Palfinger Knuckleboom Cranes

Lifetime Excellence

Palfinger Crane

PALFINGER, a multinational company group with headquarters in Salzburg, Austria, began in 1932 as a metalworking and repair shop. Since then, they have expanded with manufacturing and assembly locations in North America, South America, Europe and Asia along with over 5,000 sales and service centres in over 130 countries around the world, with the Knuckle Boom Loader Crane as their core product. The company has a selection of over 120 knuckleboom crane models, maintaining a market share of about 30 percent and is also the largest manufacturer in the world of forestry and recycling cranes, as well as container handling systems. They also offer tail-lifts, mounted forklifts, railway applications, bridge inspection equipment. The marine division is a leading worldwide provider of cutting-edge marine, offshore and wind cranes.

The brand stands for the most innovative, reliable and cost-effective lifting solutions for use on commercial vehicles and in the maritime field. Sustainability and the responsible use of the earth’s resources are at the core of all Palfinger’s actions.


Palfinger Features

Palfinger cranes are equipped with load sensing (LS) systems to recognize the lifting power required at any given moment and to sensitively adjust the pumping and engine performance according to its readings. The LS system saves up to twenty percent fuel in the loading process. They are also the first manufacturer of truck-mounted knuckle boom cranes equipped with electrically operated hydraulic pumps. Electric motors on Palfinger products make for minimal emissions as well as minimal noise pollution.

Palfinger HPSC SystemHPSC System

HPSC, High Performance Stability Control, aids in comfort and safety especially where space is restricted and the vehicle can only be supported on one side or perhaps not at all. HPSC stability control system uses sensors for proportional length measurement located in the stabilizers make their positioning fully variable. As a result, it is possible to calculate the permissible safe working range for any for any stabilizer situation. The stability is recalculated for every crane position in real time. HPSC-L is a light alternative that monitors stability within a 360 range using the same algorithm as the HPSC for calculations. The sensor system is mounted inside the unit, protected from damage, dirt, and the elements present in any working environment including marine and military.


PALcom P7 Radio RemotePALcom P7 Radio Remote

A newly developed radio remote control unit combining cutting-edge design with excellent operator-friendliness, safety and working efficiency. Some of the features of this controller include ergonomic design based on intuitive use by the operator allowing fatigue-free work over extended periods of time. A centrally located 4.1 inch TFT colour display with transflective technology allows the operator to view vital information even in direct sunlight, safety features such as rollover and acceleration sensors that prevent accidental crane shifting, and an energy management system that extends the service life of the batteries.




P-Fold System

An additional function of the PALcom P7, the P-Fold assistance system is available exclusively for all cranes in the SH model series. The P-Fold system allows the crane operator to set in motion the crane by using a single lever on the PALcom P7. The P-Fold controls take over co-ordination of the crane movements until a set working position has been attained. The P-Fold system increases operator comfort, reduces setup times and prevents costly damage to the vehicle, cargo, and surrounding areas.




Rope Tension Control

The Rope Tension Control (RTC) is an automatic rope tensioning device that makes it easier to fold and unfold the knuckleboom crane with the rope(cable) reeved in and the fly-jib mounted. If any crane operations are performed that affect the rope length, the RTC system will automatically adjust the rope length to match. No longer does the operator need to stress about continually adjusting the reeved-in cable. The RTC system executes this burden automatically and as a result the cable and pulley head can remain permanently mounted on the Palfinger loader crane.




Popular Palfinger Models

PK 165.002 TEC 7

The new PK 165.002 TEC 7 is the next generation of Palfinger knuckleboom cranes, designed specifically for trucks with a 32 ton weight limit rating.
This new crane blends strength with long reach. The goal was to “develop a crane that is designed for heavy loads and high reach capacities while reducing the weight at the same time” says Gerald Pschernig, Managing Director of Business Unit Cranes at Palfinger.
The PK 165.002 TEC 7 with PJ 300L fly-jib has a maximum lifting height of 131 feet.





