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Grove reaches new heights with new products - Grove Worldwide Div.'s new hydraulic cranes, truck-mounted cranes and aerial platforms


Published in: Diesel Progress North American Edition
Date: 3/1/1998
By: Dave Bode

In this era of rapidly changing technologies, demanding markets and keen competition, it's a challenge for any manufacturer to keep pace. Yet Grove Worldwide has almost outdone itself with new product introductions to meet those challenges head-on. As part of its golden anniversary celebration in 1997, a year that also saw its 50,000th crane roll off the assembly line, the Shady Grove, Pa.-based manufacturer announced a diverse array of new aerial work platforms, mobile hydraulic cranes and truck-mounted hydraulic cranes for the rental and end-customer markets.

Indeed, Grove Worldwide estimates that some 80 percent of its crane products are new within the last three years, with 60 percent being new in the last two years. And according to Mark Mohn, product manager for aerial work platform producer Grove Manlift - one of the three operating businesses within Grove Worldwide - in 1997, Grove Manlift had its biggest-ever new product introduction - in terms of both the number and diversity of machines announced.

The other two operating businesses are Grove Crane, which manufactures mobile hydraulic cranes and, like Grove Manlift and Grove Worldwide itself, is based in Shady Grove, and National Crane, the track-mounted hydraulic crane producer, Waverly, Neb. According to industry sources, Grove Worldwide is the leading crane player in North America, with over 40 percent of the rough-terrain market, 70 percent of the all-terrain market and almost 50 percent of the truck crane market.

Grove Worldwide's predecessor, Grove Manufacturing Co., began operations in Shady Grove in January 1947, as a manufacturer of rubber-tired farm wagons. When the company couldn't find a small, commercial yard-type crane to assist in its operations, it built its own. In 1952, after some refinement, Grove's first yard cranes were introduced into the commercial marketplace.

Other highlights of Grove Worldwide's 50-year history include development of the first Grove crane equipped with its trapezoidal boom design in 1970; acquisition of National Crane Corp. in 1978; acquisition of Manlift, Inc., in 1979; acquisition of Coles Cranes Ltd., in the U.K., in 1983; delivery in 1986 of the largest telescopic boom truck crane (the TM3000) ever produced in the U.S.; announcement of the Grove Worldwide corporate identity in 1990; reorganization into three operating businesses in 1993; achievement of ISO 9001 certification in 1994; and the acquisition in 1995 of the Krupp mobile hydraulic crane business based in Wilhelmshaven, Germany, and Delta Systemes, Tonneins, France.

Grove itself was acquired by Kidde, Inc., in 1967, and became a Hanson company in 1987, when Kidde was acquired by Hanson Trust PLC, of the U.K. At this point, however, the "For Sale" sign has been up in Grove Worldwide's yard since mid-1997.

Grove Manlift introduced its new products into a North American aerial work platform market that has reached new heights in the past three years, primarily as a result of almost unprecedented demand from the rental equipment business. Industry analysts report machinery dealers have built huge rental fleets of these machines, mainly because they see rental as a way to make money and sell the machines to the end customers. Aerial work platforms are also being bought by independent rental houses.

Here's a brief look at some of the new products:

MZ46C/MZ46CXT - Grove Manlift's new product offerings include combustion engine and electrically powered work platforms ranging from manually propelled vertical mast units, to self-propelled scissors lift and boom-type platforms. In a Grove first, one new self-propelled, telescoping boom, engine-powered platform, the MZ46C with its 40 ft. platform height, sold out the first year's production before production began, according to Mohn. Shipments of the 46 ft. maximum working height, 34 ft. horizontal reach (766 sq.ft. working range), 500 lb. capacity MZ46C began in spring.

The MZ46C's standard powerplant is Ford's 60 hp, 2.3 L, model LRG 425 inline-four spark-ignited gasoline engine. Options include the dual-fuel version of the LRG 425; a Deutz 2.7 L, naturally aspirated F4L1011F in-line four-cylinder air-oil cooled diesel rated 59.8 hp at 3300 rpm; and the air-cooled Hatz 2.6 L, naturally aspirated three-cylinder 3L41C Silent Pack diesel.

