Special excavator

The Liebherr R 980 SME in slag handling operations

Backes Transport und Schlackenaufbereitung GmbH, a firm based in Dillingen in the Saarland, uses the Liebherr R 980 SME crawler excavator for loading hot and cold slag. To meet the challenges of this kind of operation, the machine was specially built to customer’s requirements.


Loading hot slag is challenging work exposing the machine to constant very high temperatures. The R 980 SME crawler excavator produced by Liebherr for the Saarland firm Backes Transport und Schlackenaufbereitung GmbH was specially designed to fulfil such demands. Its dump bucket can handle large volumes of slag. For slag loading work, the machine is equipped with special safety devices such as a fire-fighting system. Exposed lines and hoses are covered with heat shielding. This crawler excavator features a wide walkway on the operator’s side, which can be accessed via a retractable ladder. Both features ensure safe access to the elevated operator’s cab and the machine’s engine compartment.


Development tailored to customer requirements

The R 980 SME for Backes was developed by Liebherr Application Center which was set up in 2020 at the Liebherr-France SAS site in Colmar. Specific requirements and customers’ special requests are analysed there, and the analysis is used for building tailor-made machines. Customer requests received through the sales network are systematically analysed by a team of specialists with a thorough understanding of both our products and their potential areas of application. This allows them to develop the best solution for the customer’s requirements. This diverse, multidisciplinary team can respond to customer requests quickly enough to allow them to be perfectly integrated into Liebherr-France SAS production processes. The steel used to build the crawler excavator is supplied by Stahl-Holding-Saar GmbH & Co. KGaA in Dillingen. Liebherr-France SAS orders about 7000 t of steel from this firm annually, which comes to about 70 % of the total requirement.


The crawler excavator impresses with its productivity, user-friendliness and low fuel consumption

Slag specialist Backes anticipates that the R 980 SME crawler excavator’s characteristics will facilitate efficient working and thus increase productivity. Despite its 100 t+ weight, the machine stands out for its manoeuvrability, simple and intuitive operation, and comfortable, ergonomically designed operator’s cab. In addition, our customer reports that the R 980 SME consumes 5 to 6 l less fuel than the previous model, which is also used by the Saarland firm for transport and slag-handling. The firm loads slag from steel production into dump trucks. The dump trucks take the slag away for processing, which starts after it has cooled. For these operations, Backes currently uses two R 980 SMEs, and two older-model Liebherr R 984 C crawler excavators.


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