From the March 2017 Issue of Crane Hot Line:
Truck-Mounted Unit Goes to the Next Level
For traditional users of 40-ton hydraulic truck cranes, there has been a void of new machines in this class. “In the market, there is only one option in the 40-ton truck crane,” says Steve Tucci, crane division sales manager for Stephenson Equipment Inc., the National Crane dealer in Harrisburg, Pa. “That crane’s design is 25 years old.” Hydraulic truck crane users either had to rebuild their existing cranes or purchase a 40- to 50-ton boom truck.
While high-capacity boom trucks provide the required capacity, their wide outrigger stance and long chassis make it difficult to tackle projects in urban and metropolitan areas. To overcome these challenges, Manitowoc will introduce a new truck-mounted crane at ConExpo that will go head-to-head with the 40- ton truck crane market.
Stephenson Equipment worked closely with Manitowoc on the design of the 55-ton National NTC55 truck-mounted crane. “It was the voice of the customer that drove this. Customers were telling us what they needed in the marketplace, and we listened to them,” says Dennis Heller, president and CEO, Stephenson Equipment. “We took their ideas and our ideas to the manufacturer, and Manitowoc evolved a boom truck into a true truck crane.”
The NTC55 retains the NBT50’s capacity and incorporates features that make it attractive to truck crane users. Stephenson’s goal was to offer the NTC55 on a four-axle carrier that did not exceed 73,280 lbs., the maximum allowed on a four-axle chassis in Pennsylvania. Peterbilt was challenged with producing a truck as light as possible to achieve legal road weights, Tucci says.
“To achieve our goal, our company engineer and chassis specialist worked very closely with National Cranes truck modification group, as well as our Peterbilt truck representative, to engineer a chassis that was specifically designed for this application,” Tucci says. The result is a commercial truck chassis that is shorter and more compact than a 40- or 50- ton boom truck. “Without this collaboration, this project would have come in well over our targeted weight of 73,000 lbs. on a four-axle chassis,” Tucci adds.The four-axle Peterbilt 365 SFFA (set forward front axle) is 36 ft. long bumper to bumper; is powered by a 500-hp engine, and offers the option of an Eaton 18-speed or 18-speed Ultra Shift plus transmission. For additional weight savings, the NTC55 can be mounted on a tri-drive axle configuration equipped with single tires. Dual tires are optional. A six-axle federal bridge legal option is available for customers who travel into surrounding states that require a bridge legal chassis.
According to Heller, a 40-ton truck crane is very compact, and boom trucks have a wide outrigger stance. The NTC55 is the first crane in its class to offer four position outriggers-7 ’10” retracted, 16’1″ mid-span, 20’0″ three-quarter span, and 24’3″ full span. The X-shape of the front outriggers’ footprint eliminates the need for a single front outrigger. Polymeric outrigger pads are standard, reducing weight by 30%.
Another exclusive feature is the single 3,000-lb. and double 1,250-lb. re-movable counterweights. This provides the flexibility of having load charts for 0-, 3,000-, 4,250-, and 5,500-lb. counterweights. “The hydraulically removable counterweights achieve maximum flexibility for roading demands,” Tucci says. If the job does not require the full counterweight, it doesn’t need to be carried along.
For more comfort during operation, the NTC55 offers a 20° tilting cab, which is a first for National Crane. The maximum main boom angle was increased to 80°, and the crane will use an internal boom length wire in conjunction with a wireless A2B switch. Tucci says this prevents the wire from being ripped off the side of the boom when the crane is working around trees or other obstructions.
The crane is equipped with 128-ft. main boom and a single-stage, 26-ft., 30° offsettable jib, with the 26- to 45- ft. two-piece jib available as an option. Other options include an auxiliary hoist and auxiliary boom tip, pin-on platforms, Samson Kl 00 synthetic rope, additional hook block sizes, and a radio remote.
Stephenson Equipment received the first National NTC55 in the fourth quarter of 2016. To date, it has delivered four NTC55s that were mounted on the four-axle chassis. The fifth unit sold will be mounted on a six-axle federal bridge legal chassis.
Greiner Crane, Mount Joy, Pa., was one of the first buyers of the NTC55. Jason Brown, crane division manager, notes there were several features that attracted the company to the crane. The company had been running a 50-ton boom truck, but Brown says the outrigger stance and size of the machine limited the areas where it could work. “On the [boom truck’s] tri-drive chassis, it was harder to get in and out of jobsites,” he says. “The 75° boom angle was also a drawback.”
Mounting the crane on a tri-drive with a smaller chassis was a selling point, he adds.