The Rise of the Luffing Tower Crane

Luffing-Jib Cranes Vs. Tower Cranes

According to studies by Construcciones Metálicas COMANSA S.A. & Vandooran Tower Crane Consultants (separate studies), we have analyzed the various aspects of both types of these cranes.

Luffing jib tower crane and level jib tower crane are two kinds of common models. Both models are widely used but they differ in their structure, operating principle and application field. Luffing jib tower crane is mainly used in large project and industrial equipment installing field where large lifting capacity, high perching accuracy and high safety are required for lifting large members and equipment component.

Level jib tower crane is mainly used in common civil building field where fast lifting and inaccurate perching and resting areas are required for lifting building materials. Both models have advantages and disadvantages in different application fields, therefore we can plan a key role in determining which model should be selected. Luffing-jib cranes are specially demanded for tall buildings on congested sites. They have a very short counter-jib and a variable working radius, which permit high productivity in extremely narrow spaces. 

Some of the key reasons for using luffing jib cranes

Luffing cranes, especially over the last 15 years, have helped to solve a lot of inner city construction problems when it comes to the fight for precious space in and around a construction site.  Luffing crane has a special design and the jib has the capability of being lift standing vertical in the air at a minimum of 5m radius from the mass section (Of course, this is used as an example, and depending on the type of crane, this could vary).  This is the opposite to the flat top crane which must be left parallel to the project and at the fixed radius of the jib already pre-determined.

This has solved many issues for projects where over sailing rights are not possible or very difficult to achieve in cities around the world, like in the United Kingdom.  These rights are not usually given when the loads being carried by the crane must be brought overtop of neighbouring building which are public, government or have a heavy population of the general public such as public transport stations.  The luffing crane allows the jib and the load to stay within the construction site boundaries at all times and ensure the safety of the general public.

1.       Luffing cranes are usually the best solution when a number of cranes are working on the same construction site, to avoid any kind of crash with other cranes or the surrounding buildings. With their variable working radius, they don’t interfere in the working area of the other cranes on site and they can be parked with a very reduced radius. However, construction site managers should have prior experience in supervising several luffing cranes operating simultaneously.

 2.       Luffing-jib cranes can improve material handling cycles in the jobsite, using them like auxiliary cranes to the principal tower cranes, reducing the construction time.

 3.       Usually, the maximum load is bigger than a tower crane’s.

 4.       In some areas, local laws make luffing-jib cranes necessary. For instance, London doesn’t allow any crane to fly over the surrounding spaces when they are working in a jobsite, and luffing jib-cranes are very demanded because you can move the jib from the horizontal position up to the total vertical position.

Drawbacks of using luffing jib cranes

But there are some disadvantages of the luffing cranes when you compare them to a tower

Crane. Although luffing cranes are a major problem solver when it comes to working within major city centres or enclosed construction sites they can greatly affect performance and economics of a construction site not hindered by tight jurisdictions.

1.       Luffing cranes are generally more expensive than the traditional tower cranes. The tower frames of a luffing crane are stronger, and the luffing mechanisms are much bigger than the hoist system of a tower crane. Of course, the technology applied to move the jib, counterweights, is the highest.

 2.       The cost of assembling and disassembling are much higher too.

 3.       Luffing cranes are more receptive to environmental changes such as the wind and the jib of a ‘luffer’ acts as wall to the wind. So, the restrictions of the tower are higher.

 4.       Since luffing cranes don’t have trolley mechanism and the movement is done by the jib, luffing cranes usually take longer than tower cranes to finish the job

 The major impact Luffing cranes have on a construction site is the time that it takes for them to perform movements necessary to lift an object from point A to point B.  The Luffing crane must perform more movements mechanically in order to raise the object to the desired height and radius. A flat top crane has a fixed jib set to a pre-determined radius, in order for them to perform a lift they must simply reel in the rope to lift the object to the desired height and move a trolley down a track in order to move the object to the desired radius.

With a luffing crane you do not have the trolley moving quickly down a track, instead you must lift the entire jib using an ‘A’ frame positioned at the rear of the crane top and move it up and down until you have reached your desired radius, while at the same time reeling in the ropes to gain the appropriate height for your load.  This takes a lot more time to perform these tasks and can be much more difficult especially if the driver is working blind and is not able to see the load at the end of their ropes.

