Liebherr Cranes’ American customers were treated to an engaging, and often amazing, few days of German and Austrian food, music and fellowship as well as factory tours, fireworks and fun during the company’s Customer Days event June 10-13.
Some 25 cranes for customers around the world displayed flags from their various countries.
Some 100 American customers were guests of the company that organized a compelling schedule of events, including three nights at the luxurious Liebherr-owned Interalpen-Hotel Tyrol near Seefeld, Austria. In Austria the group enjoyed gourmet meals, breathtaking mountain views and even a talented Oompah Band that was quite adept at playing rock and roll oldies. Pretzels, sausages, potato salad and strudel were in abundance as was all types of German beer and spirits.
The mobile crane presentation featured several remote controlled cranes.
Work and play
After shaking off the jet lag at the beautiful hotel, the group was taken on a tour of the Liebherr Nenzing plant in Nenzing, Austria. At the immaculate plant where the skyline was punctuated by duty cycle and special application cranes and equipment, Gerhard Frainer, managing director, welcomed American guests with a short presentation about the plant that employs 1,600 workers.
From Nenzing the group traveled to Ulm, Germany, a beautiful little town on the River Danube, about 18 miles from the huge Liebherr-Werk Ehingen factory. That evening the Ehingen team hosted a rooftop dinner that provided a perfect view of the Ulm Minster Cathedral, the tallest church in the world. Before leaving for the Liebherr Ehingen factory the next morning, Barnhart’s Alan Barnhart and Cranes Inc.’s Rob Weiss climbed the 530-foot church tower’s spiral staircase to the spire, a 768-step trek up and back down.
Once at the Liebherr-Werk Ehingen factory the American group was joined by hundreds of other customers from around the world. Some 1,500 visitors each attended two Customer Days events that included a huge food tent with live music throughout the day and evening. But the most impressive part of being at the Ehingen facility was the crane displays and demonstrations.
A special aspect of the trip for American customers was the opportunity to experience Liebherr’s “Innovationspark” display. For more than an hour, the group was able to get up close and personal with some 11 cranes and accessories that are being developed and tested at the Liebherr -Werk Ehingen factory.
Cranes at the Innovationspark included the MK 140 with VarioJib, the LTF 106-4.1 operated by remote control, the LTM 1450-8.1 with a two hook operation, the LTM 1750-9.1 rigged with fiber rope and the LTC 1050-3.1 with a lift cabin. Other cranes and displays showed off Liebherr’s fleet management system, telematics, remote control operations and the like.
A Liebherr LRT 1100-2.1 was displayed from two crawler cranes in a spider web configuration. As the skies darkened, the ropes lit up.
“I was the most impressed with the LTM 1090 4.2 and the LTM 1450 8.1,” said Christopher Shaughnessy, president of C.J. Shaughnessy Crane Service based in Hanover, MA. “ When they did the presentation, the machines boomed down until they were at their absolute limits. And the outriggers were at zero percent on those sides. That’s truly amazing.”
A quick visit to the Nenzing factory
A highlight of the Liebherr Customer Day trip was a quick stop at the Liebherr-Werk Nenzing factory in Austria.
Gerhard Frainer, managing director, said, “It’s always a great honor to show how our equipment is manufactured,” Frainer said. “We are delivering the message that we are a solution provider to the challenges you are faced with.”
In terms of cranes, the Nenzing factory produces crawler cranes from 100 to 300 metric tons. After a rain shower, the outdoor presentation was a bit soggy but still impressive. Beyond the review of several models of cranes produced at the Nenzing factory, a highlight was a vintage 1979 HS 870, the first hydraulic duty cycle crane with an electronic control system produced by the company. Until recently, the crane was in operation; Liebherr Nenzing purchased it with the goal of refurbishing it and using it as an example of how durable and long-lasting the company’s cranes are.
The new cranes
While Liebherr showed off many cranes from its rough terrain, all-terrain and crawler ranges, two new models were shown for the first time. The latest crawler from Liebherr is the 800-metric ton capacity LR 1800-1.0. The crane is three meters wide and has a maximum transport weight of 45 metric tons once its tracks have been removed. In standard configuration the crane has an 84-meter luffing jib and an 84-meter boom, which comprises three lattice sections that can be telescoped for transport.
The new all-terrain crane is the 230-metric ton capacity LTM 1230-5.1, which succeeds the LTM 1200-5.1. It has a longer boom and greater lifting capacity than its predecessor. The 75-meter telescopic boom is 3 meters longer, while its lifting capacity has increased by an average of 20 percent, taking it to 230 metric tons. With lattice extensions the maximum hook height has been increased by 10 meters to 111 meters. In addition to a multi-functional folding jib, a 43-meter fixed jib is also available.
In their own words
ACT asked a sampling of attendees to recount their experience at Liebherr Customer Days.
“I was impressed with the emphasis on culture and quality that surely comes from being a family-owned, privately-held business. In a business where safety is essential, Liebherr provided me with the confidence that everything they do is top-of-the-line while still being innovative.
Jenifer Gabel, president, JK Crane
“One of NessCampbell’s core business values is relationships. We strive to build them with our customers, employees and our vendors. We are always excited to see what is new in their product line and witness the quality of manufacturing that goes into the products that we purchase.”
John Anderson, president, NessCampbell Crane
“I was blown away by the kindness of the Liebherr family and how approachable they were. The fact that so many of the employees have worked there so long and still love their jobs really pays tribute to what a wonderful organization they operate. We are very excited about the cranes unveiled in the show; it was like no other I have ever seen.”
Andrea Arnett, vice president, Trand Inc.
“I got a chance to see cranes that I would never see working in a chemical plant, but also got to see cranes that I could hopefully get a chance to pursue for my company. The food and atmosphere were outstanding, as well as the other customers that I got to meet and hang out with.”
Gary Arwood, manager, Eastman Lifting Services
My dad, brothers and I were fortunate enough to attend [together]. All our reactions were the same: ‘Wow!’ and ‘Over the top!’ The food, drinks and entertainment were never ending. Liebherr’s equipment display is every operator’s dream come true. Life size Tonka Toys operated by radio control!”
Robert Garton, vice president, Garton’s Rigging
“Any time away from work that involves cranes is my ideal vacation. It’s really nice to be able to connect and network with crane companies from all over the country. Every different area and state has different rules and regulations, and a different target on what their business is focused on. From the wind industry, mechanical, power plants, etc. we’re all targeting different work for our larger projects. We really saw all the absolute, most advanced and latest technology of the crane world. It’s nice to be able to stay up on that and have all of that fresh, as far as what’s available out there for products. I met a lot of great people.”
Christopher J. Shaughnessy, president, C.J. Shaughnessy Crane Service, Inc.