September 8, 2022

Mi-Jack launches new RTG

Mi-Jack is now offering a standard size RTG for port and intermodal applications where container stacking is required.

Illinois-based Mi-Jack has launched a US-made Rubber-Tyred Gantry crane (RTG), which is designated the JL1400P.

Mi-Jack is well known across the US intermodal industry for its Trans-Lift RTGs that span one train track and one truck lane and are used to ‘work’ the country’s long intermodal container trains. These light, highly flexible machines are a staple of US intermodal terminals. In 2019 Mi-Jack launched the Translift MJ1400Cs, which is a unique cantilever RTG with a rope hoist and 16-wheel diesel-electric drive, that offered a wider span and a cantilever for handling an additional train and a container stack.

Around the same time Mi-Jack decided it needed to develop a ‘port style” RTG with high container stacking for both the port and intermodal terminal markets. In an interview with WorldCargo News, Mi-Jack’s Vice President of Sales, Aaron Newton, said the COVID-19 pandemic helped convince the company that the time is right for a US-made product. Mi-Jack has always focused sourcing within the US, and has a US supply chain for its domestically-made cranes. Over the pandemic this has demonstrated its value, as some terminal operators have found parts for foreign cranes are hard to come by and lead times are very long, Newton said.
Furthermore, there is a significant amount of grant funding available to ports and railroads through different US government departments under the Biden Administration’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. This funding comes with “Buy America” conditions that require that “all of the iron, steel, manufactured products and construction materials used in the project are produced in the United States.” For a manufactured product to meet the test, 55% of the total cost of the components must be manufactured in the United States.

In developing the JL1400P RTG Mi-Jack has focused on designing a US-made machine that lets ports tap into this funding, while at the same time purchasing a machine that can meet their operating and technology requirements.

The new RTG is available in lift height configurations from 1-over-2 up to 1-over-6, and with spans from 3+1 up to 8+1. Lifting capacity under the spreader is 45 short tons (40.8 metric tons) and different spreader options are available for trailer and 53ft box handling if required. The standard design is a 16-wheel RTG, with an option for an 8-wheel drive.

If zero emissions equipment is required Mi-Jack is offering a full electric drive via a cable reel or bus bar. A hybrid option with Mi-Jack’s “ECOCrane” system, which features a smaller diesel engine and battery pack, is also available.

In manufacturing the machine Mi-Jack has focused on using US-made components are far as possible, while at the same time keeping the price premium within a reasonable range. There is a view in the industry that it is not possible to build gantry cranes in the US with US steel for anything less than a 200%-plus premium, but Newton said this is not the case for an RTG, which does not have the same steel requirement as a larger gantry crane. The actual price premium to comparable RTGs is more like 10-15%, without factoring in savings that can be achieved through locally available parts and support, he argues.

Furthermore, rather than trying to build the same machines that operators are purchasing today in the US, Mi-Jack took a different approach. It started its RTG project by meeting with key customers and asking what they wanted in an RTG and what were the areas they wanted to see improved. The result is a design that is built to minimise downtime and maximise throughput.

The crane is designed to be rugged, with a design life of over 2M cycles. At the same time Mi-Jack has simplified the hoist and skew systems with a single drum design that uses an internal gearbox, electric motor and disc braking system. Although the gearbox is inside the hoist drum, it is serviceable externally, including drain and fill ports for the gear oil. The standard engine is a Cummins Tier 4 Final compliant diesel that has full support across the US.

On the technology side, terminals buying cranes today want to know that they come with a pathway to automation. The Mi-Jack JL1400P is “automation-ready” via full integration with the Mi-Star Applied Technology platform. As well as automation and remote control the Mi-Star suite offers auto-steering, a container position system and truck positioning system.

The JL1400P is available to order today and Mi-Jack intends to build base machines for stock so it can offer faster delivery times.