Rough and tough

19 March 2008

Telescopic crawler cranes are tough cranes that can pick and carry their entire lifting chart in narrow areas, says Jeff Johnson of Scott Companies. “These cranes have low headroom capability and are well suited for multiple job applications and conditions,”he says.

Scott Companies has experienced strong success with the Mantis brand of telescopic crawlers, and today owns the largest fleet of new and late model Mantis cranes in the world, Johnson says. “Our current fleet comprises over 24 machines of varying size and capacity,”he explains. “We have sold many to our traditional customers in the power line construction field. We have also sold several cranes, here in the US and abroad, to the petrochemical industry.”

Scott Companies recently extended its reach to Europe, selling a Mantis 6010 model to a British construction company that is now working at the North Pole.

The reason Johnson is so positive about the machine is because “you name it, this crane can typically do it.”

Larger capacities

In time, Mantis would develop higher capacity models including the 3612, an 18 ton Capacity model in 1981 and the 25 ton capacity 5012 in 1983.

Today, the Mantis line consists of 10 models ranging from 18 to 100 tons capacity. 506 In January, the company introduced its new 45 ton capacity 9010 and all models with new operator cab and 3B6 computer system.

The growth of the Mantis telescopic boom crane concept into a true product line has been a steady process, with most of the models developed with the input and specifications of contractors who use the machines, according to a company spokesman. Today the Mantis line finds applications with general construction companies, foundation contractors, tunneling and highway constructors, crane rental companies, railroads, as well pipeline and power line contractors. Next in development for the company is a 100 ton capacity crane, which is in production and is slated for a year-end release.

Link-Belt Construction Equipment, based in Lexington, KY, launched its first entry into the telescopic crawler market in 2006 with its TCC-450 last fall. Pat Collins says the company decided to foray into the market for a number of reasons. “First of all, we believe the timing is right for expansion of the use of telescopic crawlers in North America,”he says. “Up to this point, it has had a somewhat limited demand, but that is changing.”

The TCC-450 was a natural for Link-Belt, Collins says. “It fits well in our business structure,”he explains. “Our long-established dealer network is 100% capable of supporting this product right out of the chute from a parts and service standpoint.”

Watching the market

Since the release of the machine Collins says Link-Belt has trained its sales staff on the special aspects of selling tele crawlers. “We know crawlers, we know telescopic booms, and we know most of the customer base already,”he says.

Collins says Link-Belt has been watching the market for telescopic crawlers emerge, and was able to observe acceptance of the TCC-450 in Europe over the last two years with its introduction there by HCME, Link-Belt's sister company. “Their customers were very pleased with the machine,”he says. “We tested the unit thoroughly here in Lexington, adapted it to our build standards, and made modifications for North American operator preferences, and we were ready to launch.”

Thus far, Collins says the main selling feature of the TCC-450 is its “bulletproof reliability”and high build quality standard. The control system on the machine has also been a selling point for customers.

But it is the hybrid nature of the telescopic crawler that continues to garner new found attention, according to both Collins of Link-Belt and Johnson of Scott Companies. The concept of a telescopic boom mounted on a crawler base is a selling feature in itself.

“There are no outriggers to set so it is simple to operate and has a simple load chart,”says Collins. “This also makes pick and carry operations easy because the TCC is always mobile. An RT for example, is on outriggers 80% of the time. So it has to transition to rubber and go from over the front to over the side. With the TCC-450 and no outriggers, you just pick and go.”

The smaller footprint of the telescopic crawler also makes the machine a natural for some industries, especially the power line industry. “The 450 has a smaller footprint than some competing models and is able to maneuver in tighter places,”explains Collins. He says most units of the TCC-450 have been placed with contractors or are working in dealer rental fleets or on long-term leases. Typical applications include steel storage tank installation, bridge work, power line construction and maintenance, retaining wall work, or general contracting, he says.

Link-Belt does plan future models in the telescopic crawler configuration, most likely a larger model than the 45 ton capacity TCC-450.

Empire Crane based in Syracuse, NY is a Mantis Crane dealer that has sold 10 tele crawlers last year and has already sold 10 in 2007. The machines they have sold are being used for bridge construction, foundation work, pick and carry work, driving piles, power lines and in rough terrain applications, according to the company.

Most recently, Empire has supplied a Mantis unit to a foundation contractor in the Bronx in New York. The machine is working on the foundation of the new New York Yankee stadium. According to the company, the machine “rounded the bases and took a trip through the outfield to drive piles, pick and carry heavy steel beams, unload steel and rerod, among other tasks.”

“The arrival of the 14010 Mantis Crane to the location of the future Yankee stadium has opened the eyes of foundation contractors and crane companies in the NYC area,”says Katie Pharoah of Empire Crane. “Inquiries regarding the crane have been numerous and constant since then.”

Terex has not entered the US market with a tele crawler although its Terex Bendini plant in Italy does offer one model. A source with the company says the Bendini telescopic crawler crane is a strong machine that could be adapted to the US market if the demand is determined to be strong enough to do so.act


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