Manitowoc Builds Digital Design
3-D modeling cuts lead times
By Tudor Hampton in Paris
Global manufacturer Manitowoc Co. Inc. has pushed its computer-aided designs higher with the Model 18000, a new 660-ton crawler crane. Designers believe it is the first of its size to be built and tested entirely on computer in what engineers are calling "virtual prototyping."

The machine costs up to $6.5 million, but the manufacturer believes it will have lucrative payoffs in the petrochemical and power-generation sectors. "These days, lifts are getting heavier, and users are working in more confined spaces," says Steven Lohr, project manager and director of sustaining engineering for the Manitowoc, Wis.-based company. It displayed the 18000 for the first time May 13-17 at international equipment show Intermat 2003, in Paris. Customers like specialty contractor and rental firm All Erection & Crane Rental Corp., Cleveland, which received the first of its two units in December 2002, hope to put the machines to work for retrofitting industrial plants and erecting wind power farms, two demanding markets for heavy-lift cranes domestically and abroad.

With standard equipment, Lohr says the boom spans 400 ft, and a three-person crew can assemble the machine in a day. Parts break down into 30 to 40 tractor-trailer loads. List price ranges from $5 million to $6.5 million, depending on options.

European utility
NHAULOTTE U.S. Inc.; 410/553-9692;

Concrete Slab Props
Quick setup and adjustment
PERI formwork; 410/712-7225;

Backhoe Joins Volvo Lineup
R&D attempts to add global equity
Volvo Construction Equipment, based in Brussels, diverts from a recent company strategy of acquiring existing technology from other equipment manufacturers by spending the past four years researching and developing its own new loader backhoe.

Although the unit has been highly praised for terrain visibility from the operator’s cab, some critics have questioned Volvo’s logic in designing the new product in an already mature and dense marketplace of at least two-dozen competitors.

Nonetheless, the research and development effort for the 4.0-liter, 90-horsepower BL71 began in 1998. According to Emmanuel Perrin, Volvo product manager, assembly-line production started in September 2002 in Wroclaw, Poland, where the company also manufactures over-the-road buses. The loader backhoe unit is expected to grow into several models as Volvo continues an aggressive campaign to round out its compact and heavy machines and push them beyond Europe, particularly into North America and Asia. Equipped as standard, BL71 base list price starts at $59,500.

ew "four-in-one" construction machine combines the functions of a compact excavator, loader, telescopic forklift and work-tool carrier. The "Multijob’s" upper structure features a continuous 360° ring-gear turntable, enclosed cab and excavator arm. Undercarriage parts include a loader boom and four-wheel drive. Multijob can load and unload its front bucket with its rear arm, and the unit’s hydrostatic transmission is powered by a Deutz 1012 turbo diesel providing 85-hp output at 1,500 rpm. Three modes of steering–front only; front and rear; and crab/oblique–are offered as standard. Buyers can specify options including foam-filled tires; air conditioning; centralized grease zerks; and several buckets, material-handling work tools and accessories. Gross vehicle weight, as standard, is 19,330 lb. List price starts at $145,000. Formwork manufacturer introduces a new concrete-form slab prop device, which adds to the company’s PEP 20 and PEP 30 existing lineup of similar formwork accessories. Model PEP 10, made from galvanized steel construction, provides a 1-ton load-holding capacity and is available in 8.2, 9.8, 11.5 and 13-ft length increments. A new adjusting nut manufactured with lowering nubs and tie-rods facilitates height adjustment while the prop device is in position. The company stamps length measurements on the inner tube in 100-mm increments for accurate and rapid adjustment. The manufacturer says the adjusting nut’s universal design also allows users to set up the prop right-side up as well as upside down.