Telescopic crawlers are a hybrid crane that earn high marks for jobsite productivity. In fact, the telecrawler market is one of the most competitive sectors of the crane business. The advantages of these machines are shorter set-up times, ease of transport and the variability of the boom system.
Holt Crane & Equipment – with facilities in Irving, TX, San Antonio, TX and Houston, TX – is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. A Link-Belt dealer, Holt owns five Link-Belt telescopic crawlers.
“It’s a growing market,” said Holt General Manager David Worsham, although he admitted it took a while for this market to pick up. “Introducing them to our customers, it was a hard sale, at first.”
Because they are more expensive to make, buy and rent, Worsham said customers had a hard time justifying the expense.
“For many years we had to work very hard and be very proactive,” he said. “But the telecrawler market has exploded. Today, out of every five or six phone calls for rental equipment, one of them is for a telescopic crawler.”
Customers who have used telecrawlers in the past now demand these machines when they have an applicable job, he said.
In the early years, Holt would “eat some of the price” when renting a telecrawler.
“Now it’s just blown up,” said Worsham. “It’s a great machine in certain applications.”
For Holt, the highest demand is the “middle of the road” capacity, the 75 to 140-ton machines.
“The transportability is nice, but that’s not the real plus,” said Worsham. “The big plus is that it’s got the best of both worlds – you’ve got the crawler and the telescopic boom. With your traditional crawler you have a fixed amount of boom and that’s what you are stuck with. Let’s say you need to make a lift 100 yards away but there’s an obstruction in the way. With a traditional crawler, you have to knock the boom out, move the crane, then build the boom back. That could take half a day.”
Productive and quick
With a telescopic crawler in that scenario, Worsham said “you suck the boom in, crawl to the location you need to be and go back to work 10 minutes later. The time savings is unbelievable. It picks what it can carry.”
Telecrawlers are beginning to infringe on the rough terrain crane market because they don’t require outriggers and can mobilize work quickly.
Reynolds Equipment, based in DeForest, WI, is a new Tadano Mantis dealer. Mark Reynolds, president, said that while the telescopic market was new to the Reynolds team, the response has been great.
“The business is new to us but we are amazed with the feedback and the response we have had, especially from a typical rough terrain crane user,” said Reynolds. “They just love these telecrawlers.”
Demand has been highest in the 66 and 88-ton market, Reynolds said, referring to the GTC 800 and GTC 600 models. His company has seen interest from the general construction market and specifically the electrical highline contractors.
“Overall these are beautiful machines to run,” said Reynolds. “They are smooth and solid and well-built machines. They are very predictable, and from an operator’s standpoint a nice and valuable feature.”
Kelly Tractor’s Bruce Budd said the telecrawler market has a tremendous upside as more end-users realize the functionality and versatility of these cranes. Kelly Tractor is a Link-Belt dealer and owns a fleet of Link-Belt telecrawlers.
“Kelly Tractor has actively been pursuing the use of the [Link-Belt] TCCs within the foundation contractor group,” Budd said. “Along with our IMT hydraulic drills rigs, the TCCs become the perfect complement for this customers’ lifting needs.”
Within the foundation contractor group, most of Kelly’s fleet of rental TCCs fall within the 75 to 120-ton class. But as interest in telescopic crawlers increases, Budd said there is increasing demand for the 140-ton-plus capacities.
ACT asked the telescopic crawler OEMs to highlight one of the models in their product range for this article. Link-Belt chose its new 120-tonner, Liebherr selected its 242-tonner and Tadano Mantis and Manitowoc spotlighted their 30-ton models.
Link-Belt will show off its new 120-ton TCC-1200 at the SC&RA Crane & Rigging Workshop Link-Belt plant tour and crane presentation, and again the first week of October at its CraneFest events.
A common lower carbody to the TCC-1400 has improved efficiency of production and provided an upgrade in base rating from the previous TCC-1100 telescopic crawler crane.
“This new TCC-1200 has earned its 120-ton badge,” said Scott Knight, product manager for lattice and telescopic crawler cranes at Link-Belt. “We tested and passed the new base rating at the same radius as the original 110-ton.”
The TCC-1200 offers a capacity chart at a radius that rivals lattice crawler cranes with a similar base rating, the company said. The main boom height is 40 to 150 feet (12.2 - 45.7 meters) and incorporates Teflon wear pucks to eliminate boom grease. It will come with three track widths – extended at 18 feet 2 inches (5.5 meters); intermediate at 15 feet 8 inches (4.8 meters) and retracted at 11 feet 11 inches (3.6 meters).
