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(VIDEO) Challenging mooring pile installation puts Liebherr drilling rig to the test

A drill rig behind boats on a lake.
An LB 30 drilling rig is proving its strength in a challenging Swiss job. Liebherr

For Kibag, a Swiss company installing new mooring piles for the Lake Lucerne Navigation Company, the challenging nature of the job is putting a new drill rig from Liebherr to the test.

The LB 30 put to work on the project is facing challenges which, Liebherr says, literally could not be harder.

In Seelisberg, on the southern shore of Lake Lucerne, Markus Waldis' team is drilling piles because the ground is too hard for driving. They are working from a pontoon, using an LB 30 rig from Liebherr. Drilling is done around 12 metres below the surface of the water, with a diameter of 1,300 mm. After 3 metres of water, there is a stone segment, and then at least six metres of drilling in the rock.

Working in the Swiss rock is an endurance test for both the personnel and the new drill rig.

"The stone is exceedingly hard, the whole machine vibrates," Waldis explains. At the same time, the team must ensure the pontoon is properly secured so that it holds during drilling - otherwise, it simply lifts up from the water and does not apply enough pressure for the drilling operation itself.

Gianluca Diaco has been operating machines for 14 years, and this is his first time on a water construction site.

"Because the ground is very hard, we have to change the chisels on the auger starter quite often in order to be able to drill through the rocks," Diaco relates.

Even despite the challenges, Diaco says he's pleased to be running the LB 30. "It's very strong, compact, and moves fast. You can really do everything."

Once hydraulic engineering specialists from Kibag have concreted the outer casings, the mooring pile is inserted. A rubber strap between the outer casing and the pile ensures that the pile is not too rigid, and can move a little when boats moor. To prevent against rotation, it must be secured underwater by a diver.

The construction site demands everything from the personnel and the drilling rig. Even so, Waldis says he is pleased with the machine's successful premiere.

"The machine works perfectly - tip-top. It has to withstand huge vibrations. It is a great endurance test for the machine. So far, it is coping wonderfully," Waldis says.

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