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Liebherr excavators operating in the last granite quarry of France’s Vosges

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Global Mining Review,

In March 2019, the machinery pool of Petitjean, a granite excavation company based in eastern France's Vosges mountain range, was augmented by two new Liebherr crawler excavators. Both R 956 excavators are being used in two different quarries in La Bresse and Senones, to position heavy weights before mining, to load trucks and for drillers and miners to move large rocks. Supported by local authorised retailer Tilmat, the company decided on the quality and reliability of Liebherr-France SAS's crawler excavators.

Liebherr excavators operating in the last granite quarry of France’s Vosges

Liebherr crawler excavators are in operation in two quarries in La Bresse and Senones, two and ten hectares in size respectively, where the granite types Gris bleu des Vosges, Feuille morte de Senones and Rouge corai are mined. The annual production of 5000 m3 of end and processed products is primarily intended for urban development (flagstones and cobblestones) and funeral monuments. In addition to the materials mined, 15 000 t of gravel and 40 000 t of stone debris are recycled and produced in La Bresse.

The R 956

Petitjean decided on Liebherr to satisfy its strict requirements regarding consumption and productivity. It was the low fuel consumption of the R 956 that impressed the company – in economy mode, the machine consumes an average of 29 l/hr and so offers maximum cost-effectiveness when used. When procuring these two 55 t machines, costs over the entire service life of the product were taken into account, in addition to the purchase price – with the objective of ensuring maximum profitability and productivity of excavators when used.

The R 956 is highly suited to being used in these quarries, as it is an appropriate size, the design is robust and the high loading capacity guarantees high productivity. The two machines developed and manufactured in Colmar (France) meet Stage IV emissions standards and have a power output of 250 kW/340 hp. The shovels have a specially extended but – at 1600 mm – not very broad profile. This profile is especially to allow them to hold the granite blocks better.

After having already spent over 500 hours in the machine cabs, both operators are satisfied in terms of application, power and comfort.

Local support

In addition to the technical solutions offered by Liebherr for this specific application, the expertise and manufacture of the crawler excavators in France were also important factors in the decision. Petitjean values proximity between manufacturer, retailer and granite factory.

Liebherr and local authorised retailer Tilmat have supported Mr Vaxelaire, the chairman of the company, throughout the entire decision-making process. The geographic proximity of Tilmat and the Liebherr factory in Colmar also guarantees constant and responsive support.

The Petitjean granite factory

The Petitjean granite factory is a family business going back nearly one hundred years, which today employs 80 workers. Petitjean is the last company to mine granite blocks in the Vosges. It aims to reuse the local, natural raw material in order to conserve mining.

In 2003, the company joined the Barrière group. The subsidiaries of the Barrière group are active across the entire value creation chain in the fields of construction materials and public construction work.

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