To summarize, the luffing crane, like all other tower cranes, has its pros and cons so when you are designing your site you must ensure that it is the right crane for the job.  In tight construction zones such as inner cities a luffing crane may be your best call. If you make the wrong choice you will find as a result that there is a lot of time and money wasted on the project. In the UAE, Of course it depends on the project’s requirement, for example high rise towers, which are very popular here, require luffing cranes with a big capacity. Luffing cranes are special as they allow you to manoeuvre in tight spaces, when you are surrounded by neighbouring buildings.

The Verdict

According to NBM & CW, the comparison can be summarized in details in the following table (where a large power station is used as a benchmark):

Brief comparison between the two models in large power station construction field

Description Luffing jib tower crane
(Large Capacity)
Level jib tower crane
(Large Capacity)
Comparison results
Luffing jib type Level jib type
Application field Widely used and it can replace level jib tower crane Relatively narrow in application field and it can not replace luffing jib tower crane Superior inferior
Laying out flexibility Good Bad Superior Inferior
Design, manufacture and manufacturing cost Complex design and manufacture and high manufacturing cost Relatively easy and low manufacturing cost Inferior Superior
Safety High Relatively low Superior Inferior
Anti-wind ability Strong Weak Superior Inferior
Perching accuracy and efficiency High Low Superior Inferior
Lifting and derricking speed Fast Slow Inferior Superior
Lifting capacity at large radius and the same moment Large Small Superior Inferior
Maximum radius at the same moment Small Large Inferior Superior
Safety and suitability of cooperative operation Strong Weak Superior Inferior
Erecting and dismantling cost Low High Superior Inferior


As the above comparison, luffing jib tower crane has great advantage over level jib tower crane in power station construction field, which has been confirmed by more than 100 power stations construction in china. Level jib tower crane is widely used in plant construction of power station as auxiliary tool while luffing jib tower crane definitely predominates in boiler lifting. It is not the only choice to use luffing jib tower crane for boiler lifting, which can be achieved by cooperation between large crawling crane, furnace handling crane and large level jib tower crane but also economic efficiency, safety and plane layout need to be carefully considered. 

Case Study: Potain’s MR 418

The Potain MR 418 is designed to get you set up and working faster while still providing the capacity and compact footprint that our cranes are known for.

A new on-board control system allows for operation mere minutes after assembly is completed, and the uniquely mounted luffing mechanism and hoist ensures there is plenty of room for operation, even in the tightest of jobsites. Perfect for power plants or high-rise buildings, including super-tall structures

  • Total luffing time: 1 min 15 sec
  • Maximum hoisting speed: 254 meters per minute
  • Maximum capacity: 24 t
  • Maximum operating hook radius: 60 m
  • Maximum capacity at 60 m: 5 t
  • Maximum line speed: 254 m/min
  • 1 part / 2 part load block reeving
  • New mechanisms : 150/180 LVF 120 or 270/320 LVF 120 hoist options available, 1 part / 2 part load block reeving , Smooth movements due to frequency control technology, extremely accurate and reactive luffing movements through VVF technology, very high speed, high capacity hoist winches maximize productivity at very tall working heights

The Biggest luffing for Potain: MR 608

The MR 605 is the largest capacity luffing jib crane in the Potain line. The crane is specially designed for sites with very high working heights and is equipped with powerful mechanisms to ensure optimal work speeds.



Hydraulic Tower Cranes

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

Basic information: 

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

Key Benefits:

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.

The End.


Second-hand & Used Tower Cranes: What you need to consider (Part II)

In Part I of this report, various issues were discussed in details; such as the factors to consider when employing a used crane and the importance of the after sales services of a crane manufacturer.

In this second part, we will further explore this question and also look into the EnCORE program in greater details. At the end, study and analyze the diffuse demand for UK cranes as a case study of how the demand of cranes changes in a country given difference economic landscapes.

