Australia, Features, Industry News

Liebherr mobile cranes to serve Australian Defence Force

Liebherr Mobile Cranes recently delivered the first 10 of 24 all-terrain cranes to Ventia and the Australian Defence Force (ADF). The Liebherr LTM 1060-3.1 cranes are a significant element of a contract awarded to Ventia for Project Land 8120 – bringing best value manufacturing, engineering, and logistics support capability to the ADF.

Project Land 8120 Phase 1 seeks to provide a replacement capability effect for the ADF’s earthmoving and material handling equipment engineer support platforms. Platform tasks in Australia and on deployment include construction, demolition, development of protective earthworks, route development and maintenance, airfield and port construction and repair, port operations, supply and distribution, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief and beach recovery. Platforms include cranes, excavators, front-end loaders, dozers, rollers, graders, skid-steer loaders and telehandlers.

When the ADF sent out a Request for Information in 2017, Liebherr sent out the initial details about the machines it was planning to submit, in particular the Liebherr LTM 1060-3.1. 

John Stach, Mobile Crane Sales Manager Victoria and Tasmania for Liebherr Australia takes up the story.

“In 2019, the process went to a Request for Tender. At that time, we submitted information to five prime tenderers. When Ventia was announced as the preferred tenderer, we commenced contract negotiations which went for approximately nine months.”

Equipping the ADF with these units provides the Liebherr Mobile Crane team with enormous pride.

“During this time Liebherr submitted all the technical information relating to the cranes. With the initial tender, Ventia was looking for 60t and 80t capacity cranes but the ADF decided not to proceed with the requirement for 80t machines.”

“Obviously, the LTM 1060-3.1 was the ideal machine in the 60t capacity range. The LTM 1060-3.1 were off-the-shelf machines, and the availability of spare parts was an important element of the commercial side of the tender,” said John. 

John explains how a contract this size works with the factory in Ehingen, Germany. 

“Over the five year period, I worked very closely with Hans Joerg Nothacker, Manager of Sales for Australia and New Zealand along with the Australian Technical team, and during 2020, we were gaining in confidence that we may win the contract, so we put forward orders into the factory to be able to meet the April 2023 delivery dates.”

“To be able to equip the ADF with these units provides our team with enormous pride and we’d also like to thank the team at Ventia for putting together the successful bid,” said John.

With Liebherr in the middle of the delivery period, John is working closely with Dino Mosca, Product Support Manager Mobile and Crawler Crane Division.

Dino explains more about his role within the project. Having recently started this new role, his initial responsibility has been the military project and the delivery of the 24 machines to Ventia and the ADF. 

“I project manage the delivery of the machines to a set deadline and then support and manage the project moving forward. Once we’ve delivered the machines, we’ll offer the MyLiebherr digital package which provides the customer with an extensive range of services, including digital services and application software. MyLiebherr also provides access to a components and parts package, enabling the customer to manage all of that,” Dino says. 

“This project has meant a lot of work for the Mobile Crane and Crawler Cranes team, but it’s a significant contract, and it is the beginning of a relationship with the Commonwealth, so it’s a step in the right direction for Liebherr,” he said.

Ventia is one of the largest essential service providers in Australia and New Zealand specialising in the long-term operation, maintenance and management of critical public and private assets and infrastructure.

Ventia secured the contract with the Department of Defence, Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group (CASG), to deliver engineering support platforms to the ADF, under Project Land 8120 Phase 1. 

The contract will generate revenue to Ventia of $158 million over five years. Ventia has brought together a team of equipment partners including JCB/CEA, Manitou, Liebherr Mobile Cranes, Komatsu and ECLIPS, and systems engineering specialist QinetiQ to offer the full breadth of services sought by the ADF.

When the machines are delivered, Liebherr offers the MyLiebherr digital package which provides the customer with an extensive range of services, including digital services and application software.

Ventia Group Executive, Defence & Social Infrastructure, Derek Osborn, said that Ventia’s selection was testament to its strong engineering and project delivery capability, and 30-year history as a Defence Industry partner. 

“Ventia applies a client-focused, innovative and sustainable approach to essential infrastructure services, and we are excited to bring this to Project Land 8120,” Derek said. 

“We are very proud to be taking this next step in our relationship with the Department of Defence. We look forward to working with CASG, and our contract partners, to deliver this essential capability for the ADF.” 

Phase 1 involves Ventia leading a team of equipment manufacturers and local engineering specialists to supply approximately 300 earthmoving and material handling vehicles. Minor modifications will occur to meet specialist requirements such as air transportation. 

Vehicles will undergo a rigorous verification and validation process to ensure that specific Defence requirements are met. Where required, specialist testing will be undertaken at the Australian Automotive Research Centre proving ground near Anglesea in regional Victoria before introduction into service. 

Ventia will also provide vital integrated logistics support, technical documentation and deliver operator training at Defence sites nationally. 

With a maximum load capacity of 60t and a 48m telescopic boom, the Liebherr LTM 1060-3.1 is one of the most powerful and capable cranes in its class. Safety and comfort configurations ensure greater operability and the hydro-pneumatic axle suspension and pneumatic disc brakes provide greater control and stability. Its five steering programs enable the operator to adapt to different environments with the touch of a button. Both the driver’s cab and crane cab are modern, spacious and dependable and ergonomic features help prevent operator fatigue.

Other key features with the Liebherr LTM 1060-3.1 include:

   VarioBase which is designed to make the crane’s support system variable. It enables each outrigger to be extended to a different length. This enhances safety – especially in constricted spaces. The crane’s lifting capacities are significantly increased particularly over the outriggers and depending on the configuration.

   ECOmode minimises both fuel consumption and noise emissions when operating the crane superstructure. The crane operators can set the required working speed using the control lever. The LICCON2 control system calculates the perfect engine speed for the diesel engine.

   ECOdrive makes the mobile crane significantly more comfortable and quieter by reducing the engine speed. Faster gear shifting delivers greater dynamic and traction off-road. On the road, the torque from the Liebherr diesel engine is used efficiently to minimise fuel consumption. 

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