From then we continued our development work. The Liebherr engineers started the actual design work in March. One month later, Florian Ritzler presented the concept to Mortensen and Buckner in Minneapolis. Their answer: “Almost, but not quite good enough. We need even more!” The new jib has to be able to hoist at least 230, or even better 240 tonnes.
“The ability to discuss enhancements and upgrades openly with Liebherr, expressed a unique team approach”, says Kevin Long, remembering the intensive process of advanced development. “Liebherr had built a very powerful, compact and versatile 1,000 tonne crawler crane in the form of the LR 11000. And it was the versatility of the machine that enabled the engineers to be so open to the demands of their customers and markets. That makes it fantastically easy to make advanced developments and get the crane ready for future jobs.”
And so work continued to satisfy the customer’s requirements with absolute focus. The result was a lifting capacity of 250 tonnes. The rest went very quickly: Production approval was given in October 2018, just one year after the initial idea. The first F2 jib was then ready for testing in January 2019. And the first delivery to Buckner took place in April 2019. One month later than originally requested, but with 30 tonnes more capacity.
And Kevin Long? He feels his jib is “way out there”: “The LR 11000 is the current benchmark for wind power in the USA. This crane enables us to remain absolutely at the top in changing markets.” And the figures show that he is right – Buckner now has 17 models of the LR 11000 in action, five of which feature the new SL8F2 system.