All machine functions are controlled electrohydraulically. Hydraulic pressure is supplied by a Vickers axial piston pump to provide only the pressure and oil flow required for each function. A Parker Hannifin consolidated valve bank is designed to simplify maintenance by putting all hydraulic control valves in one convenient location. The proportional controls feature an adjustable ramp-to-zero to eliminate bounce and jerk on startup; controllers are designed to be quickly customized to suit the operator's preference.

Other MZ46C spec's include 4 mph maximum speed, 30 percent gradeability (theoretical), 15 ft. inside turning radius, 25 in. tailswing, 7 ft. 9 in. overall height (stowed), 24 ft. 10 in. overall length, 7 ft. 10 in. overall width and approximate weight of 12,900 lb. A 4x4 XT model (XT is Grove's deignation for four-wheel drive), the MZ46CXT, has four-wheel steering for improved maneuverability, a 3 mph maximum speed, 50 percent gradeability and weighs about 13,200 lb.

In designing the MZ46C, Mohn pointed out, Grove Manlift was the first Grove company to begin using the DFMA (Design for Manufacturing and Assembly) technique pioneered years ago by the automotive industry. The primary goal of DFMA is to reduce the number of parts to simplify machine assembly and reduce costs. According to Mohn, "Using the DFMA technique with the MZ46C as a test case resulted in a machine with 20 percent fewer parts compared with the machine's MZ48B predecessor. We reduced the list price to the customer by 20 percent and have actually provided a better machine for less money."

AMZ51/AMZ51XT - Designed as a sister machine to the MZ46C is Grove Manlift's new AMZ51/AMZ51XT series articulating boom work platform which was officially introduced at the American Rental Association convention and show in Orlando, Fla., and at BAUMA '98 in Munich, Germany. Production of the self-propelled, engine-powered unit for both industrial and construction applications was due to begin in March 1998, Mohn noted.

The AMZ51/AMZ51XT has a 51 ft. working height, 45 ft. platform height, 22 ft. 8 in. riser height, 24 ft. 2 in. horizontal reach and 500 lb. platform capacity. Its platform, like that of the MZ46C, is all steel. Mohn also pointed out that the AMZ51/AMZ51XT's patented centerline design articulating boom and riser and five-foot articulating jib provide 1128 sq.ft. of working area.

Other AMZ51/AMZ51XT dimensions include 6 ft. 7 in. overall height (stowed), 20 ft. 2 in. overall length, and overall width of 5 ft. 10.5 in. for the two-wheel drive version and 6 ft. 7 in. for the 4WD XT model. The 2WD unit's overall width and height stowed are intended to permit travel through a standard double door, while the increased width of the XT is designed to provide increased traction in rough terrain.

The standard and optional engines available with the AMZ51/AMZ51XT machines are the same as those offered with the MZ46C/MZ46CXT, according to the company. Maximum drive speeds are 4 mph for the AMZ51 and 3.5 mph for the XT version; gradeability (theoretical) is 30 percent and 50 percent, respectively. Machine weight is about 15,000 lb. Large, gull-wing style fiberglass doors have been designed to provide excellent access to the engine and hydraulic components; similar doors are used on the MZ46C/MZ46CXT machines.

Because of the considerable component commonality between the AMZ51 and MZ46C machines, as well as the use of components from other AMZ articulating boom platform family machines, Grove anticipates benefits both for itself from the manufacturing standpoint and for its customers due to reduced spare parts inventories. Further, Mohn pointed out, the DFMA technique used successfully with the MC46C machine has also been applied to the AMZ51.

In another first for Grove Manlift, 3D design was used for the first time in developing the AMZ51 machines. According to Mohn, the benefits of 3-D design include the determination of tolerances, and interference and normal fits, as well as tooling design and stress model derivation prior to prototype build. This technique also permits animating the machine concepts for demonstration purposes.

SM3269/SM3269XT - In the self-propelled engine-powered scissors lift platform category, Grove Manlift added the all new SM3269 and 4x4 SM3269XT 26 ft. class machines for construction and industrial applications to its engine and electric-powered scissors lift lineup. Full scale production began in the fourth quarter of 1997.

