With demand for energy continuing to grow worldwide, Manitowoc is continuing to support the sector with its latest generation of cranes that have the reliability, versatility and durability to support this demanding sector.
While there is ongoing debate about what type of energy will power our world in the future, there is no debate about which way energy demand is headed: up. According to modelling work undertaken in the International Energy Agency’s New Policies Scenario, global energy demand is set to grow by more than 25% by 2040, requiring more than US$2 trillion a year of investment in new energy supply.
Alongside this, the energy market is experiencing an ongoing evolution. Recent years have seen mixed fortunes for the oil industry, yet it remains a dominant element in the energy mix. Demand for natural gas is on the rise, and government legislation is likely to be key in determining the future success of the nuclear industry. Government policies are equally important for the renewable energy industry, where future growth will be closely tied to policy decisions.
There are also other issues for the industry to contend with, such as an increasing concern from providers over energy security, as well as the global expansion of energy distribution networks, particularly into markets such as Asia and Africa.
For Manitowoc, the growth and ongoing transformation of the global energy sector presents a host of opportunities and challenges, explained Aaron Ravenscroft, executive vice president for cranes at Manitowoc.
“Our experience in the energy sector dates back decades, so we’ve been tracking developments with interest over the years,” he said. “Our customers in this sector are looking for cranes that are both reliable and versatile to help them adapt to today’s changing energy landscape. They also want machines that can cope with the rigors of today’s job site conditions. In fact, if you take a look at the latest rough-terrain cranes from Grove, for example, you can see design features that are tailor-made for today’s global energy sector, and that’s no coincidence.”
Versatile and reliable RT
Cranes Grove rough-terrain cranes are the most popular choice of Manitowoc products for customers in the energy sector, Ravenscroft said. Their versatility and reliability make them a perfect choice for all kinds of lifting and support work on oil and gas, nuclear, solar and wind projects. Marketed under the “Grove Real Tough” banner, the cranes offer a host of design features that make them ideal for energy job sites.
For example, the cranes deliver ultimate productivity on the job site, thanks to the inclusion of Manitowoc’s proven Crane Control System (CCS) that features on a range of models, including the RT530E-2, RT540E, RT550E, GRT655/GRT655L, GRT880, GRT8100 and the new GRT9165. Its user-friendly interface has two full graphic LMI displays and an ergonomic jog dial for easy navigation and greater lift planning, enabling the cranes to take on a wide range of lift duties. This aspect is particularly welcome on energy projects, where cranes are often used for all kinds of maintenance and support work, generally covering large areas, too. CCS is also a benefit for projects such as installing solar panels, where precise control is a must.
On the GRT8100, a new boom is featured as well. It offers up to three operational telescoping modes: a choice of sequenced or synchronized extension/ retraction, plus one mode for maintenance.
Again, with these cranes used for a variety of lifts from different locations, this ability to select more options for boom configuration gives Grove customers a real advantage.
It is just one feature in these latest-generation cranes that reflects a decade of design and engineering improvements to bring class-leading levels of quality and reliability to customers.
Tailor-made crawler cranes
One of the fastest growing energy sectors of the past 15 years has been the wind power market, and cranes from Manitowoc have facilitated the development of this renewable energy sector. Manitowoc crawler cranes such as the MLC300, MLC650 and 16000, and Grove GHC telescoping crawler cranes, are frequently used to assemble wind turbines. All of these cranes offer dedicated attachments for wind work. One of the newest technologies for crawlers in wind work is the 3.5-meter-wide boom inserts for the MLC300 and MLC650. These boom inserts deliver additional capacities and tip heights for greater performance on wind and other job site applications.
The MLC300 and MLC650 also feature Manitowoc’s unique Variable Position Counterweight (VPC). This patented technology automatically adjusts the position of the counterweight to match the required lift. Advantages of the VPC for customers include reduced ground preparation, lower ground-bearing pressure and less counterweight. This not only benefits users working on wind power projects, but also those using the cranes in power plants where ground conditions may be an issue.
The new GHC140 is the latest crane in the telescoping crawler crane lineup that is growing in popularity in the energy sector. Customers in this industry make use of the crane’s crawler ability on uneven or rough terrains, combined with the convenience of a telescoping boom. This setup enables 100 percent pick-and-carry capabilities that enable lifters to assemble solar panels or assist in wind turbine assembly with greater ease. These cranes can make several lifts without being re-set up for each load, and they easily maneuver around the job site from lift site to lift site.
The GHC140, which was introduced at bauma 2019, is the biggest model yet, with a 52.1 m (171 ft) boom, and 127 t (140 USt) capacity. The crane can pick and carry at 100 percent of its load chart on inclines up to 4° and swing loads a full 360°.
“We know that with today’s fast-changing energy landscape our customers have to be agile, and that means we have to be agile, too,” Ravenscroft said. “Our customers know that by investing in a Manitowoc or a Grove product, not only will they get a crane that they can use in more applications, they will also get industry-leading product support from brands they can trust.”
Voice of the Customer
Sam Hess, crane manager for B&K Equipment and Crane Service, discusses his company’s experience using a Grove GRT8100 rough-terrain crane to build a gas-fired power plant and to work on a hydraulic frack well.
“My crew and I are all 100 percent impressed with the GRT8100 when using it to build a gas-fired power plant. It’s reliable enough to handle any task we throw at it. Our operators used it for everything from setting 453 kg (0.5 USt) steel beams to lifting 11 t (12.5 USt) boilers. It has a very strong chart for a crane of this size. You don’t normally see a crane of this capacity with this small of a footprint.
“Shortly before construction of the power plant, I used the GRT8100 to hoist a 10.4 t (11.5 USt) coiled tubing injector above the wellhead on a hydraulic frack well. We needed a crane that could hold the injector in place for 30 hours on a very congested job site, and this crane was ideal for getting the job done.
“The CCS has been very user-friendly. You can adjust your controls and deploy your outriggers using the same convenient dial. You don’t have to reach up and use a touch screen each time. Accessing all of the crane’s boom lengths is very intuitive, too.”
Voice of the Customer II
U.S. contractor White Construction used a Manitowoc MLC300 crawler crane to complete work on a wind farm ahead of schedule. The 300 t (330 USt) capacity crane built 30 wind towers for the Hog Creek Wind Project in Ada, Ohio, wrapping up the work three weeks ahead of schedule.
“We chose the MLC300 with Fixed Position Counterweight because of its extra capacity compared with competing lattice boom crawler cranes,” said Jason Ruggles, director of crane operations for White Construction. “Combined with its smaller footprint, the crane enabled us to easily maneuver around the hilly terrain of the wind farm and complete each lift.”