Palfinger PK 6501PK 6501 High Performance

The PK 6501 High Performance crane is a highly efficient model designed for mounting on a light-weight truck chassis. This crane reduces maintenance work as it is equipped with a maintenance-free boom system with self-lubricating synthetic slides. Other features include a knuckle joint on the knuckle boom, high speed extension booms, PAL 50, and optional radio remote control and HPSC.

At it’s maximum hydraulic outreach of 11.m (36’5″) it will lift 470 kg (1020 lbs) and has a maximum lift capacity of 3100 kg (6830 lbs).




Palfinger PK 22002PK 22002-EH High Performance

The PK 22002-EH High Performance crane is ideally suited for mounting on a tipper truck. This crane had a low deadweight and is equipped with a double telescope stabilizer system, providing a large stabilizer width. Other features include KTL protection, PAL 50, and optional radio remote control, HPSC, and AOS.

At it’s maximum hydraulic outreach of 17.m (56’1″) it will lift 830 kg (1820 lbs) and has a maximum lift capacity of 6100 kg (13440 lbs).




PK 48002-EH High Performance

The PK 48002-EH High Performance is a multifunctional heavy-duty loader crane. Handling containers, recovering vehicles, moving heavy machinery or performing assembly work – this crane will master a variety of different tasks with ease.
Some of the features include High Speed Extensions, KTL coating, and Power Link Plus, a 15-degree reverse linkage system which allows the crane to reach through low openings and work inside tight spaces.

At it’s maximum hydraulic outreach of 16.2m (53’2″) it will lift 2300 kg (5000 lbs) and has a maximum lift capacity of 15200 kg


Palfinger PK200002


PK 200002 L SH High Performance

The PK 200002 L SH High Performance is a extra heavy-duty loader crane designed for tasks that require a long outreach.
Some of the features include a light and stiff boom thanks to the P-Profile design, special stabilizer design, PAL150 controls and Power Link Plus.

At it’s maximum hydraulic outreach of 25.4m (83′) it will lift 3950 kg (8,700 lbs) and has a maximum lift capacity of 40000 kg (88,200 lbs). With an optional fly-jib attached it has an impressive 47.9m (157′) of reach.

Hiab Cranes

Hydrauliska Industri AB, HIAB, was established in 1944 by Eric Sundin of Hudiksvall, Sweden. Sundin created a hydraulic crane to move the heavy wood he used for his ski manufacturing company, an invention that gave us the revolutionized load handling we have today. The company’s first model, HIAB 192, used the truck’s own engine as power source, Eric Sundin (left), demonstrating the 192 loader cranecreating the HIAB Method still used daily across the globe. Hydrauliska Industri AB is one of the leading manufacturers of on-road load handling equipment and continues the vision – “to unlock the full potential of load handling as a major contributor to industrial productivity.” Today, the company has around 2700 professionals working to provide high-performance product and service, with sales and service networks in over 100 countries.

An elephant logo emblazons the HIAB headline and is a reminder of both the company’s history and their ongoing strength. The “Elefant” loader crane, presented by the company in 1956, led to today’s “knuckleboom” crane standard. In 1985, Partek Corporation, one of the leading industrial companies of Finland, acquired HIAB as part of their expansion into the engineering domain.  Innovation, service, and performance throughout the years has led them to be a part of many other leading load-handling businesses. HIAB acquired JONSERED Forestry in 1979, around the same time Partek bought Multilift group. KONE Corporation acquired Partek in 2002, becoming Cargotec Corporation. Hiab has been the name for the whole load handling business in Cargotec since 2004.

HIAB’s mission – to deliver load handling products that are reliable and efficient, so customers can run their businesses with sustainable profitability, pride and peace of mind – is evidenced in their ability to meet the needs of national, regional, and local enterprises that make up the their customer base and cover business areas such as construction, infrastructure, distribution, forestry, landscaping and agriculture, warehousing, waste and recycling, and defense. The product range now includes: HIAB loader cranes, JONSERED recycling and forestry cranes, LOGLIFT forestry cranes, MOFFETT truck mounted forklifts and MULTILIFT demountables, as well as DEL, WALTCO and ZEPRO tail lift.