The SM3269/SM3269XT scissors lifts have a 32 ft. working height, 26 ft. platform height, and an excellent 1250 lb. platform capacity including 300 lb. on the standard 3 ft. roll-out deck extension (total of 9984 sq.in. of working area). Other machine specifications include a compact 52 in. overall height (rails removed), 69 in. overall width and 126 in. overall length; 85 in. wheelbase; 89 in. inside turning radius; and 9.3 in. ground clearance. The basic SM3269 and SM3269XT machines have shipping weights of 6300 lb. and 6400 lb., respectively.

The standard powerplant used in both the SM3269 and 3269XT scissors lifts is Kubota's liquid-cooled, 45 cu.in., three-cylinder in-line model WG750 Super Mini Series gasoline engine adapted for .dual fuel operation. It is rated 20 hp in this application. Maximum drive speed is 3.5 mph for the SM3269 and 3.0 mph for the XT model; gradeability is 30 percent and 40 percent, respectively. Optionally available is Kubota's three-cylinder in-line, 44 cu.in. model D722 Super Mini Series liquid-cooled diesel engine rated 20 hp. Fuel tank capacity is 13 gal.

The SM3269/SM3269XT's hydraulic system features load sensing hydraulics with a variable displacement axial piston pump. A gear pump provides priority flow for steering. Other hydraulic system features include 14 gal. translucent polyethylene reservoir, 20-micron nominal hydraulic pressure filter and 10-micron absolute in-tank return filter, and rear wheel hydraulic drive with counterbalance valve. Fiberglass covers have been designed to provide easy access to the hydraulic components and engine, while providing protection and preventing rust.

A key feature of the SM3269/SM3269XT scissor lifts, Mohn emphasized, is the joystick controller with control-enable trigger that meets the latest proposed ANSI requirements and is designed to prevent inadvertent functioning of all controls. The joystick, for drive and lift, with integral thumb rocker switch for steer and control-enable trigger, is part of the weather resistant design upper control console. The drive function is proportional, while the the lift and steer functions are nonproportional.

PE Pack - Also announced by Grove Manlift was the "perpetual electric" (PE) pack - a Kubota diesel driven generator set designed to charge batteries on the go. It is optionally available on most Grove Manlift electric-powered AMZ Series articulating boom lifts. The PE option was developed for applications requiring long or frequent travel between jobs, for recharging batteries on job sites where a.c. power is not available, or for use in outdoor applications requiring low noise emissions. It can also supply a.c. power to the platform for small hand tools.

The PE pack is powered by Kubota's 12 hp ZB600, liquid-cooled two-cylinder, horizonal diesel engine. Its 5 gal. capacity fuel tank is designed to provide about eight hours of continuous operation. The pack will recharge the batteries in about four hours if the machine is not being used, Mohn noted. Batteries cannot be overcharged, he pointed out.

The pack's diesel gen-set and four 12 V batteries are engineered to fit on the same mountings as the eight 6 V batteries supplied as standard equipment. The gen-set is located on one side of the lift's chassis and the 48 V battery pack on the other.

With the PE pack in operation, according to Mohn, the lift's batteries can be continuously recharged, even while the machine itself is working. This means the batteries remain fully charged and ready for indoor use, even after a long drive to the job site.

If the batteries are totally discharged, Mohn indicated, the lift will still operate, running solely on power from the PE pack. All machine functions remain the same whether the pack is operating or power is being supplied from the batteries alone.

The same PE pack fits all the electric-powered articulating boom machines in the Grove Manlift product line except for the AMZ39NE. Fleet operators can switch the pack between any of the AMZ electrics as the application demands, according to Mohn. Installation is simple and takes less than one hour.

Grove has been shipping PE packs to Europe since last April, where they are reportedly favored by rental operations - the pack can reduce the number of machines that must be purchased, because it allows one lift to be used for both indoor and outdoor applications. PE pack versions for North American markets are expected to be available in the near future.

On the crane side of Grove Worldwide, Grove Crane is introducing its YardBoss 8.5-ton rated lifting capacity YB4408 and 10-ton rated capacity YB4410 industrial cranes, 22-ton capacity RT522B rough terrain crane configured for rental fleet service, 35-ton capacity TMS535 truck-mounted crane, 100-ton capacity TM9100 truck crane and 300-ton capacity GMK6300B all-terrain truck crane. Most are to be available in 1998 - the YardBoss machines were due to go into production in January, the RT522B in March, the TMS535 in May and the GMK6300B around late March. The TM9100 began shipping in September 1997.

