All-Terrain Crane Makers Extend A Big Reach

Sept. 28, 2010

If you're ready right now to slap down a cool million bucks, or two, or more, it's overwhelmingly likely those who make and sell all-terrain cranes know who and where you are. You don't need to find them; just open your door in the morning, and they'll be there.

This may explain why some of these specialized OEMs are not inclined to shout out their stories at this time. There are members of this select group, such as Manitowoc and Terex, keen to explain their product offering when asked, but others either politely declined or flat-out did not respond to repeated requests.

With anywhere from three to eight axles, all-terrain cranes combine the ability to run the roads at highway speeds with the brute lifting strength of shorter rough-terrain cranes or even crawler cranes. All-terrain cranes are suited to quicker projects, such as in building construction or general erection jobs, with the ability to be moved on to the next site on their own, immediately and without haulage assistance. All-terrain cranes often have two engines: the chassis engine that drives the transmission and multiple axles must meet on-highway emissions requirements; the crane engine in the upper housing that drives hydraulic pumps used for powering hoists must meet off-highway emissions standards.

Most makes in the market originate from German-based technology.


Manitowoc used the backdrop of Conexpo-Con/Agg 2008 to roll out to a North American audience two new five-axle all-terrain cranes under the Grove brand. Specifically designated in North America to reflect their maximum rated lift capacities in U.S. tons, at 115 and 225, respectively, the GMK5115 and GMK5225 can achieve tip heights of 278 and 331 feet. They, along with the five-axle GMK5135 rolled out later in 2008, feature both Manitowoc's patented Megaform boom and Megatrak suspension system with all-wheel steer, ensuring each wheel remains on the ground at all times. All crane operations including superstructure and carrier functions are managed by the ECOS electronic control system.

The GMK5225 unveiled at Conexpo featured the standard Mercedes engine, but a Cummins engine option is available. This choice, says Manitowoc, "will appeal to crane owners in the U.S., as will the optimum on-road/off-road performance that comes from the engine combined with the Allison transmission and two-speed transfer case."

The GMK5135, with its maximum tip height of 301 feet, combines ECOS with the EKS 5 Light load monitoring system. This particular model is designated the GMK5110-1 outside of North America.

The 11-model Grove family of all-terrain cranes ranges from the 60-ton-capacity GMK3055 to the 550-ton-capacity GMK7550.


Leveraging the technology of its German-based Demag operation, Terex offers a range of 19 all-terrain crane models, ranging from the short-length AC 30 City with a maximum lifting capacity of 30 metric tons to the AC 700 described as the world's most powerful telescopic crane "roadable" with the entire main boom.

After being specifically adapted to meet the requirements of North American users, the U.S. debut of the German-built AC 100/4 occurred at Conexpo-Con/Agg 2008. With the distance between the second and third axles being 8 feet, the 100-metric-ton-capacity, four-axle crane is possible, with a dolly, to road in most of the United States. The machine's width is about 8 feet 5 inches.

The Terex AC 100/4 has a new five-section telescopic boom that, at a medium length of about 110 feet (33.3 meters) with maximum counterweight, is able to hoist 24.6 metric tons within a radius of 33 feet (10 meters). When heavier loads are required, such as during the assembly of tower cranes, the 100-metric-ton-capacity all-terrain crane equipped with additional counterweight can — at full extension — lift 5.3 metric tons at a radius of more than 90 feet (30 meters). To allow crane set-up in the most uneven environments, a variable stabilizer system allows each of the beam legs to be set in any of four positions.

A recent worldwide product-line addition, the AC 300/6 is capable of 400-metric-ton lifting jobs. According to Terex, that size machine is in "a territory that, for all intents and purposes, belongs to much larger machines." The AC 300/6 fills a gap between the AC 250-1 and AC 350. Advantages to it over a larger model, says Terex, include its quick-setup Superlift for increased lifting capacity with large-system lengths, as well as a setup-optimized luffing jib and fully automatic counterweight pick-up system.

