Trends in the North American mini crane market

By Hannah Sundermeyer23 February 2022

Hannah Sundermeyer reports on the latest movements and models in the mini crane market.

Mini cranes have earned a reputation across the industry for being versatile, powerful machines. Despite their smaller size, mini cranes tackle heavy lifting across a variety of markets with prowess. The rental market for these cranes is robust.

“Generally, the mini crane market is active, but with limitations like most products these days,” said Tony Inman, president, Maeda Mini Cranes. “Rentals are very strong, often outpacing supply. Sales of used machines are very active, benefiting from new machine supply chain issues.”

Jekko’s SPX650, is a 5 ton mini crane with a maximum reachable height of 77 feet (with jib) which embodies many state-of-the-art innovations, the company said.

Like many other construction sectors, new machines sales are active but complicated by global supply chain limits and especially ocean freight issues, driving up costs and delivery schedules. Inman said that ocean freight is a major issue, and he expects to see it continue to be throughout 2022.

When it comes to trends in the mini crane market, Jekko is confident that right now and for the next few years, it will see an increased need for electric power and ease of use.

“In the area of electric power, Jekko has always been ahead of the game, offering battery-powered models and now switching to lithium-ion batteries to ensure constant power and precision while working,” said Alberto Franceschini, sales and marketing director, Jekko. “We have always offered the possibility of having bi-energy mini cranes, fitting an additional electric motor to the diesel engine versions. Last year we completed our range of electrically powered mini cranes with the SPX1280.”

Following are some of the latest product updates in the mini crane realm, both in the articulating and telescoping classes.

Jekko

The most popular Jekko mini crane is the SPX532, which was unveiled at Bauma 2019. Launched in mid-2020, the Jekko SPX650 is a 5-ton mini crane with a maximum reachable height of 77 feet (with jib). This crane embodies many state-of-the-art innovations, the company said.

The Jekko SPX650 is a 5-ton capacity mini crane that can read 77 feet with a jib.

Jekko is focusing on making it easier for the operator to use the machine and on reliability, two factors that are fundamental for Jekko product development.

The SPX650 is designed as an electric machine right from the start, and it has features highly refined hydraulics, which can be appreciated in the precision of its movements.

“We are excited to talk about the SPX650,” said Franceshini. “For us this machine, together with the SPX532, represents the pioneer of a new generation of mini cranes.”

Moving to JF Series of articulated crawler cranes, Jekko’s plan for next year is to have a full range of four models in the series.

“In addition to JF365, JF545 and JF990, we are also involved in the development of a smaller model JF235 with lower weight but the same basic features of its bigger sisters,” he said. “Although apparently distant from the classic concept of a mini crane, the JF series represents for us a true mini crane in that it offers all the advantages and characteristics of a small spider crane, only larger.”

Franceshini said Jekko has noticed a significant increase in inquires from the U.S., where Jekko is strengthening as a brand.

“This is a strategic market for a customer-oriented crane,” Franceshini said. “We are expecting a great response from the U.S.”

Maeda

Maeda currently has new product in the pipeline, and the MC305-3 and MC405-3 units are the most recently updated units.

Maeda is seeing an increase in mini crane rentals across the industry, often outpacing supply.

The MC305-3 has a 6,560-pound maximum capacity, and 47-foot maximum lift height with optional searcher hook. The model features remote control with load display, a moment limiter and digital load indicator system, and diesel and electric power options.

The MC405-3 features an 8,480-pound maximum capacity and a 67-foot 10-inch maximum lift height (with optimal fly jib). It has a 55-inch body width and three position outriggers with safety interlock. With a 360-degree swing, the MC405-3 offers two speed travel and crane functions.

“A pound is still a pound, a ton is still a ton, and a foot of radius or height is also unchanged,” said Inman. “It doesn’t take higher priced and cost-adding features to handle the bulk of the daily lifting out there. This may be considered counter to the general equipment market where new bells and whistles are always hyped, but lifting in the highest percentage of cases just really doesn’t change that much. That is reflected in Maeda’s line of the standard machines and features, working to limit cost increases and offer the mini crane market what they need at the right price.”

Manitex

Manitex Valla is introducing the new Valla V40R all electric pick and carry crane in North America. Built on the V Series platform, the V40R features a radio remote control for both lifting and traction operations with fully proportional joystick controls. Integrated into the remote control is an LMI system display ensuring the operator works within the safe work parameter of the crane.

Valla’s V40R has a maximum capacity of 8,000 pounds, a tip height of 25 feet and max horizontal outreach of 16 feet.

Valla’s V40R has a maximum capacity of 8,000 pounds, a tip height of 25 feet and maximum horizontal outreach of 16 feet. The model boasts an overall width of less than 36-inches and traveling height of only 5-feet 1 inch when boom is in the stowed position, thanks to its forward-mounted winch that helps reduce its overall height. The V40R is an ideal machine for indoor work where zero emissions, compactness and high capacity are very important, the company said.

All V-Series cranes feature identical operational architecture allowing the operators to safely and efficiently operate the Valla V40R, V60R, V90R, V120R and V230R. The V40R is a complement to Valla’s popular 25 Series cranes where a little more reach or capacity is needed. V40R and all other Valla cranes offer unequaled precision, and power in an extremely compact package.

An on-board battery charger, non-marking tires and hydraulic winch are standard in North America. The crane can also be equipped with either a manual or a hydraulic swing-away jib as an option.

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