No components are manufactured in Lauf. Production concentrates purely on the assembly process. It is clear at a glance that the facility focuses on high-volume production. Two 150-meter long assembly lines with around 30 individual stations run straight through the main assembly hall. On the right is the undercarriage assembly line; the slightly shorter superstructure line is on the left.
The assembly process starts when the steel structures for the undercarriage are loaded on turntables. The individual assemblies are then added: hydraulics, pneumatics, cable harness and the air network structure for the pneumatics system. Then come the pipelines, the axles and the MTU engine with the gearbox and cooling system. The driver’s cab is then fitted and the cables are connected up. Finally, the superstructure and undercarriage are married. The booms are installed on the superstructure in a separate hall.
Overall, the process combines high-volume production with extremely high quality levels. Consequently, initial inspection targets individual assemblies during the assembly process rather than the finished mobile cranes on completion. Inspection stations are fully integrated in the assembly lines. The same applies for the first engine test runs. As soon as they have been fitted in their open frames, they are connected up to heavy hose lines for intake air and exhaust gas and are started up on the assembly line. Electronic technology has likewise become a major element in mobile crane construction. Software is loaded for the two screens in the driver’s cab to allow numerous functions to be displayed and monitored while the cab is still on the assembly line. Despite all this, the company still places at least as much emphasis on robust assemblies that work reliably as it does on sophisticated automation systems. “We are interested in progress, but not at any price,” declared Ulrich Mahler. That is why, in case of doubt, robust electric designs for components such as fittings and displays are always given preference over more delicate electronic equipment.