Liebherr crawler erects 160m wind turbine

27 July 2020

German firm Colonia Spezialfahrzeuge deployed its new 800t Liebherr LR 1800-1.0 crawler crane to tackle a job in a wind farm.

The LR 1800-1.0 was presented to the general public at Bauma in 2019. “We were looking for a crawler crane at the trade show in Munich because we wanted to broaden our range of services for the future from being a large rental company, but one which only rented telescopic cranes, by entering the large crawler crane market,” said Thomas Reuther, sales manager at Colonia Spezialfahrzeuge.

“Although the LR 1800-1.0 was advertised as an industrial crane at Bauma, the assurance given to us by the Liebherr people that it was also ideal for wind power equipment, convinced us to buy this 800t crane. We believe that at the current time a crawler crane is rather dependent on orders from the wind power industry.”

The first job for the new crane was in a large wind farm in North Rhine Westphalia, Germany. Around 70 vehicles transported the components for the wind power version of the machine to the site. Four towers from system manufacturer Enercon had already been erected by a Liebherr LTM 11200-9.1 mobile crane with heights of up to 88m and were now ready for completion.

After around six days, the LR 1800-1.0 towered with a 171m main boom and a 12m jib. “As we get more familiar with the machine, our aim is to erect it within four days in the future”, said Reuther.

Liebherr has added a few extra features to this model, whose components are designed for easy erection. For example, the hydraulic erection support facility, which levels the central crawler section using the outrigger cylinders before the superstructure is added, is hydraulically controlled from the turntable. This means that it does not require a special unit for this purpose. The “quick connection” is also new. It enables the superstructure to be bolted to the central crawler section quickly and safely.

“We only required around seven hours to erect the basic machine for the first time,” said Wolfgang Winkler, crane operator for Colonia. “It’s great that all the connections are bolted hydraulically during the erection process. In some cases, three sections of the boom package can be slid into each other, saving us both time and a great deal of transport capacity. But above all, the detachable ballast pallet saves an enormous amount of work,” added Winkler.

“The 400 tonnes of derrick ballast are only required to raise the main boom. After this, we simply unbolt the centre pallet, with the remaining 80 tonnes of suspended ballast, plus the central and superstructure ballast being easily enough for the hoisting work. No restacking and no ballast addition or removal – that saves a massive amount of time.”

For the heaviest components of the wind turbine, whose hub is at a height of 160m, the crane had to position gross loads of 89t with absolute accuracy. Winkler, his colleague Peter Severin and their new crawler crane erected a total of four turbines in the extensive wind farm.

Sales manager Thomas Reuther is very optimistic for the future: “We bought the full version of the crane, and in addition to the wind power equipment, we have various main boom versions and a set-up configuration with a luffing jib available. That enables us to carry out major industrial work or hoist bridges. The crane is 100% variable and can be used in many different areas.”