In the long term, we see high demand worldwide for mobile cranes, supported by the sectors of infrastructure, refineries, chemicals, and energy, with wind power playing a particularly important part.
The Liebherr Mobile Crane Division is based in Ehingen, Germany, where it operates manufacturing facilities covering a built-over area of 220,000 sq m on a total surface of 840,000 sq m, and employs 2,800 highly qualified staff. Our production range at Liebherr-Werk Ehingen GmbH consists of the most part of all-terrain mobile cranes, which represent a 75 per cent share of sales turnover. Liebherr is the world market leader in this segment, with a market share which at this time is appreciably above 44 per cent. Another important product sector is that of our lattice boom crawler cranes. At Ehingen, we design and manufacture crawler cranes with load capacities from 350 to 3,000 tonne. Added to these are lattice boom mobile cranes, telescopic crawler cranes, and telescopic truck-mounted cranes.
Mobile cranes - world market
From 2004, we were experiencing high annual growth rates on the worldwide mobile crane market, involving truck cranes, rough-terrain cranes, all-terrain cranes, and crawler cranes. The peak was achieved in 2008. But as the worldwide financial and economic crisis began to bite, the market for mobile cranes underwent a dramatic slump. In the all-terrain crane segment, we saw a fall of 25 per cent in 2009, to about 2,800 units delivered worldwide and in 2010 the market fell a further 30 per cent to less than 1,900 cranes. Fortunately, the AT market recovered in 2011 to approximately 2,200 units and for 2012 we expect a further growth by 10 per cent.
The market for crawler cranes fell sharply in 2009 and again in 2010. But it also recovered since 2010. For units above 300 tonne load capacity, however, the market has shown particularly positive development in recent years, and sales figures are stable now. In 2012, the generally stable demand for mobile cranes was underpinned by the dynamic development in the energy sector (wind power systems, power stations, etc) and the raw materials industry as a whole (mining, processing, refining, etc). Many of the infrastructure and energy projects which had previously been postponed are now being realised in 2012.
In Europe, the high market saturation in the mobile crane sector and the economic troubles of the countries of southern Europe in particular had a dampening effect on demand. Accordingly, no increases in sales are to be anticipated in this region in the foreseeable future.
More recently, there has been a rather fundamental shift in the significance of the individual markets and sales regions. While eight years ago, more than 60 per cent of total turnover was still being achieved in Western Europe with Germany as the most important market, this share has now dropped to less than 40 per cent, at the same time business overseas has constantly been on the rise. This applies in particular to the BRIC states and newly developing countries.
In the long term, we again see high demand worldwide for mobile cranes, supported by the sectors of infrastructure, refineries, chemicals, and energy, with wind power playing a particularly important part. Large crawler cranes will also be needed in large numbers for the construction of power plants.
Right from the beginning, an important basis for our success was the worldwide development of our marketing and service network. We have new service branches in India, Australia, North Africa, Poland, Finland and Russia.
In 2007, Liebherr established a new world record with the LTM 11200-9.1. The world's most powerful telescopic crane offers a 100-m telescopic boom length, and is particularly well-suited for the assembly and installation of wind power systems. This type of crane has already been successfully sold in China. In this country, too, wind energy is highly developed, and the high demand for energy here means that there is also a high demand for large cranes and definitely for our newly-developed LR 13000 as well.
With a lifting capacity of 3,000 tonne, this is also ideally suited for the construction of nuclear power plants. The first unit is just assembled at a refinery in the US.
Thanks to its new type of heavy-duty P-boom, the LR 13000 is securing new operational opportunities for conventional crawler cranes.
Among the large LTM cranes, enormous increases in load capacity have been achieved thanks to the Y-guying system. A similar effect can be achieved with lattice boom cranes in a simple and straight-forward manner thanks to the static system of the "P" boom.
The nine-axle LTM 1750-9.1, a complement to the range of telescopic cranes between the LTM 1500-8.1 and LTM 11200-9.1, is in the final phase of prototype trials, and should be ready for delivery from the first quarter of 2013 onwards. This range of cranes from 500 T, 750 T to 1,200 T fit perfectly the requirement of the upcoming windmill projects.
The new control system generation, LICCON 2, will be successively introduced across the entire range of cranes. Better ease of operation and extended application possibilities will increase operational safety and customer usage. The Blue-Tooth Terminal (BTT), a "mobile remote control" for even safer set-up and dismantling of the crane, has also already proved its value in easing the burden on the crane driver.
To summarise, the product sector of mobile cranes within the Liebherr Group of Companies continues to be well positioned. We are a solid, innovative company, and, thanks to our direct customer business, we are able to react swiftly to the needs of our customers and to on-going market developments.
Mobile cranes - The Indian market
In India, we started sale of our cranes in 1984 through a local company but real thrust started from 1998, when we established our own Liaison office. In 2006, Liebherr started its own unit "Liebherr India Private Limited" which took over activities from Liaison office and its Mobile Crane Division (MCD), having office in Kolkata became responsible for selling and extending after sales support for our mobile and large crawler cranes.
During this period, we sold over 115 cranes ranging from 50 T to 1,350 T capacities. Liebherr India's MCD has a highly trained very strong team of service engineers. Starting with three people in 1998, it has now 19 people working in this division. The major sale was of crawler cranes, which are deployed in wind power, thermal power plants, nuclear power plants, steel plants and refineries. Mobile cranes sold are mostly above 70 T capacity working in cement plants, steel plants, refineries and wind power.
At present over 360 crawler and mobile cranes manufactured by Liebherr plant in Ehingen are working in India. Indian office made a record sale in year 2011 and was ranked 7th in our company. Year 2012 has shown a slow down due to a huge drop in wind power and delay in most of the projects related to thermal and nuclear power plants, which we feel is a temporary phase. We have a strong hope in India and are committed to expand our activities in India.