Potain & Grove Challenge Italy’s Amalfi Coast

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  • In Positano, on Italy’s picturesque Amalfi Coast, Gemar has deployed a Potain MDT 189 tower crane, erected by a Grove GMK4100L-1 all-terrain crane, to overcome the challenges of constructing a multi-story parking lot into the side of a cliff on a site with limited space and access.
  • The Piano di Sorrento-based real estate developer chose the 8 t capacity Potain MDT 189 tower crane for its ability to cover the 60 m height difference between the top and bottom of the site, as well as local dealer Edilcom Gru’s experience in coordinating transport and assembly in tight locations.
  • With its best-in-class load charts and narrow 2.55 m width, the four-axle Grove GMK4100L-1 all-terrain crane ensured the tower crane assembly took place effectively and efficiently.

The Amalfi Coast is known all over the world for its breathtaking views and enchanting landscapes, but the steep slopes and winding roads do not favour transport and access for building and infrastructure projects. 

The ongoing construction of a 160-space multi-storey parking lot into a rockface surrounded by houses in Positano is a case in point. Incorporating an elevator, the lot is essential to connect the road below to the one above where the town’s cemetery is located, which is currently difficult to access and served only by stairs. 

The project necessitated the demolition of part of the cliff with dynamite and the subsequent excavation inside it of a 35 m tunnel to access the elevator shaft. With the excavations now complete, a crane has been commissioned to lift the structural elements into place and construct the elevator shaft. The construction is due for completion in 2023. 

The real estate developer responsible for the project, Gemar, selected a Potain MDT 189 top-slewing tower crane for its ideal specification, as well as the company’s trust and confidence in dealer Edilcom Gru, headquartered in nearby Naples, to seamlessly handle the logistics and assembly.

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One solution for a two-level jobsite

“For this specific project, the terrain and the fact that the site was on two levels led us to choose this type of crane. The Potain MDT 189 was the only crane with which we could serve both the lower and upper sites with just one solution,” explained the architect Fabrizio Gargiulo from Gemar. 

“The work would not have been possible without a crane that could cover the difference in height (60 m) between the two levels. Without the Potain MDT 189, it would have been very difficult to get our job done,” he continued. 

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The MDT 189 was configured on-site with an 80 m height under hook and 45 m jib length. The crane was equipped with two trolleys and the Top Site Zone Control System, which creates no-go areas for job site operation. This was one of the features that helped convince Gemar that the MDT 189 was the right crane for the project.

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Maximum productivity and maximum uptime

Part of the Potain MDT CCS tower crane range, the MDT 189 is equipped with the Manitowoc CCS crane control system, which accelerates operations, increases productivity and the degree of accuracy, at the same time as offering an integrated maintenance system allowing diagnostics and centralized interventions. This model represents the next generation of cranes and guarantees excellent lifting performance (8 t maximum load capacity, 60 m jib and up to 1.8 t at 60 m), reduced set-up times and maximum control by the operator. 

“The remote monitoring and diagnostics is a very useful feature for managing assistance, especially on small sites such as that in Positano,” said Luigi Russo, General Manager of Edilcom Gru. “It is essential to check any malfunctions remotely and to promptly send the technicians to the construction site with the spare parts needed to fix the problem. It is also essential for our customer Gemar, who can constantly monitor all crane movements and structural stresses in real-time.” 

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Years of quality and reliable support

Piano di Sorrento-based Gemar was founded by architect Antonino Gargiulo in 1958 and has been a longstanding Manitowoc customer across its construction projects, from public to private and from infrastructure to renovations. Over the last decade, the developer has specialized in the construction of underground car parks and is expanding its business towards the construction of tourist accommodation facilities. 

“In addition to the technical and performance characteristics of the MDT 189, we chose the Potain brand due to the excellent relationship we have established for years with Edilcom Gru, from which we have purchased and rented many other cranes in the past,” Fabrizio Gargiulo said. 

Founded in 1971, Edilcom Gru has been a Manitowoc partner since the 1980s specializing in the sale, service, and rental of construction cranes. Currently, the fleet counts 85 units including self-erecting cranes and tower cranes. Crane maintenance and overhauls are performed by highly skilled technical personnel and engineers, all educated at Manitowoc’s Potain training centres.

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Meticulous logistics planning

“On this project, Edilcom Gru was a valuable ally in the transport and assembly phases of the organization. We had to design it down to the smallest detail with the works taking place at the first light of dawn to cause minimal disruptions and avoid the traffic,” he continued. 

Luigi Russo, who has led Edilcom Gru since 2013, added: “The construction site is particularly tiny and it was extremely difficult to find a place to unload the material and place the trucks and cranes. Furthermore, from Sorrento to Amalfi the transit of heavy vehicles is forbidden so we had to coordinate the work in such a way that as soon as the material arrived it was immediately assembled.” 

The perfect partner

Keeping it in the Manitowoc family, a four-axle Grove GMK4100L-1 all-terrain crane was the ideal machine to assemble the Potain MDT 189 due to its best-in-class load charts and extremely compact design. The 60 m main boom has seven sections and features the MEGAFORM boom design, which enhances its strength and makes it even more powerful. 

With a vehicle width of just 2.55 m, the GMK4100L-1 can easily travel to even the most confined job sites so that narrow roads leading to the job site on the cliff could be easily passed. In taxi configuration, the GMK4100L-1 can carry up to 6.7 t of counterweight within 12 t per axle. The all-wheel steering ensures superior steering both on- and off-road when the terrain becomes more challenging, eliminating tire wear and stress on the non-steered axles. 

The Grove 100 t all-terrain crane assembled the parts of Gemar’s Potain MDT 189 tower crane on the ground and mounted it to a height of 40 m. A telescopic cage on the tower crane then enabled the team to reach a height of 70 m.

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A model for future projects

So far, the assembly and operation of the Potain MDT 189 have proved a success and Gemar looks forward to deploying it on other projects in the future. 

“We decided to buy the MDT 189 because we plan to also use it on other jobs. The crane is excellent and technically flawless. The entire Amalfi Coast is built in terraces, so we believe this could be a pilot project for neighbouring towns, which are watching with attention and interest at what we are doing in Positano,” Gargiulo concluded. 

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