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Wherever the crawler tracks can go

Franz Zagler from Liebherr-Werk Telfs GmbH in Austria found deep satisfaction in his job: demonstrating new machines all over the world and training their operators

A new gleam to his eyes

By now, Franz Zagler can safely claim to have ‘seen it all’ on the crawler-track scene, but the Liebherr PR 776, exhibited for the first time at the Bauma trade fair in Munich (Germany) in 2016, has brought a new gleam to his eyes.

A hint of adventure

During a visit to a customer in Siberia, Franz Zagler was once isolated from the outside world for three days and nights. Journeys to such out-of-the-way places have more than a hint of adventure about them. “Sometimes I’ve had to rely on the Transsiberian railway. That can add two or three days to the journey!”

Love at first sight

Franz Zagler began his travels more than 30 years ago. His first ‘lovechild’ was the PR 731 A crawler tractor. “Something told me ‘Crawlers are your thing!’” Born and bred in the Styrian region of Austria, he began to work for after-sales service at the Telfs plant in 1984.

“It’s a dream job!”

One could be forgiven for assuming that nothing would surprise Franz Zagler after all these years, but when he saw the PR 776, the latest crawler tractor to emerge from the Liebherr production site in Telfs, it was love at first sight. “That’s my baby!”

The world’s largest crawler tractor with hydrostatic transmission

One of many innovations is to be found under the engine hood of this more than 70-US-ton machine: proactive power control, which varies engine speed automatically to suit the surrounding conditions and can achieve considerable fuel economies.

“As I see it, crawler-track machines are complex and need a sensitive hand at the controls. I can tell at a glance whether an operator is suitable.”

Franz Zagler spends half of each year travelling the world. He supervises final assembly of new ‘crawlers’ on the customer’s working site, demonstrates what the machines are capable of and trains their operators.

A ‘crawler’ for his leisure time

For some time Franz Zagler has been building a 1:5 scale model of the new PR 776 and plans to use it for not too strenuous earthmoving work in his garden. A sympathetic guy, who may be in his mid-fifties now but has every intention of remaining loyal to Liebherr’s – and his – crawlers for a lifetime.

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