Press release
Wetter, Germany

Programmed for success

  • Fifty years of the Demag KBK crane construction kit
  • World market leader for light crane systems
  • “Experience. The future” campaign launched

The Demag KBK modular crane construction kit was first presented to the market in 1963. Since then, more than 10,000 kilometres of KBK profile have been marketed and the crane construction kit has been continuously further developed. Today, Terex Material Handling serves a wide variety of customers in many different industries and is seen as an innovator and worldwide market leader for light crane systems made of steel and aluminium. The spectrum of applications ranges from individual workplace solutions to complete intra-logistical installations.

The foundation for this continuing success was laid fifty years ago with the development of the “Junior System”. “The development of the Demag KBK crane construction kit was the multi-sector response to the demands of a rapidly changing industrial landscape.” says Marc Rieser, Senior Director of the business line Modular Cranes at Terex Material Handling. “With the KBK system, we were the first to offer a modular, highly flexible, smoothly working and also relatively cheap crane solution for the handling of loads in the workplace. That was revolutionary at the time.” 

So the KBK crane construction kit created a new crane segment, characterised by the greatest possible degree of modularity and flexibility. It permits made-to-measure customer-specific applications, as well as later adaptations and extensions.

The very first buyers were mostly from the automotive industry which, in the sixties, was enjoying a rapid upturn and was looking for suitable handling solutions in order to organise fast growing car production more efficiently and to assist workers with the increasing complexity of their work. That was the start of the success story of the Demag KBK crane construction kit.

Continuous system expansion

Only two years later came the market launch of the KBK II, designed for loads up to 2,000 kg. In addition to the development of further profile types, numerous components were also developed which make the KBK a fully featured system construction kit, drawn on by planners and project engineers all over the world. As well as smoothly running trolleys and system suspension fittings, the extensive system program also includes turntables and track switches. The range of applications has also been extended with KBK ergo components, which are ideally suited for the fitting of handling devices such as manipulators, for example. Apart from further innovations, the years 2001 and 2010 in particular mark important stages of development. The first presentation of the KBK Aluline series was followed by the establishment of KBK II-H for distances between suspensions of more than 6 m and profile section loads of up to 1,200 kg.

 Unique application range

With the Demag KBK light crane system, Terex Material Handling today offers a modular system construction kit for overhead transport solutions in graduated load ranges up to 3,200 kg. Single and double-girder suspension cranes, suspension monorails, slewing jibs and cranes, as well as portal and stacker cranes can all be individually configured.

They can be used as a stand-alone solution with suspension monorails and linear transport up to area-serving crane systems for an overall integrated logistics solution. The KBK light crane system offers many possibilities for handling loads quickly, safely and efficiently above the production level.

Different profile section sizes can be used for suspension crane runways and girders. Profile sections for loads weighing up to 2,000 kg are hollow track sections with protected inside running surfaces. The KBK III profile of outside-running design is available for loads weighing up to 3,200 kg. To prevent bending stresses and to minimise horizontal forces in the superstructure, the profiles are suspended so as to allow pendulation. Plastic shells in the ball joints cushion impacts, reduce noise and minimise maintenance work.

A further strength is system compatibility

Another advantage of the KBK system is that  practically all profile sections can be combined in one installation. Besides steel profile sections in six different sizes, the modular system also includes aluminium profiles. KBK Aluline is the lightweight element of our KBK light crane system. This is the right solution wherever a track and crane installation has to provide high performance combined with low weight. The areas of application are extremely varied, as the aluminium crane system permits a multitude of individually dimensioned suspension crane and runway installations. The anodised surface gives the profile an almost weightless appearance and an attractive finish. KBK Aluline also stands for the extremely convenient and smooth handling of loads weighing up to 1,000 kg.

Here too, the modular construction permits later adaptations and additions. It is also possible to combine aluminium and proven steel profile sections in one installation and, in this way, to generate cost benefits. For example, a steel profile section can be used for a crane runway and a light aluminium profile section as a crane girder. All suspension components and trolleys of the KBK Aluline range are based on components used for the Demag KBK steel system. For every application, the matching chain hoists can also be found in the Demag product portfolio. The product range is supplemented by a wide range of load handling attachments for every application.

