Updates to Manitowoc’s factories are leading to greater efficiencies and quicker turnarounds for Grove rough-terrain cranes.
Shady Grove, Pennsylvania – Manitowoc is continually looking for ways to improve and maintain its position as one of the leading innovators in the crane industry. That not only means producing the latest and greatest crane models, but also improving operations to work more efficiently and minimize its environmental impact. Over the last few years, the company has made several improvements to its factory in Shady Grove, Pennsylvania, U.S., where it builds the majority of its Grove rough-terrain cranes. The changes have all been implemented to improve efficiency and enable the company to better react to changing market demands.
To kick off its factory update and operational improvement exercise at Shady Grove, Manitowoc held a series of Kaizens to analyze what areas it could best improve. This led the company to identify processes, production and testing operations as key areas to enhance.
For production, Manitowoc has upgraded the facility’s operations in several ways. This includes the introduction of additional robotic welding for crane frames, which improves both the quality and repeatability of the welds. Manitowoc has also recently invested in several new vertical machining centers to streamline plate detail production. SMED (single minute exchange of dies) has been a major focus on these machines, reducing part setup by more than 50%. In addition, a dedicated cell for the complete processing of Boom Truck boom details was recently implemented minimizing material handling and improving throughput.
Manitowoc has also moved to a new value stream structure that brings together cross functional teams from across the company to better share customer feedback to ensure new cranes meet market desires. This includes sales, engineering and sourcing, and that information is used to directly improve design and manufacturing operations in Shady Grove.
“The goal is to eliminate waste in operational and administrative capacities, while also enhancing our focus on delivering the highest-quality, customer-driven products,” said Mike Reed, value stream director for Mobile Hydraulic Cranes.
The Manitowoc Way at work
These changes enable the company to manufacture cranes at a quicker pace in order to meet market demands. The Manitowoc Way allows for direct customer feedback, which enables engineers to know exactly what customers are looking for and incorporate changes into specifications, even while the design process for new cranes is ongoing.
“Talking with our customers and dealers to see what they are looking for in the market helps us identify our next innovation,” said John Bair, product manager for Grove rough-terrain cranes.
“The velocity with which we are able to get that feedback, design a solution and get it out to the market helps us maintain our reputation as a leader in the industry.”
The Manitowoc Way is a driving force within the company. Innovation throughout all operational silos is leading to greater efficiencies and quicker development, resulting in solutions that meet Manitowoc’s customers’ needs.
Overseas Grove production expands
Manitowoc’s Niella Tanaro, Italy, factory achieved a notable milestone in 2018 when it manufactured its first Grove GRT8100. The 100 t (100 USt) capacity crane is the largest Grove RT crane ever built outside the U.S. (the GRT8100 is also manufactured at the Shady Grove plant).
The strategic move to produce GRTs in Italy enables Manitowoc to better serve customers around the world and was the direct result of customer feedback. Benefits include shorter lead times, lower shipping costs and preferential import duties in certain countries that recognize the EUR1 certificate of origin, with the specifications and quality levels being as high as the rough-terrain cranes manufactured in Shady Grove.
“This project was made possible thanks to the successful and effective collaboration between the teams in Shady Grove and Niella Tanaro. It’s a true testament to the spirit of The Manitowoc Way, and innovation and velocity,” Bair said. “The team in Niella Tanaro in particular has done a tremendous job. They managed to utilize the factory for GRT8100 production in only a few months.”
Since 2005, Manitowoc’s Niella Tanaro factory has manufactured other popular rough-terrain crane models including the RT530E-2, RT540E and RT550E. The 80 t (80 USt) Grove GRT880, was also added to production in 2018 and the GRT655 and GRT655L models will begin production in Italy in early 2021.