Hard grounds of the Gulf

Along the I-10, 350 miles apart, two Liebherr customers put the HS 8300 duty cycle crawler crane to the test performing large scale dredging projects off the Gulf of Mexico.

In Port Arthur, TX, Matthews Brothers, Inc. continue to work on a tight deadline at the Port assisting in new construction off of an existing dock. The specialty dredging company uses a Liebherr HS 8300 with 8.5 yd TGS clamshell bucket to dredge over 5000 yds of hard clay, sand, and debris per day.

Every jobsite comes with its own set of individual needs and requirements. In Port Arthur, not only are they faced with the challenge of dredging 46 ft deep in a basin, but the hard sediment is particularly challenging to move. The machines must be able to handle strenuous work over long periods of time. However, the Liebherr HS 8300, one of the largest duty cycle cranes in the world, is designed for an extended service life ideal for dynamic applications, such as dredging.

To complete this project, Matthews Brothers also utilizes Liebherr’s dredging assistant package on their HS 8300. The assistant enables the machine to preset the opening and closing parameters for each bucket making grabbing easier and more efficient. The result allows for longer life of the cables and reduces general wear and tear on the bucket. “The overall impression shared throughout the company is how simple the HS 8300 is to use, allowing us to work faster, have higher productivity, and meet the deadline of the customer,” notes Matthews Brothers Dredge Captain, Alex Kellams. “Using the HS 8300 allows us to get in and out quicker and provides a smoother dredging operation, so it’s a win-win situation for everyone.”

To further increase productivity, the company uses the hybrid drive, Pactronic®, for the duty cycle crane. This major feature is an additional energy storage device. If additional energy is required for crane operation, the Pactronic system transfers the energy stored in the accumulator back into the system, enhancing the handling performance of the crane. “Pactronic is much faster and allows us to move twice as fast resulting in quicker load and cycle times as well as promoting fuel efficiency,” says Kellams.

  • We have the help from Liebherr to get us through any problems we might have.

    Alex Kellams, Matthews Brothers Dredge Captain

    A helping hand

    Keeping to a strict deadline, Matthews must keep the project moving as the Port continues to operate. The machine runs 20 hours a day and downtime can be very costly, so support from Liebherr is vital when it comes to servicing the machine. “We got the Liebherr because of the backing they offer. We don’t have to diagnose any problems on our own,” Kellams notes. “We have the help from Liebherr to get us through any problems we might have.”

    Liebherr understands that after sales support and spare parts availability is essential for each of these customers to keep projects moving in a timely manner. Liebherr Sales Manager Steve Whisenhunt notes, “Our strong service and support network is key to our customer operations and satisfaction across the country.”

    Matthews Brothers trust in Liebherr also stems from their past purchases of an LH 80 material handler and HS 8200 duty cycle crane that now operates next to their HS 8300. Many customers regard how easy a transition is from one Liebherr machine to another, including the Dutra Group, a California-based dredging company with a similar project in Alabama.

    The Dutra Group provides turn key services in construction and dredging. Due to their familiarity with Liebherr machines, choosing Liebherr was an easy decision. “We have utilized the LR 1300s and the 895, so when you get into a brand-new machine the controls are very similar,” notes Dennis Ferguson, Fleet Manager for the Dutra Group’s clamshell division. “It was a short period between accepting the crane, getting it on the barge, and going to work.”

    Customization is key

    Known for their custom machine orders or what they call, “Dutra specials,” the company is utilizing a customized HS 8300 duty cycle crawler crane on a deepening project at an US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) site in Mobile, AL. Working on phase four of six, the crane is dredging at a depth of 54 ft deepening nine miles, approximately 5.7 m yd3, of the Mobile channel.

    Dutra analyzed multiple cost performance studies and research before purchasing the HS 8300 and is satisfied with their 65 second cycle times per swing, averaging 10,500 yd3 per day. “We have been watching production pretty close,” says Ferguson. “The cycle times were right where we projected.”

    Additional customization of their HS 8300 includes implementing crawler tracks rather than a pedestal mount for easier transport, as well as a wider, raised cab, bigger winches, and a lighter boom. “Dutra relies on Liebherr sales and factory representatives to make sure whatever upgrades and customizations we do fit into our specifications and individual needs,” notes Ferguson. “These customizations provide us with versatility and increased production and efficiency.”

    The Dutra group continues to use their custom Liebherr machines on many projects with USACE due to their rapport, capacity to perform work, and great safety record. The partnership between Dutra and Liebherr continues to strengthen as both groups serve as leaders in the industry.

    Strength in numbers

    The HS 8300 is currently Liebherr’s biggest production dredging machine. The duty cycle crawler crane is equipped with a 1000 hp tier 4 final engine as well as the Pactronic which provides approximately 1500 hp to assist the 154,000 lbs signal line pole winches. “The big horsepower and big winches make this ideal for our US customers,” says Liebherr Sales Manager Steve Whisenhunt. “This machine is capable of doing over 4 million cycles which is a very strong spec for this class of machine.”

    There’s a reason you find Liebherr machines up and down not just the Gulf, but waterways around the world performing large scale dredging projects. It’s because of Liebherr’s unique specs and quality service that dredging companies like Dutra Group and Matthews Brothers continue to choose Liebherr.


    Download the brochures here.

    Technical data - HS 8300 duty cycle crawler crane brochure
    Technical data - HS 8300 duty cycle crawler crane

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