As the crane industry matures, many of the large international crane manufacturers are intensifying their focus on heavy duty truck cranes and reducing the number of small cranes in their line-up. This has allowed several strong new brands of small cranes to emerge and fill this niche in the crane market. Crane companies such as Technocrane Inc. with its proprietary BIGMAX brand of small truck cranes (ie. 3.5 t/m – 25,000 ft.lb.) are expanding their product range and steadily increasing their market share in this industry at the expense of the larger manufacturers who are falling behind in many areas.
Hiab, for example, is the largest of crane manufacturers in the world and is well known for their mid to large size boom crane including wall board and other specialty cranes. Focusing on the larger and specialized segment of the market, Hiab has reduced its range of small cranes to only 4 models in Canada. Palfinger, an Austrian manufacturer, now produces only 3 small PC series crane models. Palfinger’s priority seems to be the upper end of its size range of cranes – a strategy that allows them to compete with Hiab for global dominance in the large crane market. Gru Fassi SpA, is following the lead of Hiab and Palfinger, competing for the medium to heavy duty articulated or knuckle boom crane. While Fassi has made no significant changes to their compact Micro Series cranes for some time, they are continuing to improve and expand their heavy duty crane range and now manufacture a total of 5 models with a lift moment of over 90t/m.
Technocrane Inc., on the other hand, has developed the small crane market in the United States and Canada and is today one of Canada’s primary distributors of small truck mounted cranes. Established in 1990, the company initially was the exclusive distributor of Maxilift cranes. For more than a decade, the company sold Maxilift and other brands of small cranes. They got to know the qualities as well as the deficiencies of Maxilift and other small cranes .
Using this knowledge, the company developed its own brand of BIGMAX small truck mounted cranes. Today, the BIGMAX brand of hydraulic truck cranes includes more than 20 models of smaller cranes. The company specializes in bringing small cranes to market, providing superior service for buyers of small, compact cranes for use on boom trucks.
BIGMAX small truck cranes have many design features and advantages compared with other cranes manufactured by the ‘big five’ crane companies. For example, BIGMAX TC Series telescopic cranes have the longest hydraulic reach. The small Hiab cranes, including the Hiab 033T, has a maximum of 3 hydraulic extensions reaching only 15.7 ft. horizontally. Similarly Fassi Micro Series cranes reach a maximum of 15.4 ft hydraulically, also with only 3 hydraulic extensions. By comparison, the BIGMAX TC350 has 4 hydraulic extensions with a side reach of 19’5”, or 24% greater.
BIGMAX TC cranes also have a more robust rotation system. The main deficiency of Maxi-lift cranes, for example, is the vulnerable and poorly protected rotation system, most profound in the 160 and smaller sizes. Instead of being enclosed and protected from the elements, the slewing gear mechanism on Maxi-lift cranes is shielded by a fragile plastic cover that can break in transit from the manufacturer in Europe.
While the slewing gears in the larger Maxi-lift models (ie. 200 and up) are somewhat more protected inside a fabricated enclosure with a rubber cover, this design allows the outside of the rubber hat to lift at road speeds creating an opening through which sand, salt and other road debris can enter and cause the slewing system to fail prematurely. The same design, perhaps because of its low cost, is still used by Maxilift in today’s production.
To avoid such issues all BIGMAX cranes are built with steel slewing gear enclosures – fabricated steel in the case of the TC100, and cast steel in all other models with the gears running in an oil bath. This design is proving to be much more reliable and enables Technocrane to offer a 2 year warranty on all their BIGMAX cranes for sale.
Call 1-877-531-8644 for more information about this leader in the small truck crane market.