HIAB’s mission – to deliver load handling products that are reliable and efficient, so customers can run their businesses with sustainable profitability, pride and peace of mind – is evidenced in their ability to meet the needs of national, regional, and local enterprises that make up the their customer base and cover business areas such as construction, infrastructure, distribution, forestry, landscaping and agriculture, warehousing, waste and recycling, and defense. The product range now includes: HIAB loader cranes, JONSERED recycling and forestry cranes, LOGLIFT forestry cranes, MOFFETT truck mounted forklifts and MULTILIFT demountables, as well as DEL, WALTCO and ZEPRO tail lift.


HIAB Crane Models

“Amongst our most popular knuckle boom cranes,” says Lotta Clausen, Vice President Communications with HIAB,
“you find the XS 144 HiDuo and XS 166 HiDuo.” Both of these are universal cranes that fit a wide range of
trucks and are equipped with a remote control. “Being able to choose between various steering systems, HIAB allows our customers to invest on the right level according to his/her business,” continues Ms. Clausen.

The company has a wide range of knuckle boom crane models with capacities beginning at 0.5 ton all the way up to 90 ton, and with outreaches spreading from 4.2 to 38 meters. With consistent innovation comes many models, and to navigate your way to find the right fit for you, the name is a significant indicator. HIAB X, is the evolution from XS, and simply indicates the crane model is fitted with a foldable boom system. CLX models indicate advanced technology (X) on the predecessor, the Classic (CL) series. The number in the model name gives you an idea of the loader crane’s capacity.

You may choose from HiDuo or HiPro control systems, and this will be indicated in the model name as well, especially when purchasing a previously used crane. Both control systems use SPACE-Intelligence Systems that include Over Load Protection (OLP). In addition to Automatic Duty Control (ADC) and Automatic Speed Control (ASC) functions featured in SPACE 4000, SPACE 5000 also features Pump Flow Distribution (PFD).

What is a Knuckleboom Crane?

By Todd Brady

Knuckle boom cranes are an amazing piece of engineering technology. Also called a loader crane, articulating crane, and a picker crane, the knuckle boom crane has changed the way people load and offload in a variety of industries. It looks similar to the traditional straight boom crane, but the knuckle boom crane has two booms; a main boom and an outer boom. These two booms have a knuckle between them, which allows more options for the loader crane operator.

Look at your fingers; hold your index finger out straight, and then bend your finger at the knuckles. The knuckle boom crane works in the same manner. The addition of these two knuckles on the crane allows for many more different uses compared to a straight boom crane. These knuckles also make it easier to fold into a smaller size, but at the same time it can extend further to reach loads at a distance. This kind of “fold and extend” ability is missing in the traditional stiff boom cranes.

Excels in Tight Spaces

For the loading and unloading of heavy cargo and machinery in restricted spaces, the knuckle boom loader crane has no equal. This kind of crane has proven to be very useful in Europe, where truck size restrictions are stricter, and roads are narrower than North America. However, it is also gaining more popularity in other parts of the world.

These types of cranes have been particularly utilized in the transport, construction, forestry, mining, marine, and petroleum industries. They may be small and easier to use in constricted spaces, but that does not make them any less effective because they can be used to lift cargo of up to and exceeding 60 tons. The knuckleboom can even be outfitted with a winch for additional lifting options.

How is the knuckle boom crane used? First, it depends on where it will be used. For example, in the construction and transport industry, it is fitted onto a truck; for marine use, this crane is mounted onto a boat. It can also be mounted on a dock or railcar, and its ability to fold up for storage during transport makes it a more versatile option compared to the traditional stiff boom crane.


Advantages of the Knuckle Boom Crane

Greater Payload Capacity

Considering all the different applications that it can be used for; this is a light piece of equipment – light enough for the truck to carry its regular cargo and carry the weight of the mounted crane as well.


