A Grove crane with the KZ-100 synthetic hoist rope

A Grove crane with the KZ-100 synthetic hoist rope

Synthetic ropes for cranes ‘logical’

The use of synthetic hoist rope in cranes could become more commonplace suggests innovative crane maker Manitowoc which introduced the material earlier this year

November 2014

Manitowoc has said it sees the use of synthetic hoisting ropes for cranes as a logical progression for the crane industry.

“Using synthetic rope is an obvious next step for the industry and the advantages in terms of weight savings and ease of use speak for themselves,” said Eric Etchart, Manitowoc president and general manager “I think in a few years, we’ll all look back and ask ourselves why there was ever any doubt about using synthetic rope to replace wire rope. I know from talking to customers, they can already see the tangible benefits it offers in terms of making their cranes more competitive. ”

Etchart was speaking during a Crane Industry Council of Australia (CICA) conference in Australia recently.

In the exhibition area, Manitowoc displayed a Grove GMK3060 all-terrain crane equipped with the new Samson KZ-100, the first synthetic hoist rope for the crane industry. The synthetic fibre rope was launched to the global market at Conexpo 2014 held in Las Vegas, Nev., US. The rope drew large crowds to the Manitowoc booth at CICA event with many eager to learn about its capabilities, composition and advantages.

A common thread of innovation ran through Manitowoc Cranes’ participation at the conference. “From presenting the first ever synthetic hoisting rope for a crane, plus its newest three-axle all-terrain crane (including the new Crane Control System), through to debates on the latest designs and industry trends, Manitowoc sent a clear message that it is committed to driving progress in the crane industry with a goal of improving customer value,” the company stated.

Etchart conveyed his thoughts on innovation and in particular in relation to the company’s MLC300 and MLC650 crawler cranes. These two new unique crawler cranes were launched at the same time as the KZ-100 rope at the Conexpo 2014 trade show and include the company’s patented Variable Position Counterweight (VPC). The VPC extends horizontally from the rear of the crane to offer greater lift capacity, while remaining suspended above ground, saving both space and preparation time on site, while balancing the ground forces. VPC technology has been hailed as a “game changer” for cranes and its real beauty is its ability to offer configuration set-up and capabilities not available with any alternative machine.

“We feel it is a true game changer and customers are starting to realize the full range of benefits this technology offers,” Etchart said. “Producing a crane with more capacity is easy. What is hard is producing that same crane, with a smaller footprint and which requires less preparation time and reduces costs. The VPC is unique to Manitowoc and we have patented the design.”

The reference to the patented design was particularly relevant as delegates wanted to know more about Manitowoc’s recent court case over patent infringement relating to the VPC, in which the company received a favourable initial determination.

“We take our IP very seriously and as a company we have invested a portion of our profits into research and innovation for many years, so it’s important we protect that,” Etchart said. “We’ll continue to prosecute any instance where we believe companies have stolen designs that are rightfully ours.”

The 60 t capacity Grove GMK3060 exhibited at the conference included Manitowoc’s Crane Control System, a new operating system that will feature on all new cranes from the company in the future, including the MLC300 and MLC650 crawler cranes. Manitowoc also showed an 80 t capacity 8500-1 crawler crane in the colours of Wollongong Cranes.

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