In Part I, we discussed that besides the cost factor of repairing or maintaining a tower crane, another important point is the availability of Spare Parts. Some parts may not be found as they are no longer being manufactured. With regards to this, when purchasing a new crane, it is always important to remember that a reputable manufacturer will offer OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) services; meaning that you can always go back to the manufacturer (or their partners/dealers) and ask for spare parts and services if necessary. When we discuss repair and refurbishment, the technical aspect of refurbishment seems to be more important for crane owners than the retouching and repainting on an “older” tower crane.

Further look into: EnCORE program: Potain’s second hand market

USA-headquartered crane manufacturer Manitowoc has a dedicated rebuild, repair, remanufacture and exchange programme for all models of Manitowoc, Grove and Potain cranes. It’s called the EnCore programme and it has been running since 2011.

EnCore programme offers various levels of refurbishment and restorations and, depending on the condition of the crane, crane owners can choose either an entry, standard or premium level of refurbishment. In Part I of the article, the information can be found in details about the different services.

Important factors to consider before refurbishment

The level of refurbishment is dependent on the age of the crane and how many hours it has worked in its lifetime, and also a key factor is the climate in which the crane has been operating in, as this could directly affect the level of service needed. It is always recommended that a third-party expert analyzes the level of refurbishment needed.

Another important factor about refurbishment is financing. Different companies might offer financing options that could have a smaller impact on the cash flows of the projects and make it more accessible for crane owners of different sizes. Manitowoc also offers finance options for EnCore purchases. It claims this supports lease agreements and, unlike traditional lending, Manitowoc says its financial products don’t affect bank lines of credit, leaving customers’ capital resources intact for times when they need ready access to cash. This is extremely important and valuable given the fact that many companies (more notably smaller firms) don’t take in to account the cost or the cash flow for crane refurbishment and maintenance services, therefore such option could be a very valuable factor in choosing the companies that carry out the crane support services.

EnCORE: different levels of crane refurbishment

Manitowoc has three EnCore facilities in Europe and one in North America. Specifically, these are in: Lagenfeld, Germany; Buckingham, UK; Breda, the Netherlands; and Bauxite, Arkansas, USA. In addition, there are several independent, certified EnCore partners that Manitowoc works with to perform the work. According to Manitowoc, customers typically visit an EnCore facility to see a refurbished crane, enabling them to inspect and operate the machine before they purchase.

According to an article published on International cranes and specialized transport publication, Manitowoc reports that its EnCore program is particularly strong in emerging or less economically strong markets. In Europe, for example, Manitowoc says it has a strong EnCore presence in Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia – as these countries tend to buy more used cranes with warranties. Manitowoc says it sees little used business in China or India as these are more mature markets, while the Middle East is mixed because it has strong connections with China and India.

In order to avoid competition between new and used cranes, EnCore utilizes similar sales and distribution channels.

“The benefits of EnCore are clear,” enthuses Manitowoc’s Central Europe sales director, Erdo Arslan. “Customers have access to a refurbished crane that comes with a warranty for less of a capital investment than a new crane. Also, some customers may prefer an older model crane or have a crane that they would like to keep in their fleet, in which case EnCore is also an ideal option for them”.

EnCore programme also has a dedicated website, , for mostly Manitowoc-owned used cranes.

Opposing views – when NOT to repair cranes

According to an article published on International cranes and specialized transport publication, “market conditions certainly weigh on a decision to restore or refurbish a crane. The owner has to feel there is enough business to justify spending the time and money involved,” says Tyler Smith, vice president of business development at Certified Boom Repair. “Aging cranes can often be refurbished for half the cost of buying a new one and can be put in excellent operating condition. However, when the repair cost exceeds 60 to 70 percent of the value of the crane then crane owners might be better off buying new.”

Wheco, a worldwide provider of heavy-equipment repair and restoration services is another American company that has been repairing and restoring cranes and lifting equipment for over 35 years. According to David Wood, president at Wheco, “the decision on whether to repair or refurbish a damaged or old crane comes down to its value and what the owner is looking for in a return on investment. Some older cranes are just not worth the investment to bring them up to a safe and reliable long-term condition.”

Potential crane buyers – watch out! It’s not all about the cost.

When deciding to repair or refurbish a tower crane, crane owners should consider that cost saving should not be the only decisive factor. Just like any other purchase in the construction sector, cheaper doesn’t necessarily mean a better deal specially when it comes to tower cranes; as extra costs arise months and at times years after making the total investment much bigger than the paid amount.

