"Liebherr is committed to strengthen its presence in India and to take part in the infrastructure task the country is engaged in. The company currently is participating in the Indian market mainly with wheel loaders, excavators, tower cranes, and mixing technology. In addition to that port handling equipment of Liebherr – for example harbor mobile cranes – plays an important role. Furthermore, Liebherr mobile cranes are needed mainly in India's power sector. At this year's Excon, Liebherr will display a truck mixer, a tower crane and a wheel loader," says Mr. Winfried Boehm, Member of the Board of Directors of Liebherr-International AG, Bulle (Switzerland), in his interview with S.K.Khanna.
Please introduce Liebherr Group to our readers, its progression from a small family business to its present status.
The history of the Liebherr Group began back in 1949 in the small town of Kirchdorf an der Iller in Southern Germany. The founder of the company, Dr.-Ing. E.h. Hans Liebherr (April 1, 1915 - October 7, 1993) put an idea into practice which had occupied his mind for a long time during the day-to-day work of running a small construction business: to tackle the major task of rebuilding Germany after the Second World War a tower crane with easy assembling and transporting was required.
In order to keep key competences in-house, Liebherr has always maintained a high level of vertical integration in its manufacturing concept. Own component manufacture covers complete drive and control systems for the Group's construction machinery as well as for other applications. Liebherr is able to supply complete model lines including a large number of equipment and application variants in all its product areas. These products are noted for technical maturity, quality and maximum customer benefit. Last but not least, Liebherr operates six hotels in Ireland, Austria, and Germany.
What are Liebherr's important business areas and its production facilities in various countries, and product range?
Liebherr Group of companies is structured into nine product divisions-Earthmoving and Mining, Mobile Cranes, Construction Cranes and Mixing Technology, Maritime Cranes, Domestic Appliances, Machine Tools and Material-flow Technology, Aerospace and Transportation Systems, Components, and Hotels. The Group currently has over 30 production sites in 15 countries at its disposal.
Around 65% of the Group's turnover come from Liebherr's three construction machinery divisions – namely Earthmoving and Mining, Mobile Cranes as well as Construction Cranes and Mixing Technology.
The Earthmoving and Mining division is the biggest product division within the Liebherr Group. Its product range includes wheel and crawler excavators, crawler tractors and loaders, pipe layers, telescopic handlers, wheel loaders, lift cranes, duty cycle crawler cranes, piling - and drilling rigs and mining equipment such as mining trucks and mining excavators as well as dozers and wheel loaders for mining applications.
The division runs manufacturing sites in Kirchdorf (Germany), Colmar (France), Bischofshofen and Telfs (Austria), Newport News (USA), Guaratinguetá (Brazil), and Dalian, (China).
Two other production facilities will follow in the near future. In Colmar (France), Liebherr is erecting a new mining center which will accumulate a state-of-the-art headquarter for engineering, assembly, prototype testing and special executions of large excavators and other equipment at one place. In Nizhny Novgorod (Russia), Liebherr is currently preparing the erection of a plant that will be dedicated amongst others to the production and assembly of construction machinery and associated components.
Construction cranes made by Liebherr are a familiar sight on building sites in all parts of the world. Wherever they are used, these cranes are noted for their advanced load handling technology and versatility, and embody the experience of six decades of crane development and manufacture. Today, Liebherr has one of the world's most comprehensive construction crane programmes with manufacturing sites in Biberach (Germany) and Pamplona (Spain).
Liebherr also supplies extensive product families in many other sectors. For maritime cargo handling, there are ship, offshore, container and harbor mobile cranes; in plant and equipment construction, Liebherr is a supplier of machine tools and material flow technology, in the aircraft equipment sector Liebherr supplies landing gear, actuation and air-management systems and in the traffic technology sector equipment for rail vehicles and buses. In the domestic appliances sector, Liebherr is a specialist in the production of refrigerators and freezers with a program of over 300 basic models.
How do you look at the Indian construction equipment market and the role Liebherr can play in the infrastructure task that the country is engaged in?
India is one of the biggest markets for construction equipment and it is growing steadily. These days more and more Indian construction companies are striving to improve productivity and velocity of their construction projects. Liebherr is committed to strengthen its presence in India and to take part in the infrastructure task the country is engaged in. The company currently is participating in the Indian market mainly with wheel loaders, excavators, tower cranes, and mixing technology. In addition to that, port handling equipment of Liebherr – harbor mobile cranes, for example – plays an important role. Liebherr mobile cranes are now also needed – mainly in India's power sector.
What has been the response to Liebherr products and services from the Indian market? How is your company going to strengthen its presence here?
