Australia, Cranes & Lifting, Features

First Grove for TopGun Cranes

TopGun Cranes recently took delivery of a Grove GMK 3060L-1, the first Grove in the fleet. Business Owner Barry Ramm and Operations Manager Phill Martin provide some background to the purchase.

“The purchase really came down to a case of supply and demand. We had an urgent need for a 60t capacity all terrain and Grove was able to deliver it immediately. We had made investigations with other OEMs, but we were told it would be an 18 month wait for a new crane and six months for a used machine, we couldn’t wait that long,” said Barry.

The GMK3060L-1 combines compact dimensions with strong lifting capacities and long reach, thanks to the 48m, six-section MEGAFORM boom. With its additional 15m long hydraulic luffing fly jib, the Grove all-terrain crane can reach over obstacles easily. 

The GMK3060L-1’s Hydraulic Luffing Jib load charts are impressive and start at a 0 degree boom angle and go out to 40 degrees, controlled from the cab, which is extremely useful in applications with tight tolerances. The large storage space with three storage boxes on the crane itself and the extensive storage compartment in the vehicle frame allows all sorts of crane accessories to be brought along without issue and these have also received positive feedback.

The Grove GMK3060L-1 combines compact dimensions with strong lifting capacities and long reach, thanks to the 48m, six-section MEGAFORM boom.

It is the most compact crane in the 60t class: In addition to having the shortest overall length and the lowest height it also scores top marks for the smallest tail swing.

Phill says the GMK 3060L-1 impressed TopGun Cranes from the beginning and was put straight to work on a range of projects.

“There are a number of features on the Grove GMK3060L-1 that have really impressed us. In particular, the 48m of main boom and the compact nature of the crane makes it ideal for sites with very tight tolerances. Its ease of operation is also a plus for us,” said Phill. 

“All terrains can be complicated pieces of kit, but the Grove is very straightforward, and it has been flat out since we took delivery. The telematics is a great feature for the product support going forward and we’ve been impressed by how quiet the QSL-9 Cummins is when working around the crane. The GMK3060-L also features the new style carrier cab which is great for the operator,” he said.

The new carrier cab has a modern design, which meets the latest crash-test requirements in Europe and is ECE R29-3 approved. Crane operators benefit from increased space within the cab, while the overall compact dimensions of the all-terrain cranes remain unchanged. Within a 2.55m width, Manitowoc accommodates plenty of features in the interior. 

Practical compartments in the dashboard, between the seats and integrated into the vehicle’s doors, offer ample space to store loose items and documents – even in A4 format. There is further storage space between the driver and passenger seat. 

The cab interior also incorporates cupholders and USB ports that allow mobile phones and other electronic devices to be charged. An ergonomic driver’s seat with air suspension, armrests and seat heating comes as standard.

User-friendliness and driver ergonomics were the priorities in the development of the new generation of Grove carrier cabs, so an understanding of operators’ day-to-day work conditions was essential to the process.

The new carrier cab has a modern design, which meets the latest crash-test requirements in Europe and is ECE R29-3 approved.

The CCS (Crane Control System) can be reached comfortably from a seated position and has been ergonomically integrated into the cab. The intuitive interface makes the operator’s job much easier as the most frequently used settings, such as chassis level and axle locking, can be selected via the CCS. Different drive modes can also be chosen via the CCS screen. As all CCS displays offer the same layout and navigation throughout the GMK model range, it is easy for operators to switch from one Grove all-terrain crane to another.

Leon Brugman is operating the new Grove for TopGun Cranes. He’s been in the crane industry for close to eight years and working for the company for close to six.

“I started out dogging casually for a few companies and then landed a full-time job with TopGun and I’ve been here for close to six years. I started off on the smaller city cranes and the Maeda mini crawlers and slowly built up from the 20-tonner, 40-tonner, 50 and now on the new Grove GMK 3060L-1.

“The Grove brand is new to our yard. We had a couple of training days at Manitowoc’s yard where their technical team gave us a rundown on the operating platforms, how to set the crane up, swing the fly and more about the various features. Of course, it’s great to be in a brand-new crane and it drives nicely on the road and it’s a narrow little package for a 60t capacity crane,” said Leon.

He goes on to discuss how he finds the control mechanisms and the power of the crane.

“The overall operation of the crane is very smooth. You can dial in and adjust your settings if you want, with your speed and things like that, like you can with the other cranes. It is very smooth to operate and pretty quick on the jib up too, it pulls up quite fast. It’s a long boom version, so it runs six sections of boom. It is nice and smooth on the slew and the foot brake’s really easy. With the Grove, you’ve got to remember to turn on your winch, your jib and your slew, whenever you’re getting it to operate. 

Leon discusses the Cummins engine powering the Grove GMK 3060L-1.

“The Cummins engine provides plenty of grunt upfront. Take-off from lights is no problem and when you get to site, blowing out the boom is very straightforward, it’s a very powerful engine. It’s probably one of the toughest sounding cranes on the road. With the Telma braking and the big side exhaust, it sounds like a Mack truck coming down the road, which is alright,” said Leon.

Leon is more than comfortable with the layout of the newly designed cab with everything nice and close and easy to operate.

“I’m quite comfortable sitting in the cab, there’s plenty of room for me. It’s got the sports shift too, so you can go into sports manual mode if you want to shift up and shift down. The crane is very smooth in the gears.

“It’s a very compact crane for 60t capacity, and I haven’t had any dramas with access to the tighter sites where we operate. It has a very slim profile and I can drive straight in there, blow the legs out and start working very quickly. The air suspension is excellent. You can air up quite a way to get a couple of rows of timbers underneath the pads if you need to, and then jack it up from there. All round, it’s proving to be an excellent crane to operate,” said Leon. 

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