Truck and crawler mounted platforms out in force at SAIE

27 November 2012

Pagliero’s new MJ201 on show at SAIE

Pagliero’s new MJ201 on show at SAIE

Murray Pollok and Euan Youdale cast their eyes over the new truck mounted and crawler mounted platforms shown at the recent SAIE exhibition in Bologna.

SAIE may have been a shadow of its former self – around 600 exhibitors compared to 1750 in 2007 (see SAIE future at the bottom of this page) - but visitors looking for aerial platforms still had plenty to see.

On show were the latest truck and crawler mounted platforms developed by the many Italian manufacturers who excel in these two product sectors. For all its economic troubles, Italy still boasts perhaps the most vibrant manufacturing sector in the world.

One of the most famous Italian names, Multitel Pagliero, used SAIE to expand its offering by adapting components from other machines to offer something new.

The new 20.1 m working height MJ201 on show at SAIE, for example - an updated and redesigned version of the MJ190 model introduced six years ago - uses the same aluminium sub-frame as the MX210 and MX250 models, but with the turntable behind cab rather over the rear wheels.

The boom is a three-section telescopic with a two-section telescoping fly jib. Maximum outreach - with one person in the cage – is 12.6 m.

Pagliero’s sales director Jerry Kist says a key feature of the cage is a side mounting design which means the bottom of the basket is clear, making it easier to access roofs, even if it means sacrificing some of the working height. At SAIE the machine was mounted on a 3.5 t GVW Renault Maxity.

Mr Kist added that Pagliero was planning to launch a 69 m MJ model on a 32 t truck at Bauma.

Export markets

Oil & Steel, like other manufacturers, is focusing more on export markets in response to the slow Italian market, and Andrea Certa says 40% of the company’s sales are now outside Europe, with Asia and South America among its important markets.

He says Oil & Steel is actually talking to a potential US partner for mounting booms on trucks in the US.

Product wide the company was showing off its new snake 2612, a 25.6 m working height model on a 3.5 t truck. The key to this double-articulated model is the use of high strength ‘Docol’ steel from Swedish steelmaker SSAB. This steel means that manufacturers can specific lighter, thinner steel for the booms, enabling them to reach higher than with traditional steels.

“This material has raised the bar”, says Mr Certa, “Before it was 21-23 m on a 3.5 t truck, now its 26 m. We will see it used on more machines.” Maximum outreach on the 2612 is 12.2 m with one operator, dropping to nearer 11.0 m with two.

The company also had one of its snake1365 units on a Land Rover carrier on its stand. Oil & Steel recently won an order for 30 of these machines for a power utility company in Iraq, with the machines supplied through Cumberland Industries in the Middle East.

Finally, Oil & Steel also used the show to launch a telematics system for use with its platforms. It has made an agreement with Texa, an Italian telematics specialist, to provide platforms with ‘black box’ technology allowing owners to interrogate their machines. The systems will be connected both to the controls of the platform and of the road truck.

The company reports that Italian electric utility ENEL has ordered around 1000 of the systems for fitting to its fleet of Oil & Steel platforms and PM cranes. The system will cost around €15-00 to retrofit to existing machines and thereafter there is an approximate €20-30/monthly data transfer fee.

In style

Gabriele Valli, sales manager at Isoli, was highlighting the company’s new 20 m double articulating platform, the PNT 205NH with H style outriggers. He says the A-format outriggers, which slide along the ground sometimes ‘jumping’ or shuddering as they deploy, ore no longer favoured by customers; “Many are going back to ‘H’ outriggers”, he says.

The company is now offering three versions of the PNT205: the N, with A outriggers, the NH with H outriggers (at the front only) and the ‘luxury’ NLH, with extra features.

The company is now bent on developing further its range of truck mounts. Its recent developments have focused on machines in the 20 to 23 m sizes, but it is now developing a 36 m model for bauma, after which will come 46 and 48 m units. “Now we are redesigning the machines from 27 m up to 50 m, but it will take time”, says Mr Valli.

For example, the 28 m PNT280J will be transformed into a 31 m model on a 7.5 t truck and called the PNT31, while the PNT27.14 will become the PNT29.

CTE, meanwhile, had its new ZED 23JH model on show. Luca Piovan, CTE’s marketing manager, says it is the tallest articulated, self-drive model on the market with a fly-job.

