On-Site Magazine

Historic tower crane returns to Liebherr

By Adam Freill   


After more than 50 years, an old classic has returned to Liebherr: the Form 30A/35 tower crane.

Restoring the Liebherr Form 30A/35 took over a year.

Restoring the Liebherr Form 30A/35 took over a year. (Photo courtesy of Liebherr)

The Liebherr Tower Crane Center in Bad Waldsee, Germany, boasts a new attraction: a Form 30A/35 tower crane originally built in 1969. The crane’s owner, Stephan Keim, loaned it to Liebherr at the beginning of January. The Liebherr fan discovered the crane in 2008 and saved it from being scrapped, working for years to return it to its original functional state.

Before the crane could be assembled at Liebherr, it was disassembled and transported 350 kilometres from Aschaffenburg to Bad Waldsee. On site, Keim and a team of Liebherr mechanics reassembled the crane over two days.

“We’re excited that this part of Liebherr history has returned to us,” said Michael Goll, head of global communication and organizational development at Liebherr-Werk Biberach GmbH. “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.”



Restoring a legend

From its discovery to the finishing touches, it took over four years to breathe new life into the Form 30A/35, with the restoration itself taking about a year to complete.

“The crane was dilapidated when I acquired it,” said Keim. The crane was completely rusty and many of its components were badly damaged or broken.

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

Overall, he was able to buy and include numerous original and spare parts that Liebherr still has in stock, and the company provided 120 litres of the original yellow varnish.

“But the driver’s cabin posed a big challenge,” he said. “It had rusted completely, and the metal sheets were full of holes. It was beyond repair.”

Supported by his locksmith, he replicated the metal sheets, accurate to the millimetre, so that they were indistinguishable from the original. Today, the crane has a UVV (accident prevention regulation) test badge and is once again fully operational.

The Liebherr Form 30A/35 was produced from 1962 until the mid-seventies. About 3,000 models were built in that time. Although it gradually vanished from construction sites, the Form 30A/35 was the first of its kind constructed with tubular and hollow profiles instead of the previously used L-profiles.


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