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Mobile construction cranes deliver on barrage renovation

September 1, 2021  By Crane & Hoist Canada Staff

Crane origami: The 45-metre-long jib unfolds on the MK 88 Plus. Photo: Liebherr

A Liebherr mobile construction crane was on the job for eight weeks in Husum, Germany to lift more than 1,800 loads of various types.

An MK 88 Plus belonging to crane service provider Nolte Auto-Krane was part of a structural inspection project of the North Sea barrage near Husum.

The Husum harbour barrage was built in 1975 to protect against storm surges. After 46 years, the time had come for the North Sea installation to undergo a thorough inspection. For this to happen, all water had to be removed from inside the barrage.

Stop gates (also known as emergency gates) had to be erected first to ensure a dry working area. The MK 88 placed a total of around 300 stop logs and intermediate posts to keep the water out. The placing of the stop gates meant the machine was able to complete 300 lifts in just three days.


Quick positioning of posts

Commercial divers provided instructions to guide the crane’s operators. Their common goal: to manoeuvre the 11-metre-long and 36 centimetre-wide posts into their correct positions at the base of the barrage.

“The ability to move loads quickly via the trolley on the horizontal jib and the prompt, safe positioning of posts were both great advantages,” says Oliver Andritter, who headed up the steel work.

Delivering the posts with centimetre precision was essential as the divers were working in murky waters with little visibility and, in some cases, at night. “I’m also very impressed that the crane can be dismantled in 15 minutes and then swiftly moved to another position on site,” says Andritter.

During the renovation project, the MK 88 Plus had to deliver a variety of loads to the site located at the base of the barrage chambers. Photo: Liebherr

Faster completion

Jürgen Peters plans and is responsible for major crane projects at Nolte. He had a heavy-duty crane at his disposal alongside the mobile construction crane.

“We needed our Liebherr LG 1750 lattice tower crane to lift the flood protection gate wings, weighing up to 65 tonnes, off their hinges,” he says. “The MK was responsible for the construction and dismantling of the gates and supplied the 13 metre-deep construction site chambers with everything that was needed.”

Chris Kubinski and Manuel Krüger used their MK 88 Plus to lift pumps, generators, scaffolding parts, tools and even cherry pickers down to the engineers and labourers working in the emptied barrage chambers. The two experienced crane operators worked in shifts aboard the modern crane cabin.

Height-adjustable elevating cab

“We were able to reach and do everything with the 45-metre jib from just two positions,” says Chris Kubinski. “Projecting edges aren’t a problem any more and it’s much easier to keep the safety distance required when working near power lines.”

But what excites him most is being able to move his loads safely from within the crane cabin, which can be positioned at hook height to provide a clear view of the action.

He also likes the option of operating the crane via radio remote control. “It’s particularly ideal for assembling glass roofing or façades as I can stand right next to the fitters. Sometimes it’s all down to millimetre precision,” Kubinski says.

From Nolte Auto-Krane’s location in Hannover, Peters supplies construction sites all over Germany with some 30 Liebherr machines. His four mobile construction cranes – three MK 88s and one MK 140 – are always in use.

Ultimately, the 2.2 million Euro barrage project was completed faster than planned, and the passage to Husum harbour was reopened for skippers and boat owners four days earlier than planned.

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