Therefore, it is recommended to have a long-term strategy when deciding between repairing or replacing as a tunnel vision can have a bias effect. Low cost repairs might save money in the short term but tower crane owners should always consider how that would affect safety. “Make sure you pick a company that has experience because there are many factors to consider and be aware of when refurbishing a crane,” advises Smith from Certified Boom Repair. David Wood from Wheco adds that tower crane owners should “look for a good partner” to work together in deciding or even in  refurbishment. We need to know the complete history of the machine and what the expectations and budget are of the owner. “There cannot be any secrets, or the outcome is destined to fail”, add Wood.

The role of the third-party expert that analyzes the tower crane history’s and usage is yet again important in having all the necessary information before making any decision or investment.


As the construction industry in the Middle East is growing rapidly and the demand for used cranes is increasing, maintenance and refurbishment of tower cranes have becoming major topics of discussion in the industry. The fact is tower cranes need after-sales services constantly to prolong their livelihood. The more reputable brands can guarantee a network of support and spare parts and “stronger” tower cranes. However, even the best manufacturers will tell you that tower cranes, like any machine, have a break-even point where the cost of maintaining them exceed their value. The challenge is to recognize this break-even point and to delay it as long as possible, or at least until getting a return on your tower crane investment.

Euro Auctions reports rise in bidder, buyer and vendor numbers in second Dubai sale

Almost $2million worth of equipment snapped up by UAE-based bidders, justifying physical presence in region, says auction house

Euro Auctions has reported a 40% rise in the number of bidders in its second sale in Dubai held last month at its new permanent site in the city.

The global auctioneers of industrial plant, construction equipment and agricultural machinery, said the rise in the number of bidders, as well as in the numbers of successful buyers and new vendors consigning equipment to the sale, is a vindication of its decision to enter the regional market earlier this year.

This was Euro Auctions’ second sale in Dubai after it held its inaugural auction in the region in September last year.

According to Euro Auctions, over 400 lots went under the hammer in the auction, attracting strong interest from across the Middle East as well as from India, Western Europe and Russia. Almost $2m of the sales were snapped up by UAE-based bidders, with significant purchases also going to Oman and Saudi Arabia. Europe accounted for a further $700,000 of the total hammer value, with key consignments going to bidders in Germany, The Netherlands and the UK. Floor sales on the day accounted for the vast majority of business, with just over 20% being transacted online, said the auctioneers, adding that the numbers prove how much a physical presence in the region is vital to meeting local demand.

Euro Actions has leased a 91,000sqm site in Dubai’s Jebel Ali Free Zone. The site includes a purpose-built auction complex covering over 3,000sqm with a 360-seat, fully air-conditioned enclosed auction arena as well as ancillary buildings, workshops and infrastructure.

“We are absolutely delighted about how this sale has gone, firmly placing our Dubai operation in the region and on the calendar,” said Jonnie Keys, Euro Auctions’ commercial manager. “News on our recent arrival in the region and our ambition to be a professional and key player in the used construction equipment sector is certainly getting out and stimulating much discussion. An ever-expanding portfolio of vendors are entrusting us to achieve strong hammer prices for them when disposing of equipment, but it’s also about the full service that we offer and building a solid relationship with all involved. We’re also now signing up a number of the key equipment holders across the region as they look to use our facilities moving forward and this is only positive for bidders as the quality, quantity and variety of used merchandise coming to auction will only improve.”

Notable lots that went under the hammer at the Dubai sale included an unused 2016 Volvo EC210BLC excavator which went for $75,000. Telehandlers and loaders were also in good supply with a 2008 JCB 540-170 selling for $43,000, while a low-hours 2015 CAT 966 went for $147,500, said Euro Auctions.   

“Having a permanent presence in the region is both opening the door to many new buyers and sellers and enabling us to better link together our global operations so we can offer a complete service and sell equipment in the markets where they are most desired and where they will achieve the best prices possible. Having a strong sales and support team here on the ground in Dubai, backed up by our international operations, has been a key factor in our success and was a key part of our growth plans for 2017, along with founding our successful new operation in Hong Kong,” said Keys.

