liebherr lr 1700 Crawler Cranes
Crawler crane manufacturers are expanding their product range and introducing advanced features for higher lifting capacity and greater safety, to meet demand coming from infra development projects across various sectors. NBM&CW reports

Following a hiatus for some time, crawler cranes demand is once again gaining traction, and driving manufacturers to widen their product offerings to include the lighter, medium, and higher capacity cranes. Demand is coming from windmill projects, urban infrastructure like roads and bridges, metro railway projects, ongoing expansions at airports and ports, maintenance work at crude oil refineries and petrochemical units, while pipeline network expansion is a new demand driver.

Liebherr Cranes India

Liebherr, which launched its new LR 1700-1.0 700-ton crawler lattice boom crane in June 2020, has been making deliveries since October 2020, and is seeing an encouraging response from rental companies in the US, namely, ALE, Buckner, and Biggie. In fact, both the 700-ton and the 1000-ton have been seeing demand from Europe, Korea, and Japan and USA, with acquisitions of the 800-ton as well. The company’s existing fleet in India includes 600-750-ton crawler cranes.

Subhajit Chandra, Head, Liebherr Cranes India
Says Subhajit Chandra, Head, Liebherr Cranes India, “The LR1700-1.0 comes with a newly designed superstructure to enable easier transportation on flatbed trailer trucks. A key design intervention (also seen in our 800-ton) has been the flexibility in the boom. With the strong H-Boom design, the crane can work efficiently in windmill and industrial construction works such as setting up distillation columns in refineries and for their maintenance work, as well as for cement plant jobs.”

He adds, "With the hub heights of windmills in India becoming higher (above 130-140 meters) with heavier nacelle weights for 3.5 MW wind turbines (as being done by Suzlon, Vestas, Gamesa, and GE) the crane will find increasing use in India."

The new LR 1700-1.0, crane, built as per EN13000 standards, comes with variable counterweight the radius of which can be automatically adjusted by controls, based on the load that the crane will be lifting at the given radius. Equipped with standard safe load indicator systems, the crane can automatically calculate its inclination when working in windmill sites on hilly locations.

Ghananeel Molankar, Divisional Head-Construction Machinery, Liebherr India
Ghananeel Molankar, Divisional Head-Construction Machinery, Liebherr India, informs, “We have been receiving enquiries for the lighter capacity crawler cranes, especially of 100-150 tons, moreso from the road and metro railway projects for normal erection etc. There is intense competition in this segment as well as in the 200-250 tons, which has put pressure on pricing, besides which, the rental rates have also tipped. So, we have to come up with an attractive proposition which will benefit us as well as our customers in the hiring and the corporate segments.”

He informs that the leasing of cranes could be an option - both dry and wet - along with maintenance and operating support. Another strategy is to rent the cranes to hiring agencies who rent out to project contractors and to sub-contractors. However, direct renting will not be considered since many of Liebherr customers are rental companies.

Rental over purchase and leasing have been a good experience for Liebherr in selected parts of the world. Molankar expects that customers in India would also find this an attractive proposition considering the volatility in hiring rates. “Customers get adequate hands-on experience of using a premium, highly advanced Liebherr product without owning it, so much so that they may subsequently aspire to buy one,” he says.

However, Liebherr’s success in the leasing/renting business in India would depend on the given business scenario and the financial viability in the deployment of cranes and the estimated profitability in the current volatile market. Says Molankar, “We will have to associate closely with the leasing companies and the customers as we will be giving the required maintenance and other services to the users of our cranes. This will require the leasing companies to have a deep understanding of the existing market and requirements of our clients.”

To make its cranes more productive and powerful, Liebherr has equipped its Crawler Cranes with more advanced and fuel-efficient engines. The winch capacity of its 100-ton duty cycle crawler crane (HS 8100 HD) was enhanced from 25 to 27.5 tons. The 200-ton duty cycle crawler crane (HS 8200 HD) has been upgraded with new boom design, new software and features for safer and increased productivity. What’s more, Liebherr’s ‘Crane Planner 2.0’ offers state-of-the-art planning for lifting jobs and provides vital information like capacity of the crane, real time ground pressure, percent utilization and exceptional 3D view of the crane. In addition, it is very easy to alter the crane boom configurations and generate customizable reports in PDF formats that provide all information about the particular lift.

To widen its business footprint in India, Liebherr is focussing on its HS series duty cycle crawler cranes from 40 to 300 tons. These multipurpose hydraulic crawler cranes, with a single line pull of up to 70 tons can be used for a variety of applications with different attachments for diaphragm wall construction, foundation works, dredging, etc. Liebherr has supplied duty cycle crawler cranes to L&T and ITD Cementation for various applications. Liebherr also supplied a 200 t duty cycle crawler crane to Adani for dredging purpose amongst others.

Sany Heavy Industry India Pvt. Ltd.

Sanjay Saxena – Senior Vice President & Head of Heavy Equipment Business Unit, Sany Heavy Industry India Pvt. Ltd.
“We are well positioned to meet the demands for the higher capacity crawler cranes with our SCC8000A, an 800-ton class crane. SANY SCC8000A offers excellent versatility and application adaptability along with SANY’s promised high reliability and operational efficiency,” avers Sanjay Saxena – Senior Vice President & Head of Heavy Equipment Business Unit, Sany Heavy Industry India Pvt. Ltd.

According to him, demand for the higher capacity crawler cranes, which has been gaining traction, is set to gain momentum owing to the application demands, advanced technology & safety features, especially for jobs like WTG installations, complex infrastructure projects etc. The demand for medium capacity crawler cranes are is buoyant due to the sustained growth in energy, mining, and infrastructure projects, especially expansion in the refinery and wind energy industries.

