Ideal Crane Rental Trains on New Liebherr 81 K.1 Self-Erecting Crane


Ideal Crane Rental Inc., Madison, Wis., has completed factory-guided training on the setup and operation of Liebherr‘s new 81 K.1 self-erecting tower crane.

Ideal Crane has bought four of the new self-erector, which Liebherr introduced at last year’s Bauma exhibition in Munich, Germany.

To date, Ideal Crane has taken delivery of two units, one of which it has sold to another crane-rental company. Ideal now has one 81 K.1 in its Madison, Wis., yard and is expecting delivery of the other two units shortly. The company believes it has the first units of the new Liebherr 81 K.1 self-erector in North America.

Ideal Crane President Bob Kalhagen says that he invested in the four Liebherr 81 K.1 cranes because he sees an upward trend in construction of four- to five-story wood-framed buildings. “These self-erectors are ideal for that kind of work,” says Kalhagen. “They set up in as little as four to five hours, provide up to 132 ft. of hook height, have a 157-ft. maximum jib length, can lift 13,000 lbs. in close, and can lift just under 3,000 lbs. at the jib tip.”

Kalhagen also notes that the Liebherr 81 K.1 can work with as little as 9 ft. of tailswing.

Ideal Crane’s crews were trained in the company’s Madison yard by Jan Weckenmann, who made the trip from Liebherr’s factory in Bieberach, Germany. The training took just over a week.

Says Kalhagen, “Although it’s a self erector, you need to know what you’re doing in order to set it up properly. That’s why we will always send one of our trained crews to set it up on every rental. It is amazing how it does all the erection with cables and winches, no hydraulic rams at all.”

Kalhagen says that the 81 K.1 offers some significant advantages over Liebherr’s earlier 81 K. “This updated version offers extra capacity, 10 more feet of horizontal reach, and an optional external operator’s cab that can mount at jib height, among other things,” he says.

Ideal has ordered one of the new cabs and has also ordered a set of wheels to simplify roading by letting the crane be towed like a fifth wheel by a semi-tractor. Using the wheels instead of loading the crane onto a trailer eliminates the need to have a crane on the jobsite to get the 81 K.1 off the trailer, lowers the overall roading height to less than 13’6″ for easy travel under bridges and overpasses, and reduces the total transport weight for the main load and tractor to less than 80,000 lbs. The counterweights and additional components take two to three extra tractor-trailer trucks, depending on the amount of counterweight needed.

Ideal crane is making the Liebherr 81 K.1 available through all of its locations: Madison, Milwaukee, Oshkosh, La Crosse, Green Bay, and Tomahawk, all in Wisconsin.

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