Euro Auctions’ next Dubai auction will take place on March 5. Other upcoming sales include a three-day sale in Leeds, UK, from January 31, a one-day sale in Brisbane, Australia, February 8, and a five-day sale in Florida, USA, from February 13 under the company’s US subsidiary, Yoder & Frey.

Intermat preview: Spring in Paris

The Intermat construction equipment show comes around every three years. Held in France, it will be the main show, in Europe, for the industry in 2018 from 23 to 28 April at the Paris-Nord Exhibition Centre, France.  Paris, France, will be the center of the European construction industry in April with the latest edition of Intermat – the Continent’s biggest trade exhibition for construction this year.

The Paris-Nord Exhibition Centre will be home for a week for 1,500 exhibitors from 40 countries. From 23 to 28 April, it will host the 2018 Intermat show, with the World of Concrete Europe show running alongside it for the second time.

Intermat is organised by: events organiser Comexposium; CISMA (the French association of equipment manufacturers for construction, infrastructure, steel and handling equipment industries); and SEIMAT (the French association of international civil engineering, mining, construction and hoisting equipment industries). 

A new feature for 2018 is the structuring of the show into four specialist area hubs. There will also be theme ‘villages’ concentrating on technological innovations. A series of talks and round tables on topical subjects in the industry will be on the agenda of each theme zone.

The four hubs are labelled: Lifting, Handling & Transportation; Earth moving & Demolition; Roads, Minerals & Foundations; and Buildings & Concrete. The organizers said that this change was prompted by demand.

The Lifting, Handling & Transportation hub will see a concentration of those subjects, featuring machines, accessories, components, services and new technologies.

The Building Smart Village will see the BIM (building information modelling) Cabin, and it will look at digital design and robotic manufacturing, as well as digital tools on the work site.

The final theme village is The Start-up Eurovia Village. Eurovia, part of French contracting giant Vinci, is a partner in the Start-up Village, which will have 13 selected start-up firms displaying their innovative solutions. These will include rental platforms, site supervision applications, equipment management and robotic solutions. 

The Thursday of the exhibition has been designated Intermat Rental Day. The organizers said that construction equipment rental is no stranger to the digital trend sweeping across the distribution sector in general. A key element will be a look at the major factors that will drive change in the rental business over the next 10 years, and how each country is preparing for it.

We invite you all to Potain’s 90 years anniversary on Wednesday 25th of April.


International Cranes and Specialized Transport Volume 26, Number 4, January 2018


Second-hand & used cranes: What you need to consider (Part I)

The Middle East remains one of the world’s most active construction and infrastructure markets. Governments continue to invest heavily in transport, utilities and ports, and are making efforts to diversify their economies beyond their reliance on hydrocarbons. There will be enormous demand for lifting and specialized transport services.

As the construction market grows in the Middle East and there is an ever-growing need to cranes, it begs the question to look into the crane market deeper. In global markets and in the Middle East, second hand cranes have always been used and there seems to be a steady demand for them.

There is such a growing demand that many trading websites have emerged to bring together supplier and demand for second hand machinery. For example, KHL launched a dedicated business unit under the name KHL Crane Market ( to create a market place for buyers and sellers of used cranes.

Basically, this market place is solely for supplier, brokers and crane dealers to place their products there by driving the right demand to this platform. This begs the questions of how big is the market for used tower cranes? It is actually extremely challenging to extract such data, but we can see the increasing demand to second hand cranes.

Other third-party traders include: MachineryZone, CraneNetwork, CraneTrader, Cranes4Cranes, Alibaba and a more local trader: Al Mawkaa.

But what are some of the key factors you should consider when you’re deciding to restore or replace a crane? Of course, the cost if a major factor; depending on the scale of work expected from a crane and the amount of money that needs to be spent on the maintenance or repairing a crane could sometimes even be higher than purchasing an entire new crane. However, the key point here is the timeframe that is expected from a certain crane to operate at a reasonable capacity.

Once you’ve reviewed the financials and maybe you’ve decided to maintain the crane, another important point is the availability of the spare parts and how quickly you need them. Some parts may not be found and not be manufactured.

