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Motorway debut for battery-powered drill rig

Digger Blogger | 11:00, Wed November 06 2019

The world’s first battery-powered pile drilling rig is making its working debut on a roadworks site in Austria.

The Bludenz-Bürs junction of the A14 motorway in western Austria is being remodelled to improve traffic flow. The project, led by Asfinag, the state body that looks after the motorways, involves construction of a large roundabout with two overbridges and ramps to connect to regional roads.

Local contractor i+R is carrying out the deep foundation work on the west side and is using a battery-powered Liebherr LB 16 Unplugged drill rig.

(You may remember my post about this machine back in April, just before its Bauma 2019 launch.)

The challenges for i+R are the narrowness of the construction site and height restrictions imposed by overhead powerlines. Therefore, the drilling rig is designed with a shorter leader for low headroom. The contractor is installing 148 piles, diameter of 900mm, to depoths of between 10 and 14 metres. Approximately 1,200 m3 of concrete is being poured. (The concrete is delivered by a Liebherr concrete mixer ETM 905 with electric drum drive.)

Due to the restricted working height, shorter casing pipes – two metres – have to be used and the reinforcement cages have to be inserted in sections. The LB 16 achieves approximately two piles per day.

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The absence of exhaust emissions is just one benefit; it is also much quieter, of course.  “You don't have to shout all the time,” says foreman Sebastian Timpe. “You can talk normally and your colleague hears, even when standing further away. Otherwise, when the engines are running at full power they are very loud and you always have to raise your voice, which is a strain in itself. You also don't hear little things in the surrounding area, which you do now during ongoing site work.”

Liebherr assures us that the machine has no restrictions in terms of performance and application compared with the conventional diesel-powered version. The battery is designed to last 10 hours and can be charged overnight using a standard construction site electric supply.

“The construction site at Bludenz-Bürs is a win-win situation for everyone: enhanced safety and fewer traffic jams for the local Vorarlberg people, and environmentally friendly use of construction machines on the currently largest ASFINAG construction site in Vorarlberg,” says Andreas Fromm.

“Sustainability in the construction industry is not a foreign concept, but common practice for Asfinag,” says Andreas Fromm, managing director of Asfinag Bau Management GmbH. “Innovative developments like the world's first drilling rig with zero emissions show that also on Asfinag construction sites there is enough room for environmentally friendly construction practices.”



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