The market for mini cranes has taken a leap. These small lifting machines are problem solvers in a number of industries, and their popularity is growing.
To understand the market for powered mini cranes it’s important to consider the many types of these cranes. Likely the most common mini-crane design is that of the carry deck and cab down variety, which take their design cues from traditional rough terrain cranes. Carry deck cranes, which get their name from having a deck, are able to pick and carry their loads. They are mainstays in refineries, pulp and paper mills, auto manufacturing and power plants and other industrial facilities.
Spider cranes, which feature spider-like outriggers, sit on a crawler carrier. Fairly new to the mini crane market are telescopic crawler cranes, which have the same design attributes as large telecrawlers. Another mini crane design is the “walk behind pick and carry” crane. And then there’s the category of electric and remote-controlled mini cranes. Pretty much all of the mini crane designs can fit in this category.
Tony Inman, president of Maeda USA, confirmed that the mini crane market is growing. He said the Maeda line has grown because of the recognition of new applications of the Maeda MC mini crane line and the Maeda CC telescopic crawler model “that mimics the success of the larger telescopic crawler models from the bigger OEMs.”
“The smaller MC285 model, which is rated just over 3 tons, is the most popular machine for both sales and rentals,” he said of the Maeda line. “Due to its smaller size, it has the ability to fit the smallest workspaces and maneuver into the tightest access locations.”
A long-time player in the carry deck mini crane market is Broderson.
“Broderson is in a unique position in the marketplace as we cater to a specific niche,” said George Schildhouse, Broderson’s inside sales and marketing manager. “This allows us to provide specific equipment used in a variety of markets. We have always been known for our high quality standards, robust equipment and ease of use.”
The carry deck customer looks for a crane that can maneuver in tight spaces. Manitex International started competing in the carry deck and cab down crane market about 10 years ago. Chasing the energy market, the company’s M-150 has performed well in markets that used to rely on the old Galion cranes.
“The carry deck and down cab market follow the refinery and rental market pretty strongly,” said Beau Pocock, industrial crane sales manager at Manitex. “At this time, turnarounds and other maintenance projects are revving up, driving a strong demand for our carry deck and down cab machines.”
Grove, a division of Manitowoc Cranes, produces a full line of carry deck cranes ranging from 7.7 to 25 tons capacity.
“Today the market for carry deck cranes is growing,” said a Grove spokesman. “We’ve seen a steady uptick in demand in the market specifically over the last few quarters. A lot of the additional demand can be attributed to rental companies looking to revamp their fleets with new equipment.”
Most manufacturers agree that the 15-ton capacity class is among the most popular, especially in the carry deck design.
“This size crane fits nicely into rental fleets and can be used on a wide variety of applications ranging from basic plant maintenance and re-tooling equipment inside manufacturing facilities to ship yard work and chemical plants,” Grove said. “The range of applications is endless.”
ACT takes a closer look at the powered mini crane market and presents an overview of the major manufacturers in this product sector in North America.
Bailey Cranes is an engineering and manufacturing company that focuses on specialty lifting products. Based in Muskego, WI, the company has a diverse product line including telehanders, aerial work platforms, machinery carts and glass lifters. Bailey produces a line of carry deck cranes and also performs carry deck conversions, converting combustion engine Broderson carry deck cranes to battery powered or hybrid electric packages.
Bailey’s mini crane line includes the BC-18 battery powered carry deck crane. With a capacity of 18,000 pounds on outriggers and a pick and carry capacity of 11,700 pounds, the crane has a maximum tip height of 46 feet. The crane has a rated load indicator for safety, is emission free and weighs 20,000 pounds. With outriggers extended the BC-18 has a width of 9 feet 9 inches and a length of 11 feet 9 inches.
Bailey Cranes also produces the Brandon Trax, intended for outdoor and uneven surfaces.
The Brandon Trax provides all-terrain performance that disperses low ground contact pressure for those jobs that wheel-load pressure is critical, the company said. The Trax gas engine can also be converted to LP with Bailey’s conversion kit.
The Brandon Trax has 24 feet of vertical reach, 16 feet of horizontal reach and it has a 5,000-pound capacity. The crane weighs 5,800 pounds and has a side slope operation of 15 degrees.
Broderson produces eight carry deck cranes ranging from its walk behind 2.5-ton capacity IC-20 to its new 30-ton capacity IC-600. The company also produces two small rough terrain cranes, the 15-ton capacity RT-300 and the 20-ton capacity RT-400.
Broderson’s cranes are well known in the market and have a strong rental market presence.
“For many years, our IC-80 model has set the standard for rental fleets,” said Schildhouse. “Our newer IC-200, having a 15-ton capacity, is quickly becoming another workforce in the field.”
But most notable in the Broderson line is the IC-600, the latest crane in the Broderson line up.
