Steil Kranarbeiten Utilizes Allison Transmission-Equipped Tadano AC 3.045-1 City Cranes for Precision Lifting in Confined Spaces

SCHMELZ-LIMBACH, Saarland, Germany, May 2024 – It takes experts to carry out lifting work in factory buildings with confined spaces and low ceilings. This was the case at the end of February at a facility belonging to global grating manufacturer Meiser. In order to set up a new production line, a press weighing 23 tonnes (23,000 kilograms) had to be moved to another location within the factory building. The contractor, Steil Kranarbeiten, carried out this operation as a tandem lift using two Tadano AC 3.045-1 City cranes with Allison fully automatic transmissions. Under such conditions, the compact all-terrain telescopic crane is required to efficiently execute the task at hand.

With an overall length of just 8.68 meters (28.70 feet), a width of 2.55 meters (8.40 feet), and an overall height of just 3.18 meters (10.37 feet), the ultra-compact AC 3.045-1 City is setting the standards within the 45-tonne lifting capacity class. The three-axle vehicle is powered by a 260 kilowatt (349 horsepower) MTU six-cylinder engine (OM 936) and an Allison 3500 Specialty Series™ (SP) fully automatic transmission. Even in the tightest spaces, it can be maneuvered effortlessly and the Allison 3500 SP fully automatic transmission ensures smooth and precise handling even under load.

"The Tadano City cranes are the only cranes in the compact class with a fully automatic transmission and therefore offer the best driving performance on site," said Andreas Wolf, Sales Engineer at DGS Diesel- und Getriebeservice GmbH, Allison Authorized Distributor for Germany. “The Allison 3500 SP is a powerful and reliable transmission with a proven track record in the toughest applications. Whether on factory floors, in tight city centers, on construction sites with limited space or narrow yard passages – this crane can go anywhere.”

Tandem lift at Meiser - Precision work in the tightest of spaces

At 8 o'clock in the morning on a cold, wet day in February, two City cranes drive through the factory gates into the production hall at Meiser. Markus Thomas Blum, Project Manager at Steil Kranarbeiten, directs the vehicles to the location of the press, which is used to produce gratings. The drivers maneuver slowly and carefully through the building, between forklift traffic, people, production equipment and materials, right in the middle of ongoing production. "It's really tight here. You have to move very carefully through the narrow aisles and around the corners. With the Allison transmission, this works perfectly, the crane can be maneuvered very smoothly," said Lars Stephany, Crane Operator, Steil Kranarbeiten.

The crane set-up is completed quickly. The experienced team needs just under 30 minutes to get the two cranes ready and positioned for the first tandem lift. An automatic levelling system enables the crane to balance itself when the outriggers are extended, which is extremely helpful during set-up. The IC-1 Plus control system allows the outriggers to be infinitely adjusted, allowing the crane to be perfectly adapted to different space conditions and load requirements. Another advantage is that the crane can be driven and operated from the same cab with no need for the driver to get out.

In a tandem lift, the two cranes jointly take the large 23-tonne press by the hook, lift it out of the press cellar and place it onto the rollers of a heavy-duty tractor. Without further ado, Blum himself takes the wheel of the tractor and drives the press to its new location.

Lifting the press into the new press cellar requires real precision work. The two cranes once again take the heavy machine by the hook, turn it in the air and position it above the press cellar. Slowly and with great concentration, the two crane operators lower the press and maneuver it into its new position.

About three hours later, the operation is completed, the cranes are de-rigged and they move on to their next job.

AC 3.045-1 City and Allison: a robust combination

The company Steil Kranarbeiten, based in Saarwellingen, Germany, has a large fleet of vehicles to carry out almost any type of crane work. Most jobs take less than half a day. Therefore, the company relies on flexible cranes that can be on site within a very short time, are ready for action quickly and perform their work reliably.

"The Tadano City cranes with Allison fully automatic transmissions are predestined for working inside buildings or in narrow streets, but we also use them for standard construction site projects. That's what makes these cranes so special. They are compact and easy to operate, quick to set up and incredibly versatile," said Blum. “The transmission’s torque converter makes the crane easy to handle. You can feel that the engine is always at full power. Moving with a load is also great. There's no swinging and no swaying on the hook."

“We need vehicles that are robust, reliable and economical,” said Frank Nicklas, Branch Manager at Steil Kranarbeiten. “We can’t afford downtime and high maintenance costs. We have been using these cranes for over 20 years, first the predecessor model AC 40 and now the three AC 45. I must say, we have never had any problems with the transmissions. They are really robust.”

Allison fully automatic transmission with torque converter: precise control of heavy loads

Mobile cranes often move at a walking pace. In confined spaces and sometimes on rough terrain, they have to maneuver with centimeter precision and be repeatedly set in motion from a standstill. Conventional dry clutches are put under maximum strain, can overheat and burn out.

Allison fully automatic transmissions, on the other hand, use a torque converter to aid starting instead of a dry clutch. The torque converter not only acts as a hydraulic clutch, but also multiplies torque and maximizes the engine output. Together with the uninterrupted power transmission to the driveline, this results in a high level of driving and operating comfort as well as increased productivity. These features make a big difference in the field for crane drivers and crane operators.

Allison 3000 Series™ fully automatic transmissions are used worldwide in a wide range of applications, including agriculture, construction, distribution, energy, fire and rescue services, mining, municipal services, port services and refuse. Long established in the crane market, they are highly appreciated by customers for their reliability. In Germany, Allison Authorized Distributor DGS Diesel- und Getriebeservice GmbH in Mainz, is responsible for sales and OEM support for City cranes, including project planning and configuration.

14 May, 2024


Allison Transmission (NYSE: ALSN) is a leading designer and manufacturer of vehicle propulsion solutions for commercial and defense vehicles, the largest global manufacturer of medium- and heavy-duty fully automatic transmissions, and a leader in electrified propulsion systems that Improve the Way the World Works. Allison products are used in a wide variety of applications, including on-highway trucks (distribution, refuse, construction, fire and emergency), buses (school, transit and coach), motorhomes, off-highway vehicles and equipment (energy, mining and construction applications) and defense vehicles (tactical wheeled and tracked). Founded in 1915, the company is headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA. With a presence in more than 150 countries, Allison has regional headquarters in the Netherlands, China and Brazil, manufacturing facilities in the USA, Hungary and India, as well as global engineering resources, including electrification engineering centers in Indianapolis, Indiana, Auburn Hills, Michigan and London in the United Kingdom. Allison also has approximately 1,600 independent distributor and dealer locations worldwide. For more information, visit