First impressions of the new Grove GMK6400-1
As part of the product development process for the new Grove GMK6400-1, several experienced crane operators were invited to the Manitowoc factory in Wilhelmshaven, Germany to put the new model through its paces. Last year Looking Up caught up with one of them, Yannick Kempf, from German rental company MSG Krandienst, to get his first impressions.
Yannick Kempf is a highly experienced operator who previously ran a Grove GMK6400 for MSG Krandienst before the company received its GMK6400-1, which he now operates. He spoke about the new GMK6400-1; what he loves about the original GMK6400; and his affinity for the Grove brand.
LU: What were your first impressions of the GMK6400-1 prototype, when you tested it at the Product Verification Center (PVC) in Wilhelmshaven?
YK: I already like the design of Grove machines, but the new carrier and superstructure on the GMK6400-1 are even more beautiful. I noticed straight away that the hydraulic pump capacity has been increased, allowing faster telescoping and operation of the winches. Manitowoc has adjusted key movements too. As an operator, you feel that the Manitowoc engineering and product management teams really listen to you and value your suggestions.
LU: And how was the visit overall to Wilhelmshaven?
YK: We felt very welcome as guests in the Wilhelmshaven factory. Our opinions were valued and always taken seriously. The new Grove GMK6400-1 is a great example of taking feedback on board as I could see there were a lot of small improvements [over the previous GMK6400] that only an operator would really notice. So, it’s good to see that we have an impact.
LU: Of course, the GMK6400-1 shares a lot of its design with the original GMK6400. What are the three main benefits of the crane for you?
YK: Firstly, it provides a lot of flexibility. When rigging the MegaWingLift, we don’t need an assist crane. I can do it all by myself – and remember we’re talking about a crane that will lift 64 t on a 60 m main boom with its MegaWingLift. That is stunning for a six-axle machine.
The second benefit is what you can lift with the luffing jib. The GMK6400 is in another league – it lifts more like a crane in the seven-axle category – but at the same time it’s more compact than any competitor crane, which is always a huge advantage.
Finally, I must mention the GMK6400’s overall strength. As an operator, you are constantly checking the machine’s load charts but with the GMK6400 you always feel you could lift more. You always feel secure – no matter what you have on the hook.
LU: Compared to other cranes in the 400 t class, what impresses you the most about the Grove GMK6400?
YK: It’s extremely quick and easy to set up. When we are on a jobsite we find we are always quicker to set up than others who might be working with cranes from different manufacturers [but in the same capacity class].
LU: What strengths do you think Grove all-terrain cranes have in general?
YK: I really like the precise control of the cranes’ functions and movements. We need to operate quickly but also with high accuracy, both of which we do on a Grove all-terrain crane.
LU: Which models from Grove do you operate?
YK: Well, obviously, the main crane I operate now is the GMK6400-1 and before that the GMK6400. But I’ve also worked with the GMK3060, GMK4080-1, GMK4100L, GMK5130-2, GMK5150L, GMK5250L, and GMK6300. So, you could say I have experience with pretty much the whole range!
LU: When you were at the factory, did you sit inside the new carrier cab?
YK: Yes! And it is very impressive. The interior is first-class, and it’s very quiet while driving. There are more places to store things, which is very important for us operators, and items like USB points, etc. I really like it and, of course, it’s great to know it fulfills the latest European safety standards.
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