First Liebherr LTM 1230-5.1 crane in Africa

Allied Crane Hire has taken delivery of the first Liebherr LTM 1230-5.1 mobile crane in Africa. The five-axle crane scores with the longest boom in the 230 t class and a range of Liebherr’s technological advancements such as the single engine concept, VarrioBallast and VarioBase support technology – features that were central to the crane hire specialist’s buying decision, writes Munesu Shoko.

The new LTM crane is the first to have an asymmetrical support base – with the width being 7,4 m at the front and 8,1m at the rear.

Headquartered in South Africa, Allied Crane Hire is an established name in the crane rental industry in Africa. Founded some 24 years ago, the company provides specialist crane hire services across sub-Saharan Africa with its fleet of over 80 mobile and crawler cranes. Key markets of focus include mining, petrochemical, wind and solar farms, as well as the construction industry.

Allied Crane Hire bought its first Liebherr Crane some 20 years ago, and never looked back. The latest addition to the company’s fleet is the Liebherr LTM 1230-5.1 mobile crane – the first of this model in Africa which takes the company’s complement of Liebherr cranes to 14. GM André Engelbrecht Jnr tells Capital Equipment News that the company has another LTM 1230-5.1 on order, which is due to be delivered in April next year.

Engelbrecht is excited to be the first recipient of the LTM 1230-5.1 in Africa. Commenting on why the company opted for this specific model, he says, “We can’t look past the German technology. It is actually the best there is! Many in the crane sector will agree with me that Liebherr has the best tech in the mobile crane game and they keep on developing. That’s what mostly stands out for us.”

Setting a new benchmark

The LTM 1230-5.1 sets a new benchmark in the 230 t class with its 75m telescopic boom, said to be one of the longest in this size class. Allied Crane Hire will be deploying this crane in the mining industry, and the longer boom is one of the key reasons the company opted for this particular model. “The crane’s 75m boom bodes well for this application and means that there is no need to fit any extra fly jibs on site,” says Engelbrecht.

In fact, Francois Pretorius, sales representative – Mobile Cranes at Liebherr-Africa, says the length of the boom is one of the key highlights of the LTM 1230-5.1. Its predecessor, the LTM1200-5.1, also had one of the longest telescopic booms in this crane class at 72m. The new LTM 1230-5.1 not only delivers an extra 3m in length, but also an average of 20% greater lifting capacity.

From left: Erik Benz, GM Mobile & Crawler Cranes at Liebherr-Africa; Francois Pretorius, sales representative – Mobile Cranes at Liebherr-Africa; Dieter Schmid, MD of Liebherr-Africa; and André Engelbrecht, GM Allied Crane Hire, and at the handover ceremony.

“The LTM 1230-5.1 is the successor to the global success that was the LTM1200-5.1. In its development work, Liebherr pursued the objective of increasing both the boom length and the lifting capacity of the predecessor model. The result: the LTM 1230-5.1 delivers an extremely long telescopic boom and sets new standards in terms of lifting capacity. With lattice extensions, the maximum hook height has been increased by 10m to 111m,” he says.

The LTM 1230-5.1 sets a new benchmark in the 230 t class with its 75 m telescopic boom.

Liebherr has a wide and variable range of lattice jibs for the new LTM 1230-5.1. The 11,5 to 22m long folding jib can be mounted at an angle of 0°, 20° or 40°. The folding jib can be supplied with a hydraulic adjustment system as an option which allows it to luff with a full load between 0° and 40°. The pivot point for the folding jib can be raised using up to three straight 7m lattice sections acting as telescopic boom extensions.

The maximum ballast for the new LTM1230-5.1 is 72 t, the same as its predecessor, but as a result of Liebherr’s VarioBallasttechnology, which can be adjusted from 4,8m to 5,7m, the lifting capacity at great radii has been significantly increased compared to the LTM 1200-5.1 and also the LTM 1220-5.2. VarioBallast enables the crane to deliver high load capacities with a small ballast radius,
making it perfect for use on constricted sites.