Therefore, when purchasing a new crane, it is always important to remember that the manufacturer will offer OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) services; meaning that you can always go back to them (or their partners) and ask for spare parts and services if necessary. When we discuss repair and refurbishment, the technical aspect of refurbishment seems to be a more important factor for crane owners rather than the reconditioned and painted cranes. According to Liebherr, their most common repair and refurbishment jobs are on main components such as cylinders, slewing bearing, engines, transmissions.

EnCore programme: Potain’s second hand market

According to a report by International Cranes and Specialized Transport, USA-headquartered crane manufacturer Manitowoc has a dedicated rebuild, repair, remanufacture and exchange program for all models of Manitowoc, Grove and Potain cranes. It’s called the EnCORE program and it has been running since 2011. EnCORE refurbishment services are located in the Charlieu, France Potain Towwer Crane manufacturing facility. Each refurbished crane is rebuilt with genuine Potain tower crane parts. These are then painted using the same advanced paint technologies applied to new production. All refurbished cranes and parts are covered through Potain’s warranty programs and supported by the global Potain network, with all technical documents in the language of choice to support the refurbishment.

Through the EnCore programme Manitowoc offers various levels of refurbishment and, depending on the condition of the crane, crane owners can choose either an entry, standard or premium level of refurbishment. Standard across all levels is: a full inspection and calibration of all controls; the repair or replacement of slewing ring bolts; the repair replacement of hoisting steel wire ropes; finish painting and mechanisms and safety device overhaul; and a final functional test report with six- month warranty.

At the premium level the entire crane structure’s surface is shot-blasted, cleaned and repainted. The control system is overhauled, all mechanical and electrical components are repaired or replaced, and a full set of safety and function tests are completed. The crane then gets an EnCore accredited plate indicating the date of refurbishment. The premium level comes with a twelve-month warranty.

Here in the Middle East, NFT, a Tower crane specialist to use new 300,000sqm facility to increase stock, refit used equipment and improve customer service. The yard is now home to NFT’s growing stock of 1,800 tower cranes of which 200 are brand new models. It also contains 500 hoists and 35,000 pieces of spare parts.  NFT has dedicated 2 facilities for reconditioning used tower cranes. The first one will be handling all the welding and painting while the second one will be focusing on mechanical and electrical work. The 2 facilities are joined together like an assembly line whereby each part of the used tower crane is checked and improved step by step until finishing with painting. The yard has enough space for testing as well. Considering the increase in demand for used tower cranes as the market becomes more price sensitive, NFT has invested heavily in this in-house solution of tower crane reconditioning in line with being the one- stop supplier for all lifting needs.

Second life: Used machinery market gets a lift

‘Whenever the construction market faces a slowdown economically, the demand for used equipment starts to increase,’ says one expert. With an atmosphere of cautious optimism pervading the region on the back of low oil prices, equipment manufacturers and dealers will tell you that machinery sales are not what they used to be a year ago. However, this does not mean that machinery is not being bought or sold. What has been built has to be maintained and, despite the caution, some projects have forged ahead, especially those that involve public spending on infrastructure. Enter the second hand or used machinery market. “Whenever the construction market faces a slowdown economically, the demand for used equipment starts to increase,” says a spokesperson from Mohamed Abdulrahman Al-Bahar LLC, a Sharjah-based distributor of Caterpillar products in the region.“During such scenarios, we have noticed that purchase of used machines falls within the budget for those customers who still have projects to run.” According to Al-Bahar, in addition to offering cost-effectiveness, used machines also come with lower risk. Since the investment is considerably lower, having the equipment lying around idle in between projects does not impact the bottom line as much.

At auctioneers Ritchie Bros., the biggest seller of used equipment in the world, Karl Werner, chief operations support and development officer and managing director, Middle East, Africa and India, is quite clear about the challenges in the market and how to meet them.

