The plant is already the largest in Switzerland but earlier this year the owners, Stahl Gerlafingen AG, began an expansion program to cope with increasing demands as the global demand for steel remains high. Although there is modern equipment in place and technically advanced processes at the site, the company used the opportunity to further enhance the facilities.

For this project, the tower cranes placed 7,700 cu m of concrete and 800t of steel framework for the development. Swiss Manitowoc dealer Stirnimann supplied the cranes after satisfying the contractor the cranes had both the necessary lift ability and the design attributes to meet the strict environmental requirements at the site.

Urs Scheiber, the company’s product manager for tower cranes, said the cranes’ close control was vital to the jobsite.

“The MDT 268 and MDT 128 had a number of demands placed upon them during this project,” he said. “They were lifting heavy loads but still need a high degree of accuracy as they operated alongside the existing structure. Reports from the jobsite said the performance of the cranes was excellent and much of that is down to the close control of Potain’s frequency drives.”

The main contractor onsite, Sterki Bau AG, based in Solothurn, has a fleet of 12 Potain cranes all purchased from Stirnimann. The latest two deliveries for this jobsite arrived in March and stayed there until late September.

Sterki Bau opted for the MDT 268, the largest crane in the redesigned MDT range, on this site primarily because of its ability to lift 2.9 t at its jib end of 65 m. The crane was operated with full jib and at a height under hook of 36.4m.

The plant is owned by Stahl Gerlafingen AG, the leading Swiss supplier of reinforcing steel products. The plant processes on average 720,000t of scrap steel annually, approximately three quarters of all of the recycled steel in Switzerland.

Stirnimann has about 100 employees and operates out of three bases in Switzerland: Préverenges, Bonaduz and the headquarters in Olten. The company is a dealer for both the Potain and Grove brands and runs a rental fleet of more than 300 cranes, split between tower cranes and self-erecting cranes.