Fuwa is launching a full new series of crawler cranes

By Euan Youdale16 October 2012

The new FWX55 photographed at Fuwa’s new factory in China, early September

The new FWX55 photographed at Fuwa’s new factory in China, early September

Crawler crane manufacturer Fuwa in China is launching a full new series of crawler cranes up to 285 tonnes capacity for the global market. Alex Dahm presents an exclusive report.

For two and a half years Chinese crawler crane manufacturer Fuwa has secretly been working to develop a range of state of the art lattice boom crawlers for customers all over the world.

Xu Jianyuan, chairman of Fuwa Heavy Industry Co. Ltd., put Dutch crawler crane man Hemmo Luijerink in charge of the project. Luijerink told IC that the aim is to have European design, combined with Japanese manufacturing quality, while achieving a competitive cost level associated with China.

Smallest in the seven model range is the 55 tonne capacity FWX55, while the largest will be the 285 tonne capacity FWX285. FWX models all have a model name ending with 5 which designates them as being the fifth generation of crawlers from the long-established manufacturer. Also indicated in the model number is the rated lifting capacity in metric tonnes according to EN13000, Luijerink said.

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 full line up of the new series is as follows:

FWX55. 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.

FWX75. A 75 tonne capacity version of the FWX55 with which it shares components. Maximum main boom and fly jib combination is 46 + 18 m.

FWX85. An enhanced model with 22 or 26 mm diameter wire rope and full self-assembly capability. Capacity is 85 tonnes at 4 m and the maximum main boom and fly jib combination is 49 + 18 m.

FWX135. As a replacement for the Fuwa QUY150 it will boast top performance in its class, Fuwa said. Capacity is 135 tonnes at 5 m radius. A luffing jib will be available giving a maximum combination length of 48.5 + 49 m.

FWX185. It will outperform all the 180 tonne capacity cranes currently available, the manufacturer said. Capacity is 185 tonnes at 5 m radius. A luffing jib will be available, giving a maximum combination length of 58.8 + 52 m.

FWX225. A compact design but with duties equal to the Fuwa QUY250, according to the manufacturer. Capacity is 225 tonnes at 5 m radius. A luffing jib will be available, giving a maximum combination length of 58.8 + 70 m.

FWX285. Described as a true contender in the 280 tonne (300 US ton) class. Rental companies are the target for this new design that is smart, strong and simple, Luijerink said.

Also new is the FWT60, a 60 tonne capacity telescopic boom crawler crane to replace the FWT55. It shares parts and architecture with the FWXseries. The FWT60 is an upmarket model compared with Chinese competitors, Luijerink said, “targeted to compete with the models of Liebherr, Sennebogen, Link-Belt, and Tadano-Mantis on quality, design and performace.”

Modules

All models in the new series follow a modular design principle. It is a concept well known in the automotive and computer industries, giving advantages in quality, design speed, manufacturing efficiency, cost control and after sales service, Luijerink explained. Cost is reduced by needing fewer different parts and components. Benefits include less inventory and cash tied up in stock on the shelf, fewer suppliers to control and with whom to maintain relationships, greater economies of scale, and fewer drawings to maintain. Reliability might also be improved because there is greater opportunity to pre-test component assemblies and quality control is better focused on fewer components.

Engineering of the basic steel structure is done separately from, for example, the hydraulics and electrics. It is done in a way that allows the same basic steel structure to be fitted with either high grade components, for example, engines, hydraulic pumps and motors, or with lower cost locally-sourced components for a lower specification machine. This allows easier adaptation of the specification to what the customer wants.

The structure uses high grade steel, some of which can now be obtained in China while some other grades still need to be imported, Luijerink said. All machines have the new LifeCab operator cabin. It is designed with the operator’s comfort and safety in mind. Large flat windows are easy to clean, do not distort the view and are easy to replace.

Four models in a pre-production series were completing load and durability testing in late August. This programme was being monitored by experts from Japan. All of the new models other than the largest one are due for show at the Bauma China exhibition in Shanghai, late November 2012. Depending on the model, sales will start from then. Preparations were being made for serial production at the time of writing in early September.

New factory

Another part of the development at Fuwa is a new factory – 400,000 square metres of industrial area was acquired in a new technical development zone close to Shenyang airport, high-speed railway and main highways. It will be operational in early 2013 and large crawlers will be built there in addition to the new FWX series. Already in use is the test yard designed for crawler cranes up to 3,600 tonnes.

Other changes at Fuwa include management reform and the development of manufacturing and quality processes. Japanese experts have been hired to help with production technology and quality assurance. Fuwa has chosen to go for quality and innovation and not for high volume production, Luijerink said.

Fuwa’s roots go back to 1904. For many years it was an excavator manufacturer. Its first hydraulic crawler cranes were launched in the early 1980s. In Jinzhou Fuwa has a truck crane factory acquired in 2008. It was rebuilt for manufacturing truck cranes from 8 to 90 tonnes capacity. Included is telescopic boom manufacturing technology for building U-shape booms in high grade steel.

In addition to crawler and truck cranes Fuwa builds foundation machinery, electric mining shovels, marine cranes and large grab dredgers. According to Fuwa it is the largest privately owned manufacturer in Asia focused on crawler cranes. Luijerink said it has exported the largest Chinese crawler crane ever, a 750 tonne capacity QUY750 with superlift and windpower package. The Fuwa crawler range goes up to 1,250 tonnes capacity and a 3,000 tonne capacity model is already drawn up.

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