The right crane for the job

Although Liebherr did not invent the telescopic boom crawler crane market, the company took the crane from being an obscure niche machine to one that a variety of owners are finding a use for. It combines the pick and carry capabilities of a lattice boom crawler crane with the flexibility and fast set-up times of a hydraulic boom crane. Since it is readily transported, it can be regarded as a taxi crane as much as a project crane.Brisbane-based Master Projects chose an LTR1100 as its first crane and then ordered a second unit soon afterwards. The company previously hired cranes for tilt-up panels on commercial developments it built for sister company Matton Developments.However a tightening in the Brisbane market and the heavy demands for crawler cranes from infrastructure projects in the region forced owner Steve Clark to look at buying a crane.While Clark looked at the traditional lattice boom crawler cranes of around 100-tonne capacity, he was ultimately drawn to the Liebherr because it was quicker to set up and pull down, more flexible in boom length, and could retract the boom to set up inside a building to erect roofing steel. The lack of an A-frame reduces the height clearance of the Liebherr compared to a lattice boom crane. This versatility sometimes means hiring in a second crane is not necessary.Being able to readily shorten the boom also means the crane can pick and carry heavier panels than a lattice boom crane of similar capacity, as altering boom length is not generally cost-effective on a lattice boom crane on a short-term job.Matton Developments tends to have multiple projects on the go at the same time and works these projects in clusters – one site does the panel casting for all projects in the cluster. The ease of mobility of the Liebherr is important as it can move around regularly between projects in the cluster to lift panels and do other work.The company has developed its own stressing bed for casting post-tensioned mezzanine floor panels. The technique reduces concrete usage, speeds construction, and saves on formwork and propping costs compared to mezzanine panels cast in situ with conventional reinforcing. The Liebherr is used to stack these panels in the casting yard and place them onsite.While the bulk of the crane’s work is done in-house, part of the justification for purchasing the machine was that it could be hired out when not being used on internal jobs. This has proven to be the case, and Master Projects has a second LTR1100 arriving in mid-2009, which will mainly be for hire. Clark sees applications for this crane in project work, and has an eye on long-term resources projects in central Queensland.

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