According to Liebherr, 2023 will be a challenging year with shortages of manpower and supply chain problems continuing to complicate its operations around the world.
However, the giant German manufacturer is also seeing strong sales numbers across its international operations, with the US proving a particularly healthy market for the firm.
Kai Friedrich, managing director of Liebherr USA, says that the group has come through the difficult pandemic period stronger than ever before. “We have faced many changes and many challenges.”
Some of the issues the construction machinery firms faced have eased, Friedrich commented, adding: “The worst is behind us, and delivery times are improving. We have seen things easing since the third quarter of 2022.”
For Liebherr USA, 2022 was very healthy and, according to Friedrich: “Our preliminary results suggest 2022 was a record for Liebherr in the US.
“Liebherr is well positioned to meet high demand for cranes and construction machinery. Our commitment to the market goes beyond developing new machines.”
Distribution and customer support remain of key importance for the firm, he said.
Liebherr has been investing heavily in its US operations, spending US$60 million on expanding its headquarters at Newport News in Virginia, adding manufacturing capacity, a new parts and service operation and a new administration block.
The company has further expansion plans in operation and will develop its facility in the Southwest US.
The company is also looking ahead regarding utilising new technologies, Friedrich said. “We see digitalisation as a key opportunity.” Assistance systems and autonomous technology offer major benefits for operators.
“The automated exchange of data between machines is another advance. Processes on construction sites can be optimised to increase production.”
New power systems are another key future development for Liebherr, with the firm keen to develop clean technologies. Liebherr already offers a number of all-electric cranes and drilling machines, with more electric models in development.
Alternative fuels are another important technology, with the company having unveiled its H964 prototype internal combustion engine that runs on hydrogen. This unit has four cylinders, a capacity of 9litres and features direct injection. It will be available for use in a range of construction machines and will be able to cope with a wide array of duties.