11/01/2013 Liebherr heavy lift fix mounted crane is used for lifting tour boats at the Niagara Falls, NY

In the last couple of weeks a Liebherr heavy lift fix mounted crane was installed on a new drydock facility on the U.S. side of the famous Niagara Falls in New York state. On October 31st it completed its first job: the crane lifted passenger tour boats out of the water for the local company Maid of the Mist.

A Liebherr Fixed Cargo Crane (FCC) lifts passenger boats at the Niagara Falls.

A Liebherr Fixed Cargo Crane (FCC) lifts passenger boats at the Niagara Falls.

The Niagara Falls on the border between the United States and Canada are one of the most spectacular natural sights worldwide with more than 18 million visitors each year. Maid of the Mist runs a fleet of passenger boats, each for up to 600 persons, which bring many of the visitors to the bottom of the falls. In order to lift these boats into the waters of the Niagara River in spring and out of the water at the end of each season for maintenance and winter storage the company has installed the Liebherr heavy lift crane on its newly built dockside facility.

With a lifting capacity of 200 tonnes (440,000 pounds) at a radius of 15 metres (49 feet) the crane is the first Liebherr Fixed Cargo Crane (FCC) for the heavy lift segment. Designed as a wire-luffing crane the FCC is fitted on a fixed pedestal and has a dead weight of approx. 143 tonnes (315,000 pounds). Its maximum outreach is approximately 24 metres (78 feet). In order to match the colour of the water of the Niagara River, the crane is painted turquoise.

Challenging transportation and installation

Before the crane could be installed on the dockside, it underwent a long journey. Produced in the Liebherr production plants Rostock (Germany) and Sunderland (UK), the crane was loaded onto a ship in the German Port of Brake at the end of August to be transported across the Atlantic Ocean. From Hamilton, Ontario (Canada) the crane was then driven by road to the site at the Niagara Falls.

However, the last part of the journey appeared to be the most challenging one. The dockside facility is located in a gorge with only limited road access so an alternative had to be found to get the crane to its final destination. Hence, at the end of September a ring crane lowered all parts of the FCC into the gorge for final assembly.

Characteristics of the crane

Thanks to its outstanding technical features the FCC provides an economical as well as space-saving solution for installation on quaysides. The crane works reliably even under harsh environmental conditions, such as wind, cold and ice, and therefore meets one of the central demands of the customer, Maid of the Mist. Another requirement addresses the fast and smooth serviceability of the crane, which can be guaranteed due to Liebherr’s dense sales and service network on the American continent.

Construction works on the facility will continue in the next couple of months, with a projected completion date in the third quarter of 2014. The total investment sum for the new dockside is about US$ 32 million.

“I am happy to finally see the crane installed, as it is a symbol of the progress that construction crews are making on the dry docks”, said Mr. Kevin Keenan, a spokesman for Maid of the Mist.

FCC fleet expands in North America

In North America Liebherr’s FCC products are being applied for a whole range of special applications as required by our customers. Not only for container, general cargo, forestry and bulk heavy-duty cycle operations but now uniquely for fix mounted heavy lift applications as well. The FCC range continues to expand for customers requiring a long-lasting and fix mounted solution with minimum costs.