Grove TM500E-2’s Outsourced Chassis Allows for More Strength, Less Fuel Consumption and Lighter Taxes

In recent years, product development in the North American truck crane market has primarily been limited to the typical model upgrades—longer booms and greater capacity. Today, however, the industry is experiencing a design revival. New approaches, especially regarding chassis integration, give crane buyers better operational efficiencies and greater specification flexibility.

One model creating a buzz is the 45-ton capacity Grove TM500E-2, which was introduced by Manitowoc, Manitowoc, Wis., last March at ConExpo. It replaces the TMS500E in the company’s truck crane line. Mounted on a purpose-built Autocar chassis, the two-engine machine touts numerous advantages over the previous model—the big improvement being fuel economy.

Introduced in 2001, the TMS500E truck crane was in need of updates. After conducting customer surveys on what features users would like to see on existing Grove products, Manitowoc decided to give the model the necessary improvements. “The TMS500E was due for an upgrade,” says Ruben Olivas, global product manager for truck cranes, boom trucks and industrial cranes for Grove. “The design has been with us for a number of years, and it was time for that particular model to evolve.”

And evolve it did, specifically in the area of fuel consumption. “Having two engines significantly reduces fuel usage,” Olivas says. “By using the superstructure engine to run crane operations, crane owners can reduce fuel consumption by gallons per hour. This allows customers to get more work from their cranes while reducing operating costs.”

The previous model TMS500E had only one single 300-hp engine, meaning that the engine had to be used for both transport and crane operation. “And usually in this size class it means a significant amount of travel during the workday,” Olivas says. The TM500E-2 updated version also has a 300-hp engine for transport, but it is also equipped with a 110-hp engine on the superstructure. “So this second engine for the superstructure, or crane operation, has less fuel consumption and it’s Tier 3,” Olivas says. “It does not require the ultra low-sulfur fuel that the chassis or the carrier engine would require. So we utilize a big engine for transport, and when the crane is set up for crane operation, the machine runs on that low-consumption fuel engine and with a cheaper fuel.”

Dave Demichei, vice president of Coast Crane, West Sacramento, Calif., intends to supply the truck crane primarily to crane and rigging owner/operator customers, as well as other users. He says that the two-engine setup has significant fuel savings. “By properly sizing the superstructure engine to drive the hydraulics instead of using the high horsepower carrier engine, we anticipate thousands of dollars per year in reduced operational costs,” he says. “With the volatility in fuel costs, we consider this to represent a considerable savings to our customers over the useful life of the unit.”

The highway carrier features a Cummins ISC 300-hp diesel, and a Cummins QSB 3.3L 110-hp off-road diesel engine powers the superstructure. Both engines are certified to current EPA emission standards for the U.S. market. The crane’s commercially sourced chassis features a spring front suspension and air rear suspension, which provide a comfortable ride and highway speeds of up to 65 mph. The travel speed allows for getting to several jobsites in a day, and a number of truck crane users in this size class utilize the cranes for taxi service and for lifting applications where the crane has to be sent for long distances to multiple locations in the same day.

While the two-engine setup carries significant advantages for the end user, it doesn’t translate into a more expensive product. Manitowoc’s engineering team developed the product with the price level in mind, and while it is more costly than its predecessor, that is mostly due to the price of materials today. The engines also meet CARB requirements both for on- and off-highway.

Read more about the TM500E-2, including structural advantages and its outsourced chassis, in the January issue of Lift and Access or in the digital edition.