YB4408/YB4410 - Featuring standard four-wheel steering and three steering modes (front only, four-wheel coordinated, four-wheel crab) for improved maneuverability in congested aisles and work areas, the YardBoss YB4408 and YB4410 cranes are versions of Grove Crane's existing 8.5-ton model AP308 and 10-ton model AP410 units with major updates to suit today's market requirements, according to Doyle C. Bryant, director, product development and marketing. Counterweight and hoist assembly tailswing do not exceed chassis width, to permit application locations next to walls or in aisles without obstructing surrounding activity.

The YB4408 is standard with a 24 ft. boom with 29 ft. maximum tip height; a 30 ft. boom with 35 ft. maximum tip height is optional. The YB4410's standard boom is 30 ft., and the 24 ft. boom is optional. Maximum boom angle on both models is 70 degrees to facilitate loading of the side deck area or lifting in tight quarters. Both models also include a 10 ft. non-offsettable boom extension as standard, while an offsettable 10 ft. boom extension and a telescopic 10-15.7 ft. boom extension are optionally available on the YB4410; the telescopic boom extension increases maximum tip height to 50 ft.

The standard engine on both new YardBoss machines is a four-cylinder in-line Continental TM27, 2.7 L dual-fuel (LPG/gasoline), liquid-cooled unit rated 62 bhp. Optionally available is Cummins' 3.9 L, four-cylinder in-line, model B3.9 liquid-cooled diesel rated 76 bhp. Both the Continental and Cummins engines feature a low lube oil pressure/high coolant temperature audio-visual warning system as standard.

The engine on both the YB4408 and YB4410 machines drives the Clark-Hurth model 279 drive-steer planetary front axle, with internal wet multidisc type brakes and NoSpin differential, through a Ford C-6 three speeds forward/one reverse automatic transmission. Two main gear pumps provide 54.4 gpm of hydraulic oil flow for crane operation.

Other features of the new machines include open-style step-in operator's compartment (a fully enclosed cab is available) with dash-mounted hydraulic control levers for increased operator knee room and comfort, Grove designed Rated Capacity Limiter (RCL) system to help the operator maximize machine capabilities while operating within its load chart capacities, and tight 10 ft. 8 in. turning radius.

RT522B - The 22-ton capacity, 44,000 lb. gvw RT522B rough-terrain crane, which replaces the current RT400C machine, was described by Bryant as a full-featured unit specifically configured for rental fleet service. Featuring a mix-and-match of proven Grove components to provide the best features for the money, the crane comes in one configuration - without boom options - for volume production and lower cost.

The RT522B offers a three-section, 78 ft. full-power boom, along with a 25 ft. fixed swingaway boom extension that extends maximum tip height to 109 ft. A quick reeve boom nose, permanently lubed sheaves and remote upper wear pad lube lines are designed to reduce setup time and routine maintenance. The Grove-built grooved drum hoist provides a permissible line pull of 9080 lb. and a maximum single line speed of 297 fpm.

The chassis engine is Cummins' 3.9 L, four-cylinder in-line, B3.9 liquid-cooled diesel rated 130 bhp and includes the low lube oil pressure/high coolant temperature audio-visual warning system as standard. The engine drives through a Clark-Hurth six-speed forward/reverse full powershift transmission to the front and rear axles. Top maximum drive speed is 22 mph. The minimum turning radius is 16 ft. 5 in., thanks to the four-mode (front-only, rear-only, crab and coordinated) independent steering system.

The operator's cab includes Grove's flameless hot water cab heater that uses engine coolant, armrest-mounted single axis controllers, full engine instrumentation and dash-mounted graphic load moment indicator.

TMS535 - Currently under development, the 35-ton rated capacity TMS535 road going truck-mounted crane will replace Grove Crane's current 35-ton TMS250C machine. Designed for round-the-clock operation seven days a week, if necessary, the 6x4x2 TMS535 is street legal in all 50 states with a 262 in. wheelbase and 54,000 lb. gvw, according to Bryant. The carrier cab was moved forward 36 in. for improved operator visibility.

