Particularly safe and efficient: Liebherr optimises crane assembly
Munk Günzburger Steigtechnik develops special work platforms for the final assembly of mobile cranes in Ehingen
One innovation leader helps the other and ensures a new dimension in work safety and efficiency: Liebherr, one of the world's leading suppliers of mobile cranes, is now using new platform stairs and work platforms with integrated stairs from Munk Günzburger Steigtechnik at its mobile crane plant in Ehingen (Baden- Württemberg). These not only save the employees in final assembly a lot of time, but also guarantee them maximum safety and enable them to work particularly ergonomically during all assembly activities on the superstructures of the mobile cranes. For its special constructions used at Liebherr, the innovation and technology leader for access technology based in Günzburg (Bavaria) has come up with something very special: The platform stairs and the working platforms, which are up to 5.90 metres long, are equipped with innovative scissor railings that can be folded in and out again with a single movement.
"A large part of our team's activities in final assembly take place at superstructure level. Here, we were looking for a solution that optimises both the movement space and the work safety for our team. With the help of the Munk Group specialists from the Munk Günzburger Steigtechnik division, we found the perfect solution for us. It not only offers us optimum occupational safety for all activities, but also includes a number of refinements so that our employees can also work particularly ergonomically and efficiently," says Hans-Peter Hagel, the responsible safety specialist from the occupational safety team at the Liebherr plant in Ehingen.
Because the new platform steps and working platforms, each 85 cm wide, can be ideally positioned on the sides of the Liebherr mobile cranes, the assembly team has a safe working area of up to 5 m2 available at the superstructure height (approx. 1.60 metres) for each assembly application. Up to two people can now work on this at the same time, enabling them to complete several assembly steps on the superstructure at the same time. On the working platforms, a 1.10 metre long folding element can be folded in at the end of the platform if desired, so that the platforms can be used not only on large cranes but also on small ones. The platform stairs, on the other hand, can be permanently combined with each other, which also offers the Liebherr team great flexibility in use. Additional platforms can be hooked onto the stairway steps, further extending the working area.
Clever: the retractable scissor railing
The highlight of the new designs from Munk Günzburger Steigtechnik: since the upper carriage has to be turned again and again in the course of the assembly work, the employees can simply fold down the scissor railing of the platform briefly with a flick of the wrist whenever it is necessary, so that the upper carriage can be swivelled freely through 360 degrees. As soon as the scissor railing is unfolded and locked in place again, work can be continued safely. The operation of the folding function is particularly comfortable and ergonomic. When climbing onto the platform, the workers can take the guardrail with them and fold it up with one grip. To prevent uncontrolled folding, the folding mechanism is secured with a gas pressure damper.
"I am really proud of our project and development team. Because with the stairs and platforms for Liebherr, and especially with the new development of the fold-down scissor railings, we have once again demonstrated all our know-how and our passion for innovation. We offer Liebherr not only the safety we are known for, made in Germany, but also pure efficiency. After all, thanks to our solution, set-up times are also significantly minimised, so that final assembly of the mobile cranes at Liebherr is not only safer, but also faster than ever before," says Ferdinand Munk, Managing Director and owner of the Munk Group.
Focus on return on prevention
With its investment in occupational safety, Liebherr in Ehingen is fully in line with the trend. When investing in occupational safety, more and more companies are focusing on the benefit that results from a return on prevention (ROP), which according to science is 2.2. This means that every euro invested in occupational safety is returned by a factor of 2.2 - in the form of lower costs for accidents, lost working hours or operational disruptions. This is the result of a study initiated jointly by the International Social Security Association (ISSA), the German Social Accident Insurance (DGUV) and the Employer's Liability Insurance Association for Energy, Textiles, Electrical and Media Products (BG ETEM).
The new work platforms in the application video
Two people can work simultaneously on Liebherr's platform steps and work platforms. For safe and comfortable ascent or descent, the access steps are designed at an optimum 45-degree angle, and as an additional safety feature, the top step is always marked in yellow. In order to be able to use two platform stairways in combination with each other, they are connected to each other by means of clamping levers and the railings at the ends are pinned. In this way, a staircase on both sides is available to the Liebherr team in a few simple steps. Four swivel castors allow the platform stairs and working platforms to be moved quickly to the crane vehicle from any direction and positioned in a stable manner. The central parking brake can be operated ergonomically with the foot.
An application video on YouTube impressively shows how the new platform steps and working platforms work: https://is.gd/arbeitsplattform
About the MUNK Group
With its business units MUNK Günzburger Steigtechnik, MUNK Rettungstechnik, MUNK Profiltechnik and MUNK Service, the MUNK Group is one of the leading suppliers of access solutions and rescue equipment and corresponding service solutions. As a technology and innovation leader in access solutions, the name Munk stands for safety made in Germany. The company is now run by the fourth and fifth generations of the Munk family. With the reorganisation under the umbrella of the MUNK Group, the former Günzburger Steigtechnik GmbH has given itself an even more clearly differentiated company structure to ensure its future and is making it clear with its name that the company will remain in family hands. Under the motto: One family. One name. One mission.
In the MUNK Günzburger Steigtechnik business unit for access solutions, the MUNK Group carries over 2,500 products in its standard range, from ladders for commercial, public and private use to mobile scaffolding, platforms, stairs and bridging steps to custom-made special constructions. These include, for example, work and maintenance platforms, docking systems, walkways and assembly platforms, which, in the era of digitalisation, can also be automatically adapted to the respective environment using the latest control technology.
In the MUNK Rettungstechnik business unit for rescue equipment, the company offers access solutions and transport logistics for fire, rescue and disaster relief operations. These include, for example, multi-functional ladders, scaling and push-up extension ladders, rescue platforms, toolboxes, station equipment and a wide range of mobile containers. In the MUNK Service business unit, the MUNK Group bundles the areas of installation, testing, repair and maintenance of access solutions and rescue equipment, as well as seminars.
The youngest business division, MUNK Profiltechnik, offers high-quality technology for individual and professional configurations with a functional and sophisticated profile system.
The MUNK Group is always drawing attention to itself with new ideas that offer customers real added value in practice. It has already received several awards for its innovations, its economic development, its responsible and sustainable actions and as a family-friendly employer – most recently from the Oskar Patzelt Foundation as one of the three most impressive companies in the German SME sector. The company is also one of the top 100 innovators in the SME sector in 2021.
The MUNK Group manufactures exclusively in its home region of Günzburg. It was also the first provider ever to be audited by TÜV Nord in 2010 with the certified proof of origin “Made in Germany” and grants a guarantee of 15 years on all standard made in Germany products. The MUNK Group employs around 400 people at its headquarters in Günzburg and Leipheim and is currently investing around 20 million euros in its sites.