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News Release

Potain MDT 308 A cranes help CMB reshape Milan’s skyline


  • Potain cranes have been chosen for the Libeskind Tower, part of the CityLife Milano development in Italy, which comprises three striking high-rise towers. 
  • The building’s curved design presented Manitowoc engineers with a challenge in designing anchorages to attach the cranes to the building as it rises. 

Potain cranes are continuing to build their reputation as the leading solution for modern high-rise developments. One of the most recent applications has two MDT 308 A topless units allocated to the construction of the high-profile Libeskind Tower, a landmark development in Milan that will rise to around 175 m, making it one of the city’s tallest buildings. 

The Libeskind Tower, together with the Hadid Tower and the Isozaki Tower, will be at the core of the new CityLife Milano development, just outside the old city center of Milan. The MDT 308 A cranes were previously used to complete the neighboring Hadid Tower, and with that project complete, have moved to the Libeskind Tower. Once finished, the Libeskind Tower will have 76,000 m2 of floor space and house approximately 10,000 people. It will include an art museum and a retail area, while also linking directly to the city’s metro line. 

The MDT 308 A cranes belong to main contractor CMB (Cooperativa Muratori E Braccianti Di Carpi), which worked with local Manitowoc dealer Baccarani Macchine Edili to purchase them. The first unit for the Libeskind Tower was erected in July, while the second one will be erected in December. Both are expected to remain on the site for 24 months.

Alfio Musumeci, building site supervisor at Cooperativa Muratori E Braccianti Di Carpi (CMB), explained that the company chose the MDT 308A cranes for their proven reliability and performance.

“Potain cranes are the most-efficient tool to build a high-rise structure,” he said. “Their ability to carry heavy loads over great distances is a key benefit. They require minimal set-up time and feature variable frequency drives that provide optimum performance. We can rely on Potain cranes to carry out the job to the highest standard and ensure our completion dates are met.”   


The MDT 308 A cranes can offer a maximum jib length of 70 m and a maximum lifting capacity of 12 t. For the work on the Libeskind Tower the first crane is currently working with its full jib of 70 m. However, once the second crane is erected in December, both cranes will be configured with 55 m of jib. The cranes will eventually reach working heights of 200 m. 

Sabino Riefoli, export sales and key account manager for Manitowoc in Italy, said the high profile stature of the building plus its unusual design had added to the complexity of the project.

“The Libeskind tower is the last of three new tall buildings which will redefine the downtown area of the city. Along with the Isozaki and Hadid towers, the Libeskind tower is set to become a Milanese landmark, so there is constant focus on this development,” he said. “The tower’s design is curved from bottom to top, so it was a challenge to engineer the anchorage points that will connect the crane to the structure as it rises. Furthermore, for a building of this height and scale, we have to ensure the anchoring is done with extreme precision.” 

These Potain MDT 308 A units include an inbuilt on-board computer that provides information on operating times for the hoist, trolley winches and slewing mechanism, plus the number of brake applications for those mechanisms. This on-board computer plays an extremely useful role in preventative maintenance, which is especially important in high-rise applications where accessibility can be a challenge. Also included is the Top Tracing II technology which limits working areas for the cranes, ensuring more efficient operation and eliminating any potential interference. 

“The MDT 308 A cranes were the best option for this project because they offer reliable performance and excellent lifting capacity, plus they are easy to set-up and dismantle,” noted Riefoli. “Our customer also knows that we have excellent support and service resources available in Milan. And we demonstrated the additional value Manitowoc brings through our Lift Solutions division, which showed skill and experience in creating the innovative anchoring solution.” 

CMB is one of the largest construction companies in Italy, with its headquarters in Carpi and offices in Rome and Milan. The company currently has a fleet of 60 Potain cranes.

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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