With a prototype in production in Germany, Liebherr Cranes is planning to hit the roads in North America with a new truck crane, the LTF 1045-4.1.

Announced at Bauma in Germany in April, the new crane is Liebherr's first foray into the North American truck mounted crane market, as the company has long been known globally for its powerful all terrain and crawler cranes.

“We have always had an LTF truck crane line in Europe, although there wasn't a large demand for these machines in the US,” says Liebherr's Ingo Schiller. “But now that demand has picked up we decided to not only produce them for the Europe market, but also for US and North America.”

Liebherr's engineering team is currently working to design the machine to meet North American road standards and will soon be receiving a Kenworth T 800 Twin Steer four-axle truck from the US manufacturer.

“The truck is being shipped to Germany where they will mount the crane on it and do the required testing,” explains Schiller. “Once the prototype is complete, all future LTF models for the US and Canada markets will be assembled at our facility in Houston.”

The good thing about the LTF 1045-4.1 is that the superstructure is a proven machine, Schiller says. “It's basically the same superstructure from our European version LTM 1045 [all terrain].”

Schiller says Liebherr decided to enter into the US truck crane market for a number of reasons, chief among them being that customers have determined a need for this class and style of crane. “The market for this crane is an interesting mix,” says Schiller. “We've seen a lot of interest from users in large cities which we didn't first expect. But due to the fact it is mounted on a commercial chassis and that it is a one-man machine, the cities are interested in it. We have a lot of Liebherr customers who are covering larger distances in their work, and a crane that can move down the road at highway speeds is very practical. The biggest push has been the increase of speed limits from 55 to 70 or 75 in some states over the last few years.”

The new LTF 1045-4.1 will be rated at 55 tons and will have a four section, including the base, telescopic boom. With a 31 foot jib and a 115 foot main boom, the crane will have a total maximum tip height of 157 feet. The jib is of settable at 0, 20, 40 and 60 degrees. A rough terrain crane style operator cab is mounted on the slewing upper. Also in the superstructure is a 197 horsepower Liebherr diesel engine to power the crane. Outriggers are the swing-out telescopic type.

Direct sales

Distribution will follow Liebherr's traditional customer direct method of sales. Schiller says there's a good chance that Liebherr will continue to make strides in the truck crane market in North America because of customer demand. “We are anding that a lot of our customers would be interested in a 100 to 130 ton truck crane,” he says. “The timing for the introduction of this machine during Bauma was excellent because customers were able to come forward and give their thoughts on what the next truck crane model should be.”

He says there's interest for a Liebherr truck crane in the 90, 100 and 130 ton classes. “There's a lot of interest globally in the truck crane product,” he says.

“Before you had a US truck crane with a short boom or a European AT with a long boom and high capacity,” Schiller says. “Today, you can purchase a truck-mounted European-styled upper crane with a long boom, a removable counterweight and on a truck chassis that can travel on the highway.

Schiller says that by the end of 2007, the new LTF 1045-4.1 will begin production in Houston. He said the first four units set to be shipped to North America have already been sold.

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