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New life

With an EnCORE premium refurbishment, a Potain MD 610 tower crane that had completed a job building a bridge over the Panama Canal gained a second life as a like-new MD 560 B model in Stirnimann’s Swiss rental fleet.

Manitowoc’s EnCORE team provides immense value by bringing used cranes back to their former glory – and in some cases improving on the original to enhance user-friendliness and meet modern market expectations. One of the team’s latest success stories is an 11-year-old Potain MD 610 tower crane, previously owned by one of the world’s largest civil engineering contractors, that has now begun a new life as an MD 560 B with longstanding Potain dealer Stirnimann in Switzerland.

Manitowoc originally sold the top-slewing tower crane to the contractor as new in 2012 to work on the construction of a bridge over the Panama Canal in Central America. In the years since, the warm, damp, and salty environment had taken its toll on the paintwork, but the crane was still structurally sound and had the potential to keep working for many years to come.

Manitowoc’s used equipment purchasing department bought the crane back and had it shipped to the factory in Charlieu, France, for a premium refurbishment through the EnCORE program. The crane was dismantled, cleaned, shot-blasted to remove all the old paint, and repainted as if it were new. The team also overhauled the slewing, trolley, and lifting mechanisms, and replaced the wear parts, including the bearings and seals, to ensure the crane would perform as well as when it first left the factory. The entire refurbishment process took only four months.

The EnCORE team didn’t just refurbish the crane, however. They also improved it by changing the round mast pivot to a K-mast pivot that is more ergonomic for erectors and more commonly found on the European market. This important update necessitated the model designation change from MD 610 to MD 560 B, although the crane still has the same 80 m jib, 25 t maximum capacity, and 5.4 t capacity at the jib tip.

Another crucial improvement was the retrofit of Potain CONNECT, the brand’s telematics solution, encompassing remote monitoring, servicing, and crane management. Stirnimann is an early adopter of connectivity, having used data-driven insights from Potain digital solutions to drive efficiency and uptime throughout its fleet for more than a decade. Since the launch of Potain CONNECT at bauma 2022, Stirnimann has ordered all new cranes with this system and had it retrofitted across its existing units.

“There are so many benefits to choosing a used Potain crane that has gone through the EnCORE program, as opposed to one from a third-party broker,” explains EnCORE manager Bernard Ecabert. “The refurbishment is done by Potain employees in a Potain factory with the same quality and expertise that goes into manufacturing a brand-new crane, and we can make tweaks to the specification if required thanks to the technical support of our design office. What’s more, EnCORE cranes come with a 12-month warranty, and we can still supply manuals, training, and spare parts, even if the model is not current. This all contributes to the customer’s peace of mind that their crane will perform and can be easily maintained as if it were new.”

The refurbished MD 560 B crane’s new owner, Stirnimann, is no stranger to the EnCORE program. The dealer has a mix of both new and used Potain cranes among its over 500-strong rental fleet in Switzerland, Austria, and Denmark – and sends several of its older cranes to the Manitowoc EnCORE facility for an overhaul each year.

“Stirnimann is an exacting customer with high standards so the team’s trust in our used cranes and EnCORE program speaks volumes about their quality. Their endorsement affirms that Potain cranes maintain their high market value and perform reliably over many years,” Ecabert says.

Buying a used crane or sending a crane for refurbishment requires a lower investment than purchasing a brand new one, but for Stirnimann the decision is not purely financial; it’s also a question of sustainability and availability.

“Environmental care is one of our core values at Stirnimann, and we seek to use resources carefully, consciously, and in an ecologically sensible way. Giving new life to an old but high-quality crane means we avoid the steel consumption and emissions that would be generated in the manufacture of a new one. We are also committed to being a reliable partner for our customers and the shorter lead time for used cranes can be a useful tool if we need to add to our fleet to fulfill unexpected or short-notice requests,” explains Adrian Stalder, COO at Stirnimann.

The MD 560 B stands out as one of Potain’s larger crane models, suitable for the construction of high-rise buildings, bridges, and power plants, and the erection of wind turbines. Stirnimann specifically chose it to help construct Swiss discount retailer OTTO’s 8,000 m² new facility in Sursee, near Lucerne. Manitowoc delivered the refurbished MD 560 B in August 2023, and it has been performing as if it were brand new.

"The crane arrived in immaculate condition, and it has been performing flawlessly ever since. We've put it through its paces on a number of demanding projects, and it has handled everything we've thrown at it. The crane is just as powerful and reliable as a new one – you’d never be able to tell the difference,” Stalder says.

As the refurbished MD 560 B continues its second life with Stirnimann, it stands as testament to the enduring craftsmanship, quality, and value of Potain cranes, as well as representing an important step towards a more sustainable construction industry.

Visit the Manitowoc website to learn more about the EnCORE program or the Manitowoc used cranes site to browse the units currently available.


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