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Manitowoc set to increase tower crane sales in China

July 8, 2021  By Crane & Hoist Canada Staff

Lean manufacturing initiatives at the Manitowoc factory in Zhangjiagang are helping drive Potain tower crane sales in China.

Manitowoc says it is experiencing high demand for Potain tower cranes in China and is on track to sell significantly more units this year than in 2020.

The surge in demand is driven in part by the focus on ongoing economic growth and urbanization pursued by the Chinese government. According to analysis from, the company’s construction industry grew by 1.9 per cent in 2020, but will record average annual growth of 4.7 per cent between 2021 and 2024.

Focus on prefabricated buildings

In addition to increased investment in construction, there is also a shift in design focus for developments, with the government strongly promoting prefabricated buildings which can be assembled much faster than those built using cast-in-situ concrete. The shift to prefabricated buildings requires large and heavy structural components to be lifted, and this has driven demand for higher capacity cranes, especially those rated at 200 tm and above.

Currently, prefabricated buildings make up 15 per cent of all new construction projects, and that percentage is on the rise, according to China’s Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development. As a result Potain’s MCT 138, MCT 188, MCT 278 and MCT 328 topless cranes are the company’s most popular units in China at present.


“The market for tower cranes in China is extremely favorable at the moment but that doesn’t mean we can rest on our laurels.”

We are working harder than ever to provide customers with reliable, high-performance cranes that are ideally suited to their needs, backed by responsive service support and industry-leading technical expertise. The shift to prefabricated construction is driving demand for high performance cranes with technology that can boost productivity on jobsites,” said Brian Wang, Manitowoc’s senior vice-president for the Asia-Pacific region.

Local manufacturing

When the Manitowoc factory in Zhangjiagang, China, opened in 2006 it was already one of the most advanced tower crane manufacturing facilities in the world, according to the company. Today it produces a full line of Potain cranes, including topless, hammerhead, luffing jib and hydraulic luffing models.

To keep pace with market growth, the 56,000 m2 (602,779 ft2) production space has now undergone a substantial renovation through the implementation of what the company calls The Manitowoc Way.

“This uses the fundamentals of lean manufacturing, rapid new product development and superior after-sales service to ensure customer satisfaction levels remain at their peak,” it said in a press release. “Improvements have been made to both the layout, processes and equipment, including new robotic welding machines and a new production line for C Mast sections.”

“Velocity and innovation are at the heart of our way of working, and you can see this throughout the Zhangjiagang facility. The principles of The Manitowoc Way are enabling us to achieve continuous improvement,” Wang said.


Recent new models to come out of the Zhangjiagang factory include the MCT 278 topless crane which launched in 2020. The 10 t capacity crane boasts a number of innovative features, including a compact counter-jib – just 17 metres, regardless of jib length – and topless design that provides greater slewing clearance to enable multiple units to overlap more easily, increasing both speed of construction and productivity on site.

For added versatility, the MCT 278 can be used with a 45 kW-rated 60 LVF 25 hoist, which provides 500 m of rope capacity and the ability to lift 2.5 t loads at up to 88 m/min or a 55 kW-rated 75 HPL 25 hoist, offering 834 m of rope capacity and lifting speeds of up to 215 m/min for loads of 0.35 t.

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