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Airrail Center Frankfurt:

Three large cranes speed the progress of building work


ZweibrückeN, Germany, 4 DECEMBER 2009 - Three powerful Terex® All Terrain Cranes are sharing the load at the Airrail Center Frankfurt. The Frankfurt Airrail Center next to Frankfurt Airport is one of the most ambitious construction projects currently under way in Europe. The building has a reflective glass façade 660 meters long; it is 65 meters wide and nine stories (45 meters) high. With 140,000 m2 of office, hotel and business space, the Airrail Center will be one of the largest commercial properties in Europe. Within 10 minutes of leaving a meeting at the center a visitor can be checking in at the airport, speeding on his way in an Intercity express train or driving onto the motorway at one of the largest motorway intersections in Germany.


The investment in the project amounts to more than 900 million euros. The design and architecture are unlike anything else in the world today: the Airrail Center “floats” above the ICE railway station at Frankfurt Airport on 240 pillars. From above, the structure is reminiscent of a spaceship – and intentionally so. According to the Center’s architect, Helmut Jost, the aerodynamic shape is designed to echo the aviation theme of the adjacent airport. The Airrail Center Frankfurt is a consortium project of IVG Immobilien AG and Fraport AG.


360,000 tonnes of material keep Terex® large cranes busy

The project involves around 360,000 tonnes of steel materials that are required at various points of the construction site. With so much material to be moved, several Terex® cranes are at work, sent by the crane rental company Wiesbauer. For the lifts outside and partly inside of the building, some of which are very challenging, Wiesbauer employs an AC 200-1, AC 250-1, AC 500-2 and AC 700. Norman Weitzel is responsible for the commercial side of the project organization and Marco Wilhelm is responsible for the technical side.



One example for an interesting lift operation is the erection of a girder assembly, which required three large Terex® cranes to work together. Set up in the confined space between the airport, the high-speed railway track and the freeway are two Terex® AC 700 cranes with a lifting capacity of 700 tonnes and a Terex® AC 500-2 that can lift 500 tonnes.


While the Intercity express trains hurtle by below at ten-minute intervals, the three cranes are hard at work overhead, erecting a girder assembly with a 60-meter span. The suspended roof system is part of the impressive glass dome over the ballroom of the Hilton hotel that is in the process of being built.


This lift has also been organized by the crane company Wiesbauer, which has provided one of the 700-tonners (crane operator Carsten Kelm) and the 500-tonner (crane operator Karl-Heinz Moll). They are backed up during this lift by crane operator Ralf Kremb with his Terex® AC 700 crane belonging to the Munich-based Schmidbauer group.


An overview of the loads and crane configurations

Marco Wilhelm of Wiesbauer, who is responsible for planning and realization of the project explains what is happening: “Each of these cranes lifts one of the three sub-structures, which each span 20 meters. Final assembly takes place in the air. The parts are welded together as they hang from hooks and are then fastened to pylons. The loads are distributed so that our 700-tonner lifts 55 tonnes, the 500-tonner lifts 40 tonnes and our colleague from Munich lifts 25 tonnes.”


The Terex® AC 700 has been erected with its main boom and 42m luffing jib. It operates at a reach of 26 meters and carries 140 tonnes of ballast. The second AC 700 has a main boom plus 48m luffing jib, works at 41m reach with a 100-tonne counterweight. And the 500-tonner is working with a 36m boom at a reach of 30m and with 180 tonnes of ballast.


Crane operator and on-site operations coordinator Carsten Kelm is one of the pioneers in the 700-tonne class. He was one of the first people in Germany to operate a crane of this lifting capacity: The job then was to erect the inclined lift linking the upper and lower town in Künzelsau, southern Germany.


Since 1987 Kelm has worked on two Terex® AC 650s and two Terex® AC 700s. “The crane has never yet let me down”, he says. “It is very good-natured to drive and operate. I can always rely on that.” With 700 tonnes lifting capacity, the Terex® AC 700 is one of the strongest mobile telescopic cranes worldwide that can travel with a complete main boom. A 60-meter main boom can be transported within the 12-tonne axle load.


