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Bringing infrastructure development to life

Cranes from Manitowoc have been at the heart of the world’s infrastructure development. And with the sector now back in the limelight, our company is perfectly placed to help customers deliver the next generation of projects.

All over the world, infrastructure development is in the news. Whether it’s developed nations replacing out-of-date infrastructure or developing countries building a framework for growth, markets everywhere are looking for the economic boost they need from infrastructure. From San Francisco to Seoul, there’s universal acceptance that infrastructure provides the foundation on which communities, cities and countries are built.

This past February, global infrastructure project expert CG/LA Infrastructure listed the world’s top 100 projects (in planning) and said they represent over US$664 billion in expected investment. “2018 promises to be a strong year for infrastructure globally, coinciding with nearly ten years of growth, and now synchronized global growth,” said Norman Anderson, the company’s CEO. “We see very strong opportunities in anything related to moving people and the health of citizens — and now we are seeing an explosion in technology-driven projects, derived from hard thinking about the user experience.

In the U.S., President Trump is proposing a US$1 trillion infrastructure program to revitalize the country’s ailing highways, bridges, airports, seaports, railroads and water systems. Elsewhere in the world, mass urbanization, fast-growing developing economies and the drive for “Smart Cities” is leading governments to rethink infrastructure. When combined with changing technology, such as automated transport, IoT and digitization, ongoing population growth around the globe means many infrastructure systems are woefully inadequate.

For the crane industry, there is a crucial role in bringing this new generation of infrastructure to life, and Manitowoc is at the forefront. The company has supplied cranes to some of the most high-profile developments of the last decade — as well as thousands of less prominent, but equally important, ones.

Aaron Ravenscroft, executive vice president for cranes at Manitowoc, said infrastructure remains a significant and important sector of focus.

“For over 100 years Manitowoc has supplied the lifting equipment to build the towns and cities that have fueled global prosperity,” he said. “We’re seeing developments get bigger and more complex, while time frames get tighter. And contractors are relying on us to provide the innovative lifting technology to meet those challenges.”

Throughout history, major infrastructure projects have captured the public’s imagination, and so it is with many of the biggest and best developments today. Projects such as the expansion of the Panama Canal or China’s “One Belt, One Road” are designed to facilitate global trade and advance living standards worldwide.

Aaron Ravenscroft said the size and importance of infrastructure projects makes contractors look for a crane brand they can trust.

“With Manitowoc, contractors know they’ll get the reliability and performance they need to get the job done,” he said. “Our manufacturing and engineering operations continue to advance, and so does the world’s infrastructure — and that’s no coincidence.”

Infrastructure covers a broad range of structures, systems and facilities that deliver essential services to businesses and communities. Projects tend to be larger because they connect so many other government and commercial constructions. As a result, infrastructure projects are often ground-breaking, and in terms of cranes and lifting equipment that means bigger cranes; more cranes on the job site; and the need for leading-edge technologies.


As air traffic grows and passenger numbers rise, airport authorities need bigger terminals and more runways. Modern terminal designs are characterized by wide open spaces with designs of glass and steel, which means the cranes need to position heavier construction components at greater distances.

Potain topless MDT cranes can be seen on airport expansion projects the world over and are perfect for this work. With no cathead, the cranes can overlap each other within a narrower vertical space, meeting the strict working height limits of airports. The cranes are also stronger, making them well-suited to modern airport designs.

Grove mobile cranes and Manitowoc crawler cranes can also be found on airport projects. For example the US$5.4 billion expansion of the Viracopos International Airport near São Paulo, Brazil, has Grove rough-terrain cranes helping with a variety of lifting duties; while the lengthening of the west-to-east runway at Boston’s Logan International Airport in the U.S. called for four Manitowoc crawler cranes. And at the new US$4.3 billion Kuwait International Airport, there are 26 Potain cranes working, including six high-capacity MD 1100 models.


Like so much of today’s construction, the modern development of bridges is characterized by bigger structures. Advanced engineering is facilitating bridge building in more remote and challenging locations. Alongside this there’s greater focus on bridge construction in developing nations, with governments quick to recognize their economic benefits.