Sany crawler cranes upto 1600 tons capacity.
“We expect demand to remain buoyant between 2021 to 2025 for the 80 to 350-ton crawler cranes,” says Saxena. “Sany India offers the widest range of reliable and safe crawler cranes upto 1600 tons capacity. Our crawler cranes are equipped with the best safety features, load capacities, stability, and functional flexibility to undertake all kinds of jobs in any type of project. Our self-developed Integrated Control System’ offers comprehensive control of the crane hydraulics system, engine system, LMI system and auxiliary system through CANBUS based data communication to ensure safe crane operations.

Sany India’s new lift operating design of in its SCI2600A medium capacity crawler crane, makes it capable of higher lifting on long working radius. The modification has been done to meet the lifting requirement of shield machines used for subway construction and similar products. SCI2600A has an class leading maximum lifting moment of 1380 ton-meter with maximum boom lengths up to 86 meters.

Sany India’s clients include both the captive users and rental agencies. Says Saxena, “We help our customers in minimizing their cost of operations by making technological advancements in the cranes based on the application and service demands. We promise and deliver timely services and support, to ensure the maximum uptime of SANY cranes in the field. We have the best manpower training and up-skilling infrastructure for crane operation and maintenance in the country. We strive to empower our customers with the best product solutions and services to ensure their profitability and growth.

The company’s round the clock toll-free number is available for all customer queries related to sales and service. There are 6 regional offices and 18 service stations manned by maintenance experts, and for cranes working in remote locations.

SCHWING - XCMG India

V.G. Sakthikumar, MD, Schwing Stetter India
According to V.G. Sakthikumar, MD, Schwing Stetter India, demand for crawler cranes of 600 tons and above capacity is likely to remain good in the short-term, especially for use in wind turbine installation projects. “Our XCMG 650-ton and 800-ton capacity cranes are well-suited for installation of wind turbines of up to 160-m hub heights. We foresee demand of these cranes going up, given the government’s focus on renewable energy and a projected 20 GW of Wind Energy capacity addition by 2025. We foresee demand for about 8 -10 cranes in this niche segment.”

XCMG Crawler Crane
XCMG offers crawler cranes for general erection, material handling, wind turbine erection, and HD duty cycle cranes for foundation jobs like well sinking. Targeting the crane rental market, XCMG is offering cranes of 80, 100, 130, 150, 260, and 350-ton capacities. Says Sakthikumar, “Given the nature of lifting requirements in infrastructure projects, demand for the lighter capacity and the younger cranes will grow and will be driven by investments by the crane rental companies. In fact, demand in this segment has been firming up post Covid-19.”

The company is meeting the requirement for cranes with higher lifting capacities and longer working radius, informs Sakthikumar. “Load capacities vis a vis class of crane from XCMG have been well defined and designers for Bridges, Metros, Ports and so on take this into consideration while arriving at maximum single load to be lifted at any site. XCMG crawler cranes have advantages like ease of assembly, handling, and transportation. There is provision for gantry self erection system and boom pinning cylinders, which help in curtailing time and cost (which would be incurred in hiring smaller support cranes during assembly). All these advanced features improve our cranes’ productivity while keeping cycle times low.”

The maximum single unit weight of various XCMG crawler crane models during transport has been kept at optimal level to make use of the full capacity of the semi/low bed trailers being deployed for transport. This makes the cranes easier to transport. Plus, the integrated design (for ease of transporting) in XCMG cranes reduces assembly time, and nesting of smaller booms inside larger booms reduces the number of trailers required for transport.

“Our crawler cranes can be applied for various jobs from refinery construction to regular shutdown jobs that require lifting and reinstalling of heavier distillation columns. In windmill jobs, XCMG cranes offer options like stronger booms for higher hub heights. Here, special boom heads/vessel lifter attachments can be used for higher capacity and ease of operation,” informs Sakthikumar.

As regards safety, XCMG crawler cranes come with additional features like safe load indicator with overload prevention, wind speed alarm, alarm for operation on uneven ground, etc. The company has recently introduced a self-assembly counterweight system on its smaller crawler cranes. The company offers preventive maintenance and monitoring schedules and onsite health checks for its cranes so that they have minimum downtime.

Action Construction Equipment

ACE Barge Mounted Crawler Cranes
Action Construction Equipment, which plans to expand its portfolio with higher capacity crawler cranes, is working on ACX 1500, 150 tons, and ACX 1200, 120-ton crawler cranes. These are currently in the prototype stage and are expected to be launched by end of FY 2021. These higher capacity cranes will be for use in general erection and construction jobs at refineries, electric and hydro-electric power projects, and could also be considered for precast construction of elevated road corridors that require heavier loads to be erected at a shorter radius, and with greater safety.

Manoj Agarwal, AVP Marketing & Product Support, (HED), Action Construction Equipment (ACE)
Manoj Agarwal, AVP Marketing & Product Support, (HED), Action Construction Equipment (ACE), informs, “Besides these, we are also developing the lighter range of crawler cranes of 45 and 55 tons to cater to the growing demand of urban infrastructure development. With all the new variants of crawler cranes being developed by us, the company will be more strongly positioned with crawler cranes ranging between 40 to 150 tons.”

ACE presently manufactures 40 and 75-ton crawler cranes for all types of applications that include piling, loading, unloading and general erection activities. Adds Agarwal, “As per the job requirements of lifting heavier loads, we have made some changes in the cranes’ structural design. To reduce their weight, while enhancing their strength, we have used steel of high tensile strength for the booms. We have ensured reliable and safer operations with components sourced from reputed manufacturers. Even the operator cabin has been made more modern and comfortable. Overall, the cranes are more mechanized, yet simple in design, and sturdy enough to suit even the most tough construction site requirements.”
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