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Across the mountains of West Virginia, stretching through the plains of Indiana, all the way down to the desert of Arizona, Northwest Crane Service, LLC uses their fleet of exclusively Liebherr mobile and crawler cranes to build and maintain wind farms throughout the United States.
As a leader in crane, rigging and transportation, Northwest provides specialized crane services for the renewable energy industry. Since 2001, Northwest has been committed to executing each job safely and efficiently, providing full life cycle services for erecting, maintaining and repowering wind turbines throughout the nation.
At any one time, Northwest has several Liehberr cranes on wind farm projects throughout the country. Currently, they are utilizing Liebherr’s LR 1600/2, LTM 1650-8.1, and LTM 1750-9.1 as each of these cranes are ideal for wind farm sites due to their specialized wind components and built-in safety features.
With traditional 260 ft (80 m) hub height wind turbines becoming less common, Northwest was faced with the challenge of constructing new wind farms with more complex 345 ft (105 m) turbines and looked to Liebherr to upgrade their fleet. After working with the Liebherr team, they added a narrow track LR 1600/2W to complement their existing LR 1600/2 machines. Northwest is the only company in the US with this configuration, and it allows the cranes to navigate the difficult terrain and minimize the civil work often associated with repower projects like these. “Northwest is a forward-thinking leader in the industry and looks forward to utilizing this configuration for a variety of projects moving forward,” noted Andy Hodges, Owner of Northwest Crane Service, LLC.
This mindset can also be seen in other projects such as the blade bearing replacements on turbines in West Texas. This job utilizes their new LTM 1650-8.1 to remove the old bearings and their LRT 1100-2.1 rough terrain crane as an assist crane to hoist the new components for installation on the jobsite. The LTM 1650-8.1 meets job requirements specific to the wind industry. Its wind speed allowances make bearing replacements safe as wind conditions change. This crane also adds a new tonnage class for their fleet and provides Northwest’s customers with a more cost-effective machine for their projects. Due to the complexity of the lifts for this project, Northwest’s in-house engineering team utilizes Liebherr’s CranePlanner 2.0 to plan lifts and send them to customers in real time.
The collaboration with Liebherr was an essential component to both the initial award as well as the final execution of the project.
Liebherr assistance systems like VarioBase® help Northwest operate safely and more efficiently on many of their jobs including their repower project in the mountains of West Virginia. For this project Northwest utilizes three LTM 1750-9.1 mobile cranes equipped with Liebherr’s 800-tupgrade (900 USt) and VarioBase® system to ensure operators can safely adapt the crane’s supports to fit the environment. Due to the mountainous terrain and narrow roads, this job requires several full and partial re-assemblies of the crane to get to each new tower. The LTM’s ability to move with equipment in place, and its ease of erection and takedown allow for more flexibility when moving the crane in challenging conditions.
Hodges stated: “The collaboration with Liebherr was an essential component to both the initial award as well as the final execution of the project.” Northwest always works closely with Liebherr to ensure every machine meets the necessary requirements of each individual project. “Liebherr’s open lines of communication, advanced technology, and design play a big role in decision-making when purchasing new machines”, noted Hodges. Northwest Crane Service was founded in the northwest corner of Oklahoma, hence the name “Northwest.” Over the last 20 years, Northwest Crane Service has seen continued growth and expanded their footprint across the nation.
“The cornerstone of the Northwest culture is a focus on safety, and we pride ourselves on our outstanding record and unwavering dedication to ensuring safe working conditions for our people, our customers and the environment,” noted Hodges. Additionally, Northwest strives to provide their customers with the best and brightest personnel and most advanced equipment in the industry. “With a fleet of exclusively Liebherr equipment, Northwest is committed to excellence, and our cranes are no exception,” said Hodges.