What are the newest boom trucks in North America?

The Load King 50-155 Crossover will be launched in June 2024.

When boom trucks hit the market back in the 1960s, they were viewed as a niche crane that met the needs of an unserved market. Today boom trucks are a vital tool in a variety of industry sectors. While boom trucks are in the fleets of many crane companies, there are some crane rental companies that just focus on the boom truck market.

Northland Crane Service started in 2015 with a 28-ton National stand-up crane that Erik Peterson purchased from his father’s framing business.

“I wasn’t interested in a career in framing, so a crane service seemed like a better alternative,” he said. “I took the crane service from one crane to a fleet of nine over the past nine years. I’m fortunate enough to be celebrating my 10th year in business next spring.”

“Ever-changing, customer and safety focused, highly competitive and demanding,” is how Peterson describes the current boom truck market. He said that in his region, the strongest markets for boom trucks tree removal are commercial construction, HVAC unit removal and replacement, setting trusses, installing pools and spas, sign work, pre-cast concrete and steel erection.

National Crane

The National Crane NBT60XL was designed to compete in a variety of markets, including construction, maintenance and utilities. It boasts class-leading load charts and practical transportability, according to Bob Ritter, National Crane product manager at Manitowoc.

The NBT60XL features a 151-foot five-section, full-power boom.

“The NBT60XL is known for its excellent combination of boom length and load chart capacity,” Ritter said. “Its short wheelbase, which is just under 45 feet, makes it nimble and ideal for use on tight jobsites.”

Featuring 16,000 pounds of hydraulically removable truck crane-style counterweights, the NBT60XL is designed for quick and efficient use. The counterweight slabs can be stacked in any order, making it flexible. The National Truck Crane (NTC) package offers additional setup flexibility with four outrigger positions, an optional two-camera system for increased jobsite visibility and a fully integrated wireless wind speed indicator.

According to Ritter, the truck crane-style counterweights offer many combinations, allowing operators to take what they need for the job and still meet roading regulations while maintaining overall agility.

The NBT60XL features a 151-foot five-section, full-power boom. This gives the crane strong reach while still being highly roadable, with an overall vehicle length of under 45 feet, Ritter said.

With the optional 36-foot offsettable lattice jib, the crane’s reach can be increased to a maximum of 196 feet. When equipped with the optional two-piece 26 to 45-foot telescopic jib, a platform height of 204 feet can be achieved.

The NBT60XL comes with a range of operator-centric features, and it also features electric over hydraulic controls, a function to adjust the speed, an easy-to-use color graphic display, and real-time diagnostics for simplified troubleshooting without needing a laptop, Ritter said.

Bigger is better

Through the years, the larger capacity boom trucks are getting the most usage, mainly because they can do the work required at a small job and a large job. The 45, 55 and 60-ton boom trucks can do the work of a smaller capacity truck crane, and they are less expensive to maintain and operate.

The attributes of a boom truck haven’t changed much through the years.

“Reliability, versatility, computer functionality, comfort, load chart capacity, boom length, easy to maneuver and quality,” said Peterson. “This is what makes them so popular.”

Peterson has mainly stuck with the National brand of boom trucks at Northland Crane Service. Generally, boom truck-centric businesses stick with one OEM because it’s more cost effective in terms of maintenance costs and operation ease.

“I’ve really enjoyed growing my business and acquiring new equipment, seeing my employee’s lives prosper and serving our customers across the state,” he said. “The boom truck business has been really rewarding and I look forward to seeing what the future holds for this product.”

Altec

Introduced in the fall of 2023, the Altec AC65E-155S is a dual-rated solution offering class-leading lifting capacity, the company said.

Designed for the utility market, the Altec AC65E-155S is only 40 feet in length.

“This unit is especially exciting for Altec, as it represents the culmination of an extraordinary effort to combine customer feedback with the latest technological advancements,” Altec said.

The AC65E-155S offers several industry-first features such as a true one-man counterweight installation system, as well as a 2-stage hydraulic articulating jib. The unit features 65 tons of maximum lifting capacity with 155 feet of main boom length. When configured as an aerial device, it can reach a platform working height of 220 feet.

In addition to being the only machine in its class under 40 feet in length, it can also be configured to comply with federal bridge laws, meaning it can travel without any permits.

Newest model

The latest boom trucks on the market are in the larger capacity spectrum, according to John Lukow, who senior vice president, cranes, for Load King, a division of Custom Truck. Load King recently launched the Load King 50-155, which is a part of the Crossover suite of cranes that feature common technologies.

“Together with our 80 and 60-ton machines, this crane has our formed “double-keel” boom, the LK-1 crane control system with select-speed, X-pattern outriggers, front bumper winch control, dual side and upper outrigger controls, and our deluxe cab,” he said. “The 50-ton model has a main boom tip height of 165 feet and can reach 213 feet with the two-piece (lattice and stinger) jib which manually offsets to 15 or 30 degrees.”

This boom truck can also be equipped with Load King’s two-man yoke-style basket and radio remote controls providing the operator with almost 225 feet of hand height.

“At Load King, we are constantly thinking about how to make our cranes suitable for a single operator,” Lukow said.

Earlier this year, Load King introduced a small remote control that now comes standard with any jib in the Crossover line, Lukow said. It has all crane functions available at a slow speed.

“Now, when you are in the field and trying engage the dreaded fourth pin, you can bump any function to help you get aligned without needing an assistant in the cab,” Lukow said.

Manitex

The Manitex TC650 series telescopic cranes are built to meet the wide-ranging needs of owner/operators who may use it for residential construction one day and bridge work the next, according to the company. The Manitex TC65159 features a capacity of 65 tons and a 159-foot boom.

The Manitex TC650 series features a 65-ton capacity and a boom length of 159 feet.

This crane was also designed for rapid deployment and to get the job done safely and quickly. The crane can go from Free-Swing to No-Free Swing with a push of a button, the company siad. With remote outrigger controls the crane sets up quickly and it can move from job to job in less time.

This series features a 4-section boom that extends from 131 to 194 feet. The maximum tip height is 142 feet. It features 4-sheave quick load reeve boom point with two idler reeve boom points. With out and down style outriggers, the crane features the ROC Solid radio operated handheld controller for outrigger, winches and FBS setup. The maximum theoretical line speed is 453 fpm.

It was designed with a tiltable cab/cab controls and has all the creature comforts.

Productivity goals

Another important goal at Load King is customer productivity, which is why the 50-155 is so fast. From jobsite arrival, the operator can be at full boom extension in less than 20 minutes, Lukow said.

Available beginning in June 2024, the Crossover product line will come with programming to support asymmetrical outriggers.

“How many times have you come to a crowded jobsite or a lane closure, and found it necessary to deploy asymmetrical outriggers?” he asked. “Load King and Greer have partnered to provide an entirely new type of aid for the operator in these circumstances. You will have full control over the outrigger setup, front to back, side to side and the system will provide you real-time feedback on your capacity by zone. These improvements are suggestions from real operators.”

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