Experience makes the difference

Since the market introduction of the “Junior System” half a century ago, the Demag KBK crane construction kit has gone through many steps in its evolution. “Our KBK system has continuously grown with the requirements of our customers,” points out Marc Rieser. The experience gained in this process and our know-how are certainly unparalleled and a unique feature which distinguishes us from the market.” Naturally, the light crane system has often been copied over the decades, but in view of the fact that the firm offers the largest system assortment and also scores with global availability, we continue to be the world market leader in the light crane system segment. 

The automotive industry is still one of the main buyers of light crane systems. This is because the KBK system fully meets its demanding requirements for positioning accuracy and operating speed. This makes it ideally suited as a load-bearing system for the complex handling systems used in series production lines. With the KBK crane construction kit, defined requirements are also precisely customised and realised for the commercial vehicle sector and for the supplier sector. Here, the KBK system, in combination with hoists, performs all lifting and lowering tasks as well as the transport of the media supply.

Flexible from every point of view

As an indispensable production aid, the Demag KBK is also in demand in many other sectors. Apart from the automotive and supplier sectors, other important areas are mechanical engineering, metalworking and metal processing firms, the logistics sector and small workshops. Here too, thanks to the large number of modular series components, the Demag KBK crane construction kit permits the development and implementation of customised systems to meet individual installation and equipment requirements.

The system components are also designed to make it easy and cost-effective to extend and convert KBK systems as production processes change. A further typical advantage is simple and fast assembly thanks to standardised connection dimensions and bolted connections. Installations are easy to commission and maintenance work can be carried out quickly. The system also scores with its very user-friendly operation, as it requires relatively few operators. The reason is the reduced weight of the cranes and the special running characteristics of the trolleys.

Continuous work on innovation

In the course of its 50-year presence in the world market, the KBK system has repeatedly set new standards, most recently with the KBK II-H profile type. This inside-running profile was developed to meet the growing market requirements flexibly and cost-effectively. Crane installations and monorails with load capacities of up to 2,000 kg can be realised. The KBK II-H steel profile section has a major advantage for larger span dimensions or distances between suspensions. Designed with extremely sturdy straight sections in different lengths, it allows suspension spacing of more than 6 m, so additional steelwork or support structures can be dispensed with completely in many cases.

In this way, the area available can be optimally utilised and assembly times shortened. A further plus point of the KBK II-H profile section, in addition to the large suspension spacing, is its completely rigid rail joint. Every rail joint can be subjected to a full load, regardless of the position of the track suspension. Overall, the KBK II-H steel profile scores with its greater stability, combined with lower costs, and offers the customer a maximum of planning freedom.  

Looking forward

With the new KBK II-H inside-running profile sections, the Demag light crane system now comprises nine types: from the KBK 100 to the KBK III outside-running section with a load capacity of up to 3,200 kg. As always, the profile sections are manufactured at our production unit in Wetter/Ruhr. For prompt delivery to the local markets, additional production lines have been installed in Brazil, China, India and Australia.

Experience. The future

With the focus on our successful, fifty-year long presence on world markets, a KBK product campaign is about to be launched. Marc Rieser: “With our statement “Experience. The future”, we are underlining our many years of experience as a partner to industry and, at the same time, signalling future development of more solutions designed to solve our customers’ problems.” More detailed information can be found on the campaign website

Fifty years KBK also means: fifty years of continuous research and development, on the basis of which many new features have been successively added to the system, in line with the rapid development of industry.   For Marc Rieser, head of the Modular Cranes business line, this continued success is proof that customers trust the product and are also persuaded by our many years of experience in the development and realisation of light crane applications in a production environment. After all, since the first launch of a modular light crane system on the world market fifty years ago, we have reliably accompanied our customers, have grown with them and, as a result, now possess an enormous fund of know-how.

“We do not know what the car of the future will look like, but we know that our KBK crane construction kit will ensure optimum material flow in the production process to make it,” says Marc Rieser.

Your Contact

Christoph Kreutzenbeck

Christoph Kreutzenbeck

Ruhrstrasse 28
58300 Wetter

+49 (0) 2335 92-3907