Large vehicles have fascinated Peter Stricker since he was a child. So it is no surprise that he went on to become a crane driver. Stricker works as a crane driver at Emil Egger in the Swiss city of St. Gallen. 32 years ago, he “started out small” with a 20 tonne crane. The Swiss crane driver gradually tested his skills with larger and larger vehicles and has since become the driver of Switzerland’s largest crawler crane. A crane of this size is also a great responsibility. Yet there is no room for fear or even nervousness in the driver’s cab. Because this can quickly become dangerous, as Peter Stricker knows. “We are always near people”, he explains. Peter Stricker relies on years of experience and practice to remain calm while he works.
In the morning, Peter Stricker starts the LR 11000 with a few practiced motions. After climbing up to the crane’s cabin, he inserts the key into the ignition and boots the three computers in the cabin. Once he has carried out a visual inspection, the last step is to start the engine. Then he can get to work. Or as Peter Stricker calls it: his dream job. There are a lot of reasons why. “I work with many different people and am supported by a team that I can truly rely on. Plus, it is also a great feeling being able to lift such heavy things so easily.” On construction sites, the crawler crane has the task of transporting all of the concrete elements that are too heavy for the building crane. That is why Peter Stricker uses the LR 11000 to gradually transport the concrete supports from the location where they are cast to a special frame on which the elements are then assembled. He often receives amazed and astonished looks from passers-by.
It is a great feeling being able to lift such heavy things so easily.
Driving Switzerland’s largest crane is never boring: every construction site is different and presents new challenges. The electronics enhance the safety, but, above all, having the right feeling for the crane is what makes the difference, explains the Swiss crane driver. Even a tiny movement of the joystick can make a major difference 70 meters ahead. Peter Stricker has to be able to judge the crane’s dynamics at all times so that he can react to movements. While completely focused on his work, the crane driver feels closely connected with the vehicle. “I practically become one with the crane”, says Peter Stricker, describing the feeling.
After a hard day’s work, the crane is finally moved into its parking position. A day in the crane means being constantly focused, explains the crane driver. The tension only decreases when he arrives home at the end of the day. Then Peter Stricker can also “shut down his own computer” and then the crane driver can finally relax.
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