Other features include a short transport length; “The basket turns 90 degrees to fold in, keeping the length to less than 6.7 m”, says Mr Piovan. Also notable is a vertical articulation on the jib that allows the basket to rotate 30 degrees above the horizontal. This is a companion piece to last year’s ZED 21JH.

Also new was the ZED 20.2 H, the model first seen at Vertikal Days show in the UK this summer, and an improved version of the popular Z 20 machine. This model uses SSEB’s Docol steel, which means that there is a larger boom section but without any gain in weight, which means a more stable platform for the user.

This platform also now has a 300 kg capacity when fitted with a load cell – 230 kg without. “The general trend is to increase the basket capacity – in Northern Europe it is more and more appreciated”, says Mr Piovan.

flat bottomed baskets

RAM Platform, sister company to crawler specialist Bluelift, showed a new ‘rental spec’ 19 m platform, the Gemini 19 PT, mounted on a Cabstar. This is a low specification version of the Gemini 20.35, with hydraulic lever control of the outriggers and no fly jib.

The 19 PT has a flat bottom cage, with the boom mounted on the side of the basket. “It is more important for customers to have no obstacles under the basket than an extra 0.5 m of height”, said RAM’s Gianpiero Marti.

The machine is also very compact, with a 6.0 m length (without basket) and 2.26 m height.

The theme of flat bottomed baskets for roof work was a common one at SAIE, with GSR also showing a new model with that feature. The 20.5 m working height E210PXJ is an articulated model with 9.9 m lateral outreach and H-type jacks (with narrow, on-sided and full width options).

GSR sales manager, Stefan Weber, tells AI that the platform has a standard 1.8 m long basket (1.4 m is more normal on a machine of this type), and cage capacity is 250 kg, a bit more than the common 200-220 kg limit.

“There is a demand for higher capacities in Northern Europe. People are using 3.5 t units, but coming from larger machines and are used to bigger baskets and bigger capacities”, says Mr Weber.

Also new is the B200TJ, a telescopic boom model with a fly jib, offering 19.5 m working height and 13 m outreach.

Mr Weber reports that while the Italian market remains difficult, the company has been successful in winning export orders, such as a massive contract for 135 van mounts from Eirecom in the Republic of Ireland, sold through GSR’s UK/Ireland dealer SkyKing.

CELA was happy to focus on two of its newest truck mounted platforms, the DT28 (without jib) and DT30 (with jib), both mounted on a 6 t truck.

Simone Scalabrini of CELA says the machines share certain design features such as a below ground working envelope of 6 m on the 28 and 7 m on the 30. Cage capacity on the smaller unit is 350 kg, falling to 225 kg on the DT30.

With both machines you can remove the basket a fit a crane hoist, offering 390 kg capacity on the DT28 and 265 kg on the DT30.

Mr Scalabrini says that the booms, when stowed, are no higher than the truck’s cab, with both models having a 2.35 m travel height.

Eastern promise

Socage launched the Forste DAJ332 double-articulated platform at SAIE. It has a 32 m working height with a 19 m maximum outreach and mounted on a 7.5 t chassis. Maximum loading capacity is 280 kg. The work basket is made of aluminium for a lighter product, said the company, and it can be turned 90 degrees in either direction from the central point.

Another new model on show was the TJJ54 articulated platform which sits in the middle of the TJJ range. It has a maximum working height of 54 m and a 36 m horizontal outreach, and has a carrying capacity of 600 kg. It is particularly useful for tree surgery applications, says the company.

Socage said it was finding sales in Russia, Libya and Brazil, with the Italian market in the doldrums. It also says it has found a market in China for its booms. The Italian company sells the superstructure kit into the country where it is mounted on a domestically-produced chassis.

Co.me.t has also set its sights on China with its new 12 m working height X-Mini truck mount. But it has no plans to export to the country, rather it is importing a Chinese 3.5 t GVW ‘Dominator’ truck on which it will sell its domestically-produced superstructure.

Simone Gislimberti, export sales manager, says the CE-marked truck with boom will cost in the region of €28000, some €12000 cheaper than the nearest comparison in the range, a 14 m truck mount on a European carrier.

At the moment the X-Mini is at prototype stage and Co.me.t will test the market in Italy first to see how it reacts to the Chinese chassis.

Socage will be hoping that the lower cost machine will flush out some Italian buyers. As was clear in Bologna, Italian buyers aren’t easy to find right now.

Crawler update

A strong and simple machine for customers like tree surgeons is how Bluelift’s Gianpiero Marti described the company’s new C13 telescopic model, launched at the recent SAIE show.