The loader crane can be equipped with several different attachments at the end of the boom. Examples of these include buckets, grapple saws, pallet forks, brick/block grabs, log grabs, and more!

No Travel Limitations

It can be installed on your truck; and that means that wherever your truck can fit, your truck crane will also fit because it is really part of the truck.

Horizontal Lifting

The articulating crane is excellent at lifting cargo horizontally, meaning that it can even be used in low clearance, tight spaces without causing any damage. Minimal space is needed to operate this crane. With the addition of a jib, the possibilities of the lorry loader are even greater.

Multiple Install Configurations

It could be on a truck, on a boat, dock, or railcar. Again, it really doesn’t matter where you choose to install it because it is versatile enough to accommodate your needs. For example, on most trucks, the crane is mounted right behind the cab. In others, it is mounted on the rear of the truck to ensure that weight is distributed evenly on the axles.

Easier to Load & Unload

The articulating loader crane allows the operator to load or unload the cargo with much less vertical clearance required compared to a straight boom crane. The option to rear mount the crane gives the operator the ability to load/unload a trailer towed behind the truck.

Frequently Asked Questions

What size of knuckleboom crane do I need?

This depends on the type of jobs you will be using the crane for. For example, there are small knuckle boom truck cranes that can be used to lift loads of less than one ton while there are very large knuckle booms which have a 60 ton lift capacity. When you are searching for an articulating crane, let us know your lifting requirements and we will find the right crane for you

What is the outreach of a good knuckleboom?

Again, this depends on your lifting requirements. For example, some have an outreach of only a few meters, yet others can reach over 30 meters. These are just two examples; there are varying outreach distances for different cranes.

How do I control the knuckle boom crane?

There are many options for the operator, including the remote/wireless control, top seat control, stand up control, and ground control.

What are the most popular articulating crane brands?

There are many different brands of articulating cranes. At KBT, our most requested brands are Copma, Hiab, Fassi, Palfinger, and PM. Other brands include Atlas, Amco Veba, Bonfiglioli, Cormach, Effer, Ferrari, Heila, Hyva, HMF, IMT, MKG, and Pesci.


Mecanil Grapple Saws

A Game Changer for Urban Tree Removal

By Todd Brady

Imagine cutting down a whole tree without ever having to climb it. Imagine controlling everything safely from the ground via remote control, without the fear of falling or injury. This is possible through the use of a Mecanil grapple saw attached to a knuckle boom crane.

The Mecanil grapple saw is the safest and most efficient method for tree removal. Controlled from the ground via a remote control unit, the grapple saw eliminates the need for climbing, rigging and cutting by hand. Aside from faster tree removal, the grapple saw saves you money, promotes safety, and alleviates the need for a tedious clean up.

Be it a small or big job, tree removal can be dangerous work. According to the Tree Care Industry Association, in 2015, there were 125 fatal and 59 serious accidents in the tree care industry. Workers in the industry have to contend with the unpredictability of Mother Nature, as well as rely on the skills and experience of their fellow employees. There will be times that big trees get blown over, branches get tangled, and workers need to cut through dangerous debris. Cutting through debris requires being able to cut close to the stump as safely as possible. Trees can be under tension and sudden releases could potentially produce whiplash. Limbs and branches cut from above can fall on people or property below.

While accidents can still occur in work sites, utilizing the proper tools and equipment can minimize their occurrence and severity. By using a grapple saw, you eliminate the need for a climber and the cost of hiring additional workers, and consequently prevent accidents and injuries that go hand in hand with tree climbing and removal.


Video: PM 100 grapplesaw truck with 126 feet of vertical reach! Banner

How does the grapplesaw work?

The process of using this tool is simple – a grapple saw locks onto the tree and then cuts it. The tool combines the features of a highly efficient, high-powered chainsaw that can cut through wood within seconds, and a strong vice-like grapple that locks onto the tree allowing the operator to lower the limb to the ground in a controlled manner preventing property damage or injury to people below.

