Unimog-assisted installation of overhead cables.
The loading crane holds the new electricity pylon steady until the cable winches align it perfectly in position. Then the concrete mixer can pour its contents into the two-metre pit. Once the concrete has set, the support cables can be removed and the mast can be left to its task of carrying the three 20,000-volt medium tension cables.
It may all sound straightforward enough but this type of installation is difficult – and often takes place in challenging environments. At stake: the electricity supply for 92,000 people in the Rhön Mountains. The electric utility company responsible for delivering it is Überlandwerk Rhön GmbH. “We deliver power from one town to the next,” says Andreas Hartung succinctly. He is one of 205 employees celebrating the centenary year of this company based in Mellrichstadt. There is another anniversary at the company as well: 50 years of Unimog trucks in the vehicle fleet.
Fantastic team: loading crane and Unimog.
The highlight of the vehicle is a Hiab loading crane: it can rotate 360 degrees and set down loads up to twelve metres away. “This makes pylon installation considerably easier, especially if we have to work at the front over the cab,” fleet manager Andreas Hartung confirms. “We installed a heavy-duty cable winch on the front mounting plate. This is mainly intended for recovering the Unimog if the tyre pressure control system itself isn’t enough to cope with the terrain,” Hartung explains.
He says the winch can deliver 5.5 tonnes of power. The steel cable is 120 metres long. “That’s enough to get us through the Rhön region.” The long 3.60 m wheelbase gives the Unimog added stability, especially when using the crane. The platform is mounted only rarely. Instead, the rear of the vehicle is equipped with a cross-shaped brace. This takes the weight of the wide, heavy end of the mas