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Heavy lift crane developments driven by higher loads

January 17 - Industry observers have noted the significant co-incidence that as the current Heavy Lift & Project Forwarders International (HLPFI) is published containing an insightful article into the activity of crane manufacturers, clear trends are bein

Power plant construction, infrastructure investments, module block installation, chemical plant installations and the wind energy industry are driving the need for larger and larger cranes able to lift heavier and heavier loads. Cranes that were once at the leading edge of lifting, managing 500 tonne loads, now assist cranes easily able to manager 1,000 tonne loads or heavier.

HLPFI's January/February 2011 edition reflects the observation that growing size of pre-assembled units destined for heavy infrastructure investments is encouraging designers to frequently exceed existing limits on lifting capacity to satisfy customer demands.

Manufacturers such as Liebherr-Werk EhingenALEMammoet and Terex are all reporting 'mega' designs for cranes that are lifting weights unimaginable just a decade ago. One example is ALE, which is building a second of its 4,300-tonne capacity AL.SK190 land-based crane, while Liebherr is currently testing a 3,000-tonne capacity crane at its Ehingen factory in Germany.

As well as static cranes, a number of significant developments in wheeled mobile and crawler-based cranes have been taking place to fulfil market demands.

Manufacturer Terex, for example, is reporting a has reflected a growing demand for cranes in the 1,000 to 2,000 tonne range which it is answering with a 1,600-tonne CC 9800 crawler and 1,000 tonne capacity AC 1000 wheeled mobile model, which was displayed at last year's Bauma exhibition in Germany. In Asia, wheeled mobiles were launched at last year's Bauma China exhibition in Shanghai. These included 1,000-tonne class models with telescopic booms from a range of manufacturers such as Sany and XCMG as well as high-capacity all-terrain mobile cranes from these manufacturers as well as Zoomlion.

Not surprisingly, the BRIC countries are a key driver in this growth: in China, domestic manufacturers have risen to the challenge of producing heavy lifting cranes to match the heavy infrastructure projects the country is developing.

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