Liebherr crane tackles Greenland’s largest construction project

A liebherr crane operates above a water body in greenland

About 250 km north of the Arctic Circle, a Liebherr HS 8200 duty cycle crawler crane is part of the largest construction project in the history of Greenland. 

Munck Civil Engineering is carrying out dredging work for two airport projects with the Liebherr crawler crane. The Arctic conditions and logistics are posing a challenge.

The new airports will make it possible for larger aircraft to fly directly from Europe or North America. 

The jobsite is in the coastal towns of Ilulissat and Nuuk in the western part of Greenland, and to date, only propeller-driven planes could land in the area. 

The new runway in Ilulissat is partly in the sea. A thick layer of clay sediment has to be removed from the seabed before it can be backfilled. Otherwise, settlement may occur over time. 

“In one day shift, our extraction rate can be up to 1,000 cubic metres of excavated clay material,” said construction manager Kevin van den Bos. 

The 200-tonne duty cycle crawler crane is operating with a 35-metre long boom and a clamshell grab with a capacity of 3.5 cubic metres. 

To achieve high productivity, the HS 8200 is equipped with Liebherr’s Dredging Assistant, which shows the operator the position and fill level of the grab, the number and duration of work cycles or the handling performance in real time. The system also makes it easier to calculate the amount of material needed to fill the area for the runway. 

Munck Civil Engineering finds all the rock material used for the runway within the project boundaries. 

“In total, we have to drill and blast around 5.5 million cubic metres of rock material. We then transport this to the construction section so that we can subsequently build a 2-kilometre long runway,” van den Bos said.

After dredging, the duty cycle crawler crane is equipped with a stone grab to place stones along the new runway as part of the coastal protection program. 

The average temperature in this region in summer is 8C. In winter, it can drop to -35C. 

“It is very important for us to complete the dredging work before the ice spreads in the bay and makes our work impossible,” van den Bos said.

Liebherr cold package

The duty cycle crawler crane was supplied with the Liebherr cold package to ensure it is also operational in cold climatic conditions.

In addition to the icy conditions, the logistics are challenging. The region is only supplied by a ship once a week and also brings parts and equipment for Munck Civil Engineering. A large store and the ability to repair everything itself is particularly important for the company in this remote region.

Munck Civil Engineering operates the HS 8200 six days a week in 10-hour shifts, and van den Bos is impressed with the performance of the duty cycle crawler crane. 

“The machine runs really well and has exceeded our expectations. We will finish even earlier than anticipated. That is really positive,” he said.