“We have the ability to transcend local challenges in any market by bringing in buyers from outside to create more liquidity and help maintain pricing levels. Dubai is one of 44 auction sites we have around the world and when we have an auction event, like the one we had in May, we get bidders from every corner of the globe, letting equipment as an asset flow around the world and effectively offsetting the downturn in one place with buyers from another,” Werner says. Of the 3,477 total registered bidders for Ritchie Bros.’ Dubai auctions in 2015, 54% were from outside the UAE, representing 84 countries around the world, he reveals. And they bought 42.9% of the equipment on sale. In total, the auctioneer sold $138.7 million worth of equipment from Dubai last year to a total of 1,429 buyers, which establishes the importance of Dubai as a used equipment hub. Helping Ritchie Bros. to broaden its reach is its wide online presence. The company saw a record 51% of its global sales come from online buyers in the second quarter of this year, which included a multi-million-dollar auction in Dubai in May, Werner says.

“The biggest Dubai auction we have had was around five years ago, which netted total sales of $57m.” Speaking about the prevailing conditions, he adds: “Last year we saw significant growth in our business here in the GCC, and the region has provided us consistent growth. There are strong markets in the GCC, but we’re also reaching out into Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas to pull buyers in.” Over at Al-Bahar, the association with Caterpillar forms the backbone of their used equipment business. “All the used machines we sell are originally from our on-campus Cat Rental Store (CRS). Al-Bahar has invested hugely into the rental business, so all these used machines were used under our supervision and by our operators,” says the spokesperson. “We’re seeing customers for our used machinery from the contracting and transportation sectors and the machines in greater demand at the moment are medium wheel loaders, tele handlers, skid steer loaders and backhoe loaders.” The demand hints at maintenance operations and small jobs, rather than big projects, but Al-Bahar supports customers of all sizes, he adds. “Al-Bahar ensures that all used machines we sell are in good working condition and ready to work prior to delivery, as we offer warranty for our used machines.” Elaborating on the benefits customers derive from buying used, he adds: “With a proven track record of unmatched service, Al-Bahar is a trusted brand that not only sells used machinery, but offers unrivalled support to our customers with the warranty, parts availability, field service on call and a variety of other solutions for used machines.” For its part, Ritchie Bros sources its inventory from a variety of places, and Werner says: “We do the majority of our business with end users, whether it’s large construction companies or smaller ones that own just a few pieces of equipment. We also do a significant amount of business with dealers, brokers and OEMs. So you’ll see in some of our auctions, manufacturers from Asia shipping things here to sell into this market. Whether it’s going to stay in the GCC or go outside, we don’t know. But we can create that market for them where they feel comfortable sending their assets here to be sold.”

Machines consigned to an auction can be refurbished at Ritchie Bros.’ on-site state-of-the-art facility in Dubai, Werner adds. “Sometimes it is worth investing a certain amount of capital into a machine to bring a higher return. And we help our customers with that, first by machine evaluations and recommendation, and then with painting and refurbishing the machines both before and after an auction.” With the right resources in place and strategies on the table, there is little doubt that the used machinery sector in the Middle East will continue to supply the region and the world market with the used machines and equipment it needs to keep the wheels turning and the projects growing.

Participation in a Ritchie Bros auction starts with the registration, which is free. A refundable deposit equaling 25% of the total expected purchases, with a minimum deposit of US$25,000 or AED100,000 is required for all participants, says Karl Werner. Participants can either attend the auction in person at Ritchie Bros’ premises in Dubai’s Jebel Ali Free Zone or avail of the option to attend virtually by bidding on-line. Those registering on-line need to pay the refundable deposit by card or bank transfer, while participants wishing to attend in-person have the option of paying by cash or local cheques. However, only cash payments are accepted in case of those attending for the first time. Customers who wish to attend an auction can also avail of a special offer from Ritchie Bros. The company has a tie-up with Emirates airline that enables those registering to attend an auction to fly to Dubai on the carrier at a discount of 10% on the airfare. The discounted flights are available from five days before an auction to five days after it and, according to Werner, “is just another facility we provide that goes to show why we are the world’s preferred” auctioneer for used machinery. If the imposition of the bidding limit seems like a bit of a constraint for on-line bidders, there is a solution for that, too. “The entire inventory to be sold is up on our website before an auction, so if an online buyer knows what he will bid on, he can easily form an idea about how much it will go for. He can even view selling prices of similar items that sold at recent auctions. And then he can pre-clear his bidding limit based on his own projection of how much he will need to spend,” Werner says, adding that the management then decides how much can be approved based on the customer’s history.

The Ritchie Bros. yard is open for customers to come in and inspect the inventory up for sale.

