Mining, foundations and materials handling company Liebherr says its new drilling rig, the LB 45, is at work on foundation piles as part of a project on the A6 motorway in Austria. The motorway is part of Europe Route 50, an important link between Paris and Prague.

The company Hochtief Infrastructure GmbH put the rig to work on the rebuilding of the Neckartal Bridge at Heilbronn, just north of Stuttgart, Germany. The name of the new machine comes from its nominal torque of 450 kNm. In a release, Liebherr says that is an increase of approximately 10% as compared to the earlier LB 36 model, with 410 kNm.

Foundation piles were also required on the “Neckar Island” which lies about 100 meters from the riverbank. The company transported the drilling rig by pontoon.

Following transportation, Hochtief built a pontoon bridge from the pontoon elements so that site traffic could cross. The drilling rig, however, was too heavy for the pontoon bridge. After completion of the island construction phase, the crews dismantled the bridge and rebuilt it back to a pontoon so that the LB 45 could make the return trip.

Liebherr says the simple handling of the machine proved to be an advantage, both when operating it and when facing such logistic challenges.

During six months of piling work, Hochtief installed 106 foundation piles using the Kelly drilling method with auger and rock drilling bucket. The company handled 170 tons of steel reinforcements and 2,000 m³ of concrete. On average, the installed piles are 11.5 meters deep and have a diameter of 1.5 meters. Depending on the density of the rock and the drilling depth, Hochtief required about two hours for each pile. Including concreting, the company could install 2.5 piles per day.

For its part, Hochtief says it was impressed with the handling and power of the LB 45.

The bridge is expected to be open for traffic mid 2022.

Liebherr’s product range includes earthmoving and material handling machinery, mining equipment, mobile cranes, construction cranes, machine tools and automation systems as well as high-performance components for mechanical, hydraulic and electrical drive and control technology. For more information, go to