The tower crane sector, similar to other sectors in the construction industry, is ever evolving and the new types and models of tower cranes are quickly entering the market. Demand, terrain conditions, cost-to-value propositions, time saving factor are just some of the reasons as to why new models of tower cranes are being introduced. One of the latest of these models is the hydraulic tower cranes that is shifting heads in the industry.
What is a hydraulic tower crane?
According to TNT Crane & Rigging website, a hydraulic crane is a type of heavy-duty equipment used for lifting and hoisting. Unlike smaller cranes, which rely on electric or diesel-powered motors, hydraulic cranes include an internal hydraulic system that allows the crane to lift heavier loads. This fluid-filled hydraulic system enables the crane to transport objects such as heavy shipping containers and tractor trailers, which are well beyond the size and scope of any other lifting device. Hydraulic tower cranes are known for their power and increase in capacity of lifting objects.
Hydraulic cranes can have enclosed operators’ stations or cabs placed on a steel base. While other cranes are generally stationary, hydraulic cranes can be mounted on top of chassis on wheels or rollers.
From the cab, the operator controls a large arm known as a boom. Many hydraulic cranes feature a telescoping boom, which allows the operator to reach objects from a greater distance because the boom can extend out beyond the fix length. Cables, blocks and hooks attached to the boom can be used to safely hoist or lift different equipment.
The crane’s engine powers a hydraulic pump, which applies pressure to an oil or fluid within the hydraulic system. Because oil can’t be compressed, the oil transfers this applied force to other parts of the crane. By redirecting this force where its needed to lift an object, hydraulic systems help increase power and performance. Hydraulic cranes are rated based on their total lifting capacity, which is a factor of both their construction and the strength of the hydraulic system. A 10-ton crane for example, can lift up to 10 tons (9,070 kg). Each hydraulic crane must be chosen carefully based on the demands of a specific project, and lifting a load that’s too heavy will cause the crane to fail.
There are certain risks associated with hydraulic cranes due to their large size and power; all operators should undergo vigorous safety training to reduce the risk of accidents.
Potain MCH 125 – Manitowoc’s first hydraulic luffing jib crane
The new 8 T capacity crane is available in Asia, Africa, Oceania, the Middle East, Russia and Latin America markets. The all-new Potain MCH 125 was launched as the company’s first hydraulic topless luffing jib crane. Having previewed as a prototype at Bauma China 2016 in Shanghai, the first units have since been tested on site with select dealers in Thailand, Australia and New Zealand ahead of the crane’s launch into several international markets. It is the first topless luffing jib model from Potain and its unique hydraulic technology makes it easier to assemble and faster to operate.
With a cutting-edge design and new technology, the crane combines the advantages of Potain’s MCR luffing jib cranes and MCT topless cranes. Contractors will find it particularly straightforward to assemble and disassemble the crane on congested sites, making it an ideal choice for urban projects, city-center work or other job sites where space is limited.
Thibaut Le Besnerais, global product director for tower cranes at Manitowoc, said the new crane reinforces Potain’s reputation for driving innovation and progression in the tower crane industry. “The MCH 125 represents the very latest in tower crane design and is unlike any other crane on the market,” he said. “The positive reception to the prototype at bauma China was followed by a series of highly successful early stage trials with customers in Asia-Pacific. We’re already seeing strong interest in the crane for all kinds of applications”.
Maximum capacity for the MCH 125 is 8 t, while the maximum jib length is 50 m. Tip capacity is 2 t and maximum line speed is 100 m/min when fitted with the 60 LVF 20 hoist. The crane’s unique design offers a number of advantages, including fast erection and dismantling. The topless design means less space is needed on site, as there is no cathead to assemble at ground level before installation.
Uniquely, the crane also uses Potain’s VVH hydraulic luffing technology for vertical movement of the jib, which eliminates the need for luffing wire ropes. With VVH technology, the MCH 125 is able to raise from a horizontal level to 87˚ in less than 2 minutes. The hydraulics are pre-connected at the factory, too, avoiding the need to perform this duty during the crane’s on-site assembly.
The hydraulic luffing design also means the crane has a shorter counter-jib and out-of-service radius when compared with rope-luffing alternatives, freeing up valuable space on congested job sites. Crane operators will enjoy the increased comfort and visibility that comes with the unit’s Vision 140 cab, one of the largest cabs on the market. The entire upper works of the crane, including its full 50 m of jib, can travel on just four trucks. Assembly to a height of 40 m can be achieved in less than 6 hours.
As with all Potain cranes, operation is smooth and quiet; and for better utilization for fleet owners it can be mounted on existing 1.6 m or 2 m mast sections from the manufacturer’s current range. Jib sections are from the MCR range of luffing jib cranes. There are five jib configurations available, ranging from 30 m to 50 m, in 5 m increments.
“We used advanced simulation tools during the development of the MCH 125 to create a machine that will perform to the levels that Potain customers expect,” Le Besnerais explained. “We’re expecting strong interest in this crane among its launch markets.”
The MCH 125 will be sold and supported through the extensive regional Potain dealer networks. The first production deliveries will begin in early 2018, with the crane available for sale throughout Asia, Africa, Oceania, the Middle East, Russia, the CIS countries and Latin America.
Technical information on the MCH 125
Maximum capacity: 8t/four-fall, 4t/two-fall
Maximum operating hook radius: 50 m
Maximum capacity at 50 m: 2 t
Maximum line speed: 100 m/min
The Fastest installation for a luffing jib crane
- The fastest installation for a luffing jib crane
- The MCH 125 erects faster and more easily than a luffing crane ever has before
- Hydraulic system components are connected at the factory for faster and easier erection
- No luffing wire rope installation needed thanks to the innovative hydraulic system
- Hoisting winch, maintenance derrick, and the jib wind side plate are also pre-installed
- Unique wind-sail configuration pre-installed at the factory with no need to adapt onsite for any jib length
Ideal for the most constrained jobsites
- Jib can be raised up to near vertical position : 87° angle luffing capacity
- Very short 7 m counter-jib with simple fixed counterweight installation
- Very short out-of-service weathervaning radius of 13,5 m is ideal for congested job sites
- Cab can be installed either on the right or the left side of the crane allowing the crane to position close to a building
Most optimized transport vehicle
- Four containers or four trucks needed for the complete upper assembly : maximum jib + jib foot + counter-jib
- Compact dimensions of the counter-jib and jib foot also maximize trans-portability and reduce cost
Best return on investment
- Most adaptable luffing jib crane for congested urban job sites
- Time saving for erecting and dismantling the crane
- Optimized transport for easy and cost effective logistics
- Standard 1,6 m or 2 m L-mast systems for fleet optimization
Verdict on Hydraulic tower cranes
According to Hermann Buchberger, from Active Crane Hire in Sydney, Australia, “the MCH 125 is an electro-hydraulic luffing crane, which means the luffing mechanism is controlled via a hydraulic ram, compared to the traditional luffing hoist winch. We are quite excited because we believe it combines the best of both worlds from an installation perspective from a hammer head crane. Installation can be done, we believe within 6 hours on the job site, compared to the traditional luffing cranes which take up to a day and a half to put together, so there is definitely productivity in that respect. Once the crane is commissioned, ready to go, we have the advantage of the luffing mechanism to work in quite tight spaces, or if there is any restriction of airspace.