A Texas soiree
By D.Ann Shiffler03 January 2017
A Texas good time was had by all who attended Liebherr’s Open House in Houston on November 17. Liebherr USA President Daniel Pitzer and his team couldn’t have asked for better weather, more interested customers or a more impressive crane demonstration. Some 250 customers were met by a welcoming Liebherr team that had pulled out all the stops in classic Texas style. A live country and western band played while guests feasted on barbecue and enjoyed a well-stocked bar.
During a short presentation inside the Texas-sized tent, guests were welcomed by Christoph Kleiner, managing director of Liebherr.
“We want to get to know each other better to widen our footprint in the United States,” he said. “We want to listen and understand what it takes for you to be successful in good and difficult times.”
Liebherr’s USA team works systematically to stay a step ahead of the competition, Kleiner said, and they want to support crane owners on a daily basis.
“The world is out of balance in many places,” he said, “and we can’t change politics. But we can offer you the best cranes.”
Liebherr’s decision to produce a rough terrain crane and market it in the USA was also a topic Kleiner brought up.
“Fifty percent of RTs are in North America,” he said. “We knew that our new RT design had to be suitable for this market. We wanted to assure we had the right crane size, the technical requirements, the proven boom system, operational safety and of course a competitive price.”
While the new RT wasn’t shown at the event, it will be on the Liebherr stand at the ConExpo show in Las Vegas in March.
“The LRT line was designed with the KISS principle: Keep it Simple and Safe,” he said. “We expect to start deliveries of this machine in the second half of 2017.”
LR 1500 demonstration
Jim Strobush, product manager of Liebherr’s LR crawlers, talked guests through a demonstration of the new LR 1500 crawler, a beast of a machine that is expected to be a major player in the wind power market.
In a matter of minutes, the crane efficiently erected its own long boom and then proceeded to rig up and lift the main shaft in a wind turbine, which weighed 30,000 pounds. Doug Williams, CEO of Buckner HeavyLift, participated in the handover of the new LR 1500, which was the first unit sold to a U.S. customer. Williams said the crane will immediately go to work servicing the wind power industry. Developed for maximum performance capabilities, the LR 1500 delivers strong lift capabilities in the 550-ton capacity class. Yet the crane maintains the dimensions and component weights standard in the 440-ton class crane. With a maximum transport weight of 99,200 pounds and transport dimensions of 9 feet 10 inches, the LR 1500 offers an optimized transport solution.
“The LR 1500 is an impressive crane with capacities and configurations that are significant for a crane of its mobility and compact footprint and fits very well into Buckner’s fleet, placed between two of the best models ever built – the LR 1400 and the LR 1600,” said Williams. “Liebherr crawler cranes add value through performance and holding their value. Beyond the cranes themselves, the people of Liebherr make the difference, we can depend on creative solutions and dependable results from Liebherr’s team.”
Fun and fellowship
Pitzer thanked those who came out for the event, the Liebherr staff and he recognized those in attendance who work in the U.S. wind market.
“We are honored to have so many people in the wind power industry here with us today, including the major contractors and the crane contractors that work in wind,” Pitzer said.
He mentioned the attention to detail that the Liebherr team took in hosting the event, which was absolutely true. The event was expertly planned and attendees were given ample time to chat, catch up and to climb on all the cranes on display.
A raffle drawing awarded lots of crane models, and an armadillo race was quite the attraction. The mechanical bull garnered a few participants but most attendees were more interested in the cranes than the bull.