To build the spectacularly tall towers that characterize today’s big bridges, many contractors turn to Potain and its range of special-application cranes. These custom-built units are among the largest tower cranes ever built, capable of handling huge loads at long distances — and with fast hoist speeds. China’s Nanjing No. 3 Yangtze Bridge, Russia’s Russky Island Bridge and France’s Millau Viaduct are just some of the landmark bridges that have employed

Potain special application cranes.

Of course other Manitowoc crane brands, particularly GMK all-terrain cranes from Grove and crawler cranes from Manitowoc, are employed on bridge construction. For example in the United States, numerous Manitowoc crawler cranes were used on the huge Tappan Zee Bridge project in New York State.


For many developing nations, their ongoing economic progression is directly linked to improved infrastructure, and in particular, the provision of reliable power to homes and businesses. For this, dams are a popular and efficient choice, and recent years have seen construction activity pick up, particularly in Asia and Africa. The combination of improved engineering skill and the latest lifting equipment, plus both regions’ ideal topography, makes for a perfect combination.

Grove rough-terrain cranes are a clear leader in the field. One of the most notable dams of recent times is Peru's Cerro del Aguila Hydroelectric Power Plant, which now helps to alleviate the country's fast-growing demand for electricity. The US$800 million job required tough equipment that could navigate mud and treacherous terrain. Unsurprisingly, the contracting consortium turned to Grove for the task, employing two RT530E-2s, two RT765E-2s and an RT9130E-2 on the four-year project.


For many governments, road building is one of the biggest and most important focuses

in infrastructure development. In Africa, Asia and the Middle East, recent years have seen the launch of many wide-ranging, state-backed road building programs. The economies of North America and Europe are pursuing road development, too, to upgrade existing infrastructure for increased traffic volumes and new transport technology.

Grove rough-terrain and all-terrain cranes are proven workhorses in road construction with

their reliability and durability making them a go-to choice. In North America, contractors have

also been turning to the range of GHC telescopic crawler cranes from Grove.

Elsewhere, one of the most ambitious road projects in recent history is using a combination

of Grove, Potain and Manitowoc cranes. The €1.7 billion coastal road around Reunion Island

in the Indian Ocean is one of the most remote highway systems ever built and designed to

withstand hurricane winds and 10 m (33 ft) waves — conditions the cranes also have to withstand.


For rail construction, development falls into two categories: high-speed lines connecting

commercial centers and metro systems for downtown locations. Growing urbanization

makes metro rail one of the most attractive options for people movement, while high speed

rail travel can often be faster and more efficient than air travel.

As with other modern infrastructure development, today’s rail projects are distinctive

for their scale. For example, the new US$22.5 billion Riyadh Metro in Saudi Arabia is employing 28 Potain tower cranes. Once complete, it will be the largest metro system in

the Middle East. Similarly, metro projects from Rio to Singapore, and Mumbai to Washington

D.C., are calling on cranes from Manitowoc to provide support both above and below ground.

Global future

As globalization increases and our world becomes more interconnected, infrastructure

growth will continue to shape our communities. Engineering and construction industries are playing a leading role in the development of mankind, and Manitowoc is proud to supply the cranes that lift plans from the drawing board to the real world.


More than a crane

For today’s infrastructure projects, contractors want a brand they can trust.

Not just to deliver performance on the job site, but for so much more:

  • Support – With Manitowoc Crane Care, customers get immediate and professional service. Whether it’s parts, maintenance or information, the very best customer service is just a phone call or “click” away.

  • Fleet management – Increasingly, contractors want more data on crane performance and utilization. Manitowoc’s unique CraneSTAR Diag program delivers real-time data to fleet managers, allowing for better use of resources.

  • Finance – Funding is often needed to support the large crane investments major infrastructure projects require. With Manitowoc Finance, contractors can choose the best financial product for them, tailored to their needs.

  • Lift solutions – Large projects need detailed coordination or adjustments to the cranes on site. For this, Manitowoc operates its dedicated Lift Solutions operation with engineering expertise, lift planning and more available to customers.


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