Crane refurb will help HHLA keep up the heavy lifting



Customer demand at the Port of Hamburg has prompted Hamburger Hafen und Logistik (HHLA) to carry out a major refurbishment of its 66-year-old workhorse, the HHLA IV floating crane.

Built by Demag and put into operation in 1957, the crane is said to be “far from hoisting its last load”. Its services are in high demand in the German port – as are those of its sister crane, the HHLA III, which is 16 years its senior.

HHLA says its grey giant, with its 55-metre jib and capacity to lift over 200 tonnes nearly 32 metres into the air, is now being retrofitted for the future. Retrofitting avoids the construction of a new crane, which would result in very high energy and material requirements.

“This is the first major retrofit of the HHLA IV in seven decades of service,” says Stephan Fröhlich, head of floating cranes at Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG. The project is based on the original construction and schematics from the 1950s. The retrofit should ensure the machine can continue to function for at least a further 15 years, by which time the crane will be celebrating its 80th birthday.

Work began in September last year, when the jib was removed by HHLA III, working alongside mobile cranes, and the mobile structure deposited on the quayside in five segments.

The refurbishment involves removing the signs of wear and the old paint, carrying out necessary repairs and applying the new anti-corrosive coatings. The gigantic bearings are also being repaired at the same time.