Liebherr, with U.S. headquarters in Newport News, Virginia, has announced that its LR 11000 crawler crane, distributed by Buckner HeavyLift Cranes of Graham, North Carolina, is currently in use in Hawaii to help construct new Vestas wind turbines with a hub height of 105 meters (about 345 feet).
Liebherr says a major advantage of the cranes is their ability to move without a derrick, as the area they’re working in has extremely hilly terrain.
The LR 11000, which has been in use on the Hawaiian island of O’ahu since the beginning of October, is the biggest crawler crane that has ever worked in the American surfer’s paradise, Liebherr says. The crane, which weighs 1,000 metric tons, will be in use until the end of December erecting eight new wind turbines on the island’s north shore. They form part of the Hawaiian energy supplier’s plan to expand the proportion of renewable energies from 18 percent currently to over 65 percent in the year 2030.
For this deployment, the LR 11000 is set up in the SL3F configuration with a main jib of 108 meters and a fixed tip of 12 meters. In this configuration, the crane has a maximum load capacity of 173 metric tons. When erecting the new wind turbines, the heaviest parts – the hub with motor casing and the drive train – weigh about 100 metric tons; the crawler crane has to lift this weight to the hub height of 105 meters.
Equipped with 90 tons of central ballast and a slewing platform ballast of 250 tons, the crane can be used without a derrick. This was an important criterion when selecting the right crane for this job,Liebherr says, as the wind farm sits on hilly terrain, where the crane has to be frequently moved and occasionally converted. Deployments without a derrick are faster and easier, Liebherr says.
In addition to the LR 11000, other auxiliary cranes are used, including a Liebherr LR 1350/1 crawler crane. The biggest challenge on the island, which lies far from the U.S. mainland, is the supply of spare parts. Buckner and Liebherr have made provisions for this. As Kevin C. Long, director of sales at Buckner, explains, “Our construction site is supplied from the new Liebherr warehouse in Lodi, California, but for safety’s sake, we also have various tools and spare parts available locally for this job. So far, however, we have managed to do entirely without spare parts and erection engineers.”
The crane driver for Buckner in Hawaii is Burkhardt Hartinger from Germany. “The offer to work in Hawaii was very tempting, and I also have a little free time to explore the island after work,” Hartinger says.
“We prefer Liebherr cranes simply because of their quality. Both their design and production quality are better than other manufacturers,” Long says.
Buckner has been completing heavy lift projects of all kinds for over 70 years and is one of the largest crane contractors in the U.S.