Closer to the customer – Why Manitowoc started Grove rough-terrain crane production in Italy

As demand increases for larger rough-terrain cranes in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Southeast Asia-Pacific, the addition of RT models up to 100 t capacity to the Manitowoc factory in Niella Tanaro, Italy, has decreased logistics costs and lead times for customers in these regions.


The Niella Tanaro team in front of the first Grove GRT655L rough-terrain crane produced at the factory.

Over the last few years, Manitowoc has seen a significant rise in demand for its larger Grove rough-terrain cranes outside of the Americas. These cranes are proving a popular choice on major road, bridge, and rail infrastructure projects, as well as at oil and gas refineries, for their extreme versatility, ease of use and low total cost of ownership.

Until recently, large RT cranes had been produced solely at the Manitowoc plant in Shady Grove, Pennsylvania, in the United States. After extensive ‘Voice of the Customer’ feedback and increases in demand in several key regions, the company decided to localize production, expanding the range of rough-terrain cranes manufactured in Niella Tanaro, Italy.

The Niella Tanaro plant has been producing smaller Grove rough-terrain cranes since 2005, so only minor adaptions were required to the assembly line. Other than various tooling for the assembly line and additional welding fixtures, the largest share of the investment went into the test field, including a concrete load cell for performing heavy structural tests.


Foundations for excellence


“The impact of adding the larger rough-terrain cranes to the existing production was minimal because the concept of the crane is similar and our people at Niella Tanaro are highly skilled and experienced in producing Grove cranes,” explained Federico Lovera, product manager for rough-terrain, industrial and lattice boom crawler cranes at Manitowoc, who led the localization project.

“We also have an established network of suppliers here,” he continued. “Italy, in general, is a great place to find good suppliers as there are a lot of manufacturers of construction equipment and agricultural tractors based here.”

In addition, Niella Tanaro is conveniently located just 70 km from the business hub of Turin and less than 50 km from the ports of Genoa and Savona, making it easy to import materials and ship the cranes once fully assembled.



Quicker and more cost-effective


The first large RTs produced at Niella Tanaro shipped in June 2018 with a shorter lead time and lower logistics costs for customers in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Southeast Asia-Pacific. European manufacturing also removed import duties for customers in countries included within the EUR.1 trade agreement, such as Algeria, Tunisia, and South Africa.

“Our aim is to always include the voice of the customer in our strategic decisions and to be the market leader in rough-terrain cranes. We have shown our commitment to customers by bringing production closer to them,” Federico said. “The Italian team is grateful for the support of our US colleagues who came to train our workers on the assembly line. Our successful production implementation has translated to increased orders.”


Grove rough-terrain cranes ranging from 30 t to 100 t capacity manufactured at the Manitowoc factory in Niella Tanaro, Italy.

Memorable customer experiences


Manitowoc planned to leverage the factory’s strategic location and welcome more customers to see their cranes being built and test-drive them in realistic jobsite conditions. The team was proud to host customer delegations at Niella Tanaro in person before the COVID-19 pandemic, which has not stopped them from remotely showing off its industry-leading technology to the world. Via virtual tours and walkarounds, Manitowoc has still given customers the memorable experience of seeing their new rough-terrain cranes in the place where they were made.

“We have received extremely positive feedback from customers on our virtual walkarounds, which are still very interactive,” Federico concluded. “We can’t wait to welcome customers back to Niella Tanaro in the future but until then, we will do our best to demonstrate the full capability of our best-in-class cranes and facilities virtually.”


Visit the Manitowoc website to discover more about Grove rough-terrain cranes.