Detailing the new Kobelco CK1600G-3
30 January 2023
In the January morning I showed up at the Kobelco crane yard in Houston, it was a stellar winter day. The new crane sitting front and center in the yard was the color of the sun, the yellow boom stark against the gorgeous blue Texas sky.
The Kobelco team was in a good mood, and rightly so. They have three new cranes to show off at ConExpo next month, and they are excited to launch seven new cranes with new Isuzu engines. (The CK 3300G-2, Kobelco’s largest crane in the North American market, was not affected by the engine change and continues to utilize a Scania engine.)
The crane I went to see was the CK1600G-3, a 160-ton capacity unit with a maximum crane boom length of 250 feet. It has a maximum fixed jib combination of 200 feet plus 100 feet, and its maximum lifting capacity with the luffing jib is 79,000 pounds. The maximum boom length is 157 feet when equipped with the maximum 175-foot luffing jib. This crane is destined for rental fleets across North America, and it’s also a strong contractor crane, according to Kobelco’s COO Jack Fendrick.
“The CK1600G-3 has a very favorable load-chart when sizing up to its competitors,” said Fendrick. “Plus, all of the boom and jib components are interchangeable with the previous model.”
What engine is powering the new crane?
The biggest thing to talk about with this new crane is its power source, an Isuzu Model 6UZ1 engine. It is a 6-cylinder, turbocharged, Tier 4 final engine that provides 362 of horsepower.
Kobelco did its due diligence when deciding on the engine to use to power its new line-up of cranes. They wanted a proven engine maker that produces a reliable engine, and they also wanted to support the engine themselves. It’s one of the ways that Kobelco has distinguished itself in the crawler crane market, and they didn’t want to change that. Engine support for some cranes means working with the engine supplier or third-party when there is a problem or issue, not the crane company.
“There are no third-party engine distributors in between us and the relationship with our dealers and customers on engine support,” Fendrick said.
Kobelco stocks all the engines used in its cranes, which shows its commitment to its product line, Fendrick said.
At first glance, the biggest change in the look of the crane is the new cab, which is sleek, modern and provides improved visibility, according to Kobelco’s Greg Ballweg. The redesigned cab features a USB port, a radio and Bluetooth speakers.
“The cab offers a new look, and the paint scheme is a little different,” said Ballweg. “There are some elements that are painted dark gray, a new look. The gantry/mast section is dark gray and the Kobelco decals are black.”
Kobelco friendly hydraulic and control systems
But the things that operators and owners like about Kobelco crawler cranes, haven’t changed. The new crane has the same hydraulic systems as before and the operator-friendly control system is the same as its predecessor, the CK1600G-2. The new model still has the large color touch screen LMI with added adjustability, swing limiter, self-erection capability, KCROSS telematics and fuel-saving “G-Modes.”
The G-modes are a standard exclusive energy and fuel saving system with up to 30 percent fuel savings, Ballweg explained. The G-Mode eliminates needless operations and engine functions allowing for reduced fuel consumption by using three basic modes that are all operator selectable.
The G-Mode features an auto idling stop mode (AIS), which conserves fuel by stopping the engine with an operator prompt, after 10 seconds of idling time. Restarting the engine is simply by just twisting the throttle.
The G-Winch mode can produce maximum winch line speed at a low engine RPM. The high speed mode allows the line to be raised or lowered at maximum line speed without raising engine speed with lifting without a load, according to the crane’s spec sheets.
The G-Engine mode limits maximum engine speed to approximately 1,500 RPM and controls the pumps to make engine operation in the most efficient condition, according to the crane’s spec sheets.
And finally, another attribute of the Isuzu engine is the SCR System, which is used to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxide from the engine. This means that the exhaust gas from the diesel engine is cleaner, conforming with current EPA Tier 4 Final regulations.
Transportability was another important design of this crane, which can be moved on eight trailers. The base crane weighs 84,245 pounds. It is 53 feet long and 9 feet 10 inches wide.
The goal for Kobelco Cranes at ConExpo is straight forward and simple, “to regain market leadership.” Kobelco will show three new cranes at ConExpo, the CK1600-G-3, the CK2000G-3 and the CK2750G-3.
Capacities are 160-tons for the CK1600G-3, 200 tons for the CK200G-3 and 275 tons for the CK2750G-3.
According to Kobelco’s Greg Ballweg, the company’s goals for ConExpo are to explain the transition to the Isuzu engine, reintroduce the 200-ton crane into the product line, continue discussing the benefits of the G-Series design concept, maintain component and attachment commonality and show off the new cab design and benefits.
The new color scheme will also differentiate the cranes in the market.
Among the major differences in the new Isuzu engine versus the Hino engine are no Diesel Particulate Filter. The Isuzu engine uses the SCR system. Error code resets are performed by the operator without using a software tool. The operator can reboot by engine start/stop at two-minute intervals. As well, the Isuzu engine offers a new engine breather design, which resists freezing and clogging.
And most importantly, Ballweg said, Kobelco is the warranter and servicer of the engines.
For related information, check out our Q&A Interview with Kobelco Chief Operating Office Jack Fendrick.