VIDEO: Liebherr crawler cranes go to work on Gulf dredging projects

Written by Marine Log Staff
Liebherr crawler crane being used for dredging

Matthews Brothers Inc. is using a Liebherr HS 8300 crawler crane on a Port Arthur, Texas, project.

The Liebherr Group reports that two of its customers are putting its HS 8300 duty cycle crawler crane to the test on two large-scale U.S. Gulf coast dredging projects that are 350 miles apart.

In Port Arthur, Texas, Matthews Brothers Inc. is working on a tight deadline at the port assisting in new construction off of an existing dock. The Pass Christian, Miss., headquartered company uses a Liebherr HS 8300 with 8.5 yd TGS clamshell bucket to dredge over 5000 yards of hard clay, sand, and debris per day.

In Mobile, Ala., the San Rafael, Calif., based Dutra Group is utilizing a customized HS 8300 duty cycle crawler crane on a deepening project on a Corps of Engineers project

Every jobsite comes with its challenges. In Port Arthur, Matthews Brothers is dredging 46 feet deep in a basin, where the hard sediment is particularly challenging to move. The machines must be able to handle strenuous work over long periods of time. However, says Liebherr, its HS 8300, one of the largest duty cycle cranes in the world, is designed for an extended service life ideal for dynamic applications, such as dredging.

On this project, Matthews Brothers is utilizing Liebherr’s dredging assistant package on its HS 8300. The assistant enables the machine to preset the opening and closing parameters for each bucket making grabbing easier and more efficient. The result allows for longer life of the cables and reduces general wear and tear on the bucket.

“The overall impression shared throughout the company is how simple the HS 8300 is to use, allowing us to work faster, have higher productivity, and meet the deadline of the customer,” notes Matthews Brothers dredge captain, Alex Kellams. “Using the HS 8300 allows us to get in and out quicker and provides a smoother dredging operation, so it’s a win-win situation for everyone.”

To increase productivity, the company uses the Liebherr Pactronic hybrid drive for the duty cycle crane. This is is an additional energy storage device. If additional energy is required for crane operation, the Pactronic system transfers the energy stored in the accumulator back into the system, enhancing the handling performance of the crane.

“Pactronic is much faster and allows us to move twice as fast resulting in quicker load and cycle times as well as promoting fuel efficiency,” says Kellams.

Keeping to a strict deadline, Matthews must keep the project moving as the port continues to operate. The machine runs 20 hours a day and downtime can be very costly, so support from Liebherr is vital when it comes to servicing the machine. “

“We got the Liebherr because of the backing they offer. We don’t have to diagnose any problems on our own,” Kellams notes. “We have the help from Liebherr to get us through any problems we might have.”

Matthews Brothers trust in Liebherr stems from the company’s past purchases of an LH 80 material handler and HS 8200 duty cycle crane that now operates next to HS 8300.

Many customers appreciate the ease of transition is from one Liebherr machine to another, including the Dutra Group, which is utilizing a customized HS 8300 on the Alabama peoject. Working on phase four of six, the crane is mounted on a barge, dredging at a depth of 54 feet on the Mobile channel deepening project.

“We have utilized the LR 1300s and the 895, so when you get into a brand-new machine the controls are very similar,” says Dennis Ferguson, fleet manager for the Dutra Group’s clamshell division. “It was a short period between accepting the crane, getting it on the barge, and going to work.”

Dutra analyzed multiple cost performance studies and research before purchasing the HS 8300 and is satisfied with its 65 second cycle times per swing, averaging 10,500 cubic yards per day.

“We have been watching production pretty close,” says Ferguson. “The cycle times were right where we projected.”

Additional customization of the Dutra HS 8300 includes implementing crawler tracks rather than a pedestal mount for easier transport, as well as a wider, raised cab, bigger winches, and a lighter boom.

“Dutra relies on Liebherr sales and factory representatives to make sure whatever upgrades and customizations we do fit into our specifications and individual needs,” notes Ferguson. “These customizations provide us with versatility and increased production and efficiency.”

The HS 8300 is currently Liebherr’s biggest production dredging machine. The duty cycle crawler crane is equipped with a 1,000 hp EPA Tier 4 final engine as well as the Pactronic solution which provides approximately 1,500 hp to assist the 154,000 lb signal line pole winches.

“The big horsepower and big winches make this ideal for our U.S. customers,” says Liebherr Sales Manager Steve Whisenhunt. “This machine is capable of doing over 4 million cycles which is a very strong spec for this class of machine.”

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