A division of Liebherr is celebrating their 50-year anniversary this February 22nd! On this day in 1969, Hans Liebherr founded Liebherr-Werk Ehingen GmbH, a divisional controlling company for mobile cranes. Fast forward to today, and the company has approximately 3,600 employees producing around 1,800 machines every year.
Whether an air-conditioning system is to be lifted on a high-rise roof or whether it is a question of extremely heavy parts of bridges or wind turbines—wherever loads have to be lifted and positioned with great precision, the mobile and crawler cranes from Liebherr-Werk Ehingen GmbH are used. The diversity of variants is huge. The current product range includes forty different crane types which were developed by the roughly 300 engineers. Every customer, every application, every country has its own requirements of the complex machines. The cranes manufactured in Ehingen can be roughly divided into two product lines. On the one hand, there are the wheeled mobile cranes, which include all-terrain mobile cranes, compact cranes, truck-mounted cranes and rough-terrain cranes. On the other hand are the crawler cranes with lattice jibs or telescopic booms. The most powerful crawler crane towers over the famous Ulm Minster church located a stone’s throw away from Ehingen. It is 240 metres high and lifts loads up to 3,000 tonnes.
The beginnings of the mobile crane specialists in the Upper Swabian city on the Danube were quite modest. The truck crane AUK 40T-60 was produced from 1969 with 87 employees. It has a 24 metre long telescopic boom and a maximum lifting capacity of 30 tonnes. The company sold a total of 79 machines between 1969 and 1972, making the AUK 40T-60 the bestseller of the founding years. With around 2,500 deliveries, today the Liebherr telescopic mobile crane LTM 1030-2.1 is the top-selling model from Ehingen. The two-axle variant impresses with high functionality and reliability and was the world's first mobile crane with data bus transmission technology at the time of market introduction.
Constant success factors: Innovation, customer proximity, reliability and service quality
The success factors back then as well as today are similar at Liebherr-Werk Ehingen GmbH. In development performance, safety and efficiency are paramount to the engineers and product designers. Because the company has always maintained close relationships with its customers, the suggestions for innovations often come directly from the users. "One of our US-American customers paid us the compliment once that we are happy to listen closely and then develop," says Christoph Kleiner, Managing Director Sales of Liebherr-Werk Ehingen GmbH. "Developing and intensifying customer proximity is definitely one of our strengths," adds Kleiner.
Kleiner also mentions the reliability of the Ehingen cranes as another strength. "Ninety percent of all cranes ever built by us are still in use after decades," he says. This is owed to the high product quality and the special standards in customer services. Liebherr-Werk Ehingen GmbH is currently expanding the customer services area. The company already operates over eighty of its own service centres in more than forty countries, and can deliver 95 percent of all spare parts worldwide within 24 hours. "For us this is not a reason to sit back and relax," states Kleiner. The customers appreciate this. While in the first decade of its existence the company faced a strong competitive environment as an industry newcomer, today Liebherr-Werk Ehingen GmbH is the market leader.
Employees as driving forces
The driving forces behind customer proximity and product quality, innovations and customer services are the employees, also at Liebherr in Ehingen. "Fifty years of Liebherr in Ehingen are first and foremost fifty years of the commitment, willingness to perform and loyalty of our staff," says Mario Trunzer, Managing Director Administration. "Without their dedication and their ideas we would not have been able to develop so successfully," adds Trunzer. "We would like to express our sincere thanks to the staff."
In July 2019 the employees of Liebherr-Werk Ehingen GmbH will celebrate their 50-year anniversary together on the company premises.