Successful endurance test at 2,000 metres above sea level

Successful endurance test at 2,000 metres above sea level

PALFINGER’s PCC 115.002 crawler crane impressively demonstrated its strengths in impassable, alpine terrain as it removed the old Schlossalmbahn lift supports in the Gastein Valley.

When the trails come to a halt in an alpine area, it is usually time to call in the helicopter. But this was not the case in the Gastein Valley, not far from Schlossalm, in August 2018 when elaborate and costly aerial operations were largely avoided. The innovative combination of crawler and crane was used instead, quickly impressing even the most sceptical. The terrain was “almost ideal” for the PALFINGER PCC 115.002 crawler crane.

“The supports stood in hard-to-access rocky passages at 2,000 metres above sea level. A terrain where our PCC 115.002 could fully demonstrate its strengths as a compact and flexible off-road crane mounted on a crawler chassis.”

– Michael Hagenauer, Head of Crawler Cranesat PALFINGER

The pilot project was implemented by cable lift construction specialist PROMMEGGER, who drove this practical test forward in partnership with PALFINGER. For Managing Director David Prommegger, it was a pioneering project that was long overdue:

“We have been thinking about using cranes in off-road terrain since 2009, almost ten years ago. And then during the Schlossalm project, we stumbled across the PALFINGER crawler crane almost by accident. It was like finding a solution that had been developed just for us. There was no question that we subjected it to a practical test during this removal project. That was a really special moment, seeing it in action. To see a piece of equipment that we had been imagining for ten years actually work in practice – and work really well at that. The crane functions as a real alternative to a helicopter. Furthermore, it doesn’t need any additional permits and you can work largely independently of the weather.”

Perfect for off-road use, sturdy and environmentally friendly

After the crane had been transported to within reach of the site by truck, its crawlers took it across the – at times – almost completely impassable terrain to the lift supports . During the five-day job it required no additional assistance, conquering an altitude difference of more than 800 metres and gradients of up to 40%. The crawler crane was still far from reaching the limits of its climbing capacity of up to 60%, as confirmed by the operations managers who were on site during the smooth removal of the nine lift supports.

Once it had reached a support, the crane had to be optimally positioned and aligned. The precision control of the crane’s support feet made it possible to compensate for level differences to the nearest centimetre. This was an important feature as stability, reliability and efficiency go hand in hand for special applications like these and lifting loads of up to one tonne. Fears that the crawler crane might damage the fragile alpine floor proved unfounded in practice

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. Even when the crawler crane, which is extremely slim despite its 33-metre reach, needed to turn itself around it proved to be environmentally friendly and left only a few traces in the ground.

Now that David Prommegger has a taste of the possibilities, he wants more:

“The crawler crane will be useful for us in the future whenever we have large-scale projects coming up in an environment that is difficult to access. I’m thinking of road construction in the mountains, but also of the new high-voltage power line. This project has a large construction site, where use of the crane would be ideal – particularly as there would be no time pressure because, unlike the helicopter, not every minute of use would be reflected in the bill.”

The fact that the PALFINGER crawler crane is a real quick-change artist demonstrates its scope of application. After all, just a few hours of transportation time is often the only thing separating it from working on projects in alpine terrain to performing special applications in industrial and indoor settings, where it can whiz through narrow passages like no other crane. Incidentally, transportation does not require any special permits given the crane’s dimensions and total weight.

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