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World’s first Liebherr R 984 C high-rise industrial rehandler goes to S. Norton & Co

S. Norton & Co, the family-owned secondary metals processor and major exporter headquartered in Liverpool, has continued its 25 years of allegiance to Liebherr by investing in the remarkable R 984 C Litronic High-Rise Industrial Rehandler. This is the very first machine of its kind – believed to be the largest of its type in the world – and has been produced by Liebherr’s specialist dedicated materials handler manufacturing facilities which were recently opened at the Group’s Kirchdorf factory in southern Germany.

The new and unique R 984 C High-Rise is the culmination of extensive consultations over many months between S. Norton & Co, the design and product development team at Kirchdorf and the UK sales engineers at Liebherr-Great Britain. This close co-operation during the design and manufacturing processes included several reciprocal visits to Liebherr’s Kirchdorf factory and Norton’s Liverpool facilities as the project progressed.

This impressive materials handler is now hard at work at Norton’s West Canada Docks facilities in Liverpool, where it is loading large volumes of furnace-ready scrap metal into specialist cargo vessels for export all over the world. One of the significant attributes of this machine is its ability to “soft load” bulk vessels by placing the scrap metal on the cargo floor in a controlled operation, rather than simply dropping the load from height. This “soft load” process totally eliminates the possibility of damage to the cargo hold floor.



S. Norton & Co has processing centres in Liverpool and Manchester which are designed to maximise extraction of recyclable ferrous and non-ferrous metals from incoming feed stock sourced nationwide, whilst minimising non-recyclable waste going to landfill. Norton’s modern shearing and shredding equipment ensures high-grade furnace-ready secondary metals for their global customer base, while ensuring significant reductions in tip-to-landfill non-recyclables with the environmental benefits that this engenders. Dockside operations are largely based in Liverpool (South Canada 2 and 3 and West Canada docks), with a further exporting facility located in Southamp-ton Docks. In addition to their secondary metals activities, S. Norton & Co also operates an extensive collection service for all types of metal waste, including W.E.E.E., with a large fleet of roll-on-off vehi-cles, articulated bulkers and over 300 skips of varying capacities.

S. Norton and Co has been a Liebherr customer for over 25 years and this latest addition to their materials handling fleet joins seven other Liebherr machines, including four other R 984s which have been owned and operated by Norton for over six years. It is esti-mated that these and the newly delivered R 984 C High-Rise will be handling over 1,000,000 tonnes of scrap metal annually.

The Liebherr R 984 C Litronic High-Rise industrial rehandler is a 210+ tonnes machine, powered by a Cummins QSK-19 C 750 six-cylinder engine which develops 504kW. Of special interest is the newly developed heavy-duty undercarriage and high-rise support structure, which raises the machine by 8.70 metres to the slew-ring and, with the fixed elevated cab, gives the operator a 12.90m line of sight – particularly important for optimum load view when soft-loading bulk cargo vessels.

The tracks themselves provide total sta-bility, with a footprint of approximately 8m X 9.50m and equipped with 750mm wide cast steel flat trackpads. Catwalks are installed all round the upper tower and there are stairs to the lower platform and safe access to the upper carriage via operator-controlled electrically powered access gates, which are monitored by CCTV with an in-cab screen. Special additional fuel tanks, extra to the 1,500 litres tank on the machine itself, have been integrated into the turret at ground level (2 X 3,000 litres) which allow the machine to run for up to 100 hours without refuelling. A further feature specific to this machine is an access ladder which runs from the ground up through the turret to allow safe and easy internal inspection of the slew-ring.

The superstructure features a torque resistant, modular design upper frame and parallel length girders for attachment mounting. Catwalks are installed on both sides. An electric service crane is located on the counterweight and this is powered by its own separate diesel generator installed on the middle platform. The air-conditioned, ergonomically designed, elevated operator’s cab is resiliently mounted, sound insulated and fitted with tinted windows. The driver’s seat is fully adjustable, with shock-absorbing suspension and headrest. Travel, slew and attachment operation is via twin joystick controls mounted into the seat armrests.

The high-technology Litronic system monitors hydraulics and engine performance, providing real-time operating conditions via an LCD display which keeps the operator fully informed at all times. Additional dust filtration has been fitted for added operator comfort and safety and four extra working lights have been installed on the cabin roof – two forward and two rear. Spillard CCTV cameras and in-cab monitors have been retro-fitted to give the operator a clear view of the undercarriage and a further camera is located on the stick to provide total vision of the grab and its load, even when lowered deep into a vessel’s hold. An automatic central greasing system takes care of upper carriage and attachment lubrication.

The performance capabilities of the R 984 C High-Rise under load are impressive to say the least! The monobloc industrial boom is 16.50 metres long and the industrial stick length is 14.50 metres with an extra 1.20m adaptor for attachment lift, giving 29 metres reach with an 8 tonnes capacity, including the type GM 75 five-tine grab. In this configuration, lift height is a maximum 33.50 metres and the optimum lowering depth below ground level is 9 metres; hoist and stick cylinders have load-holding valves. Four operating modes are available, adjusting machine performance and hydraulics to match the application: “Lift” for standard lifting operations; “Fine” for precision work; “Eco” for optimum economy and environmentally friendly operation; “Power” for heavy-duty tasks.

A giant floating crane at the dockyard, “The Mersey Mammoth”, is used to lift and transport this 210+ tonnes materials handler between Norton’s various dockside facilities. Special lifting points have been designed into the R 984 C High-Rise to enable the entire machine to be craned and relocated by this impressive and efficient method.

Commenting on the company’s latest acquisition, Norton company director Matthew Norton said “We are very pleased with this new machine. Our long association with Liebherr is based on the fact that they’ve always been prepared to design and build equipment to suit our particular applications. The R 984 C High-Rise is performing well and is an excellent addition to our fleet of specialist materials handlers”.

S. Norton & Co has already placed an order for a second R 984 C High-Rise, which is scheduled for delivery this month.