The 2015 Liebherr Information Tour for the international construction trade press brought 40 some journalists from 13 different countries to the company’s UK operations to learn more about Liebherr’s activities in the region, introduce new products, tour its UK headquarters and visit a major construction site utilizing Liebherr equipment.
The program began with Stefan Heissler, a member of the directorage of Liebherr-International AG, Bulle, Switzerland, providing an overview of Liebherr Group activities. According to Heissler, from January to June 2015, the company achieved just over a 2% increase in overall turnover (4.4 billion euros) across all 11 divisions. The increase was led by tower cranes, with a growth of more than 19%, while the mining division saw a decline of almost 14%. Other positive developments were seen in the aerospace, transportation, machine tools and automation systems. Earthmoving also saw an increase of 5%.
“For the whole year, we expect a total turnover of about 9.2 billion euros. This is a very pleasing increase of about 4.4%,” says Heissler. “This is actually the highest turnover ever for the Group.”
Heissler noted the company maintains plans to maintain its ongoing investment in its operations. “We are planning to invest approximately 755 million euros in our production sites and in sales, distribution and service,” he stated.
Liebherr UK Operations
Founded in 1960, Liebherr-Great Britain Ltd., Biggleswade, UK, is charged with coordinating the sales and service for products of the Liebherr Group within the UK and Ireland. It represents earthmoving, mobile cranes, tower cranes, concrete technology, maritime cranes and, as of this year, the domestic appliances division.
The Biggleswade location serves as headquarters for Liebherr-Great Britain Ltd., Liebherr-Rental Ltd. and Liebherr Construction Equipment Ireland Ltd. The site covers an area of 4 hectares, including 2,500 sq. meters of office space, a 5,000-sq.-meter workshop consisting of two paint shops, a welding bay and truck mixer assembly area, and 15,000-sq.-meter equipment yard.
“The workshop performs most of the pre-delivery inspections and repairs and is shared by all product lines,” explains Claire Webber, managing director, Liebherr-Great Britain Ltd. “In Biggleswade, we also operate a warehouse, facilitating UK wide spare parts distribution.”
Parts depots are also located throughout the UK and Ireland, with field service personnel deployed from these locations, and fast-moving parts stocked and dispatched from these sites. The depot network currently involves approximately 160 people and a fleet of 115 service vehicles.
To facilitate ongoing growth in its UK operations, particularly in earthmoving, tower cranes and mobile and crawler cranes, Liebherr has acquired a further 6 hectares of land adjacent to the existing Biggleswade operation. It will house a new machine preparation center, spare parts distribution and expand the training area and new machine storage capacity. The expansion will represent a total investment of 10 million GBP.
Tower Cranes Aide Crossing
The next stop on the tour was the site of the Forth Crossing Bridge construction project in Edinburgh, Scotland, which is using three Liebherr 630 EC-H 40 Litronic top-slewing tower cranes.
The new bridge, which will be called the Queensferry Crossing, sits alongside the existing Forth Road Bridge (FRB) built in 1964. It is under construction to safeguard the cross-Forth M90 motorway corridor following concerns about the long-term viability of the FRB.
The 630 EC-H 40 Litronic cranes are being used to help move 30,000 ton of steel into place. Twelve other Liebherr mobile and crawler cranes, ranging from 40- to 500-tonne sizes, have also been deployed on the site.
XPower Loader Launch
Although they won’t be officially launched until the bauma show in April 2016, Liebherr gave the trade press in attendance a sneak preview of its new XPower Tier 4 Final wheel loader line, featuring a power-split transmission that combines the benefits of both hydrostatic and mechanical drives. The power-split driveline, controlled by Liebherr Power Efficiency “intelligent” software, enables up to a 30% improvement in fuel efficiency over the previous generation models.
While the formal presentation on the new models was delivered in Biggleswade, members of the press were given an up close and personal look at the XPower loaders at a C&D recycling facility outside of Glasgow, Scotland, run by Reigart Contracts Ltd., a long-time Liebherr customer and leading UK contractor. Following a product walkaround, the machines were put through their paces in various simulated applications, including loading ground wood waste and aggregates into trucks and off-loading timber. A further demonstration showcased the mechanical drive component by sending the loaders uphill, both loaded and unloaded.
To see the walkaround and watch the machines in action, turn to the video at ForConstructionPros.com/12134210.