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Crane Hot Line

New Battery-Powered Unit Will Keep Crane Operator Comfortable When Engine is Off

Mar. 11, 2023 – One of the up-and-coming products Link-Belt Cranes will display in stand F9213 at ConExpo from Mar. 14-18 is a battery-driven auxiliary power unit (APU) that will keep a crane operator comfortable when the crane’s engine is turned off.

The APU is an option that’s designed to work with the Pulse 2.0 cab used on the 85-USt Link-Belt 85|RT rough-terrain crane.

Link-Belt is displaying a prototype of the APU on an 85|RT at the show.

“Major fleet owners have asked Link-Belt to develop a way to keep the operator’s cab comfortable without having the crane’s diesel engine running at idle,” said Kelly Fiechter, Link-Belt’s product manager for rough-terrain cranes. “This battery-powered APU will do that.”

Fiechter added that powering the cab’s HVAC system with the APU when the crane is sitting between lifts will save fuel, reduce emissions, cut down on noise, and slow down the accumulation of engine hours.

“Telematics data has shown that rough-terrain cranes spend nearly 70% of their running time with the engine at idle,” Fiechter said. “The APU can reduce idling time and the resulting fuel consumption, engine emissions, and noise, while also increasing the engine’s lifespan.”

The APU uses a lithium-ion battery to power the 85|RT’s existing HVAC and electrical systems when the crane’s diesel engine is turned off. “It powers systems that are already built into the cab, so there’s no extra ducting or wiring to install,” said Fiechter. “When the system senses that the crane’s engine is running, it turns itself off. And when the engine rpm goes to zero, the APU can kick in.”

Besides keeping the cab comfortable, the APU powers the Pulse 2.0 and operator’s cab electrical system, so the operator can still use all of the Pulse 2.0 control system’s powerful features, from the camera system, to the LMI and touchscreen controls, even with the engine off.

When the crane’s diesel engine is running, the APU goes into charging mode. The engine then takes over as the power supply and also charges the APU’s battery. Together, the APU and the 85|RT’s auto idle feature give the operator continuous comfort.

Link-Belt is showing the prototype of its patent-pending APU at ConExpo so that potential customers have a chance to see it and offer input that will help guide its further development.

“There’s no better place for the industry to see this innovative option and give us valuable feedback than at North America’s largest construction-equipment show,” said Fiechter. “We invite all users of rough-terrain cranes to come and see the APU, then tell us their thoughts about it.”

Rigorous testing of the APU on the 85|RT should be complete by end of this summer. Fiechter says Link-Belt currently plans to start delivering the APU option for 85|RTs in the fourth quarter of this year or the first quarter of 2024.


Crane Hot Line is part of the Catalyst Communications Network publication family.