Liebherr Launches Telecrawler and AT Cranes at Customer Days

In a dramatic display of its strength and breadth of products, Liebherr, Enhingen, Germany showcased several new cranes at its triennial Customer Days, held June 13 and 14 at its plant in Ehingen.

While two new products were unveiled—a 242-ton telescopic crawler and an 856-ton AT—stealing the show was the LR 13000, a 3,307-ton crawler crane with P-boom (Power or Parallel boom) system. Although it is difficult to describe the overwhelming size of this crane, a demonstration of its capabilities helped put it in perspective. Additionally, Hutton Strader, a national accounts sales manager for Liebher Cranes Inc., quipped: “This crane is so big that your assist crane needs an assist crane.

In the demonstration, a scale model of a crane mounted on a platform, was lifted by an LTR 1100. The 110-ton telecrawler was then lifted by a 330-ton LR 1350/1, which proceeded to be lifted by a 1,488-ton LR 11350 crawler. Finally, the LR 13000 completed the demonstration. The cranes had an overall combined weight of 5,511 tons. Operating at 94 percent of its capacity, the LR 13000 proceeded to rotate and travel with the gigantic dangling display, reminiscent of an infant’s crib mobile. In this configuration, the LR 13000 exhibited 70-tonnes per square meter of ground pressure.

The LR 13000 on display, which is the first crawler crane to be equipped with Liebherr’s LICCON-3 monitoring system, is the second unit Liebherr has built. The first unit, purchased by Mammoet Global B.V., is currently in route to Whiting, Ind., where it will be used on a refinery extension project this fall. Other applications for which the LR 13000 is intended include nuclear power station construction and pre-assembly of offshore structures, such as oil platforms—all cases where industrial components often weigh in excess of 1,500 tons and measure more than 300 feet long.

According to the manufacturer, the LR 13000 is the only crawler crane in this class that can work without derrick ballast. This is achieved by an extremely powerful slewing ring, developed and manufactured by Liebherr. In fact, the slewing bearing for Mammoet’s unit was loaded on a truck and headed out the gate around the same time U.S. customers arrived at the plant last week.

Big telecrawler and AT introduced

Not to be discounted, two other cranes made their debut at the Customer Days event. Topping the LTR telescopic crawler product line is the LTR 1220, rated at 242 tons and featuring a 196-foot telescopic boom. During the event, Robert Weiss, vice president of Cranes Inc., Maspeth, N.Y., ordered the first LTR 1220 for the U.S. market. Narrow travel gear makes this crane ideal for wind farm construction applications. The tracks are hydraulically telescoped out from the carrier width of 14’9” to two additional positions: intermediate width of 19’3” or maximum width of 23’9”.

A 40- to 72-foot swing-away jib extends the reach of the crane. In addition, a 22-foot lattice section is available. The jib, with optional hydraulic adjustment, can be luffed under full load to 45 degrees. With an 11-foot erection jib and a second hoist gear, installation of prefabricated components can be carried out in two-hook operation.

The crane is controlled by the LICCON-2 system. For set-up functions, a Bluetooth terminal (BTT) actuates the jack-up cylinder and adjusts the track width of the crawlers. The combination of LICCON-2 and BTT also makes it possible to control the crane with radio remote.

For transport, the crane weighs approximately 119,000 pounds without crawlers but with jack-up cylinders and transverse beams. Removing the transverse beams further reduces the weight. The basic machine measures 9’10” wide and 10’5” high. The crane can self-assemble.

Although still in the process of being tested, a prototype of the LTM 1750-9.1 all-terrain crane was also on display. The 826-ton, nine axle AT is Liebherr’s second largest all-terrain crane. With its 170-foot boom, Y-guying system, and an array of lattice jibs, the crane can achieve under hook heights of more than 500 feet and outreach up to 367 feet. For comparison purposes, the crane’s lift height is as high as the steeple on the Ulm Cathedral, a Gothic-era Lutheran church in Ulm, Germany known for being the tallest church steeple in the world. Many of the jibs share commonality with other Liebherr models. Deliveries are expected to begin in the fourth quarter of this year.

Designed to travel with the boom intact, it does not require a boom launch trailer for transport in the United States. Variable axle loads allow transport flexibility depending on local requirements. For example, with its boom, front supports, rear auxiliary support, and hoisting gear intact, the crane has a gross weight of 119 tons and an axle load of 13 tons. For more restrictive locations, all supports can be removed as can the boom so that gross weights are less than 44 tons.

Self-assembly features and a unique drive system contribute to rapid set-up of the crane once it is on site. Rear outriggers are self-assembled without the use of an auxiliary crane. The drive system for the upperworks, including engine and hydraulics, transports separately from the crane. Fitted to the crane via self-assembly procedures, this engine powers all working functions of the crane. In the event of a problem with the superstructure drive, all crane functions can be driven by the chassis engine instead by simply rearranging three electrical connections. This is the first time Liebherr has applied this design innovation to a crane.

The carrier engine is a Liebherr diesel rated at 612 hp and 12 speed ZF-TC-Tronic transmission. Four rear axles are actively steered electro-hydraulically and are speed-dependent for reduced tire wear. A Liebherr four-cylinder in-line engine in the superstructure delivers 367 hp. Up to four functions can be powered at once.

Although neither of these new cranes are in the cards for AmQuip, Bensalem, Pa., at this time, Michael Good, operations manager, said the rental company is always focusing on upgrading its fleet. In fact, the company is the first U.S. owner of an LTC 1045-3.1 city crane, which is an ultra-compact 45-ton crane. Featuring a unique single-cab design, the crane has been successfully employed in the Boston, Mass., area since it arrived earlier this year. Liebherr models in the company’s fleet range from 100- to 440-ton crawlers, 40- to 360-ton ATs, as well as the city crane and a new 45-ton LTF truck-mounted taxi crane mounted on a Kenworth chassis.

“The Customer Days event was a reflection of Liebherr’s emphasis on quality. When making comparisons of brands, Liebherr products usually have stronger load charts than similar machines in a given class. You pay for that quality, but when it comes to resale, you also get a good return,” said Good.

Customer service

Approximately 2,000 customers attended the Customer Days, held every three years since 1999. Crane deliveries to more than 100 countries are coordinated from the Ehingen plant, where the event was held. To date, the company reports orders exceeding 800 million euro for some 1,450 machines, scheduled for delivery over the next two to eight months.

Accordingly, production is at full capacity. However, a new facility now under construction is intended for handling special projects, which will streamline material flow in other parts of the plant. Other production improvements include a primer coating system for large components, implemented in 2011, and the addition of robotic positioning equipment.

This year, about 60 of those attending the event were from U.S. companies. Reflecting on the event, Ray Goetzinger Jr., president and CEO of Coastal Crane Service, Inc., Baltimore, Md., described Customer Days as first class from start to finish. “It’s invaluable to us to be able to meet with an engineer and discuss our specific needs for our state. Liebherr does its best to accommodate crane owners both large and small from around the world, which is no small feat. They offer you the same attention and level of customer service whether you are buying one crane or 100 cranes,” he said.

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