“Many customers bring in experienced and qualified mechanics or machinery experts with them to inspect their prospective purchases,” says Werner. “We encourage our customers to freely take a look at the inventory to their satisfaction.” On-line bidders can also send their representatives to inspect the equipment on their radar. These representatives can be their own mechanics or experts, or third parties such as local machinery dealers who offer to perform inspection services on behalf of an on-line buyer. “Our processes are completely transparent,” Werner adds. “We endeavour to answer all questions that prospective buyers ask regarding the machines we sell. Whether they are in-person attendees or on-line participants, we provide them all the information at our disposal about their prospective purchases.”

Potain celebrates 90 years

 Manitowoc Cranes will have a sizeable presence at Intermat 2018 in Paris, as the company’s Potain tower crane brand celebrates its 90th anniversary.

It is fitting that Potain tower cranes will take centre stage on Manitowoc’s stand. The event coincides with Potain’s 90th anniversary—it was founded in 1928 in La Clayette, in Saoneet- Loire, France—and on display will be two examples of Potain’s technological advancements: the Hup self-erecting crane range and an MDT 389, the largest of its CCS topless top-slewing tower cranes.

The Hup range includes the Hup 32-27 and Hup 40-30. Potain claims versatility and ease-of-use for these.

They have a maximum capacity of 4t and rear-slewing radius of only 2.25m, enabling them to be positioned closer to buildings – a major benefit when working in tight urban areas.

The Hup cranes are taller than the Igo 36, one of their predecessor models, but occupy the same footprint, again making them ideal for space restricted sites. Three raised positions of the luffing jib, at 10°, 20° or 30°, in addition to horizontal, provide unprecedented options for a self-erecting crane. They have two height options for their telescopic masts and an exclusive new radio remote control with Potain’s Smart Set Up software.

The MDT 389 is the largest topless crane from the Potain line-up to feature the company’s Crane Control System (CCS). This user-friendly operating system offers the highest levels of comfort, flexibility and ergonomic control, reduces installation time and provides unequalled maintenance features, particularly when using Manitowoc’s CraneSTAR Diag tool, a telematics and maintenance system.

The MDT CCS Topless concept enables complex multi-crane installations, and the assembly, erection, transport and maintenance phases are shorter than for previous generations of tower cranes. All of these features lead to a better return on investment, and CCS has been proven to increase efficiency on the job site.

There are two versions of the Potain MDT 389, with 12t and 16t maximum capacity. Both have up to 75m of jib available. The 12t version can lift 3.4t at its jib end, while the 16t version can handle 3.3t.

The tower cranes that will be shown were developed with significant customer input and participation. The cranes were developed with much more speed to market than previous generations of cranes.

“2017 has seen an uptick in construction and infrastructure activity in Europe, so we have selected a pair of cranes that we feel can best serve this region in terms of speed, efficiency and versatility, and also when working on urban job sites,” said Jean-Noel Daguin, SVP, tower cranes at Manitowoc. “We are also featuring solutions that we can provide to stakeholders of the Grand Paris Project, which will accelerate the transformation of Paris ahead of the 2024 Olympic Games.”

“The two cranes we will have on display at Intermat reflect true innovation over their predecessors and prove their value from transport to tear down.”


Self-Erecting Vs. Mobile Cranes

Self-Erecting Cranes

The Self-Erecting tower crane is replacing mobile cranes for the construction of low rise projects of up to 8 floors, and the benefits are noteworthy:

  • Can be positioned close to the building because they operate in a very small footprint
  • Less likely to obstruct movement around the site
  • Lifts are performed quickly and accurately
  • Folding structural design means self erecting tower crane can be operational in 1-2 hours
  • For projects of six months or more, the hire cost of a self erecting tower crane is less than a mobile crane, all things considered
  • Operator has more visibility and possibility of blind lifts is reduced
  • Reduced fuel costs
  • Increased Safety
  • Can be used for job sites with tight boundaries and have ability to reach areas where mobile cranes cannot
  • Job completed faster
  • Lower groundwork and maintenance costs
  • Longer life
  • Better resale value
  • More flexibility
  • Increased Productivity with bigger coverage
  • Bigger lifting capacities at same radius

The End.