Link-Belt Boasts New Boom Design and Four New Cranes

Link-Belt Construction Equipment Co. hosted dealers and their customers at its CraneFest 2009 open house in September, where several new cranes were on display. But perhaps more impressive was the manufacturer’s facility in Lexington, Ky. In June, the company began an $8 million expansion to build a new assembly bay. A previous 90,000-square-foot addition was completed just a year prior. Subscribing to lean manufacturing theory, the company’s facility reflects efficiency and high productivity at every turn.

Part of these upgrades includes investment in a press for making formed telescopic booms. Link-Belt is the only U.S. crane manufacturer forming its own booms, a process that is now being phased in. Formed booms were previously supplied by Vlassenroot, a Belgian company that currently supplies booms for many crane manufacturers. Link-Belt will begin incorporating the new formed boom design on various models as soon as the current supply is gone.

Out in the yard, the new RTC-80130 and TCC-750 garnered much attention. ALL Erection & Crane Rental Corp., Cleveland, Ohio, has already placed multiple-unit orders for these machines. Deliveries begin this month for the telecrawler while the RT is already in the customer’s hands.

The 130-ton RT touts competitive load charts, as demonstrated during CraneFest when capacities for Grove and Terex models were shown side-by-side with the RTC-80130 at 50-, 100-, and 140-foot radii. At 100 feet, for example, the RTC-80130 lifts 12,100 pounds, while the Grove RT-9130E and Terex RT-1120 lift 11,400 and10,500 pounds, respectively.

Designed for outstanding transportability, the RTC-80130 moves in two loads with the main load under 94,000 pounds with the boom, both winches, the three-piece fly, and the tires attached. On a trailer, the load height is less than 14 feet and, without the counterweights and outrigger boxes, is less than 10 feet wide. This crane can be disassembled and ready for transport in 30 minutes with no helper crane.

“The 75-ton TCC-750 has gotten a lot of attention. Our customers are really interested in a reliable telecrawler. We’re sold well into 2010,” said Pat Collins, Link-Belt’s senior lattice boom product manager, under whom the TCC-750 falls. Several new options, including an auger and work platform, increase the productivity of the crane for specific markets, such as utilities and railroads. Look for more details on this model in the December issue of Crane Hot Line.

Also shown for the first time was the HTC-3140. Based on the five-axle platform of the long-boom version, the 3140 has a five-section boom. Only the six-section HTC-3140LB had been shown previously. The five-section boom gives even more transportation alternatives when the reach of the long boom is unnecessary. It’s 41.4 to 162 feet long with a maximum tip height of 278 feet with three 18-foot lattice extensions and the three-piece, bi-fold lattice fly.

The HTC-3140LB, with its six-section boom, will be in customers’ hands this quarter after final testing. This crane’s boom is 195.3 feet with a maximum boom tip height of 204 feet. Worth noting are the optional fly attachments common to both. A 10-foot heavy-lift fly has 25 tons of capacity and can perform a single lift with two load lines.

The only new crane not at the event was the 500-ton 548 crawler. The crane was assembled at Holt Crane & Equipment’s facility in Houston, Texas, and was scheduled to be delivered to the end user by mid-October. The end user is Oklahoma Territory Crane Sales & Service, a Belger Cartage company in Oklahoma City, Okla.

Despite its elusiveness, Link-Belt continues to build on the 548’s platform. At the event, it was announced that a 600-ton Super Lift option for the crawler is currently being tested in Saijo, Japan. The 548 SLT (Super Lift Tray) will have a supermast and telescopic tray. The 548 SLW (Super Lift Wagon) will include a supermast with wagon attachment. Also new is a 25-foot auxiliary offset top, designed for heavy lifts where additional load-to-boom clearance is required. Applications include vessel placement and wind energy applications.

In his opening remarks, Bill Stramer, vice president marketing, sales, and product support, said of the 548: “This is the first time since the early 1980s that Link-Belt has had a 500-ton machine. This crane will find demand with the re-emergence of the nuclear power industry, and also in wind and petrochemical applications.”