After his family and snowmobiling Jimmy Väisänen’s biggest passion is operating heavy equipment, specifically larger machinery. Growing up in Gothenburg, Sweden, Jimmy’s first operating experience was on a wheel loader in his mid teens.
After finishing school in 2009 he searched though job listings for many of the mines in Sweden, eventually landing a job as a dump truck driver in Kiruna located in the far north of the country. After one year on the truck in Kiruna Jimmy then landed himself a job in the Svappavaara mine working for a company called Cliffton Mining, operating a brand new, 100 tonne, Cat 990H wheel loader. During his two years on the 990H he took an interest in operating the excavators which worked alongside his wheel loader on a daily basis. Jimmy then decided to ask a local owner of a Cat 390D called Fredrik Mattsson if he could work for free on the machine during his spare time to gain experience. Fredrik agreed and from then on Jimmy was hooked on excavator operating.
Eventually Jimmy’s bosses at Cliffton Mining decided that the Cat 990H wheel loader would be replaced with an excavator, which happened to be the Cat 390D owned by Fredrik Mattsson. Cliffton Mining suggested to Jimmy that they could either sub contract him to Fredrik Mattsson or let him go to work directly for him . Jimmy choose the latter and went to work to work for Fredrik for four and a half years. During that time the Cat 390D was replaced with a Cat 390F with the job being simply to load oversize rocks on to Cat 775 and 775G trucks.
Over the years Jimmy got to try out a massive range of equipment ranging from 15 tonne Hitachi Excavators right up to a 200 tonne Cat 994H wheel loader and a 500 tonne electric Cat 6060 shovel.
Fast forward to the last couple of years when Jimmy in his own words says “ I fell in love again” when he tried a Liebherr for the first time. It was an all white R966 that he operated over the entire winter which was followed by a R980 SME with a 7.5m3 bucket. Jimmy states “It was tremendously powerful with so much capacity for work”. After operating the R980 over the Summer it was time for a brand new Liebherr R945 long reach.
New at the beginning of 2021, the R945 Multi-User, generation 8, stage V machine belongs to 65 years established GE Maskintjänst AB, a family owned construction company which has almost 250 employees, based in Gällivare and does a wide range of work from mining to residential excavation. The company had a total turnover in 2020 amounting to approximately SEK 250 million. The machine was sourced directly from Liebherr. It is customised in black for the customer as can be done with all new Liebherr machines. Jimmy describes the R945 as the most beautiful excavator he’s ever seen and has every optional extra you could want which includes an OilQuick system, GPS, tinted windows, heated seat, chrome decals, subwoofer and 19 L.E.D lights in the front and 6 in the rear, much needed during the long dark winters in what is the Artic circle. The R945 also has an LC-V R956 undercarriage with 900mm pads.
Jimmy loves the comfort of the Liebherr, “ it’s a big and quiet cabin with good positions for the buttons and touchscreen display”. He continues,
“I sit and feel like a King in the R945…”
…as it’s such a great looking machine and fast for its size”. Jimmy says the company prefers to buy Liebherr because of the outstanding service and back up with the companies employees preferring the comfort of the Liebherr machines.
Daily work for the Liebherr R945 is as a dredge. Water from the cleaning process in an iron ore mine is washed into ponds. The Liebherr is then tasked with keeping the ponds clear of silt. After operating the R945 and Liebherr machines in general Jimmy says he wouldn’t want to operate anything else, attributing his bias to the speed, comfort and build quality of the Liebherr machines.
LIEBHERR France SAS, COLMAR
While many excavator manufacturers will be able to supply a long reach machine in certain configurations, Liebherr are able to offer almost any of their excavator range in a variety of configurations and built specifically for the customer on their production line at Colmar, France.
Colmar has been at the heart of Liebherr excavator production for over 50 years with the factory commencing excavator production in 1961. The plant now employs close on 1500 people and builds in excess of 2000 crawler machines per year including special builds such as Liebherr’s demolition, tunnelling and long reach models. The 140,000m2 production facility currently builds models from the Earthmoving range up to the 100t R980 family with the mining models moving to a new facility a few miles away in 2011 to free up production space for the smaller models.
The design and manufacturing teams at Colmar are capable of taking the basic Liebherr crawler models and customising them in any way their customers require from undercarriage options, working equipment and paint finishes, all designed, manufactured and finished in-house.
For contractors looking to add a 100-tonne class production excavator to their fleet, the list of manufacturers offering such a machine has just got a little longer.
Liugong, a leader in China’s construction equipment industry, has recently added their 995F excavator into their European range with the first example coming into the well-known fleet of Justin Ffrench.
Ffrench are no newcomers to the Liugong family having almost 50 machines already in their large fleet. They were quick to add the 93-tonne excavator their ranks as it meets with their drive to offer both the latest and greenest equipment to their clients. Working across the UK on both demolition and large muck shifting contracts, Ffrench have taken the 995F in the manufacturer’s demolition specification which adds heavy-duty belly plates, dipper stick and tipping link protection, auxiliary pipework with case drain line and a full ROPS and FOPS cab guard. There is also a heavier 14.8 tonne counterweight in lieu of the standard 12.6t version. The counterweight has also been decorated with a VLS reflective livery.
