Liebherr handlers keep Westminster happy

When a company is processing 130,000 tonnes of material a year in one of the world’s biggest cities, it needs to have confidence in its materials handling fleet. That’s why Westminster Waste continues to invest in Liebherr equipment.

The company’s recycling facility on the south bank of the River Thames in London continues to adopt the latest techniques and machinery and that means its mobile handling equipment must keep pace.Liebherr L 546 and L 556 XPower® wheeled loaders are the most recent newcomers, brought on board to replace three-year-old L 538 and L 550 XPower® models and to handle waste 24-7, of which close to 100% is recycled. Managing Director Dominic Moule explained why the mobile fleet is dominated by the German manufacturer: ‘We have been purchasing Liebherr material handlers for several years and have always found their build quality to be second to none. We work the machines hard here and they stand up to our industry very well, which is why we keep investing in their latest machines when it comes to fleet upgrades.

A wide range of construction and demolition waste is processed at the site and incoming material is pre-sorted as it is tipped, either by hand or by one of three Liebherr LH 24 material handlers fitted with selector grabs. With obvious items removed and sent to their respective waste streams, the remainder is fed into a Kiverco fixed plant that continues the separation process via a series of screens, trommels and a picking station to leave a variety of materials ready to send away for reuse and recycling.

The larger of the new arrivals, the L 556 XPower®, is usually deployed inside the shed where it copes with large volumes of raw and recycled material passing through each day. With an operating weight around 21 tonnes and powered by a 249hp Liebherr diesel engine, its specification is aimed squarely at achieving maximum efficiency and production.

Brawler Solid Flex tyres are fitted to the heavy-duty axles, allowing the machine to operate on any material without fear of puncture yet at the same time giving a ride more akin to that of a standard rubber tyre than a traditional solid option. ‘The solids we had on the last machine were very hard on the ride and whilst they were extremely durable, we wanted something a little more forgiving on this machine,’ noted Moule.

The waste specification also includes additional under-body plating to eliminate waste build-up and further measures include a protection plate on the cab roof, FOPS guard to the front windscreen and guarding over the light clusters. Liebherr’s 3m straight, industrial-style loader arms are finished off with tipping cylinder protection and carry a heavy-duty, 3m3 bucket manufactured by HSM in Sunderland, allowing a load-over height of 4.1m. ‘We expect the Liebherr to be able to handle a wide variety of material, from lightweight insulation to bricks, timber and everything in between,’ Moule added. ‘The HSM bucket is a sturdy unit and looks like it will be able to handle anything we can throw at it.’

Newcomer number two is the 15.5 tonne mid-range L 546, similarly specified in full waste handling specification and powered by a compact 6-cylinder engine delivering 188hp. Like its larger stablemate, peak torque is delivered at low engine speeds which means reduced noise and low fuel consumption, a feature throughout the Liebherr wheeled loader ranges.

The L 546, which uses a standard hydrostatic transmission compared to the combined mechanical and hydrostatic driveline on the L 556, has a longer loader arm configuration and is also fitted with Brawler tyres and a similar protection package as the larger machine. The main difference between the two is the addition of a 4m3 capacity toe-tip bucket from Viby, now manufactured in the UK by HSM Buckets. Adding the toe-tip bucket and longer arms resulted in a load-over height of more than 4.6m, enabling the machine to load the walking floor trailers that take wood chip away for recycling.

‘We work the machines hard here and they stand up to our industry very well’

Managing Director Dominic Moule

Timber is graded according to its state and make-up before it is loaded into a mobile chipper by another LH 24 handler. Screened and graded material is then stockpiled, with the L 546 responsible for moving it around the shed, an environment where its compact dimensions and tight steering angles are shown to best effect. Even with a bulk walking floor trailer parked in the shed waiting to be loaded, the loader can comfortably handle the stockpile, load the truck, and empty the bays under the screening plant.

The waste industry is a dusty, dirty environment and to ensure the new loaders work to the best of their abilities, they are fitted with reversible fans as well as a comprehensive fire suppression system from Amerex.

The arrival of the two loaders underscores a strong business partnership between the two companies. ‘We have used Liebherr for several years and like both the machines and the back-up,” said Dominic Moule.

Associated Businesses

  • Liebherr-Great Britain Limited and Liebherr-Ireland are subsidiaries of Liebherr-International AG, providing national sales and after-sales product support for the Group's complete range of construction equipment throughout the UK and ...