The TMS535 offers a choice of a three- or four-section full-power boom, along with a fixed or bifold 45 degrees offsettable swingaway boom extension. Bryant pointed out that the entirely new boom design combines technology from its German operation with its U.S. trapezoidal boom technology. For convenience, the three-piece counterweight is hydraulically installed and removed; a 2000 lb. counterweight is standard, with another 4000 lb. available, for a total of 6000 lb.

Powering the new truck crane is a Caterpillar six-cylinder in-line, 7.2 L, 3126 diesel rated 300 hp. The engine is mated to an Allison MD 3560P six speed automatic World transmission with touch-pad shifter. For vehicle propulsion, engine power is transmitted to the Meritor RT40-145 tandem rear drive axles through permanently lubed drivelines. The front axle is a Meritor FL941 nondrive-steer unit. Maximum drive speed is 65 mph, and a spring over walking beam suspension on the rear axles is designed to reduce bounce for a smoother ride.

The hoists are driven by Parker bent axis axial piston hydraulic motors powered by axial piston pumps. Bryant noted that the TMS535 is the only 35-ton capacity crane available with axial piston hydraulic pumps and motors.

The new design carrier cab includes Datcon instrumentation and Grove hot water cab heater. In the superstructure cab, electric over hydraulic controls are intended to help keep the cab cool for operator comfort. The operator-friendly design dash and controls include a graphic load moment indicator that shows all load information at a glance. Electronic single axis controllers and foot pedals operate all craning functions.

TM9100 - A niche market machine for applications in open spaces where stability and a long boom are required, the TM9100 truck-mounted 8x4x4 drive crane combines a 100-ton rated maximum lifting capacity with the long reach of a 148 ft., five-section, full-power boom. The crane has a main boom tip height of 156 ft. and a working radius of 130 ft. A 31-56 ft. bifold lattice boom extension offsets at 1.50, 250 or 450 to reach up-and-over obstacles. The boom extension extends maximum tip height to 211 ft. and maximum working radius to 160 ft.

A quick-reeve boom nose with weight saving, permanently lubed nylatron sheaves was designed to save setup time and improve lifting capacities.

The carrier engine in the 137,946 lb. gvw TM9100 is a 400 bhp Cummins inline six-cylinder M11-400E Plus electronically controlled, liquid-cooled diesel with audiovisual distress warning system and Jacobs engine brake. The superstructure engine is a 250 hp Cummins diesel. Carrier engine power is transmitted to the rear Hendrickson walking beam rear axle through an Eaton-Fuller 10-speed manual transmission. Maximum drive speed is 55 mph.

Other features of the TM 9100 include graphic load moment indicator and anti-two block system, removable matching auxiliary hoist, hydraulically removable two-piece counterweight, and aluminum fuel tank, rigging box, fenders and decking for reduced weight.

GMK6300B - Scheduled to move into production around early April 1998, the 300-ton rated lift capacity GMK6300B all-terrain crane's carrier features six axles and 12x8x12 drive. The length of the standard five-section full-power main boom is 197 ft., and maximum tip height (with 69-200 ft. luffing jib) is 374 ft.; the main boom includes Grove's new Twin-Lock locking system for added safety. An all-wheel steering option is available for easier steering and maneuverability.

To meet local roading regulations, the 220,000 lb. counterweight is hydraulically removable for separate transport. Quick disconnect fittings allow the boom and outriggers to be removed, if necessary, and partial outrigger extension capacities are available for working in congested areas.

For vehicle propulsion, the standard 571 hp rated Mercedes-Benz carrier diesel engine drives the axles through an Allison five-speed transmission and Kessler two-speed transfer case. Optionally available for the carrier, which includes the patented MegaTrak suspension system for excellent driveability and traction on- and off-road, is a 571 hp rated Cummins diesel. Maximum travel speed of the 158,730 lb. gvw (26,500 lb. per axle) GMK6300B is 50 mph.

The aluminum superstructure cab tilts 20 degrees for greater operator comfort and a better view of the lift. The EKS4 load moment indicator system, a GMK exclusive, is designed to help the operator maximize the crane's lifting capacities (the electronic crane controls are capable of monitoring over 2000 load charts with the EKS4 LMI system). The ECOS (Electronic Crane Operating System) style CAN-BUS system monitors all crane functions.

Like all Grove GMK Series cranes, the GMK6300B is to be built in Wilhelmshaven.

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