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News Release

Manitowoc designs new transport system to help customer tackle Germany’s increasing road weight restrictions


  • The road and bridge situation in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany is placing increasingly higher demands on mobile cranes weighing more than 60 t, often resulting in major detours during transport to construction sites
  • Manitowoc and COLONIA Spezialfahrzeuge (Specialized Vehicles) have jointly developed a modified six-axle GMK6300L-1 to make it easier to obtain transport permits

Like many German crane service providers, COLONIA Spezialfahrzeuge (Specialized Vehicles), based in Cologne, is faced with the challenge of obtaining transport permits for its mobile cranes, some weighing significantly more than 60 t. This is because many roads and bridges in North Rhine-Westphalia do not permit heavy vehicles, often resulting in major detours during transport to construction sites, causing time delays and costs.

To tackle this issue, COLONIA worked with its long-term partner, Manitowoc, to create a new, high-performance transport system, the first tests of which have already been completed.

The new crane configuration is based on the six-axle Grove GMK6300L-1. With its 80 m main boom and at a radius of 28 m, the crane offers a lifting capacity of 14 t – ideal for the sort of jobs COLONIA is often required to do.

In addition to an overall reduction in operating weight, COLONIA's requirements included a hydraulic boom removal system on the mobile crane for rapid assembly and disassembly of the main boom and lift cylinder. It also required the construction of a transport system that didn’t require an assist crane for assembly and disassembly.

In response, Manitowoc produced a crane that perfectly matched COLONIA’s requirements. The base unit can be equipped with an easily removeable rear outrigger box. Hydraulic rigging cylinders on the chassis can be operated from the carrier, and hydraulic and electrical quick couplings enable rapid and efficient installation and removal of the outrigger box in less than 10 minutes.

The hydraulic boom removal system is available as an option and Manitowoc already supplies all-terrain cranes equipped with the system to the North American market, to accommodate local roading regulations.

The assembly and transport unit for the main boom and lift cylinder was redesigned to eliminate lift cylinder overhang while transporting the crane on the road. Using this design configuration, the boom and lift cylinder are moved directly from the crane to a separate transport trailer on a set of sliding rails. The boom and cylinder are removed and reinstalled precisely without the need of a separate assist crane.

First test successful

The first tests with the modified crane have proven extremely successful. The main boom and lift cylinder move out of the upper structure of the crane with the semi-trailer's sliding frame with exacting precision, avoiding overhang during road transport. The total weight of the semi-trailer loaded with the main boom and lift cylinder is less than 59 t. By removing the boom and lift cylinder, the crane’s gross vehicle weight is reduced to under 40 t, with axle weights below 7 t per axle. This is also beneficial in other countries with roading restrictions, such as Norway, Canada and the USA.

“Together with Manitowoc, we have configured a crane that fulfills all our requirements for an especially high-performance mobile crane that is simultaneously easily handled, and well suited to roads and everyday situations. We have now obtained transport permits for a six-axle mobile crane in North Rhine-Westphalia, and are happy with the results,” COLONIA CEO Frank Schönges stated.

COLONIA Spezialfahrzeuge has a history that dates back more than 70 years. It has a longstanding relationship with both Manitowoc and its sales partner for Germany, KranAgentur Werner. COLONIA’s fleet includes a total of 250 units.

“Based on the decades-long, trusting business relationship between COLONIA and Manitowoc, it was only natural for us to bring this project to a successful conclusion,” added Erdogan Arslan, Manitowoc’s sales director for central Europe. 

About The Manitowoc Company, Inc.
The Manitowoc Company, Inc. (“Manitowoc”) was founded in 1902 and has over a 117-year tradition of providing high-quality products and support services that are tailored to customers’ needs. Its 2019 net sales were approximately $1.83 billion. Manitowoc is one of the world's leading providers of engineered lifting solutions. Through its wholly-owned subsidiaries, Manitowoc designs, manufactures, markets and supports comprehensive product lines of mobile telescopic cranes, tower cranes, lattice-boom crawler cranes, boom trucks and industrial cranes under the Grove, Potain, Manitowoc, National Crane, Shuttlelift and Manitowoc Crane Care brand names.
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