Historic Liebherr tower crane restored to former glory

A classic Liebherr tower crane, built in 1969, has been restored to its original condition by a fan in Germany.

The Form 30A/35 tower crane now resides in the Liebherr Tower Crane Center in Bad Waldsee. The crane’s owner, Stephan Keim, loaned it to the manufacturer after spending years working in it.

Stephan discovered the crane in 2008 and saved it from being scrapped.

Before the crane could be assembled at Liebherr, it was disassembled and transported from Aschaffenburg to Bad Waldsee on two lorries – a 350-kilometre journey. On site, Stephan and a team of Liebherr mechanics reassembled the crane within two days.

Michael Goll, head of global communication & organizational development at Liebherr-Werk Biberach GmbH, said, “We’re excited that this part of Liebherr history has returned to us. Over the years, many historical construction machines have been taken out of service and scrapped. It’s important to us to preserve our history and Stephan Keim has made an important contribution to that.”

It took over four years to breathe new life into the Form 30A/35, with the restoration alone taking about a year to complete. The crane was dilapidated and many of its components were damaged or broken when Stephan Keim acquired it.

“Changing the screws of the ring gear alone took a whole day,” he explained. “They are very difficult to reach.”

The bolts were also rusty and beyond use, however, they were of good substance. They were polished, galvanised and reused wherever possible. The whole crane was sandblasted and repainted.

Stephan was able to include numerous original and spare parts that Liebherr still has in stock. Liebherr also provided 120 litres of the original yellow varnish.

The cabin posed a major challenge as it had rusted completely and the metal sheets were full of holes.

Supported by his locksmith, Stephan replicated the metal sheets so that they were ‘indistinguishable’ from the original. Today, the crane has a UVV (accident prevention regulation) test badge and is fully operational once more.

The Liebherr Form 30A/35 was produced from 1962 until the mid-seventies. Liebherr constructed around 3,000 models. Although it gradually vanished from construction sites, Liebherr said the model ‘marked the beginning of a new era in crane construction’ as it was the first of its kind constructed with tubular and hollow profiles instead of the previously used L-profiles. This construction method is still being used in all Liebherr tower cranes today.