A highly reliable piece of machinery, the features of the Mecanil grapple saw include: stability in both the felling and loading position, saw bar and grapple controls that are independent of each other, controls that enable tilting and rotating of the grapple saw to access hard-to-reach places, three grapple claw style choices, and complete wireless control.

Grapple saws can be utilized in small or big jobs, and they can be installed on a variety of vehicles, such as knuckle boom trucks, tractors, and excavators to name a few.

Interview with Glenn Gerasimek

We interviewed Glenn Gerasimek, the owner of Gerasimek Tree & Stump Removal Inc. Glenn was one of the the first in North America to offer urban tree removal with a Mecanil grapple saw and knuckle boom crane which he calls “Tree-mek”. Glenn has been extremely efficient with his Tree-mek and has been kind enough to share his story with us to help educate the industry on this amazing piece of technology.

KBT: You are considered by many to be a pioneer in grapple saw use for urban tree removal in North America. How did you discover the grapple saw and knuckle boom crane combination?

Glenn: I discovered the Mecanil SG220 on a fuzzy, low quality video on YouTube about 4 years ago. I, like most guys I know who cut trees in the Northeast, spend all winter researching new equipment to invest in. After seeing that video, I knew it was what the tree industry needed. I figured if it can be done in Europe, it can be done here, only better.


KBT: How long have you been using a Mecanil grapple saw and knuckle boom crane?

Glenn: I bought a Mecanil SG220 in the spring of 2014 and used it on my little Hiab 090 knuckleboom that had only 40′ of reach. I quickly learned how safe, efficient, and profitable it was. My only deficiency was the reach, so I started designing a crane/truck/Mecanil SG220 setup that would become the Tree-mek. After much research, I chose to sell my 75′ rear mount elavator bucket truck and my small Hiab knuckleboom truck and purchase a Palfinger PK33002-EH rear mounted on a Mack 688. 2014 convinced me I couldn’t fail and 2015 was proof that I made the best decision. It was my most profitable year to date with turning down all trimming jobs and focusing solely on removals. Also, I did it with only 1 employee and only 2 trucks total, including the tree-mek.

KBT: You call your truck a “Tree-mek”. What’s the story behind this name?

Glenn: "Tree-mek" is kind of short for "mechanized tree removal system". The "mek" is the last 3 letters of my last name to salute my father for getting me started in the tree industry when I was a teenager. The name just fits. Everyone seems to like it and the name separates it from an ordinary crane. The Tree-mek is a pretty specialized piece of equipment. I put a decal on the front of mine that says "Tree-mek 1". The guy that has the 2nd one has "Tree-mek 2". There is a total of 5 at this time the proudly display the Tree-mek decal. It’s like a club of like-minded, innovative guys that enjoy technology, tree removal, and making a comfortable living. We try to share ideas and keep improving the tree-mek design.


KBT: Safety is a big concern in the tree trimming and removal industry. Do you feel tree removal using a Mecanil grapple saw is safer than traditional tree removal methods?

Glenn: Is there risk? There is risk in every method, but I believe without doubt, there is no safer method to remove trees and big limbs than with a remote control tree-mek. No climber, bucket, ropes, or rigging. Less employees means less human error and less liability. Limbs are held, cut, and set down where you want them, not where they need to come down. On most trees, a chainsaw is only used to make two or three cuts. This setup eliminates a ton of risk. I know it’s hard to believe, but every guy that has come to watch me work has bought one or is in the process.


KBT: A knuckleboom crane and grapple saw combination can be intimidating to use for a new operator. Do you have any tips to help new operators?

Glenn: If you’ve never used a knuckleboom, it will definitely be challenging. The guys that are just starting need to train themselves to take small pieces. That way, when you underestimate a limb, and you will, you won’t put your crane at risk. It won’t take long to find that comfortable size piece that you can bring down, rotate, and set on the chipper deck for your 1 employee to process while you’re cutting another one.


KBT: A knuckle boom crane is a very versatile piece of equipment. What else can you do with your knuckleboom?

