Taxi crane still hot

20 March 2008

With rising popularity of the all terrain crane in North America over the past decade, some questioned if the all-American truck crane might go by the wayside as a leading crane product. The truck crane, known as a “taxi crane” for its ability to be driven, selfcontained, from job to job, has long been a popular machine in the US and Canada.

Despite the availability of all terrains, sales of truck cranes have surged over the last three years, with purported truck crane market leader Link-Belt as well as Grove, Tadano and Terex struggling to meet demand for these practical, popular and affordable mobile cranes.

Interest in truck cranes is widespread around the world. Just as Liebherr introduces its first truck mounted crane to the US and Canada, Link-Belt has been gauging prospective customer interest in its HTT-8690 in Europe. Showing the HTT-8690 truck crane at Bauma in Germany in April and at the SED show in the UK marked the return of the Link-Belt brand to Europe after an absence of more than 20 years. The US-based manufacturer is looking for dealers to sell its wheeled mobile cranes in Europe.

The 90 ton capacity four axle telescopic truck terrain crane with all-wheel steering has received positive response, according to Link- Belt sources.

Also in Europe, over the last year Terex has launched its TC 40 and TC 60 truck cranes, both available in standard and long boom versions. Liebherr and Tadano Faun have both recently added new models to their LTF and HK series of all terrain type crane uppers mounted on standard European style commercial truck chassis-cabs. Other European manufacturers that offer this type of crane include Luna, Marchetti and Ormig.

The reasons for new interest in the truck crane market and in this type, which is effectively a large boom truck, are varied, but the leading assessment is that it is customer driven – after many years of manufacturers being asked for something cheaper and simpler than an all terrain crane. The long established truck crane and boom truck ideas have new merit.

At the lower capacity end of the spectrum, the line between truck crane and boom truck appears to be blurring. With Manitex introducing last year its 45 ton capacity 4596T and National, Terex, Tadano and Elliott all pursuing a 40 to 50 ton class boom truck, and Liebherr entering the market, it may become less clear where the boom truck stops and the truck crane starts.

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