Other players

  • At this year's Intermat show in France, scheduled for April 20–25, it is anticipated Liebherr will roll out the 350-metric-ton LTM 1350-6.1 with a 918-foot (70-meter) telescopic boom, extended by 10 meters over that of the predecessor LTM 1300-6.1 model. The six-axle LTM 1350-6.1 would be the fourth largest in what is currently a 19-model Liebherr mobile crane product line, topped off by the nine-axle LTM 11200-9.1 boasting a lift capacity in excess of 2.6 million pounds or 112 metric tons.
  • With six models ranging from the three-axle ATF50G-3 with a lift capacity of 55 U.S. tons up to the five-axle ATF220G-5 with a 250-ton capacity, Houston-based Tadano America offers a line of all-terrain cranes for the North American market. Each of the Tadano all-terrain cranes features purpose-built frames with two-man, full-width carrier cabs of composite steel-fiberglass structure, as provided by the German-based Faun organization, which was acquired by Japan's Tadano in 1990.
  • As part of its extensive line of mobile, crawler and truck cranes, Link-Belt offers the ATC-3200 and ATC-3250 all-terrain cranes rated at 200 and 250 U.S. tons, respectively. As displayed last year at Conexpo, the seven sections of the ATC-3250's boom extend independently via a solo double-acting, single-stage hydraulic cylinder. Four pinned positions on each section provide 38 extending combinations to the boom, which reaches out to 223 feet (68 meters).
  • Little Giant Corp., sister company to Badger Equipment, offers the 30-U.S.-ton-capacity 6430 carrier-mounted crane model, "with an optional 6×6 carrier drive that makes it an all-terrain crane," reports Paul Marxen, sales manager. A new mobile crane model within the last 18 months, the 6430 incorporates a lattice boom design, uses Cummins Tier-3 engines for both the upper structure and carrier, and is manufactured in the United States by a company dating back 50 years.

If you've got it to spend on an all-terrain crane, your money will be well spent, indeed.

With a distance of about 8 feet between the second and third axles, the Terex AC 100/4 all-terrain crane can be roaded throughout much of North America. Road homologation is also possible with 16-inch tires. A product of Terex's German-based Demag operations, the AC 100/4 was introduced to the U.S. at Conexpo-Con/Agg 2008.
With its 197-foot, seven-section main boom, Manitowoc's115-ton-capacity Grove GMK5115 crane made its North American appearance last year. Tip heights of up to 272 feet are available with the hydraulic luffing bi-fold swingaway that includes an 11-foot heavy-duty jib.
Little Giant Corp. offers the 30-ton-capacity Little Giant 6430, a carrier-mounted, lattice-boom crane that it claims can be optioned to an "all-terrain" model.
In this story:
  • Manitowoc
  • Terex
  • Other players
  • The Cost of Ownership
The Cost of Ownership
Size List Price *Hourly Rate
* Hourly rate represents the monthly ownership costs divided by 176, plus operating cost. Adjusted operating unit prices used in the calculation are diesel fuel at $2.25 per gallon, mechanic's wage at $45.39 per hour, and money costs at 5.625 percent.
Source: , phone 800/669-3282
17.0 – 29.9 metric tons $281,115 $82.26
30.0 – 34.9 metric tons $474,477 $122.75
35.0 – 39.9 metric tons $538,043 $140.89
40.0 – 49.9 metric tons $601,609 $155.42
50.0 – 65.9 metric tons $678,029 $171.86
66.0 – 80.9 metric tons $984,053 $213.80
81.0 – 110.9 metric tons $1,001,140 $220.55
111.0 – 139.9 metric tons $1,124,387 $241.55
140.0 – 199.9 metric tons $1,736,135 $343.73
200.0 – 299.9 metric tons $2,030,686 $407.41
300 metric tons and up $2,532,494 $498.86