Earthmoving Accessories, Earthmoving Machinery, Excavators, Machine Control & Positioning, Sustainability in Earthmoving, Wheel loaders

Driving innovation with Liebherr

Liebherr is spearheading innovation in the construction and quarrying sectors with the latest machine control systems, alternative drive technologies, and performance-optimised equipment.

As digitalisation and environmental sustainability redefine and reshape the landscape of earthmoving, German heavy machinery manufacturer Liebherr is always looking to keep a step ahead. Through a blend of cutting-edge machine control systems and pioneering drive technologies, Liebherr is looking not just to keep pace with the industry’s evolution but actively drive it forward, crafting a blueprint for future development that resonates with markets around the world.

Digital assistance

Liebherr’s partnership with Leica Geosystems has birthed a suite of semi-automatic machine control systems, which are game changers in operational efficiency and accuracy. Now available for Generation 8 crawler excavators, including models R 922 to R 945, these systems come in 2D and 3D configurations.

They are meticulously integrated during the production process, resulting in pre-calibrated machines ready to undertake tasks with reduced downtime and heightened precision. These systems enable operators to execute tasks with real-time data-driven guidance, significantly improving the quality of work and ensuring safety.

Select Liebherr excavator models equipped with Leica Geosystems’ semi-automatic control are paving the way for a digitised and streamlined construction process. Image: Liebherr

For operators, the distinction between passive and semi-automatic operation is clear and impactful. While passive systems require manual adherence to display indications, the semi-automatic mode propels machine efficiency by automating the removal process. Operators simply manage the joystick for stick movements and speed, while the system takes care of the rest, aligning equipment movements to craft the desired profile seamlessly.

What’s more, Liebherr’s control systems provide versatility: the 2D “3D-ready” variants, initially designed for flat and sloping surfaces, can be upgraded to full-fledged 3D control systems, offering a path towards greater technological adoption without immediate, complete overhaul—ensuring that businesses can scale their capabilities as needed.

Loading up on performance

Elsewhere in Liebherr’s range, Generation 8 wheel loaders, including the L 526, L 538, and L 546 models, have been re-engineered for superior performance. Boasting up to 20 per cent more engine power and enhanced breakout forces compared to the previous generation, these loaders are well-equipped for the most arduous tasks and tough conditions.

The wheel loaders are designed with improved z-bar kinematics, more robust hydraulic cylinders, and powerful working pumps that combine to facilitate rapid, dynamic working movements. In a market that demands equipment that can ensure uptime and reliability, the new mid-sized Liebherr wheel loaders’ capabilities align perfectly with industry expectations.

Integrated with advanced Leica Geosystems technology on select models, Liebherr’s Generation 8 excavators offer real-time 3D modelling for enhanced machine control and operational accuracy. Image: Liebherr

In addition to mechanical enhancements, Liebherr’s wheel loaders are also equipped with advanced assistive technologies. The L 546’s active personnel detection system exemplifies Liebherr’s dedication to safety, using intelligent sensors to distinguish between humans and objects, and aiding operators with visual and auditory alerts. This feature, coupled with an automatic brake assistant, is crucial for busy Australian quarrying and construction sites, reducing the risk of accidents and enhancing overall site safety.

Liebherr also offers customisations such as the High Lift arms for specific industry challenges, ensuring versatility across various operations including quarrying and recycling. The Solidlink quick-coupler system further underscores the flexibility of Liebherr equipment, allowing for fast, safe attachment changes to elevate productivity and operational efficiency.

Towards a cleaner future

Beyond optimising for productivity, Liebherr is also committed to reducing the carbon footprints of the industries it serves – as evidenced by the recent reveal of the R 9XX H2 prototype, the first crawler excavator with a hydrogen combustion engine. According to the manufacturer, its performance rivals that of traditional diesel engines, but with the benefits of fast refuelling and operational independence from fixed power sources.

The H966 hydrogen engine from Liebherr sets a new standard for eco-friendly, heavy-duty performance in off-road applications. Image: Liebherr

At the heart of the R 9XX H2, the Liebherr-developed H966 hydrogen combustion engine, with its intake manifold injection technology, demonstrates the future potential of hydrogen power. And the company’s research into direct injection options underscores the company’s dedication to sustainability in heavy-duty, off-road applications – particularly in demanding environments.

Another recent development, The MAX Mobile Refueler – an innovative venture with Maximator Hydrogen GmbH – epitomises convenience and safety in hydrogen refuelling, addressing one of the significant barriers to the adoption of hydrogen power. This solution is particularly relevant in an Australian context, where remote and extensive construction sites are common, and the need for efficient fuelling solutions is crucial.

A multi-pronged approach

Not resting on its hydrogen laurels, Liebherr continues to explore the realm of electrification with vehicles such as the R 976 E electric crawler excavator and the LH 26 M Industry E material handling machine. These electric powerhouses are perfect for stationary work where they can be connected to the power grid, and with options like the mobility kit for the LH 26 M Industry E, they can extend their range through rechargeable batteries.

The introduction of the L 507 E, Liebherr’s first battery-electric wheel loader, is another testament to the company’s progressive outlook on sustainability, presenting an eco-friendly option that does not sacrifice power or performance. It embodies a design optimised for manoeuvrability and dynamic energy delivery.

Additionally, Liebherr’s research has already yielded engines that are compatible with alternative fuels such as HVOs (hydrotreated vegetable oils) and e-Fuels, bridging the gap to climate neutrality in a tangible, immediately implementable way. And for countries like Australia, with its vast and challenging landscape, innovations such as these are essentials for maintaining competitive and sustainable operations.

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