And with no manufacturer able to ignore the demand for sustainable, environmentally sensitive operations and the requirement for low-emission cargo handling equipment, Liebherr has responded by introducing its Pactronic® Hybrid Drive System to the market on the new LHM 550.
According to the company, the new hybrid drive addresses the two critical issues of increasing handling performance and reducing fuel/power consumption.
Power enhancement is achieved done by adding an additional energy source to the drive system; in this case a hydraulic accumulator. Charging of the accumulator is done by regenerating the reverse power while lowering the load. The stored energy of the accumulator is then transferred back to the system when the crane requires peak power during hoisting. And compared to the conventional diesel/electric engine, the combined hybrid drive leads to a reduction of fuel/energy consumption (litre/ton) as well as up to 30% emissions depending upon the operation.
The Pactronic system is ideally suited to mobile harbour cranes which are subject to alternating load cycles during operation. Hoisting uses considerable amounts of energy which is recoverable during lowering.
Also during 2010 the Liebherr product range was extended with the previously mentioned LHM 550 which provides customers with the same modular construction system available on the LHM 600. Serial production of the LHM 550 started in October 2010, with at least ten machines already on order.
Different applications call for different configurations of winches and drive systems to conform to all variants of professional cargo handling. Tower extension and boom variants with different radii complement the modular concept.
For dedicated container handling, for example, the recommended crane set-up is for a 54 m boom which provides a lift capacity of 34.5 tonnes at maximum outreach, allowing container handling up to the 18 rows across (post-Panamax). Fitted with Pactronic® the LHM 550 achieves up to 38 moves per hour.
The LHM 550 is the first model available with the Pactronic® Hybrid Drive which will be gradually rolled out on all crane models and by 2013 the system will be offered on Liebherr’s entire mobile harbour crane range.
The 40% decline in the world market for mobile harbour cranes in 2009 resulted in a 30% reduction in orders for Liebherr which fortunately was able to withstand the market conditions. In 2010 the market began to stabilise and b y the end of year, Liebherr was able to report a turnover of Euro 210m (US$285m), slightly higher than the previous year.
Sales distribution for the year comprised Europe 38%, Latin America 18%, India 15% and Africa for 12%. The remainder was more or less equally shared by North America, the Middle East, Far East Asia and Australia.
Liebherr concludes: 2010 was all about mastering challenges and securing the future. The introduction of the Pactronic® hybrid drive system represented a quantum leap which is already being reflected in order backlog figures for Liebherr mobile harbour cranes which, by December 31, amounted to more than Euro 100m of which the new LHM 550 including Pactronic® accounted for more than 25%.