"When I hosted the company-wide assembly meeting for the first time four years ago, the content of the meeting was primarily to intimate Wimmer's capabilities", commented managing director Holger Stegmann clarifying his intention for the demand-orientated meeting of the Felbermayr department managers in the field of Industrial assembly . At that time Wimmer was a company specialised in the relocation of machinery using special transport and heavy transport, as well as warehousing. Today, four years later, Wimmer covers the complete range of services in the heavy load sector, all the way through to crane rental.
Inspired by the success of this first assembly meeting, the call for another at the end of last year became unmistakably loud.
"Often to be successful, it is enough to know who can do what", enthuses Stegmann, delighted to have set another meaningful impetus for cooperation again with the assembly meeting in January. Cooperation that is also very important for the customers too. "To ensure that we are able to pass on enquiries in a targeted manner to the respective specialised area of the business. This is an important prerequisite for efficient, customer-oriented work." In doing so, Stegmann maintains that the focus should not only be on technology but rather also on the specialisation of the respective employees – because, for each person to be able to master everything is simply not possible in the complex field of assembly: "In addition to the use of standard equipment such as lift frames, strand jacks and skidways, the relocation of a production line often also requires comprehensive skill in areas such as electrics, hydraulics and pneumatics", and Wimmer could provide these, for example, in order to be able to offer the customer a full-service package.
Performance through harmonisation
In addition to professional competence, the "Leadership in motion" programme point also promotes cooperation between colleagues in the workplace. "The background for this was a lecture by Heinz Fuchsig", explains Stegmann pointing out that although a crowbar might be an effective tool for lifting heavy objects, interpersonal relationships and the health of the employees must also be promoted in the interests of long-term success.
After a day of intensive collaboration and the presentation of the range of services of the department leaders present, there was a first-class buffet – served on a self-propelled industrial trailer with a 178 metric ton payload rating, garnished with toy HGVs and forklift trucks designed as scooters. These will be handed over to neighbouring children's day care centres throughout the year – within the course of guided tours: "To show the children where mums and dads work", adds Stegmann showing his sensitivity for the coming generations. Regarding the question of whether the next assembly meeting will take place in Sulzemoos again, Stegmann's shares his feelings about whether he wishes to draw a line under the large organisational effort, adding with a wink: "I would certainly like to be served a buffet on a ten-axle semi low-loader at some point, and we don't have one of those in Sulzemoos".
At a length of some 13 kilometres, the Fröschnitzgraben section will become the longest part of the Semmering Base Tunnel. The access tunnel leading to the construction site in the cavern descends some 400 metres vertically and has a diameter of about ten metres. It is used to advance the tunnel in the direction of Mürzzuschlag by means of blasting. Heading in the Gloggnitz direction is taken care of by two tunnel boring machines.
Dual heavy haulage
Some 100 transports weighing in at a total cargo weight of approximately 2,500 tons were required to haul the first of two tunnel boring machines from Le Creusot (F) to the construction site in Steinhaus am Semmering (A). “Following a road section leading to the Straßbourg port, our subsidiary Haeger & Schmidt took over the cargo,” reports Roland Füreder from Felbermayr’s Heavy Haulage Department. After that and using a barge, the components were transported to the heavy cargo terminal in Linz, where they were stored temporarily, via the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal. This was followed by further road transport to the construction site at the Semmering pass which were concluded in February. This was mainly done using modular heavy load trailers with so called THP axles. The cutter head, at 115 tons the heaviest part, was transported on 14 axle modules.
Bringing the parts underground
400 metres of elevation separate the tunnel boring machines’ origin in Le Creusot and their destination at Fröschnitzgraben 828 metres above sea level. The Wimmer Maschinentransporte team had to overcome the same challenge once more. Not horizontally, but vertically. And that is what made the whole thing so difficult. Wimmer Maschinentransporte’s Managing Director Holger Stegmann: “Although there was a shaft lift, it was only approved for loads of up to 90 tons. The heaviest part we had to bring into the tunnel weighed more than 100 tons, however. The solution was to remove all unnecessary parts of the lift. In the end, there was not much left of the shaft lift apart from its base frame,” Stegmann illustrates the result.
The transport of individual parts from the storage site to the shaft lift was performed using two so-called Sefiros (self-propelled industrial rollers). At the storage site, the components were transshipped using a mobile crane. “For the hydraulic shifting of the components weighing in at many tons into the lift we built a twelve-metre-long skidway,” Stegmann explains. Following their “descent”, the parts were once again taken out of the lift using another skidway. To negotiate the last few metres to the tunnel boring machine’s installation site, the parts were transshipped by means of a Sefiro. Thus, the prerequisites for the tunnel boring machine’s final assembly were established in late February.
Commissioning of the Semmering Base Tunnel is scheduled for 2026. The 27-kilometre railway tunnel is supposed to take the load off the historic Semmering mountain route as well as significantly reduce travel times and thus allow for a better connection to Southern Austria. Internationally, this route will strengthen the European north-south-axis when it comes to passenger and goods transport.
