Equipment spotlight: all terrain cranes

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A massive 700-ton Demag all terrain crane—the largest all terrain crane ever sold at a Ritchie Bros. auction—will be sold in Spain in June 2013. Which made us think: when were all terrain cranes first built–and when did they get so big?

Construction cranes were first used in Greece during the late 6th century. Early cranes consisted of a rope and pulley system powered by either men or animals. These early cranes conducted vertical lifts. Later versions, such as the slewing crane used in the in the construction of Germany's Cologne Cathedral during the late 1300s to the mid 1800s, were powered by treadwheels—essentially hamster wheels for humans—and conducted horizontal lifts.1

The first mobile cranes

Where early cranes were powered by humans, animals or nature, it wasn't until the introduction of the locomotive crane in the early 1900s that cranes became self-propelled and mobile. Cumbersome, powered by steam and limited to travel on railways, these early locomotive cranes were not as mobile and versatile as today's modern mobile cranes.

Mobile cranes come in all shapes and sizes—from tracked crawler cranes with telescopic or lattice booms, to wheeled hydraulic trucks, rough terrains and all terrain cranes.2

Hydraulic truck vs. rough terrain vs. all terrain cranes

Like crawler cranes, rough terrain cranes are designed to work on the job site—they have high wheel bases and are sometimes called off-road cranes. Hydraulic truck cranes are street legal and well-suited to travel between job sites.

All terrain cranes combine the best of both worlds. They are designed to travel on roadways, but they can also traverse the rougher terrain found on construction sites, reaching speeds of up to 40mph. All terrain cranes bring together the convenience and mobility of a truck mounted crane with the agility and function of a pick-and-carry rough terrain crane.3

All terrain crane uses

All terrain cranes have up to nine axles; for stability when lifting heavy loads, all terrain cranes use outriggers for support. With lifting capacities ranging from 30 tons to over 1,000 metric tons3, reach heights of up to 500 feet and crab steering, all terrain cranes are commonly used for the installation of oil and gas pipelines, the erection of wind turbines, the lifting of heavy pre-cast concrete building segments and other construction and heavy haulage applications.

All terrain crane makers

US-based Terex, a division of GM, was first on the mobile all terrain crane scene when it introduced an all terrain crane with a lifting capacity of 12 tons in 1956.4 In the years that followed, all terrain cranes grew larger and more powerful. By 1993 the 50-ton all terrain crane was introduced by competitor Demag. In 2002, Terex acquired the Demag crane plant in Zweibrucken as part of downsizing at the start of the recession, but it wasn't until 2011 that Terex had controlling shares in Demag Cranes.5

The 2008 Demag AC700 700-ton 18x8x16 all terrain crane featured in the video below will be sold at our unreserved auction in Ocana/Moncofa, Spain on June 6 & 7, 2013—along with more than 25 other cranes.

In 2012 XCMG, a leading manufacturer of construction machinery in China, launched the QAY 1600, the world's largest all-terrain crane chassis.6 The QAY 1600 features a total of nine axles, a hydro-pneumatic suspension system and all-wheel multi-mode electric-hydraulic steering.

Switzerland-based Liebherr Group is another well-known all terrain crane manufacturer. Liebherr's all terrain mobile cranes account for 44% of sales worldwide.6 Months before XCMG's launch of the nine-axle QAY 1600, Liebherr launched the LTM 1750-9, a nine-axle all terrain crane with a 750-ton lift capacity and telescopic boom designed for roadway travel and work on industrial and petrochemical sites. 7 The LTM 1750-9.1 is shadowed by Liebherr's LTM 11200-9.1, the world's largest all terrain crane at the time of its launch in 2011.

The LTM 11200-9.1 has a lifting capacity of 1,200 tons and an eight-part telescopic boom that reaches 328 feet. As most all terrain cranes, the LTM 11200-9.1 has two engines: a 680 HP engine to power the carrier and a 6-cylinder 326 HP engine to power the boom. Because of its weight, the boom ships separately from the roadable 65-foot carrier.8

In March 2012, the 2008 Liebherr LTM1400-7.1 400-ton 14X8X14 all terrain crane shown in the video below was purchased for 1,625,000 EUR (approx. US$2,145,000) at a Ritchie Bros. auction in France. Create your free account to see more all terrain crane prices from recent auctions.

Find all terrain cranes for your heavy lifting and hauling project at an upcoming Ritchie Bros. unreserved public auction.

Sources:

1 http://www.lowtechmagazine.com/2010/03/history-of-human-powered-cranes.html
2 http://www.constructionequipmentguide.com/The-Mobile-Crane-Through-the-First-50-Years-in-America/16833/
3 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crane_(machine)
4 http://www.terex.com/cranes/en/aboutus/LegacyBrands/Demag/index.htm
5 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demag
6 http://www.cmbol.com/news/detail/2012/10/2012101917110563.shtm
7 http://www.constructionweekonline.com/article-20439-the-big-interview-liebherrs-christoph-kleine/#.UZFfiqJweHs
8 http://gizmodo.com/5821030/worlds-tallest-mobile-crane-is-also-worlds-strongest
9 http://www.bigge.com/crane-sales/crane-facts/

 

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