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Rising to the challenge of urban regeneration

As cities grow and brownfield development is prioritized, especially in countries such as the UK, Manitowoc is responding with a new generation of luffing jib cranes to tackle the complexities of construction on exceptionally confined urban jobsites.

While the global demand for luffing jib cranes continues to rise steadily, certain markets and environments are witnessing a significant uptick in their favor. On extremely confined urban jobsites where cranes must avoid oversailing surrounding buildings or extend over obstacles such as partially completed structures to execute lifts, luffers’ ability to raise and lower the jib can offer a distinct advantage over hammerhead cranes.  


As urbanization progresses and the prevalence of urban regeneration projects in mature cities grows, such scenarios are likely to become even more commonplace. The UK is a prime example of this trend, with its proactive urban renewal initiatives and broad adoption of luffing jib cranes.


Construction on brownfield sites – previously developed land no longer in use – gained political significance in the UK in 1998 when the then government set a target for 60% of all new developments to happen in these locations. Fast forward to 2021-2022, and while the national average of housing built on brownfield land stood at 54%, London showcased an even more impressive figure with 88% of all new residential addresses created on previously developed land during the same period.

In recent years, the current government has redoubled its efforts to prioritize construction on brownfield sites and streamline planning processes for urban redevelopment as a way to tackle the country’s housing shortage. According to the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), the UK has enough shovel-ready brownfield sites for 1.2 million homes – a figure equivalent to fulfilling the government’s annual target of 300,000 new homes for four years. Given the often confined and inner-city location of many of these brownfield sites, this could have a notable impact on the demand for luffing jib cranes.

New generation of luffing jib cranes

Listening to customer needs regarding luffers, not just in the UK but globally, Manitowoc launched the first in a new generation of Potain luffing jib tower cranes at bauma 2022, the MR 229. This 14 t capacity crane delivers on feedback gathered through the Voice of the Customer process for quicker and easier erection, as well as improved performance, including a greater height under hook, more powerful load charts, and a smaller out of service radius. The MR 229 was also the first Potain luffing jib crane to incorporate the Potain CCS (Crane Control System) for faster set-up and unparalleled control, as well as the new Potain CONNECT telematics aimed at optimizing fleet management and maximizing uptime.


In a notable debut, the world’s first MR 229 was put to work on a project to construct 476 new homes for housing association L&Q Group on a former industrial site on London’s Greenwich Peninsula. UK rental company and Potain partner since 2008 Radius Group had already deployed four MR 225 A cranes for the job but swiftly swapped one out for the first MR 229 as soon as it became available with a view to boosting site efficiency even further.

Introducing the new MR 309 and MR 329


Building on the success of the MR 229, Manitowoc is now introducing two additional Potain luffing jib cranes to the range — the MR 309 and MR 329. Both models are available in 16 t or 25 t capacity variants, sharing a 60 m jib and 3.4 t capacity at the tip but with different load curves and heights under pivot thanks to the respective 2 m and 2.45 m pivot and mast configurations. Another key feature of these two cranes is the out of service radius ranging from only 9.5 m to 12 m.


"At Manitowoc, we understand the specific challenges construction companies face in today's increasingly confined urban environments. That's why we continuously focus on developing customer-driven solutions like our new Potain MR 229, MR 309 and MR 329 luffing jib cranes. With their ease of erection and exceptional performance, these cranes are designed to empower our customers to take on complex urban jobsites, such as the L&Q Greenwich Penninsula project, with maximum efficiency. We’re confident that these new cranes will become valuable tools not just for urban regeneration in the UK, but for luffing jib crane users worldwide, contributing to their project success for years to come,” says Thibaut Le Besnerais, vice-president of marketing and development for tower cranes at Manitowoc.


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