The spruce with a trunk circumference of 60 centimetres had reached an impressive height of 24 metres and a weight of six tonnes. Planted in 1969 as a 14-year-old tree on the occasion of a wedding, it was given its new purpose as a Christmas tree at the beginning of November. On the ground and tied up like a large parcel, the special transport with a total length of more than 30 metres and a width of about 5 metres took place during the night from 8 to 9 November and was carried out by Felbermayr’s subsidiary Wimmer Maschinentransporte from Sulzmoos. The bridge underpass on the B12 near Thambach, with a height of only 4.10 metres, proved a particular challenge on the route, but due to careful previous planning and a telescopic semi flat bed trailer, it could be mastered without any problems.
Bang on schedule and accompanied by a police escort, the “landmark” of Munich’s Christmas Market arrived at Marienplatz on 8 November at 5:00 a.m. There, the Serbian spruce was lifted up by the Munich professional fire brigade using a truck-mounted crane. The tree was then decorated with about 3,000 lights by means of a working platform. Thus adorned, the stately coniferous tree will provide a fitting pre-Christmas atmosphere at Munich's oldest Christmas market. Afterwards the tree might serve a community as a maypole – with a bit of luck for as much as two more years.
Wimmer-Maschinentransporte started with special transports a project to install an injection-moulding-machine in the beginning of July.
„That´s our classic job“, says project-manager Thomas Wimmer from Wimmer Maschinentransporte. Meaning, that this is the combination of special-transports followed by the unlaoding and move-in as well the machine-installation on site. This injection-moulding-machine has component-weights up to 64 tons.
Special equipment for the move-in
The special transports, managed by Marc Schellerer, were loaded in the manufactorer-plant of Krauss Maffei in Munich. 700km had to be taken within three days, then the components reached the belgian site in Paal for unloading. „For the move-in inclusive installation, we use our hydraulic gantry, fork-lifts and platforms“, reports Wimmer. Also a special self-proposaled-trailor (called SEFIRO) was used to move-in the heavy parts – very save and very fast. The installation will be finished in the end of July.
„Eastern Germany will get many invests within the next years“, argues the Managing Director of Wimmer Holger Stegmann with its base in Sulzemoos close to Munich. Wimmer is a specialized company for industrial services (assembly of machines, rigging etc.), special transports, crane-hire as well as warehousing and will offer its whole Wimmer-service-spectrum also in the Dresden-area now. The main emphasis of Wimmer will be the industrial-services as assembly of machines and rigging. „Here we want to work for the OEM and their suppliers “, says Stegmann optimistic.
The new branch with 10 workers will be located on the existing Felbermayr-area which offers crane and lifts. So we will create synergies for our customers.
“Generally speaking, relocating presses has almost become a routine jobs for this company,” says Wimmer Maschinentransporte’s Holger Stegmann. In the case of a press weighing in at 68 tons, however, the Wimmer team was challenged with optimising the relocation time.
Relocation time cut by five weeks
Stegmann comments: “Intending to cut the relocation time by saving avoidable disassembly and reassembly work, the automotive supplier suggested to encase the press in a steel corset.” The idea was that this would allow for the valuable freight to be put on its side and transported in one piece. Initially, the press’ manufacturer was less than thrilled by this idea since the press had not been designed for such an operation. In the end, however, we managed to convince the manufacturer of the project’s viability.” According to Stegmann, this meant that – prior to its relocation – the technicians only had to remove non-crucial parts and were spared open-heart surgery. Thus, after covering some 1,000 kilometres to reach its new location in Hungary, the press could be re-integrated into the process as early as January, five weeks earlier than originally expected. According to the client, the project yielded another advantage in the fact that production at the departure point in Sevelen had not been hindered by disassembly work.
Stegmann happily reports that – in addition to the client’s participation and willingness to cooperate – the firm’s cooperation with subsidiary Bau-Trans turned out great. Thus, in Switzerland, the press was lifted onto a flatbed lorry provided by Bau-Trans’ Lauterach branch by means of a crane deployed by Liechtenstein branch. Bau-Trans’ Budapest branch stood at the ready with its lifting equipment to unload the component in Hungary.
Expressing their satisfaction with the rapid completion of the new location, the owner family Felbermayr says: "It is incredible how much has been built in just eight months." Holger Stegmann, head of the Felbermayr subsidiary Wimmer Maschinentransporte, and Michael Altschäffl, head of the Felbermayr subsidiary Hagn Umwelttechnik, are also pleased, commenting on the opportunities offered by the approximately 10,000 square metres of office, warehouse and workshop space: "Here, we have the ideal environment to best meet the requirements of our customers."
Around 250 guests were invited to the opening ceremony, including numerous customers and partners as well as Felbermayr managers. Guests were able to form an impression of Wimmer, a company specialising in special transport and industrial equipment as well as crane hire. Hagn, a company specialising in landfill construction and environmental engineering, presented an impressive short film about cleaning up a power station discharge canal. The Managing Director of Felbermayr Transport and Lifting Technology and co-initiator of the project to establish the Sulzemoos location, Wolfgang Schellerer, considers the site to be a milestone: "The development of Wimmer over the five years since we acquired the company is impressive, and has also provided an example for many other successful divisions."
