Behind the scenes: developing the new Potain MDT 489

Manitowoc has launched the new Potain MDT 489 – a 450 mt topless tower crane that is quick and easy to erect. In this article, we look behind the scenes into the build-up of bringing this exciting crane to life and how Manitowoc’s Voice of the Customer process facilitated this.



“At Manitowoc, every new product starts with our Voice of the Customer process,” says François Rotat, product manager at Manitowoc. François is based in Dardilly, France, which is Manitowoc’s European headquarters and the place where engineers design new Potain products. “Listening to our customers’ feedback, we identified the need for a crane that complements our existing Topless MDT product range, especially in North America.”


The new MDT 489 will be sold worldwide but is expected to appeal strongly to customers in North America, and its characteristics are a perfect fit for the requirements in the region. “Our customers in North America asked us for a crane that would increase productivity and allow them to save on transportation costs,” says Daiane Quinlan, Manitowoc tower cranes sales director for the US and Canada.


“The MDT 489 is quick and easy to erect and delivers superior productivity on the jobsite. It’s a compact crane, so it requires fewer trucks when moved from job to job, which is very positive for our customers’ business bottom line.” Delivering great ROI, the MDT product line has proven to be extremely popular with customers: “Reliable performance and how fast you can put a crane to work are two important factors when calculating ROI, and the MDT line-up really shines here,” adds Daiane.



“Our customers in the rental business tell us that their sales teams love to rent our MDT cranes because of their reliability. And their technicians really enjoy setting our cranes up because of the simple erection and disassembling process. We expect for the MDT 489 to be one of our top sellers for its versatility and reliable performance – a must-have for any crane rental fleet!”


A new high point


The MDT 489 is equipped with the new 110/132 HPL hoisting winch, which offers a unique combination of performance and affordability. Delivering superior line speed of up to 613 ft (187 m) per minute, the 110/132 HPL winch accelerates construction times, improves overall driving comfort and provides more precise load placement.


The MDT 489 has a strong load chart and lifts 3.9 USt (3,5 t) at 262 ft (78 m), setting a new standard in the 450 mt class of tower cranes. Equipped with Manitowoc’s Crane Control System (CCS), the crane is easy to operate. CCS increases the accuracy of load readings, taking away any guess-work. Processing all crane data, the software helps operators to optimize efficiency and offers a user-friendly interface.


Extensive testing phase


The development of the MDT 489 took hard work – and it was a true team effort. After customer consultations and the design phase, the first prototype MDT 489 was manufactured in Manitowoc’s plant in Moulins. This unit was then put through a series of rigorous tests at the company’s Product Verification Center (PVC) in Lusigny (both France). The team there examined and tested all components to ensure they meet Manitowoc’s high standards for performance, quality and reliability.


After successfully exceeding the requirements for safety inspections, erection and maintenance ergonomics checks, functional validations and driving tests, the MDT 489 received the green light from the team at the PVC.


“The launch of a new crane is always a special time for our company,” says Thibaut Le Besnerais, vice president product management for tower cranes. “Many functions were involved in this project – engineers, our service teams, the colleagues at the test center, manufacturing and purchasing, just to name a few. Now it's time to celebrate the success, which is the result of the team’s hard work. We feel pride when seeing our machines on sites around the globe, constructing buildings and infrastructure for future generations.”


Manitowoc has already received orders for the new MDT 489, and the first machines will arrive in the USA in the second half of 2021.


Find out more about the MDT 489 on Manitowoc’s website.