Liugong have built themselves a reputation in the UK for delivering excavators capable of withstanding the rigours of the demolition industry with many of the leading contractors using them within their fleets. This reputation hasn’t been left behind in the new F series flagship although driver comforts have been massively improved on within the new arrival.
“In the design of the F series machines, we wanted to get the feedback from our existing and potential customer base across the World.” Harry Mellor, European Product Manager for excavators explained “We have a good reputation within the UK demolition market but obviously wanted to target other sectors within the industry.”
The development of the 995F has seen the Chinese factory set a number of prototype machines to work in quarries and mines around China. Working 24/7 and amassing over 8000 operating hours, the prototypes returned to the factory suffering very little in the way of mechanical or build issues. This spurred the company on to launch the Tier5 variant into Europe with just the addition of emissions management hardware. “The mechanicals are identical to the prototypes.” Harry explains “We are very confident in both the build quality and the mechanical and electrical reliability of the machine after such positive testing.” Justin Ffrench is also very quick to praise the overall reliability of his existing machines saying they have been excellent in service and have performed reliably since he has added them to his fleet.
Whilst added to the fleet to undertake a variety of duties, the 995F looks the typical mass excavator thanks to its short boom and 2.9m dipper but with demolition work playing a major role in Ffrench’s operation, the ability to carry a new Shearcore FS95 shear was a must for Justin when it came to its purchase. “We have an 80t machine mass excavation spec and have enjoyed some success with this in carrying large demolition attachments. We’re not about reaching high with this machine; it will be for processing large material at lower levels.”
The new Kawasaki EH hydraulic system has been designed to provide both the required grunt for productive excavation, high flows and pressures for demolition work, but also give the finesse an operator requires to undertake lifting and grading work. “We were asked to deliver a machine capable of being a total all-rounder when it comes to the hydraulic system.” Harry commented “The EH system has been designed to deliver just this. From the electric joysticks, through to the pump and valve block, the system offers a combination of power and smoothness and response in all three operating modes.” The three modes; Eco, Standard and Power can be combined with altering the engine speed to allow almost infinite combinations in each mode. Together with a new lifting mode, allows the 995F to be good at everything the operator wants it to do.
Any issues with the cab on previous models have been totally addressed with the new F cab. Looking similar in styling to the X Series JCB cab (not a bad thing), thanks to its steeply sloping glazing on the door and side window, the operator has been handed a fresh, light and well-appointed environment in which to spend a shift. The most noticeable change is the seating arrangement which combines both the top of the range heated KAB seat and the joysticks into a single air suspended unit. This not only allows for a far superior ride but ensures the operator and joysticks can remain in constant contact with each other at all times. The left-hand joystick contains buttons for the horn, radio mute and proportional rollers for the attachment functions whilst the right-hand joystick has both proportional rollers and buttons for the track speed power boost function.
“We were asked to deliver a machine capable of being a total all-rounder…”
Behind the seat there is a storage compartment and fridge both of which are usefully sized rather than just fancy additions. Another huge improvement is the operator machine interface. An 8-inch colour touchscreen is situated to the right-hand side of the cab and allows such an easy interaction between the operator and the machine that first-time users can quickly set up the machine and monitor it exactly how they want to. “We wanted the system to be similar to that of a modern smart phone.” Harry explains. That it certainly is. Combined with a multi-function dial on the small and uncluttered dash under the operator’s right hand, the system has to be one of the easiest and simplest to use in any excavator on the market. The machine has a counterweight mounted camera as standard but Ffrench have opted for an additional Brigade 360-degree system to be fitted as this will allow it to operate on certain projects it is lined up for.
The first ever tower crane with fibre rope for Poland: A 240 EC-B 10 Fibre has been dispatched and delivered to the Polish company Mazur Zurawie Sp. z o. o. Mazur and company representatives travelled to Liebherr-Werk Biberach GmbH in Germany specifically for this much-anticipated event.
The owner of the Polish crane hire company signed the purchase contract for the new Flat-Top crane with fibre rope at last year’s Bauma in Munich. When the agreed delivery date in January arrived, owner Krzystof Mazur and his managing directors Boguslaw Salwinski and Damian Oles travelled to Biberach to be there at the moment of loading.
When asked why he had opted for the fibre rope version of the crane, Mazur grins, “Because I wanted to be one of the firsts to own a Fibre Crane,” but then he also adds, “and because its performance fits in well with our fleet.”
The new EC-B crane complements his existing machines perfectly: The 240 EC-B 10 Fibre impresses with a ten-tonne maximum load capacity and a jib head lifting capacity of 2,850 kg at 65 metres. With the help of an additional jib extension, the crane can also achieve a radius of 68 metres. Mazur had already planned various jobs for his new Fibre Crane before taking it over.
Founded in 2002, the Polish company Mazur Zurawie Sp. z o. o is Poland’s largest privately owned crane hire provider with a fleet of around 190 cranes. Just last year, Mazur enjoyed another first when the company purchased a Liebherr 230 HC-L 8/16 Litronic – Poland’s first new crane in the luffing jib crane segment.