Oktoberfest, the world’s most famous beer festival, takes place in Munich, Germany, and lasts over two weeks. A staple of Bavarian culture, it has become a global phenomenon since its inception in 1810. Konecranes supplied a customized double-girder bridge crane with 2 x 5 tons of lifting capacity, electric chain hoists and a 10-ton heavy-duty forklift to help make sure that everything was in place for its opening.
In late September 2018, Munich mayor Dieter Reiter tapped the first beer keg at noon to signal the start of the festival. As is tradition, he proclaimed, “O’zapft is!” —or “It’s tapped!” in the Bavarian dialect.
Among the many attractions at Oktoberfest, beer is probably the most important. However, not just any beer can be served there—only beer brewed in Munich. On top of that, all beers must conform to the Reinheitsgebot, or German beer purity law, a strict set of criteria that was formulated in the early 1500s. Only six breweries meet these standards.
A city under canvas
The festival’s party tents alone could shelter the inhabitants of an entire city; they have room for at least 119,000 people. This year, tent management was once again left in the capable hands of festival outfitter Pletschacher.
Having begun as a one-person operation in 1948, Pletschacher now builds almost all of the large party tents and a majority of the smaller stands. In addition to building party tents, the company is involved in commercial, retail, and office construction, from roof structure to interior design.
A special crane to help keep festival grounds dry
Pletschacher needed a new crane, one that could lift quickly and continuously, be easy to operate and be able to load everything needed—from heavy wooden beams, tarpaulins, planks and wall elements to huge beer mugs—with precision. Rising to the challenge, Konecranes designed a customized double-girder bridge crane with 2 x 5 tons of lifting capacity, electric chain hoists as well as a 10-ton heavy-duty forklift to help make sure that everything important reached the festival grounds on time.
The crane has a span width of 18.5 meters and is capable of transporting loads of up to 10 tons inside the hall. To be able to move bulky components, there is a distance of 3 meters between its two hoists. The crane is also equipped with Hoist Synchronization, a Smart Feature that makes identical hoisting speeds even in the case of different loads possible.
In addition, the hoisting and travel speeds of the crane can be adjusted continuously, and the system can be controlled remotely with precision via joystick.
Work outside the halls
Pletschacher also stores large quantities of material outside the halls and these, too, must be moved securely. Konecranes has made a heavy-duty forklift especially for this demanding environment.
The SMV 10-1200 C forklift lifts up to 10 tons with a load center of 1.2 meters. With its wheelbase of three meters, it is approximately 25 centimeters shorter than normal for a smaller turn radius. This allows the driver to maneuver it in narrow spaces.
When designing a heavy-duty forklift for these tasks, the focus is on maximum performance with a compact size,” underlines Uwe Höß, Sales Manager at Konecranes Lifttrucks.
As with any large operation, efficiency is crucial. “Any delay costs Pletschacher and its customers a lot of money,” says Walter Fischer, Sales Manager at Konecranes. “We manage globally approximately 740,000 assets, always with the goal of improving the safety and productivity of our customers. Based on this comprehensive know-how, we have developed an individual service concept for Pletschacher, consisting of accident prevention checks, service, and maintenance.”
Ulrich Pletschacher, managing director of the Pletschacher Group, is pleased with the result of this joint project. “Our new crane with electric chain hoists and heavy-duty forklift have proven their value during the intense period of preparation for the Oktoberfest. Thanks to Konecranes service, they will serve us for a long time to come.”
1. In the new storage area of Pletschacher in Dasing, Bayern, all elements that are needed for the Oktoberfest tents—and a lot more—are stored in four halls with a total surface area of 16,500 sqm.
2. Approximately 1,500 container loads fit inside the halls, and there is room for 500 additional containers outside.
3. These loads, which weigh between 100 kg and five tons, must be moved and stacked inside the hall with speed and precision.
Text: Harry Lawrence
Image: Getty Images