“Logistics and planning are the present challenges”

By the time he was 21, Kelm had already embarked on a career with cranes. Since then, he says, much has become routine, but the passion remains. By comparison with the past, the challenges for crane operators have shifted, now focusing more on fast erection and efficient logistics. Kelm particularly appreciates “the simple erection and dismantling” of his Terex® machine. “For example, the base plate with winch frame is a unit. I only need to pull once without putting anything down on the ground in the meantime.

Arndt Jahns, Manager Product Marketing All Terrain Cranes at Terex, endorses this view: “We know how important the time factor is on the construction site”, says Jahns. “As manufacturers, we aim to ensure that our cranes are simple and safe to set up and operate and are therefore ready for use in the shortest possible time. Features that contribute to this are, for example, the remote-controlled ballasting carried out from the cab and the rapid setting up of the star-type outriggers – these outriggers on the ‘pot’ are hydraulically removable and easily accessible.” By way of explanation: thanks to the star-shape outriggers, system deformation is minimized and excellent lifting capacities are achieved with an outrigger base of 12.2 x 12.4m.

As an additional strength of the 700-tonne machine, Jahns mentions the enormous increase in lifting capacity, particularly at steep boom positions, provided by the patented Sideways Super lift (SSL) system. He also points out that with its carrier length of approx. 18.60m, the crane is very compact. “Eight axles are steerable, one to five and seven to nine. On top of that we offer an automatic leveling feature”, says Jahns.

”The crane can be configured with a luffing fly jib of between 24 and 96 meters. The luffing jib can be quickly and easily converted into a rigid jib of between 20 and 50 meters, or, as a light system, between 6 and 36 meters long.”

The Terex® AC 500-2

“The Terex® AC 500-2 is the shortest 8-axle machine in its class, with a carrier length of only 17.1m”, said Jahns. “With the boom extension the crane has a maximum working height of 145.8m. It has enormous strength in all load ranges. This is due in part to the enhanced Demag ovaloid cross-section with diagonally centering sliding plates and to the strengthening of the sideways Superlift.”


“Convenience is enhanced by very short setup times and the innovative crane control system, which makes for simple operation. The crane is powered by the latest Daimler engine technology which delivers 480kW / 653HP at 1800 1/min.”


Wiesbauer makes heavy work light

The company was founded in 1958; the third generation of the Wiesbauer family now continues to live out the company’s claim of making heavy work light for its clients.

For this, the company offers the appropriate machine and comprehensive know-how for each assignment, covering everything from crane work and heavy haulage to assembly.
Its core expertise is in the crane business with 50 cranes available for customers. There are telescopic cranes with capacities ranging from 30 to 700 tonnes and lattice boom cranes of up to 800 tonnes. Jochen and Thomas Wiesbauer took over the business in the early 1990s. They broadened the company’s basis with transport and assembly services and continued to develop the crane business in innovative directions - for example, they were among the first company in Germany to offer mobile building cranes.


About the Schmidbauer Group

The internationally-operating Schmidbauer Group encompasses more than 20 branches almost all over Germany under its umbrella. 250 mobile cranes with a maximum lifting capacity from 6 to 1250 tonnes, 150 heavy haulage vehicles and 500 staff ensure that clients’ high expectations are reliably and conscientiously met.


About Terex

Terex Corporation is a diversified global manufacturer with 2008 net sales of $9.9 billion. Terex operates in four business segments: Terex Aerial Work Platforms, Terex Construction, Terex Cranes, and Terex Materials Processing & Mining. Terex manufactures a broad range of equipment for use in various industries, including the construction, infrastructure, quarrying, surface mining, shipping, transportation, refining and utility industries. Terex offers a complete line of financial products and services to assist in the acquisition of Terex equipment through Terex Financial Services. More information on Terex can be found at



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