Weighing 1500 kg and with a maximum working height of 13 m, the C13 uses the same chassis as the C12 and C14 articulated boom models. The new machine has electro-hydraulic controls and hydraulic-only outriggers. Transport and travel width is just 0.78 m and transport length without basket is 3.8 m.

The company is also now offering a ‘full hybrid’ version of itsSA16 model with Honda IGX440 petrol engine and 90 A lithium ion battery pack for clean operation indoors.

The platform will have a 5 or 6 hour duty cycle when powered by the battery, says Mr Marti, who adds that just 2 hours charging from the mains source will get it back to 80% charge. The machine can also be used while it is being charged.

The hybrid technology will be available on all the Bluelift models, but, says Mr Marti, “I think the 16 m and 22 m units will be the most popular with the hybrid option. These are our best sellers.” There will be a price premium of around 15-20% for the hybrid versions.

Bluelift’s largest crawler is the 22 m C22/11, but Mr Marti says; “We are looking to increase the range, and in the next few years will go over 22 m, to reach 25-30 m and then bigger.”

Oil & Steel’s new 22.3 m working height Octopussy 2300evo – shown for the first time at SAIE – is notable for a ‘3D’ fly jib, with horizontal and vertical rotation. The machine will also provide a horizontal outreach of almost 12 m with two people in the cage.

Oil & Steel’s Andrea Certa told AI that this machine will replace the company’s previous 21 m unit and would likely be the largest built by the company; “This is the limit that can be towed with a trailer – it weighs 3000 kg.”

CTE, meanwhile, has something planned for bauma within the 13 m to 23 m range – which isn’t giving too much away. CTE’s spokesman, Luca Piovan, did say that the new model will not be a replacement of the company’s best-selling 17 m crawler.

Palazzani was hoping to have its new TSJ 25 at the SAIE show but was still finalising the machine by the time the show arrived. Paola Palazzani, sales director of the company, told AI that the new 25 m model will have the company’s latest envelope control system which works automatically depending on which of the three outrigger settings are used.

The TSJ 25 will also be available with Palazzani’s new telematics system, allowing customers to remotely monitor the operation of the machine. The system cannot be retrofitted to existing models.

CELA is another company looking at new large machines: the company will have new 28 m and 30 m crawler platforms ready to launch at bauma next year, using a double articulated boom design. These will use the booms designed for the new DT28 and DT30 truck mounted platforms. CELA already makes a 36 m crawler machine, but with a straight telescopic boom design.

Hinowa presented its latest tracked platform, the Lightlift 20.10 Performance IIIS. A new jib allows the machine to work in a range of conditions with two operators. Maximum capacity is 230 kg, which allows the operators to carry all necessary tools in cage, says the company.

The remote control has been upgraded to include simple and comfortable operation for self stabilisation and boom movements, adds Hinowa. A practical display is also included, with the service icon informing the operator when the machine needs to be serviced.

The RAHMino system constantly monitors the machine remotely. In addition to the triple speed traction system (up to 3 km/h), the machine is equipped with an inclination control which automatically decelerates the machine in extreme conditions.

Other features include a 20 m working height, with a length of 5 m and less than 2 m height, meaning it can move through a single door.

SAIE future

Italy’s recession and depressed construction equipment market produced a SAIE exhibition with no tower cranes, virtually no earthmoving equipment and very few mobile cranes. It was left to the aerial platform sector – predominantly Italy’s truck and crawler mounted suppliers and hoist and mast climber specialists – to keep the outside areas alive with machines.

With just 600 exhibitors - compared to 1750 in 2007 - and a much smaller exhibitor area, the show reflected the economic situation in Italy. SAIE was also facing direct competition from the Made Expo show in Milan, which is now being held on the same days as SAIE.

Andrea Certo, chief executive officer of Oil & Steel, told AI that a meeting of suppliers on the afternoon of the opening day of SAIE had confirmed that the principle of the two year cycle for aerial platforms at the show will be retained, but with no firm commitment that they would return in 2014.

“There is no commitment to 2014, and for sure we won’t participate in 2013”, he told AI. He said Italian manufacturers would meet with SAIE organisers in a year’s time to assess their future participation.

It was an unfortunate irony that it was an accident involving one of these aerial platform companies – a 32 m CMC crawler boom toppling over on the first day (see News) – that threatened to cast a pall over the event. It was only remarkable luck that prevented fatalities, with just one operator received relatively minor injuries.

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