cranes (as the largest crane in a fleet). The CC 2800 is the most popular Demag crawler on the ACT100 list while the Demag AC 400 and Demag AC 500 are the most popular Demag all-terrain cranes on the ACT100. The largest capacity Demag on the ACT100 is the 1,375-ton (1,250 metric ton) capacity CC 8800, owned by Barnhart.
While Demag cranes are now branded Tadano, old timers may still consider them Demags. Tadano is a high-quality company that is globally well known and respected for its cranes. Tadano’s lattice boom crawler crane line includes seven cranes from 400 to 3,200 tons capacity and includes the CC 28.600 (which is the CC 2800). Tadano’s AT line encompasses 17 cranes on three to nine axles and range in capacity from 44 to 700 tons.
Will the Demag mobile crane brand re-emerge in the market? That’s a question that can’t be answered right now.