Glenn: Versatility is the key to any successful tree removal business and the Tree-mek delivers. It’s a crane, a climber, a log loader, and brush mover. I have a basket that I can attach and then I have a bucket truck with 100′ working height and 87′ of side reach.


KBT: There are a few different brands of grapple saws on the market, why did you choose a Mecanil grapple saw?

Glenn: I chose Mecanil based on my experience with the company. They were very professional, helpful and courteous. Very nice people to work with. They are continually improving and refining their design. I’m very happy with my choice.


KBT: Have you been hired for job because you use a crane over traditional methods for tree removals?

Glenn: I have found that nearly all customers will hire a Tree-mek over a traditional service for several reasons. Most jobs can be done with little to no impact on a lawn, there is zero chance of anyone falling, and very little chance of injury. When you tell a customer that their tree will be removed piece by piece with a remote controlled machine, you pretty much have it right there. The only jobs that I don’t get are ones that are really underbid and the customer really struggles with it. They don’t want a guy in their tree when there is a Tree-mek available. I have on many occasions, had customers pay far more for my Tree-mek instead of hiring a traditional service. People know what is safer and that’s what they want and are willing to pay for.


KBT: What made you decide to invest in a knuckle boom crane and grapple saw?

Glenn: There are a couple sayings that have been around for hundreds, maybe thousands of years that I have also found to be true. “I’m not getting any younger” and “you can’t find good help”. These are the 2 main reasons I made the investment in the Tree-mek. So, if you don’t age and you enjoy looking after employees, you just won’t make the investment. 


Mecanil SG160 Technical Data

Model SG160 SG160 RC SG160 A SG160 A RC
Tilt Function Yes Yes Yes Yes
Collecting Unit No No Yes Yes
Grapple Opening 37" 37" 37" 37"
Weight* 420 lbs 455 lbs 485 lbs 520 lbs
Rec. Oil Flow Rate 11 - 21 gpm 11 - 21 gpm 11 - 21 gpm 11 - 21 gpm
Control Wired Wireless Wired Wireless
Cutting Diameter (saw bar) 16" 16" 16" 16"
Lift Capacity 3,300 lbs 3,300 lbs 3,300 lbs 3,300 lbs


Mecanil SG220 Technical Data

Model SG220 SG220 RC SG220 A SG220 A RC
Tilt Function Yes Yes Yes Yes
Collecting Unit No No Yes Yes
Grapple Opening 47" 47" 47" 47"
Weight* 640 lbs 705 lbs 795 lbs 840 lbs
Rec. Oil Flow Rate 11 - 21 gpm 11 - 21 gpm 11 - 21 gpm 11 - 21 gpm
Control Wired Wireless Wired Wireless
Cutting Diameter (saw bar) 18" 18" 18" 18"
Lift Capacity 4,400 lbs 4,400 lbs 4,400 lbs 4,400 lbs


Mecanil SG280 Technical Data

Model SG280 SG280 RC SG280 A SG280 A RC
Tilt Function Yes Yes Yes Yes
Collecting Unit No No Yes Yes
Grapple Opening 58" 58" 58" 58"
Weight* 740 lbs 815 lbs 905 lbs 970 lbs
Rec. Oil Flow Rate 16 - 26 gpm 16 - 26 gpm 16 - 26 gpm 16 - 26 gpm
Control Wired Wireless Wired Wireless
Cutting Diameter (saw bar) 25" 25" 25" 25"
Lift Capacity 5,500 lbs 5,500 lbs 5,500 lbs 5,500 lbs


About Mecanil

With headquarters in Finland, Mecanil Oy Ab is a family-owned company founded in 1990 by Christer and Ilse Nilsson.

Working as a forestry contractor in South-Western Finland in 1998, the Nilssons observed and realized that there was a lack and a great need for forestry machine services.

Mecanil delivers high-quality products that are built to last, based on what the market requires and what their customers want. Currently, the company is focused on creating and manufacturing efficient, safe and easy-to-use energy wood grapples and grapple saws. Banner