Visitors to the Manitowoc booth at bauma 2016 can learn more about the company’s unique VPC (variable position counterweight) technology in its “Crawler Crane Innovation Pavilion,” where a range of demonstrations and displays will showcase the features and benefits of the system. Product managers and crawler crane experts at the company are on hand to discuss the VPC, as well as other aspects related to the company’s full line of crawler cranes.
VPC technology is featured on the manufacturer’s two newest models, the MLC300 and MLC650, as well as on the 2,300 t capacity flagship, the Manitowoc 31000 – the largest capacity crane from the company. It is unique in its ability to automatically position the counterweight to suit a required lift. By moving laterally along the crane’s rotating bed, the VPC changes position based on changes in the crane’s boom angle. Its precise position is determined by the load, boom and jib length, and the load radius. The innovative design offers several practical advantages to owners, including reduced ground preparation, lower ground-bearing pressure and less counterweight being required overall.
Bruce Buchan, Senior Vice President of Crawler Cranes at Manitowoc, says that while the VPC technology is still relatively new it is already proving its worth to owners.
“Just two years after we presented the MLC300 and MLC650 at the CONEXPO show in Las Vegas, we’re already hearing customers talk about the huge cost and time savings they’ve achieved with the cranes, and it’s largely due to the VPC,” he says. “One customer reported that a project in Australia could have achieved close to $4 million in savings by using the VPC. Now the cranes are in the market, we’re seeing those theoretical savings turning to reality for many customers.”
Because VPC allows bigger lifts to be made by extending the counterweight outwards from the crane’s center of gravity, less counterweight is needed overall. This means that fewer trucks are needed for assembling and disassembling the cranes on site, while set up is also faster. Cranes with VPC technology are ideal for energy-related projects including refineries, petrochemical installations and power plants, as well as for infrastructure applications.
In addition to the standard VPC, a VPC-MAX attachment is offered for the MLC300 and MLC650 that increases capacity, as well as boom and jib combinations. Because the counterweight attachment for the VPC-MAX never touches the ground it gives the MLC300 and MLC650 a further advantage in offshore applications as this feature makes the cranes ideal for work on barges. In addition the MLC650, when working with its VPC-MAX attachment, is able to handle some of the most challenging installations on wind farms, including positioning turbines at heights of over 120 m.
Shipping is optimized for both the MLC300 and MLC650 so owners can move them quickly and easily, even overseas. There is a removable, live mast shipping module while the boom inserts are designed to allow the luffing jib inserts to fit inside them for more efficient transportation.
A further advantage for users is that both the MLC650 and MLC300 are the first crawler cranes from Manitowoc to feature the company’s intuitive and ergonomic Crane Control System (CCS). This control system is notable for its reliability and ease of maintenance and is being introduced across the Grove, Potain, National Crane and Manitowoc product families.