An optional wireless remote-control system is now available for the TCC-1200 and TCC-1400, allowing the operator to be out of the cab and still have control of the crane, Link-Belt said.
Key features of the crane include pick and carry 360 degrees through entire chart, modular counterweight design with hydraulic removal; complete self-assembly on the jobsite; 40 percent gradeability travel, rear view and winch view cameras; 20-degree tilt cab and main load transports at 89,000 pounds with three or four overflow loads.
The crane features a 150-foot plus 55-foot (45.7 plus 16.7 meters) maximum boom plus fly; a maximum line pull of 21,120 pounds, upper counterweight of 51,000 pounds and a lower counterweight of 2 by 12,500 pounds.
Link-Belt, which entered the telecrawler market in 2006, produces six telescopic crawlers ranging from 50 to 250 tons capacity. Models include the TCC-500, TCC-750, TCC-1100, TCC-1200, TCC-1400 and TCC-2500.
The Liebherr LTR 1220 can assemble itself. The basic unit is driven to the site on a low-loader, and then supports itself on jack-up cylinders.
Liebherr LTR 1220
Introduced in 2012, the LTR 1200 has earned a loyal following in North America, according to Liebherr. It offers a maximum load capacity of 242 tons (220 metric tons) and a telescopic boom that is 196 feet long (60 meters).
In terms of design, the telescopic boom is derived from the LTM 1220-5.2 mobile crane. With the Liebherr Telematik telescoping system, the boom can be extended by a bi-parted swing-away jib, 12.2 to 22.2 meters long, which can be lengthened still further by means of two 7-meter lattice sections. Also available is a 7-meter lattice section that is fitted between the telescopic boom and the swing-away jib in order to raise the connection point of the jib and capable of being luffed by up to 45 degrees. As an option, the swing-away jib can also be adjusted hydraulically. Under full load, the jib can be moved between 0 and 45 degrees.
Ease of transport
The travel gear of the LTR 1220 can be hydraulically telescoped out from the crawler carrier width of 4.5 meters to the intermediate width of 5.88 meters or the maximum width of 7.25 meters. Load tables are provided in the LICCON control system for all three crawler widths. On uneven ground the LTR 1220 can operate with side inclination angles of up to 4 degrees.
The crane is powered by a six-cylinder in-line diesel engine that provides a capacity of 230 kW/312 HP and torque of 1300 Nm. The hoist gears provide a high cable pull of 105 kN.
The basic machine, with crawler carriers one meter wide, weighs in at about 90 metric tons and has a minimum overall width of 5.01 meters. Without crawler carriers, the unit weighs about 54 metric tons, including the jack-up cylinders and the transverse beams, and is 3 meters wide and 3.2 meters tall.
With the remote control on the LTR 1220, as well as the complete operation of all the crane movements, the crawler chassis travel can also be controlled. The unrestricted view of the crane and the load mean that safety and convenience of operation can now be improved even further, Liebherr said.
Additional telecrawlers from Liebherr are the LTR 1060 with a maximum load capacity of 66 tons (60 metric tons) and the LTR 1100 with a capacity of 110 tons (100 metric tons).
Tadano Mantis GTC 350
This past summer, Tadano Mantis started deliveries of its 35-ton capacity GTC-350 telescopic crawler. The GTC-350 features an 89-foot 3-inch purpose-designed Tadano boom, and has strong lifting capacities on level ground or slopes up to 4 degrees, the company said.
As with all Tadano Mantis cranes, the 35-ton rating is a real, usable capacity with a “level” ground load chart that allows for operation on slopes of up to 1.5 degrees, so that the crane can be used to its full capabilities without the requirement of ground preparations to give a perfectly level lifting base, the company said. The load charts offer full chart pick-and-carry capacity through 360 degrees.
“The GTC-350 is unique because of its compact dimensions,” said Tadano Mantis’ Ed Hisrich. “Track retracted widths of 9 feet 10 inches, with 30-foot wide track shoes and a height that can be reduced to 7 feet 11 inches allow this crane to access and navigate areas that no other crane of its capacity rating can navigate.”
The extendible undercarriage can telescope to 15 feet 9 inches for a strong, stable working base, and with Tadano Mantis’ Opti-Width feature, the tracks can be positioned to any width, either symmetrical or asymmetrical, between the minimum and maximum operating widths.
“We’ve had a good response to the Tadano Mantis Opti-Width feature,” said Reynolds, with Reynolds Equipment. “You can have one track in and one track out if need be and the load charts adapt accordingly. That’s been a nice feature that the contractors have loved.”
