Canada’s 1st Grove GMK6400-1 opens new doors for A.W. Leil

A Grove GMK6400-1 crane on a wind farm.
A.W. Leil Cranes and Equipment is using a Grove GMK6400-1 to complete maintenance on wind turbines in the Maritimes.

The new Grove GMK6400-1 all-terrain crane, purchased by A.W. Leil Cranes and Equipment, has been in constant demand since it left its base in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

The crane arrived in December and is the first Grove GMK6400-1 to arrive in Canada. Due to fleet capacity constraints, A.W. Leil had been excluded from opportunities in its market, particularly in providing maintenance services to wind turbines it had erected in the early 2000s.

“Our largest crane was 400 ton, which usually left us just shy of being able to service larger wind towers, so we recognized there was a need to upsize,” said A.W. Leil President Ryan Long.

“We were initially looking at 500 to 650-ton machines, but once we started doing careful comparisons, plotting out every tiny detail in a spreadsheet, the GMK6400-1 kept shining through.”

The 450-ton GMK6400-1 features self-rigging MegaWingLift and MAXbase variable-position outriggers that support a lifting performance usually only seen on seven or eight-axle cranes.

RELATED: Manitowoc launches new Grove rough-terrain crane at bauma 2022

Shawmut Equipment of Canada provided hands-on operator and technician training to A.W. Leil’s team at handover, where the crane joined its fleet of Grove TMS truck cranes and National Crane boom trucks. The crane hasn’t stopped working since heading to its first wind farm on Prince Edward Island.

Working throughout the Maritimes, the GMK6400-1’s road-legal status highly appreciated by A.W. Leil.

“Taxi work is crucial for us, so the icing on the cake is that we can just head straight out, trailing a boom dolly behind,” Long said. “Other machines in the region have to spend extra time and work sending extra permits, trucks and boom launching before every single mobilization. In the end, that’s added cost to the customer. The GMK6400-1’s easy roading really has been a major turning point for us.”

A.W. Leil’s Crane and Rigging Supervisor Ryan Bruce was also impressed by the speed and logical nature of the process and the easily accessible plug-in ports for the remote handset that eliminates trips to the operator’s cab.

“The best thing about it has to be the safety package,” Bruce said.

“Manitowoc has outdone itself with the amount of fall protection and the easy erection of safety rails on everything from boom to jib.”

The Grove GMK6400-1 has a 60-metre main boom and when fitted with its full complement of jib, it can achieve a maximum tip height of 136 metres. The all-terrain crane boasts a compact overall package, with a length of 17.5 metres and boom overhang of 1.8 metres. Grove’s MegaWingLift system increases lift capacities by up to 70 per cent on the main boom and up to 400 per cent on the luffing jib. 

“We’re not a huge company,” Long said. “But our fantastic new crane helps us punch above our weight and hopefully tells the market that we’re ready to take on any challenge.”