Liebherr’s LB 16 unplugged battery-powered drilling rig debuts on road construction site in Australia


The Liebherr LB 16 unplugged is a battery-powered drilling rig with an alternative drive concept. Similar to the conventional diesel engine model, the LB 16 can achieve maximum drilling diameters of 1,500 mm and drilling depths of 34.5 m.

The LB 16 has an electric engine with a system performance of 265 kW. The battery is designed to last for a 10-hour working day and can be recharged using a conventional jobsite electric supply (32A, 63A). By using a 125A supply, the battery can be fast-charged in 7 hours. The alternative drive of the LB 16 unplugged is also reflected in the integrated battery blocks mounted on the upper carriage. The operating weight of the LB 16 is 55t.

The absence of a combustion engine has two advantages: the LB 16 unplugged causes no emissions and significantly less noise. Thus, the drilling rig is also suitable for operation in areas sensitive to noise.

Safety and assistance systems on the LB 16 unplugged include the ground pressure visualization system which calculates the current ground pressure of the machine in real time and compares it with the specified safety limits of the relevant position. The ground pressure is displayed in the operator’s cab and the operator is permanently aware of whether the machine is situated in, or is approaching, a critical area.

The machine is equipped with a new cabin concept for increased operator comfort. This is achieved through a modern air-conditioning system with improved airflow, an optimized field of vision and reduced noise protection, as well as an orthopaedic operator’s seat with integrated heating and cooling.

The first application of the LB 16 is at a large roadwork site in western Austria where local company i+R has employed the LB 16 to carry out deep foundation work. The challenges faced by i+R include the narrow construction site itself and the restricted working height. The pile foundations must be placed directly under a power line. Therefore, the drilling rig is designed as a low head, i.e. with a shorter leader. During the project, i+R is installing 148 piles and drilling 1,742m into the ground. Approximately 1,200m3 of concrete is being poured.

The concrete is delivered by a Liebherr concrete mixer ETM 905 with electric drum drive. In normal operation the battery capacity is sufficient for the entire working day. As a plug-in hybrid the battery can be charged during the journey or externally via a plug. i+R also uses an electric compact excavator. Thus, deep foundation work on a construction site is carried out for the first time using almost exclusively electrically driven machines.

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