“This new product features a 30-ton capacity, with a maximum tip height of more than 80 feet,” said Schildhouse. “The narrow 8-foot 6-inch width along with hydraulic over electronic controls, and the redundant, dual pump, high volume load sensing hydraulic pump system, make this model a great addition to our standard configurations of providing compact footprints, low profile machines coupled with strong pick and carry capabilities.”
Grove also has been a long-time player in the carry deck market with the Shuttlelift, Yardboss and GCD brands. The company produces eight models, including one that is dual fuel.
Grove recently launched its new GCD15, which was designed specifically with the rental market in mind, according to the company.
“We wanted to incorporate many of the class leading features our customers have come to expect, but also focus on keeping operation simple, efficient and reliable to withstand the rigors of rental work,” the company said. “Key features of this new model include new wide cab, which is nearly five inches wider than previous models, proportional lever crane function controls along with independent outrigger controls, simple graphical RCL display, additional storage compartments, LED lights and a Tier 4F compliant engine package with no requirement for DEF. All of these features make the new GCD15 an ideal solution that will provide rental companies with an excellent return on their investment.”
Jekko minicranes are compact crawler cranes designed to provide lifting and maneuvering capabilities in confined work areas. Each crane is equipped with outriggers and is ideal for operating in interior project spaces. These versatile machines have lifting capacities ranging from 1.2 to 8 tons.
Jekko offers four different types of mini cranes and also produces lifting and handling tools for glass panes and other materials. Jekko’s spider crane line features six models with capacities from 1 to 7.5 tons, and its minipicker industrial pick and carry crane line has three models, the MPK06, MPK20 and MPK50. Jekko produces a 6-ton capacity telescopic crawler, the SPK60, and it also produces an articulated crawler crane line that combines a Fassi articulated truck crane on a Jekko self-propelled crawler. This line features four models, the JF30, JF40, JF365 and JF545.
Jekko’s best seller, its flagship, is the SPX424, the company said.
Jekkos are designed to get into the tightest spots and still be able to setup to complete the most precise and challenging lifts. Jekko minicranes drive through a standard door and cramped spaces, and can be set up in minutes. The compact footprint allows operators to get closer to the load, which increases the safety factor, the company said. Available in electric or a gas-powered configuration, Jekko cranes are ideal for indoor/outdoor plant and industrial use, bridges, tunnels, mines, glass installation and steel erection.
The newest Jekko is the SPX 1040, that has a load capacity of 8,820 pounds, a maximum height reach of 47 feet 7 inches at 3,965 pounds, a maximum horizontal reach of 42 feet 6 inches at 1,100 pounds and a weight of 16,000 pounds.
The SPX 1040 has full 360-degree pick-and-carry capability and provides greater lifting capability in a smaller footprint, the company said.
“The SPX 1040 can lift 100 percent of its load chart in multiple outrigger configurations compared to just 50 percent of load chart for other minicranes if not set up with full outrigger deployment,” the company said. “The SPX 1040 is fully operated by remote control allowing operator to maneuver the unit into place without being confined to a seated operator station.”
JMG produces a full range of mini cranes including the radio remote control line, cabin cruiser cranes, walk-behind cranes, carry deck cranes and lifter cranes.
The MC series are radio remote controlled and range in capacity from 2.2 tons to 13 tons. Also, in the MC series are the MC 20 and MC 25 that fall in the walk-behind category.
The MC series of cabin cruiser cranes features eight models from 4.5 to 58 tons capacity.
JMG’s recently introduced its first carry deck crane, the MC 100RE, which has a capacity of 10 tons. Powered by an electric engine, the MC 100RE has a three-section fully hydraulic boom with proportional telescoping. It is operated by radio remote control and features a load moment indicator system.
Lift Systems builds one mini crane, the WBC-15 walk behind crane, according to Ben Forster, vice president.
“With a maximum capacity of 7.5 tons, the WBC-15 can be powered by a propane engine or battery,” he said. “Radio remote control is optional and the crane has a 90-degree steering for maximum maneuverability.”
At only 40 inches wide, the crane can travel with a full load. It features rolling outriggers to allow 220-degree boom rotation and allow for travel while slewing. It has a 28-foot maximum tip height, a -5 degree to +74-degree boom angle range and fork pockets and lifting lugs for ease of loading and transport.
Maeda makes four mini crawler cranes, three in the MC Series and one in the CC Series, which is a small telescopic crawler.
The MC Series ranges from 6,210 pounds capacity to 8,480 pounds capacity. These cranes feature widths of 30 inches, 51 inches and 55 inches. The MC285-2 can fit through a standard door while the MC305-2 and MC405 can fit through double doors. All have two power options.
The CC1485-1 has a 6.6-ton maximum lifting capacity and features an operator’s cab. This mini telescopic crawler crane is 98 inches wide and has a 72-foot 2-inch maximum lift height. The crane features a hydrostatic transmission and near zero tail swing.
