[Job Story] Liebherr LB 30 Unplugged Drill Rig Put to the Test in Canada’s Icy Winter

The Liebherr LB 30 unplugged drill rig is working on the construction of a new pedestrian overpass in Calgary, Alberta. Contractor Graham and deep foundation subcontractor Ki International put the machine to the test with difficult drilling operations and temperatures as low as minus 36 degrees.

The first unplugged machine in Canada successfully completed its icy premiere (Source: Liebherr)

Part of Calgary’s climate strategy to reduce greenhouse gases is the use of zero-emission technological innovations. With the first battery-powered unplugged model on Canadian soil, this strategy is also being pursued in construction projects.

Gordon Williamson, owner of Ki International explained:

“We saw the LB 30 unplugged as an opportunity to do something good for our society. It is imperative that construction machines with electric drives have a future in Canada in order to steer our economy towards sustainability.”

The construction site where the machine is being used is located in a busy area in north-west Calgary, Alberta. There are important centers here, including the Foothills Medical Centre, the Calgary Cancer Centre and the UXBorough project. The new pedestrian overpass facilitates access for the population and promotes growth in the area.

Ki International is using the Kelly method with the Liebherr drilling rig to construct 22 cast-in-place piles for the overpass. The largest of these have a diameter of 1,000 mm and are 18 m deep. Mud, water and sand make the ground very soft, which is why the entire drilling depth has to be cased.

The LB 30 unplugged installed 22 piles using the Kelly method (Source: Liebherr)

The biggest challenge for the work was the cold Canadian winter. Temperatures dropped to minus 36 degrees. Nevertheless, the work had to be started in January.

“However, there were no delays with regard to the performance of the drilling rig,”

says Janelle Bekkering, Project Manager at contractor Graham.

The direct location of the construction site next to a large hospital makes one advantage of the LB 30 unplugged particularly significant: the low noise emissions. The passage of emergency vehicles must be ensured at all times, even during ongoing construction site operations.

Jason Lin, Project Manager for the City of Calgary, is also enthusiastic about the alternative drive system of the LB 30 unplugged:

“We are proud that this emission-free technology is being used in Canada for 2/3 the first time. Zero emission aligns with our policies and our climate strategy. The use of such machines will help us to reduce greenhouse gases. That is very important for us.”

Gordon Williamson said:

“We wanted a difficult task. One that would really put the machine to the test. We got what we wanted. On this construction site, we have proven that the LB 30 unplugged is able to deal with difficult drilling work and extreme weather conditions.”

(Source: Liebherr)