A family event
The afternoon of the opening day was given over to the families of the approximately 150 employees at the site. The event, which included a bouncy castle and a balloon launch, also gave the many children in attendance the opportunity to see for themselves where their parents work. And, who knows, some of them might one day become new Felbermayr employees themselves and help write their own chapter in the story of the family-run company in Wels.
"Breakbulk in Antwerp – that's exactly where we need to be exhibiting in Europe" – Managing Director Peter Stöttinger, from Felbermayr Transport and Lifting Technology, is convinced of it. On all three exhibition days, the number of inquiries about Felbermayr services associated with road, rail and water transport at the exhibition was extremely high. The wind-turbine blade adapter for transport in challenging areas received particularly high levels of interest. Felbermayr's lifting technology for heavy equipment and crane hire likewise attracted a great deal of attention. Last but not least, the LR 11000 – with its 1000-ton load capacity – proved to be in high demand at the exhibition stand.
Felbermayr was also accompanied by its subsidiaries from the maritime group which includes Haeger & Schmidt. CEO of Haeger & Schmidt, Heiko Brückner, was also enthusiastic, claiming that attending the Breakbulk exhibition is an absolute must: "In addition to Haeger & Schmidt, we are taking this opportunity to present the capabilities not only of HSW, but also of Best Logistics, RKE and Euro Terminal Kehl". We therefore had plenty of opportunities to present industry professionals with the options for combining water and land transport using rail.
So that we could provide the right support for all the various specialisations, Felbermayr and its subsidiaries were represented by over a dozen members of staff at the exhibition stand. Both existing and prospective customers showed their appreciation of the informative talks and the opportunity to gain a good insight into future activities.
"We are very glad to be able to implement this project in cooperation with the Municipality of Sulzemoos," says Managing Director DI Horst Felbermayr of the family company that bears his name with headquarters in Upper-Austrian Wels and goes on to comment: "Two factors made us opt for the Municipality of Sulzemoos which is located some 30 kilometres north-west of Munich: its excellent strategic location and the outstanding collaboration with its mayor and the municipality's other representatives." The acquired plot is approx. 2.8 hectares in size and is situated on an industrial estate directly at the A8 motorway. In the context of the first construction phase, a two-storey office building with 1,400 square metres of floor space and a storage with adjoining work shop, measuring 6,500 and 1,600 square metres, respectively, are supposed to be built by May. However, a 100-ton indoor crane as well as a petrol station for its fleet including a car-wash plant will be part of the infrastructure of Felbermayr's new location.
Synergies at the new location
Felbermayr's subsidiaries, Wimmer Maschinentransporte and Hagn Umwelttechnik, both of which are expanding massively, will move into the new buildings. Both Wimmer, a company specialising in special transports and the installation of highly complex industrial plants and Hagn, a firm focussing on hydraulic engineering and landfill construction will benefit from synergies created by their centralisation at the new location such as joint use of the petrol station and the office infrastructure. For Hagn-Umweltechnik's general manager, Michael Altschäffl, the intensification of boundary points between the two companies might even result in operational cooperation. Wimmer's Holger Stegmann furthermore looks forward to capitalising on the expansion of his service portfolio. For thanks to the new business area of crane rentals, the expanded space is a more than welcome benefit.
The even focused mainly on finding solutions for further optimising synergies and also the latest trends in handling heavy goods components. The spectrum of solutions ranged from machine tool assembly projects to laying the foundations for fractionating columns weighing over 1000 tons using a crane or lifting gear. The Managing Director of Wimmer Holger Stegmann, who initiated the meeting, judged it to be a complete success and is hopeful that it will result in many new approaches to solutions for optimisation. Wimmer, a specialist in dismantling and assembling machinery on an international scale, is also active in the areas of transportation, crane hire and storage.
The destination of the shipments was the BMW plant in Landshut. The components were assembled on-site by the Felbermayr subsidiary Wimmer Maschinentransporte – starting with the unloading. After the components were unloaded, the individual components (each weighing up to 100 tons) were moved to the production hall using a self-propelled industrial roller and were assembled there to become a 220-ton machine. Due to its weight, the machine was then transported further to its base using an eight-axle self-propelled transporter. Once there, the machine was placed on its base using lifting gear. This method was used to set up two machines within just two weeks.
This was used to lift the injection moulding machine, turn it through 90 degrees and then set it down on an air guiding system. An operating pressure of around 8 bar ensured that a sufficient volume of air was flowing under the machine. This enabled the 70-ton component to be positioned on an air cushion and moved to the required location before being set down. Normally, these kinds of machines are turned around inside the hall first, which means there is no need to use an air guiding system. However, as the hall on site was not high enough, it was decided to use this procedure instead. Wimmer staff then fitted various components to the machine, thus completing its basic assembly. ENGEL and their customer said afterwards that the service Felbermayr and Wimmer provided was exceptional.