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1200T Liebherr brings renewables focus to the max

The largest telescopic crane in the southern hemisphere is being put to work in the renewable energy sector. Cranes and Lifting Magazine reports.

The largest telescopic crane in the southern hemisphere is being put to work in the renewable energy sector. Cranes and Lifting Magazine reports.

Max Cranes recently welcomed the largest telescopic crane in the southern hemisphere to its fleet. The $10m, Liebherr LTM 11200-9.1 all-terrain telescopic crane has a capacity of 1200t and will allow the Upper Spencer Gulf business to expand its capabilities in the construction and maintenance of wind farm towers across the country.

It will also be used for construction and heavy lifting activities throughout every market that requires specialist heavy lifting.

Managing Director and co-founder of Max Cranes Mark Kuhn says the business has been looking to secure the Liebherr all-terrain telescopic crane for a number of years.

“The business spent a lot of time on the selection of the best type of crane to bring into the country that will be a problem solver to all market sectors,” Kuhn said.

“The LTM 11200 has a number of benefits that will set the business apart from the rest. The crane, albeit huge, is efficient and economical in its ability to mobilise/demobilise to project sites and is very agile and flexible on site.”

By any measure, the crane is impressive. Its 100m extended main boom length is the longest in the world, and then there’s the 126m luffing jib that goes with it to provide a maximum lift height of 188m and maximum reach of 136m. While the maximum capacity of 1200t is something that will never be lifted in real life, the capacity of 112t at a 100m tip height and 105t at a 30m radius (59t at 50m) give an indication of real world capabilities.

The crane’s ability to mobilise quickly and efficiently is unparalleled in comparison to other crane types of a similar size and capability.

The LTM 11200-9.1 is the strongest telescopic mobile in the market and offers the longest telescopic boom. An increase of capacity is realised with the Y-telescopic boom suspension, short erection times, excellent mobility as well as comprehensive operator comfort and safety configuration are key features from Liebherr.

Max Cranes has formed a heavy lift team of 18 around the Liebherr LTM 11200 and 400t and 500t all-terrain cranes. It’s made up of existing staff promoted to work with the new crane and external recruits with the requisite skills backed by an in-house technical team with CAD, engineering and drafting capabilities. The team received extensive training from Liebherr factory technicians, including Liebherr’s Sophie Albrecht, flew to Port Pirie and Port Augusta via helicopter to see that the crane had arrived safely.

In late November, Max Cranes celebrated the cranes by organising the 1200T Arrival Day attended by over 400 key industry leaders, clients and dignitaries. The following  day, the business invited the local community, including school children to take a close up look. Over 500 people attended the community day, and show bags filled with branded Liebherr and Max Cranes merchandise were handed to the very excited school children. Everyone was able to touch and feel the machine and get an idea of its impressive size close up, as well as get an operator view from the driver’s cab.

Kuhn said work prospects looked good. “As of October 2017, there were 196 wind turbines operating in SA and if they needed a rotor (the three blades and hub) removed for maintenance the crane had to travel from interstate. Within the next 18 months SA will have 287 turbines with the construction of Lincoln Gap and Willogoleche farms in SA already underway.”

The new crane is the latest achievement for the leading Upper Spencer Gulf business that has been helping workers reach the heights of our tallest regional infrastructure projects.

The Federal Government supported the acquisition through its Regional Jobs and Investment Package.

“There has been an upward growth curve in our workforce over the past 12–18 months as the infrastructure, power and energy, mining, oil and gas and other influencing markets have started to recover from the downturn of 2014/15,” Kuhn said.

“We’re looking to further bolster our position in the Upper Spencer Gulf region with the ever-expanding renewable markets, the commitment of GFG Alliance to the Whyalla Steelworks and the expansion of surrounding mining and infrastructure projects within the region.

“Max Cranes is also focused on strengthening our position within the Adelaide market, specifically looking to find solutions to clients in all market sectors.”

Max Cranes employs more than 130 people across its head office at Port Augusta and additional depots at Whyalla, Port Pirie, Moomba and Adelaide. Its fleet of 38 All terrain cranes range from 15 to 1200t machines. The business also supplies scissor lifts, knuckle booms, and heavy haulage transport services.

Max cranes is currently the sole crane provider at the Port Pirie Nyrstar Lead Smelter which has recently undergone a significant platform redevelopment and recently secured a five year single source contract with oil and gas giant Santos. However, its presence on wind farms is set to grow further with South Australia’s burgeoning renewable energy sector.

Currently, Max Cranes 400t and 500t are the cranes used in the maintenance of wind towers, to lift off the rotor – the three blades and hub – and allowing a changeover of gear boxes and other equipment in the turbine. The acquisition of the 1200t Liebherr will now allow for future maintenance of the heavier and higher towers we are seeing built today.

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