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A match made in steel

A seasoned crane operator in The Netherlands enjoyed working on a Grove GMK3050 model so much that he made the crane a requirement for his next job.

Leon de Ruijter and Van Gestel Montage B.V.’s Grove GMK3050.
Leon de Ruijter and Van Gestel Montage B.V.’s Grove GMK3050.

Leon de Ruijter started his career as a crane operator 25 years ago. Over that time, he has worked with many different models and has seen their technological sophistication evolve.

Although Ruijter has operated numerous cranes, including newer models, he has a personal favorite — the Grove GMK3050 all-terrain crane, which was last manufactured almost two decades ago.


Ruijter enjoyed working on this Grove crane so much that he made it a requirement for his hiring at Dutch steel erector Van Gestel Montage B,V., based in Kaatsheuvel.


“We asked him what it would take to get him to join us,” said company owner Rens van Gestel. “And he said, ‘a nice, pristine, original GMK3050’. Of course, that’s easier said than done, as Grove no longer builds the GMK3050, only the third-generation GMK3050-3.”


However, thanks to Manitowoc’s Breda team and its EnCORE refurbishment program, van Gestel was able to acquire an original GMK3050 that rolled out of the assembling line 21 years ago. After sourcing the crane, Manitowoc’s EnCORE team in Breda rebuilt it to the exact OEM standards of Grove. Soon after, Ruijter joined Van Gestel Montage B.V. and took the crane to its first lifting jobs after its full restoration.


“Our GMK3050 is running like new, with smooth operation, flawless performance, and a lot of operator comfort,” he said. “My favorite aspects of this crane are its quick setup and operation, and the comfort of the MEGATRAK® suspension.”


The Grove GMK3050 was fully refurbished at Manitowoc’s EnCORE facility in Breda, Netherlands.
The Grove GMK3050 was fully refurbished at Manitowoc’s EnCORE facility in Breda, Netherlands.

Made to last


Despite over two decades of service, Van Gestel Montage B.V.’s GMK3050 had only covered 80,000 km and clocked up 8,000 working hours under its two previous owners. The durable design of Grove cranes meant the GMK3050 was still in extremely good condition when the technical team from EnCORE started their refurbishment work.


“So far, 100% of the jobs the crane and I performed involved the erection of steel parts and prefab concrete walls and floors for new construction,” Ruijter said. “Van Gestel Montage B.V. can build anything from little sheds to giant distributor centers, and so can our GMK3050.”


Ruijter said he enjoys the daily challenges being a crane operator provides.


“One of my favorite things about this line of work is to see something you helped build years after completion. It’s very rewarding.”


Ruijter also mentioned he enjoys working within a team and likes to have responsibility over a machine he knows so intimately that “it feels like it’s yours.”


Van Gestel Montage B.V.’s “new” Grove GMK3050 is already busy at work.
Van Gestel Montage B.V.’s “new” Grove GMK3050 is already busy at work.

Major components including the boom and winch underwent specialist refurbishment, followed by a suite of other minor repairs and upgrades. Then the bodywork received some loving attention, with every dent and crack repaired before the crane received a full respray, finished with clear coat paint and proudly sporting new Van Gestel Montage B.V. decals.


“Our ‘new’ GMK3050 looks absolutely magnificent,” said owner van Gestel. “It’s already become Ruijter’s pride and joy, which is fantastic. We work for clients across the Netherlands and Belgium, so it’s vital that our crane operators are completely happy and comfortable in their machines to deliver maximum productivity.”


Rolf Klooster, regional director at Manitowoc in the Netherlands, added:


“This GMK3050 looks as good as when it first left the factory. It’s in virtually mint condition and a casual observer would not be able to say whether its year of manufacture was 2001 or 2022.”


To learn more about remanufacturing from Manitowoc click here.

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