Liebherr will continue to position its cranes as high premium, value-oriented products in the rapidly evolving Indian mobile and crawler crane market, informs Subhajit Chandra, Head-Marketing, Liebherr Cranes India, while discussing the company’s marketing strategy with NBM&CW.
German crane manufacturing behemoth Liebherr is re-evaluating the rapidly growing Indian market, where price continues to influence purchase decisions. “The Indian medium and heavy, mobile and crawler lattice boom cranes market is at the crossroads. The market is being characterized, or rather, being developed, to own cheaper machines. Customers are being lured by competition on the promise of more affordable products, and not on the value that cranes can deliver across their lifecycle.”
“However, as always, we will continue to refrain from this strategy and will not position our products amongst the mass, competitively priced products of other brands. This is because our German-make of cranes are of premium quality, and they will deliver total cost of ownership across their lifecycle. Even when the Indian market was seeing a long, bearish cycle a few years ago, and the rental market was also down, our marketing remained unchanged.”
Investing in R&D and component manufacturing
Liebherr has a strong global footprint in heavy lift, industrial and infrastructure construction, and continues to make colossal investments in research and development for coming up with the best safety features in its cranes. “In fact, it usually takes almost two years to prepare a fail-proof load chart for making a high-quality, safe, and high performing crane.”
“We have seen incidences of crane breakdowns or complete stalling of operations. In many cases, customers were compelled to sort out the issue by bypassing the load chart, even though this posed a serious safety threat with super lifts being put to use. Customers will not face such problems with Liebherr cranes as the operational systems in our cranes can be easily sorted out if any problem arises in the load chart or super lift. What’s more, our newly bought cranes requires comparatively less spare parts or even critical maintenance (except for some greasing and oiling) to make them run smoothly within the initial years of operations.”
“Liebherr mobile and crawler cranes can work in the construction and maintenance of industrial projects such as refineries and fertilizer plants for lifting vacuum distillation units or Coker drums, using a single or trailing lift. They can also work in infrastructure projects in the construction of pylon erection for bridge projects on longer radius, girder lifting’s etc.”
The cranes enable optimum operations and reliable performance, as they are fitted only with company-made components – be they electrical, mechanical, or electronics. Liebherr does extensive research and manufactures its own gears, drives, winches, and even the hydraulic pumps, motors, and majorly the controlling software etc. This ensures complete synchronization with all the components while the crane is in operation with full load on.
“We have found that component manufacturers make standard products, which despite the value engineering being done on them are not completely indexed to the dynamics of actual applications. Many a times, some components have found to be redundant, occupying precious space in the cranes.”
Designing cranes for precise radius calculations
Liebherr is making strong, lightweight booms using high tensile steel for its mobile and crawler cranes. Ease of transportation is ensured through improved design of the crawler crane’s boom sections, where three booms can be inserted inside each other, which means that the crane will require only one trailer for its transportation for up to 3 boom inserts, thus cutting down operating costs as well.
As per EN 13000, the company has been undertaking critical modifications in the cranes to automatically perform load monitoring while doing radius calculation in line with the synchronized operations of the counterweight and the derrick ballast radius. The all-terrain cranes ensure safe loading with precise radius calculation; and will now have the new LICCON 3 version.
Extending technical support
The Liebherr 600/700-ton crane has been designed and supported with a flexible load chart and is backed by LICCON 2 Software for fool-proof load calculations, so much so that it can undertake the work of an next capacity class crane.
Liebherr’s unique marketing proposition is based on its expertise in reverse engineering data, gathered through the usage of its cranes in varied heavy lift operations across the globe. “Given the growing complexities of heavy lift operations across the world at sites using mobile and crawler cranes (including the upcoming industrial construction projects in India), Liebherr has developed the technical know-how to accurately configure the load chart for customers based on their lifting plan. This critical technical support is also a very important risk management service for safe lifting, which we are rendering across the lifecycle of our customers’ cranes.”
Liebherr’s Application specific solutions
The risk management service is backed by the company’s regular annual maintenance contract for preventive maintenance, which helps in machine uptime; thus minimizes the costs incurred by customers during operations. “Our marketing strategy will be to focus on niche application markets (rather than retail sales), where we have been fairly successful in making inroads with our value propositions. We foresee demand coming from windmill projects as windmill parts manufacturers are now awarding the jobs to installation and service providing agencies. We also see demand from public sector undertakings like refineries, power, nuclear power, and cement plants, for project execution and for regular shut down maintenance. All these areas require risk management through safe lifting.”
Liebherr is ready to meet demand for industrial applications with its range of crawler crane models like the LR 1700-1.0 (700 tons), the LR 1800-1.0 (800 tons), LR 11000 (1000 tons), LR 11350 (1350 tons), and the soon to be launched LR 12500 1.0 (2500 tons); its prototype is currently undergoing load testing. The LR series of cranes have been freshly delivered by Liebherr to heavy lift companies like Sarens, Mammoet, and to major US crane rental companies like BIGGE and Buckner, and the END user like SPACEX among others.