Liebherr is the right blend for Longcliffe

Brassington Moor Quarry in Derbyshire's Peak District produces some of the UK’s finest and most sought-after calcium carbonate powders and aggregates. A new Liebherr excavator is helping to keep production on target...

Longcliffe Quarries Ltd has a reputation as the leading name in the UK limestone industry, supplying materials for everything from animal feed to glass manufacturing, from adhesives to plasterboards.

One of two quarries operated by the company, Brassington Moor produces a million tonnes a year, not a huge volume by Peak District standards but it’s quality rather than quantity that makes the difference here, as Quarry Manager Jon Murgatroyd explained: ‘To obtain the highest quality products we need to blend the material in specific quantities and this means extracting from three separate seams around the site. Traditionally, this was done with a single large excavator and a wheeled loader but we changed our approach and replaced the loader with a second large excavator and this has proved beneficial in terms of our production capabilities.’

Like many quarry operators, Longcliffe believes a combination of owned and leased equipment is the most cost-effective fit for its operation and last year the company opened discussions with several suppliers for a three-year lease on a 70t excavator. The model judged to deliver the perfect combination of production and fuel economy was an R 972 from Liebherr Rental.

One of the latest generation models, it replaced an R 966 and arrived on site in Liebherr’s “mining white” paint and sitting on an HD undercarriage with 600mm track pads. Engine is a 16-litre V8 Liebherr diesel developing 449hp at 1800rpm and, fitted with the manufacturer’s Power Efficiency engine management control, achieves peak torque at a more leisurely engine speed of 1100rpm. That translates into the twin benefits of less noise and lower fuel consumption – up to 10% reduction on  the previous model.

The engine meets EU emissions legislation via a low-maintenance DOC, DPF and SCR package with all major components easily accessed through large side panels in the upper structure or through the engine hood on the top of the upper carriage. Optional fast fill and drain connections have been included for fuel and engine oil, allowing the machine to be refilled and serviced faster and more safely from ground level.

At the business end is a 7m boom and 2.6m stick that gives the best combination of break-out force and reach, finished off with a Liebherr 5m3 rock bucket with half-delta cutting edge carrying five Z90CR teeth. Cylinder protection has been added to the boom and stick cylinders and there’s additional protection to the base of the stick.

The undercarriage has additional baseplate protection fitted along with a three-piece chain guide on either side. Additional protection to the final drives has also been fitted to prevent damage from larger rocks.

On the inside, the cab is similar to the outgoing model but with an upgraded touch-screen colour monitor, one of the features that got the thumbs-up from regular Longcliffe operator Kevin Beacham. He added: ‘It’s a nice, comfortable cab. It’s very quiet and the seat and seating position are excellent.’

He also had kind words for the newcomer’s controls compared to those in the 966. ‘All in all, the machine is a big step up from the older machine. It’s smoother, quieter and a lot better balanced too.’

Outside, the cab has a top FOPS guard and a tiltable guard to the front screen, a premium LED lighting package and ‘follow me home’ illumination.

Longcliffe Group MD Paul Boustead adds: ‘As well as proving to be operationally excellent, the Liebherr 972 is delivering in a number of other company priority areas including safety and sustainability.’

Liebherr Rental

The R 972 excavator is the latest addition to the Liebherr Rental fleet which covers the manufacturer’s entire earthmoving and material handling ranges. ‘We are not a traditional plant hire company offering standard kit,’ explained Gareth Blythin, national rental sales manager. ‘We offer clients a fleet of bespoke, high-specification machinery aimed at particular material handling applications. All machines on the earthmoving side are fully compliant with current quarrying regulations with a specification that includes blue strobes, travel alarms, 360° camera systems and hi-viz handrails meaning they are ready to go to work immediately.’




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 ...