Self-erecting tower cranes are a go-to machine for a wide range of lifting needs across North America. These machines have so many strong attributes: quick setup, efficient lifting, easy to operate, small footprint and inexpensive to operate. Why the market for these cranes isn’t all out booming is perplexing.
Several companies have been renting self-erectors in the North American market for more than a decade now, and most have been very successful. But still these machines haven’t gained the popularity that they enjoy in Europe. Yet the makers of these machines persevere, knowing that the market could catch on fire at any time.
Manitowoc’s Potain’s division has a strong interest in the success of its self-erecting product line. In April, the company introduced the Potain Hup range. With all new design features, the Potain Hup 32-27 is the first model of the new range.
“It showcases the significant investment in time and resources, including a period of extensive research and testing that led to the creation of this advanced model, which will replace four existing Potain Igo cranes,” Manitowoc said.
Like all self-erectors, the new Hup 32-27 is suited to space-restricted jobsites. It features an adjustable two-section mast that has a third section contained within the second. This design allows the third mast section to be telescoped out, boosting the working height of the crane to 88.5 feet (27 meters).
When configured in the low position, working height is almost 69 feet (21 meters), and this set-up includes a slight extension of the third mast section which is telescoped out as part of the jib erection process. Having the additional mast section integrated into the design delivers a faster and more convenient set-up, Manitowoc said.
Further versatility is delivered through the jib’s luffing capability with a choice of three raised positions at 10°, 20° and 30°, in addition to horizontal. The maximum height under hook attainable by the crane is 131 feet (40 meters). Several jib configurations are available that offer horizontal reach of 36 feet (11 meters), 75 feet (23 meters) or the 105-foot (32 meter) maximum.
Operator efficiency is maximized through Manitowoc’s new radio remote control unit. Featuring a large color screen with easy-to-use navigation delivered via a jog dial, it delivers unique, simplified, on-screen step-by-step information during crane erection, as part of the new Smart Set Up software. The remote control offers three operating profiles that allow the operator to vary the working speed of the crane to suit the application.
“We are delighted to introduce the next generation of Potain self-erecting cranes,” said Jean-Pierre Zaffiro, global product director of Potain’s self-erecting range. “We’ve made it easier for customers to operate and transport the crane and have also introduced new components that provide users with a more powerful machine. But most importantly these new Hup cranes offer better versatility than ever before. By designing so much power and flexibility into each crane we’re allowing owners to cover a much wider range of jobs with a single machine.”
The Hup 32-27 has a maximum capacity of 4.4 tons while it can lift 1.1 tons at its jib end of 104 feet. Agility on site was a key consideration for the new range, so the Hup 32-27 has a rear slewing radius of 8.2 feet allowing it to be positioned closer to buildings. There are two footprint options, 4 by 4 meters or 3.5 by 4.42 meters. The dynamic unfolding movement allows it to set up in even the most congested spaces. In addition, an integrated leveling system allows for positioning on slopes up to 8 percent.
The reeving of the Hup 32-27 is automatically configured to four falls of rope. Transportation has been optimized so the folded configuration of the Hup 32-27 is 4 meters by 12 meters long which also allows it to fit in a single container for cost-effective shipment.
“With the Hup 32-27 it’s really like having four cranes in one and our initial feedback from customers has been extremely positive,” continued Zaffiro. “We have spent over a year testing these cranes to make them a reality and we’re confident this new range really does represent the forefront of self-erecting crane technology.”
The Hup 40-30 will be the second crane in the range and is planned for a late 2016 launch.
Liebherr is also committed to the global self-erector market. The Germany-based company recently upgraded its 81 K and 65 K fast-erecting cranes.
The new 81 K.1 and the 65 K.1 have increased lifting capacities of up to 20 percent and their jibs have been extended by 3 meters. There’s also a new external cabin available.
“The 81 K and 65 K fast-erecting cranes are among the best sellers in Liebherr’s range of tower cranes,” the company said. “Powerful performance, attractive design and reliability are the three main reasons for the fact that around 1,000 customers have up to now bought one of these cranes.”
By bolting on an extension, the jib on both cranes can be extended by 3 meters with no great effort. By comparison with the predecessors, this increases the maximum radius of the 81 K.1 to 48 meters while the 65 K.1 rises to 43 meters. This means that both cranes almost reach the next higher crane class.
Time-tested tower crane functions will naturally remain available after the upgrade of the fast-erecting cranes, Liebherr said. These include pure Speed2Lift 2-line operation, Micromove fine positioning mode and the ABB operating-range limiting system.
Liebherr has produced a new optional exterior cabin for its K series cranes. Depending on requirements, this cabin can be installed quickly and easily on any new K crane using its own load hook. The access ladder on the side is easy to reach. Due to its external position, the crane driver has a perfect view of the site.
Terex has been successful in the self-erector space in Europe and will likely put a greater emphasis on these machines in the future in North America.
Terex has five self-erecting models: CBR 21H, CBR 24 PLUS, CBR 28 PLUS, CBR 32 PLUS and the CBR 40H.
While the Terex EaZy 90 is no longer in production the company still has a few of these units for sale.
One key element Terex focuses on for its self-erectors, and all its tower cranes for that matter, is its application engineering team, the company said. This team supports customers with feasibility studies for special applications, jobsite layout, tower and self-erector installation and structural FEA and internal/external climbing solutions.