Liebherr and Leica mark ‘world first’

THE first Liebherr excavator in the world with a factory-fitted Leica machine control system has gone into service in the UK.

An R 934 G8 crawler has joined the fleet of  Derbyshire civil engineering contractor Brad-Pave. It is equipped with the Leica 3D passive system, soon to be updated to include automatic inclination/rotation function.

The company was in the market for an excavator and visited the Liebherr stand at the bauma show in Munich in 2019.

Brad-Pave director Paul Bradshaw said, “When I saw the new Generation 8 excavators, they just looked the part. It was immediately apparent that an already quality product had been massively improved. My mind was made up straight away.”

While awaiting delivery, he started fine-tuning additional specification before modifiying his plans when the partnership with Leica was announced and negotiations with Liebherr Great-Britain ensured the order could be amended to include the Leica option.

With an operating weight of almost 38.5 tonnes, the machine arrived in the UK towards the end of 2020 when Steelwrist fitted what would be another world ‘first’, an X32 tiltrotator on 80mm pins, to take the total package to just over 40 tonnes.

“We’ve used GPS guidance for a number of years and having the opportunity to have an integrated system on a Liebherr excavator was an ideal scenario for us,” Paul Bradshaw added. “We realised the benefits of using GPS many years ago. Not only does it do away with the requirement for traditional setting-out but it is almost 100% fool-proof. The addition of the Leica Co-Pilot system controlling the Steelwrist will just make any project that little bit quicker and more accurate.”

A Liebherr spokesperson added, “The partnership between Liebherr and Leica Geosystems announced in March 2020 enables us to offer our customers the expertise of both companies, allowing us to deliver more advanced and reliable solutions. Factory fitting has the advantage of ensuring high system reliability, thanks to the expertise of the team responsible for the installation.”