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News Release

Manitowoc highlights “innovation” at CICA 2014


A common thread of “innovation” ran through Manitowoc Cranes’ participation at the 2014 CICA Conference, organized by the Crane Industry Council of Australia and staged in Sydney from September 24 to 26. 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 2014 CICA Conference attracted hundreds of crane owners and users from across Australia, who were joined by a number of participants from New Zealand and parts of Asia. The three-day event combined both trade fair and conference elements, with an exhibition space for showcasing machines and a conference space for presentations.

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 fiber rope was launched to the global market at CONEXPO 2014 held in Las Vegas, Nev., U.S., earlier this year, but the 2014 CICA Conference represented the first opportunity for many Australian crane owners to get a closer look at it. Understandably, the rope drew large crowds to the Manitowoc booth with many eager to learn about its capabilities, composition and advantages.

Interest in the new rope continued inside the conference center when Dave Hull, senior vice president of global sales and marketing at Manitowoc, and Michael Quinn, director of new market development at Samson (Manitowoc’s partner and manufacturer of the KZ-100), made a presentation on the subject. Attendance was high for the conference session, and it’s easy to understand why as Hull and Quinn explained the full benefits of the Samson KZ-100 including how it’s 80% lighter than traditional wire rope, it won’t spin (unlike wire ropes), and is easier to spool on the winch.

Later in the 2014 CICA Conference, thoughts were still with the KZ-100 during a lively Q+A session between delegates and senior figures from the crane manufacturing industry. Representing Manitowoc was Eric Etchart, president and general manager, who told the audience that Manitowoc sees the use of synthetic ropes as a logical progression for the 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,” he said. “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 also asked for 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 favorable 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,” he 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 future, including the MLC300 and MLC650 crawler cranes. Manitowoc also showed an 80 t capacity 8500-1 crawler crane in the colors of Wollongong Cranes.

The 2015 CICA Conference will take place September 2 to 4 in Perth.

About The Manitowoc Company, Inc.
The Manitowoc Company, Inc. (“Manitowoc”) was founded in 1902 and has over a 116-year tradition of providing high-quality, customer-focused products and support services to its markets and its 2018 net sales were approximately $1.8 billion. Manitowoc is one of the world's leading providers of engineered lifting solutions. Manitowoc, through its wholly-owned subsidiaries, designs, manufactures, markets, and supports comprehensive product lines of mobile telescopic cranes, tower cranes, lattice-boom crawler cranes, and boom trucks under the Grove, Manitowoc, National Crane, Potain, Shuttlelift and Manitowoc Crane Care brand names.
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