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Liebherr rigs help on particle accelerator build

Liebherr drilling rigs used to build particle accelerator in Germany

Liebherr LB 44-510 at FAIR particle accelerator.
Liebherr LB 44-510 at FAIR particle accelerator.

Two Liebherr LB 44-510 rotary drilling rigs are being used in the construction of a particle accelerator in Darmstadt, Germany.

Work conducted by the rigs will form the basis for the construction of the Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research (FAIR). The units will be used to stabilise the subsurface of the international particle accelerator with cast-in-place drilled piles.

35,000 tonnes of steel and 500,000m3 of concrete will be required for construction at the 200,000m2 jobsite. FAIR Bohrpfähle – a joint venture comprising Züblin Spezialtiefbau GmbH and Max Bögl GmbH & Co KG – is the project’s lead contractor.

Liebherr’s LB 44-510 model was unveiled at Bauma 2013. With 510kNm of torque, it is the largest and most powerful rotary drilling rig currently operating in Germany.

Approximately 1,400 foundation piles, ranging from 40m to 62m in length, have been set into the ground since March 2013.

All drilled piles are installed down to the final depth before being completely cased. This means that during the drilling process, excavated material has to be removed under the protection of an advancing casing. Moreover, because of the high groundwater level and partially unstable terrain, a water load is required throughout the pile-manufacturing process to stabilise the bottoms of the boreholes.

In order to guarantee reliability, sufficient torque and pull force, two duty cycle crawler cranes with casing oscillators were previously used for concreting and to reinforce the piles. The efficiency of Liebherr’s LB 44-510 rotary drilling rigs, however, means that boreholes can be excavated down to their final depths completely cased and without the help of casing oscillators.

After its scheduled completion in 2018, the FAIR particle accelerator will be one of the largest research facilities in the world. Some 3,000 researchers from approximately 50 countries will use FAIR for a range of scientific projects.

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