The number one thing that distinguishes Maeda in the market is its safety features, according to Inman.
“The OEM Maeda Moment Limiter Safety system, which is standard equipment, offers the same features and programming capability as all larger conventional cranes,” he said. “The unequaled Outrigger Interlock feature is integrated with the Moment Limiter system, preventing crane functions unless all outriggers are properly placed on the ground for stability.”
Maeda also offers the only two-year warranty in the mini crane market, Inman said.
The cab-down Manitex 15-ton capacity M-150 is its top seller in the industrial and mini crane market. At just over 11 feet tall, the crane was designed for high performance in small spaces, Pocock said.
“Produced with the operator in mind, the M-150 has a strong load chart, great maneuverability and comfort for the operator,” said Pocock.
The crane features 4-wheel drive and 4-wheel steering making it easy to navigate small spaces. It has a 10-foot rated distance from the center of rotation, a maximum boom length of 62.5 feet and a maximum tip height of 85.5 feet. There’s an optional 20-foot jib. The crane features a full load moment indicator and anti- two block system. With the boom, the MC-150 is 30 feet 1 inch long and 11 feet 2 inches tall. It has a frame length of 17 feet 9 inches.
Manitex Valla is one of Manitex International’s European divisions based in Cortemaggiore, Italy. Since 1945 Valla has been producing lifting equipment.
The latest in the Valla line is the 25E walk behind pick and carry crane. With a capacity of 5,500 pounds, the crane has a maximum boom extension of 9 feet 2 inches, a maximum boom angle of 55 degrees and a minimum boom angle of -20 degrees.
With a weight of 4,500 pounds, the 25E features three wheels made of steel. It features internal counterweights and an electric motor. Made of steel, the boom features the main boom and two telescopic sections. The boom is operated by wired remote control. It features an electronic load moment indicator (LMI) with display for load, boom’s position and boom’s angle control.
Ormig recently launched a new indoor electric crane, the model 55/60iE, designed for handling work in small indoor facilities. The maximum lifting capacity is 60 metric tons and the unit is powered by electric battery.
The main features are its 2.35-meter height and 2.35-meter width. It weighs just 24 metric tons without counterweights. The steering radius is very limited because the crane rotates on itself due to two slewing bearing units positioned in the rear wheels. It has a hydro-pneumatic suspension system to assure the most appropriate condition to the ground.
The boom reaches 13.5 meters high with an 8.5-meter outreach. It is possible to fit hydraulic and mechanical fly-jibs of various dimensions and length for the best operating performances.
The Spydercrane is a mini-crawler crane built for working in low access confined areas. Brought to market by Smiley Lifting Solutions and offered for purchase or rent across North America, Spydercranes offer many useful features and accessories, the company said.
The patented Overturn Protection System, variable geometry outriggers, optional auxiliary winches, wireless remote control and zero emission power options are a few of the distinguishing features, the company said. Spydercrane has nine factory store locations across the United States.
Spydercrane offers six series of cranes ranging in capacities from 1,990 pounds to 13,300 pounds. The PC 090 and 200 Series cranes are small enough to fit through a standard door and set up in confined spaces, while the 300, 500 and 700 Series models fit through standard double doors.
The latest series, dubbed the Pick and Carry Series (PC), allows for the lifting and transport of materials around the jobsite. Models with a lifting capacity of 1,990 pounds are currently available, while larger models are expected to be launched in the spring of 2019.
The Spydercrane 200 Series is the bestselling series. Offering three models ranging in capacities from 5,800 to 6,450 pounds, these units travel through a standard door, may be set up in confined spaces such as a catwalk or a hallway and offer the Overturn Protection feature.
Up Equip offers the Hoeflon compact tracked mini cranes series. All models fit through a standard single door and elevator, and the Hoeflon C1 is offered exclusively with lithium-ion electric power. All larger models come standard with combustion and optional hybrid lithium-ion or DC electric modes.
Models C1, C4, C6 and C10 will lift from 1,600 to 8,810 pounds, from 13 feet all the way to a maximum height of 72 feet. The optional hydraulic jib offered with C4, C6 and C10 models allows up-and-over capability with 2 telescopic sections and 210 degrees of articulation.
An exclusive feature with the Hoeflon mini cranes is the optional infinite swing-out telescopic outriggers. Without inserting a single locking pin, outriggers can be telescoped out and swing in any position. Combined with the also optional outriggers retractable curved end-tip, Hoeflon mini cranes can be positioned on a surface with vertical differential of as much as six feet.
All models are equipped standard with the exclusive 100 percent Hoeflon made wireless remote. With a range of 500 feet, the operator can move everywhere and be at the work destination for even more precise movements. The LCD display shows operator information when the unit is in travel mode and on outriggers, and other crucial information such as angles of main boom and jib, height, lateral outreach and total load as well as outriggers position, spread angle and pressur