Indian customers are very much satisfied with the performance and quality of Liebherr products as well as with the Liebherr after sales service. Liebherr construction machinery is equipped with many security features to achieve safe operation on India's construction sites. Liebherr is also able to adapt its products to the Indian construction habits - the high-quality construction machinery already has proven its reliability and efficiency under the extremest climatic conditions in India.
In order to strengthen its presence in India, Liebherr is planning to be still closer to its customers by opening new sales and service facilities (incl. warehouses) in metropolitan areas across the country, thus to enhance logistics and provide best service as a long term partner for its customers.
Can you enumerate a few important projects in India, where Liebherr construction machinery has been deployed and how they have contributed to the success of projects?
Liebherr machinery has successfully been involved in many different projects in India and is associated with the construction companies in India for more than a decade.
Limestone quarries linked to the cement industry for example have introduced surface miner technology in combination with highly fuel efficient Liebherr wheel loaders in their mines. Like this, they can avoid blasting and perform eco-friendly mining operations. On several sites Liebherr machines are now responsible for the complete plant production. Some of these machines have crossed more than 25,000 hours and are still working to the utmost satisfaction of the customers.
Liebherr machinery has also been involved in several dam projects in Northern India. One of the most prestigious job-sites so far is in Hazira Port. Several duty cycle crawler cranes are operating with hydraulic slurry wall cutters for the foundation works on site.
Other examples are jobs of Liebherr mobile cranes. Liebherr's crawler crane LR 11350 is involved in the installation of the nuclear power plant named "Bhavini" that is being developed with 90% local components. Furthermore, the Indian wind power industry is relying on Liebherr's crawler cranes such as LR 1400/2 and LR 1350/1. Another interesting project is carried out by the LTM 1250-6.1. This Liebherr all-terrain crane is used during the expansion of Kochi Refinery in Kerala.
Liebherr's tower cranes have been involved in numerous projects, be it bridge construction, a steel plant expansion, building the pre-heater of a cement company, a prestigious airport project or other building projects. Liebherr cranes can meet the strictest quality norms of the customer with the highest reliability. This is one of the reasons why many Indian companies have chosen Liebherr tower cranes as their reliable and trustworthy partner for the timely execution of their projects.
In addition to the mentioned ones, Liebherr is running big projects in port business where machines of almost the complete Liebherr product range in the field of material handling are providing an outstanding performance to the Indian customers' benefit.
Apart from your wide range of cranes, your material handlers and wheel loaders, the other most emerging area of business for Liebherr in India is the concrete equipment division. The company has laid the foundation stone for their concrete equipment manufacturing plant in Pune. What is the status of this plant and when it's going to be operational?
Liebherr has bought land in Chaufula which is located on Pune - Sholapur road approximately 55 km from Pune and 235 km from Mumbai. The land filling has been done already and soon the production halls and administrative building will be erected. However, Liebherr has already started assembling truck mixers at a workshop near Pune. The production of truck mixers is planned to be shifted to the factory in the second quarter of 2010. Furthermore, Liebherr in Pune is also planning to manufacture batching plants. The production facility is expected to be fully operational in the second quarter of 2011.
How do you look at Excon 2009 as a platform to promote your presence and business in India? What are your plans to unveil new products and services during the show?
Excon is one of the biggest construction machinery exhibitions in India attracting all, the small, mid and large contractors as well as the big corporates in order to know about the recent development in the market and new technologies introduced. Liebherr has been exhibiting for many years at Excon and the fair is growing steadily. It is a very good opportunity to communicate the strong set-up of Liebherr in India and to promote its technologies.
At this year's Excon, Liebherr will display a truck mixer, a tower crane, and a wheel loader. The HTM 604 type truck mixer on display is mounted an Ashok Leyland Truck. The flat-top crane 71 ECB5 exhibited at Excon 2009 is a construction crane that is predestined for the Indian market. One important aspect of the newly built EC-B flat-top cranes is that they are designed for especially quick assembly with an easy-to-use "connect and work" assembly system which Liebherr provides for all flat-top cranes. The central unit of the EC-B series is a newly developed compact head in which the slewing gear, the complete slewing ring support, the switchgear cabinet containing all the switching equipment and the crane cabin are all integrated. Liebherr furthermore will show an L 514 type wheel loader at Excon. It belongs to the small Liebherr wheel loaders, the so-called stereoloaders. These machines distinguish themselves through their particular manoeuvrability, compact design and smooth travel characteristics as well as centre-pivot and rear wheel steering and oscillating frame articulation and oscillating rear axle.