Opti-Width incorporates zoned load charts, rotational position sensing and function soft stops to ensure that the crane operator cannot swing with a load into a zone where the crane will be out of capacity. The crane has operating load charts for 1.5-degree, 2.5 degree and 4-degree slope with automatic out-of-level load chart switching based on the crane’s position on the jobsite.
“Another nice feature is you can leave the swing-away reeved,” said Reynolds. “This is a very nice feature that saves time.”
The main boom is complemented with a 23 foot 6 inch to 42-foot extendable jib that offsets at 5 degrees, 25 degrees or 45 degrees for a maximum tip height of 135 feet 9 inches. Load charts for jib operation allow for lifting on slopes up to 2.5 degrees.
The compact width and height of this crane along with a transport weight of the crane – with the standard equipment package of 71,500 pounds – make the crane easy to transport. Unladen ground pressure of the GTC-350 is 7.6 psi.
The crane is powered by a Cummins Tier 4f QSB4.5 diesel engine rated 173 hp (129 kw) at 2,200 rpm.
Tadano Mantis’ Hello-Net Telematics monitors machine work history, position data and maintenance data. This information can be accessed free of charge through the Tadano Hello-Net internet portal.
For the North America market, Tadano Mantis produces 11 models, including the 30-ton 6010 and 6010LP, the 35-ton GTC-350, the 40-ton 8012, the 45-ton 9010, the 50-ton 10010Mx, the 66-ton GTC-600, the 77-ton 15010, the 88-ton GTC-800, the 100-ton 20010 and the 130-ton GTC-1200. Historically, the Tadano Mantis brand was the first telecrawler in the United States, starting with SpanDeck in 1979 and later Mantis telecrawlers.
The smallest telescopic crawler in the Manitowoc range is the 30-ton capacity Grove GHC30. The crane is known for its compact dimensions and easy maneuverability.
The GHC30 is the result of Manitowoc’s partnership with Germany-based Sennebogen Maschinenfabrik. The other models in the range include the GHC50, GHC55, GHC75 and GHC130.
John Bair, Manitowoc’s product manager for GHC cranes, said that customer feedback played an important role in the production of the GHC30.
“We talked to a number of dealers and customers about the telescoping crawler line and about how we could expand the range to benefit certain applications,” he said. “Customers that are engaged in utility, energy, construction and barge-mounted work, for example, indicated that a crane with a smaller footprint would help them increase maneuverability and efficiency on many jobsites.”
The GHC30, like others in its range, offers the ability to pick-and-carry at 100 percent of its load chart on inclinations up to 4 degrees, and it can swing loads a full 360 degrees. Its compact footprint is 34.7 feet by 9.8 feet by 10 feet, and it has a tail swing of only 10.8 feet.
The GHC30 can pick-and-carry at 100 percent of its load chart on inclinations up to 4 degrees, and it can swing loads a full 360 degrees.
With its full-power, three-section 83-foot telescoping boom, operators can handle a variety of lifts at various radii without setting up on outriggers like traditional hydraulic boom cranes.
The GHC30’s crawler tracks easily navigate tough jobsite conditions, such as swampy or mountainous terrain. The undercarriage is driven by two-stage hydraulic traction motors that provide strong gradeability and mobility, Manitowoc said.
The track side frames can be hydraulically extended and retracted, providing three track spans with lifting capabilities at each span. This provides added versatility to find the best combination of crane width and lifting capacity.
Additionally, the GHC30 transports in one load, and once it reaches the jobsite, it can roll off the truck and begin work with minimal setup. A 15-degree tilting cab provides operator comfort when doing high-boom angle work.
The crane can be outfitted with one of two engine options: a 173 hp Cummins QSB 4.5 L Tier 4 Final or a 160 hp Tier 3 model. A variety of attachments are also available for the crane, including an offsettable, swingaway boom extension that is available in lengths that range from 21.3 feet to 42.7 feet. When equipped with the boom extension, a maximum tip height of 132 feet is possible.
“With minimal transport requirements, 100 percent pick-and-carry ability and a robust, full-power telescoping boom, the GHC30 will prove nimble in both getting to and navigating jobsites,” Bair said. “For many companies, this compact GHC crane will increase their efficiency and return on investment.”
“We’re seeing the popularity of this style of crane grow in North and Latin America due to its maneuverability and versatility, and the GHC30 should further this trend,” he continued.
Offered exclusively in North and Latin America as part of a long-term strategic partnership between Manitowoc and Sennebogen, Grove GHC Series cranes are supported by Manitowoc Crane Care service