In fact, VarioBallast was one of the key features that influenced Allied Crane Hire’s buying decision. Engelbrecht says mining and petrochemical sites are generally difficult in logistical terms, with a lack of space, time pressure and changing site conditions which often challenge the skill and experience of the crane teams. Flexibility is therefore required from both man and machine. “VarioBallast is a key feature for us, especially given that this model will be deployed in the mining and petrochemical sectors where space is always at a premium,” says Engelbrecht.

VarioBase to the fore

The Liebherr LTM 1230-5.1 is said to be the first mobile crane specially designed on VarioBase. Liebherr placed the multi-award-winning VarioBase support technology at the centre of the structural steel construction when creating the concept for the new crane. The new LTM crane, says Erik Benz, GM Mobile & Crawler Cranes at Liebherr-Africa, is the first to have an asymmetrical support base – with the width being 7,4 m at the front and 8,1 m at the rear.

VarioBase is a unique system developed by Liebherr that is particularly effective for lifting operations in locations where space is restricted. It enables every individual crane support to be extended to any length, with the crane operation made safe by the load moment limiter within the LICCON control. The Variable Supporting Base ensures higher lifting capacities and a larger working range, even with a maximum support base, with the largest increases made in the operating ranges directly above the supports.

“VarioBase means that it is now possible to generate particularly high lifting capacities, mainly at the rear working area over the 8,1 m wide supports – calculated in real-time by the LICCON controller. This new digitalisation facility has a major influence on the structural steel technology and enhances the customer benefit in the form of lifting capacity increases,” says Benz.

The support base overall is smaller than on the predecessor model LTM1200-5.1, explains Pretorius, despite the new crane’s significantly higher lifting capacity and longer boom. This brings the crane closer to the load. Liebherr designed the support base to have a trapezoidal shape. “At the rear the maximum support width to the side is 8,1 m and to the front 7,4 m. With a working range of 360 degrees, this means that we have almost no reductions in lifting capacity compared to a rectangular support base with a support width of 8,1 m to the front and rear,” says Pretorius.

The single-stage outriggers at the front are lighter. This weight reduction can be used to extend the boom length. Furthermore, the single-stage outriggers feature greater rigidity. The extended rear supports, together with Liebherr’s VarioBase deliver particularly high lifting capacities. “We call the combination of the trapezoidal and variable support base VarioBase Plus,” explains Pretorius.

Single engine concept

The LTM 1230-5.1 also features Liebherr’s single-engine concept, which involves a mechanical shaft powering the superstructure. Gear shafts are routed from the distributor gear in the substructure via two mitre gears through the centre of the slewing ring to the pump distributor gear in the superstructure.

“An add-on programme in the drive concept ensures that the machine is particularly fuel-efficient. This means that the complete pump drive can be disconnected automatically when the engine is idling and then reconnected by the intelligent controller in a matter of seconds when it is required,” explains Pretorius.

The six-cylinder Liebherr diesel engine in the undercarriage develops 400 kW of power and torque of 2 516 Nm, providing the LTM 1230-5.1 with all the power it needs. The power is transferred to the crane axles via the 12-speed ZF TraXon gearbox. The innovative gearbox delivers new functionalities and benefits for the operator and driver. ECOmode makes the vehicle significantly more comfortable and quieter due to the low engine speed. Furthermore, faster gearshifts ensure greater scope for off-road use. The crane driver also has the Hill Holder feature to assist with hill starts.

“Liebherr has also developed a special mode for mobile cranes in the load-sensing range to reduce the cost of crane operations while also reducing noise emissions. ECOmode minimises both fuel consumption and noise emissions when operating the crane superstructure. In these tough operating conditions, efficiency is a principal requirement for every machine that we run. The new crane features high performance, economy and flexibility, thanks to Liebherr’s consistent advanced development of successful technologies,” concludes Engelbrecht