New top guns for the topless family

Potain is rolling out a new generation of high capacity topless cranes to cope with growing demand for these fast and efficient units.


Today’s construction sites increasingly favor topless tower cranes over the more traditional hammerhead type, and it’s easy to see why. Topless cranes are stronger, easier to transport and faster to assemble than their hammerhead cousins, and because they feature a flat top section without the A-frame of hammerhead cranes it means more of them can overlap, so contractors can fit more into a smaller space.


Previously it seemed the only question around the rise of topless cranes is how manufacturers would design stronger models to cope with bigger loads on job sites without compromising their trademark compact design and easy assembly. But there is now an answer to that question, with Potain launching not one but two high-capacity topless tower cranes inside a six-month period.


The bigger of the two new models, the MDT 809, was unveiled at bauma 2019 and reinforced Potain’s position as the world’s leading tower crane company. The MDT 809 is the largest topless crane ever built by Manitowoc. It can lift loads of up to 40 t (44 USt) and can work with a jib of up to 80 m (262 ft).



Thibaut Le Besnerais, Manitowoc’s vice president of global products for tower cranes, said the introduction of the MDT 809 is one of the most significant tower crane launches of recent times.


“Over the past 10 years we’ve seen consistent growth in demand for topless cranes, with customers benefiting from their fast assembly and compact design,” he said. “We’ve also seen an increase in modular construction, with contractors needing to lift heavier loads. It’s clear to us that there is strong demand for bigger topless cranes. But we wanted to be sure that any new model we launch not only satisfied demand for greater capacity, but also preserved the easy transport, fast assembly and industry-leading performance our other topless cranes deliver. The MDT 809 provides all that and more.”


Easy to move, easy to assemble


With its highly optimized assembly and disassembly, owners can install the crane on site in a relatively short time and move it off site rapidly once work is completed. For transport, the crane is compact, with everything but the slewing mechanism traveling in a standard container. The crane transports in either 10 or 11 containers, depending on the winch, which is four to five fewer containers than other cranes of this size.


The Potain MDT 809 is not only fast to transport, but also fast to assemble on site. There are dedicated slinging points to aid on-site assembly and jib sections can be assembled on the ground or in the air. The rotating cab and easy-connect points for the counterjib further simplify erection.


“Overall the MDT 809 represents a new way of thinking in terms of high-capacity topless cranes,” Thibaut said. “It is ideal for large construction sites yet can also be assembled on projects where space is constrained. We’re already seeing strong interest from the construction, industrial and shipyard sectors.”


The first unit was delivered to Sweden’s Lambertsson Kran, which announced the purchase having seen the crane at bauma 2019. The company is renting the crane via its Lambertsson fleet and that of Norwegian crane sales and rental company Kranor AS. The MDT 809 reflects a valuable partnership between Potain and Lambertsson, with Lambertsson providing design input through Manitowoc’s Voice of the Customer program, one of the key strategies of The Manitowoc Way, which puts Manitowoc’s customers at the center of its business.



Potain MCT 565


The second high-capacity topless crane from Potain is the MCT 565, which launched at bauma China 2018. It is the largest topless crane built at the Manitowoc factory in China and will be sold by the company across Asia-Pacific, Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, Russia and other CIS countries. Like it’s bigger brother, the MDT 809, the MCT 565 has a compact design and is equally easy to transport, while also featuring one of the best load charts in its class. Its load moment of 550 tm is a significant step up from the company’s existing topless range.


Francois Rotat, global product manager for Potain top slewing tower cranes, said the new model gives customers lower total cost of ownership and allows them to take on new projects.


“The first topless cranes from our Zhangjiagang factory in China launched in 2012 and are now a huge success,” he said. “As acceptance grows, it’s natural that we extend the concept into new markets. The MCT 565 offers the benefits of topless cranes on significantly larger projects.”


Multiple choice


For ultimate flexibility, customers have several configuration choices that enable them to engineer the right crane for the right job site. For example, there are three options for the counter jib of 17 m (56 ft), 21 m (69 ft) and 24 m (79 ft), with users making their selection based on jib length. There is also a new family of masts for the crane, the C800, with users able to select the right length to deliver the precise height under hook needed.


Aside from working height, there is further flexibility in capacity with three versions of the MCT 565 on offer: 20 t (22 USt), 25 t (27 USt) and 32 t (35 USt). For the 20 t and 25 t versions there are two winches available, including one HPL unit from the industry-leading High Performance Lifting range. These ultra-fast hoists have high rope availability, making them perfect for high-rise developments.


Deliveries of the Potain MCT 565 started earlier in 2019, and among those receiving one of the first new units was prominent Asian tower crane rental company Manta Equipment. The company staged a ceremony at its Singapore facility to welcome the new unit into its fleet, with representatives from both Manta and Manitowoc in attendance.



As urbanization gathers pace across the world, construction timescales get shorter while skyscrapers get bigger. Potain is at the heart of creating our cities of the future and with new cranes like the MDT 809 and MCT 565, more is possible than it ever was before.


MDT 809

  • Lifts up to 40 t (44 USt) and can reach out to 80 m (262 ft)

  • Whole crane ships in 10 or 11 containers

  • Twice as fast to erect as other 40 t cranes

  • Assemble to 50 m (164 ft) height in less than three days

  • Three capacity options available: 25 t (27 USt), 32 t (35 USt) and 40 t (44 USt)


MCT 565

  • Lifts up to 32 t (35 USt) and can reach out to 80 m (262 ft)

  • Available in three versions: 20 t (22 USt), 25 t (27 USt), 32 t (35 USt)

  • Reach extends up to 80 m

  • Basic crane ships in nine containers

  • Can be assembled in less than two days

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