DIECI centring handler: the three-boom telescopic handler beneath the Swiss alps

The design and production of DIECI telehandlers is not limited to the creation of innovative, robust and versatile vehicles suited to different sectors such as construction, agriculture, mining and emergency services, but also “special vehicles” intended for specific uses.

One notable example is the Linthal Project in 2015, where our three-boom telescopic centring handler played a key role in the construction of a new storage reservoir in Switzerland.

The Linthal Project: climate-proof, sustainable energy generation

In recent decades, in an effort to identify effective responses to the climate crisis, it has become necessary to invest in solutions that are not only green but also workable in the medium to long term. This phenomenon is clearly exemplified by Switzerland’s hydroelectric power plants, which in recent years have faced significant drops in generation due to lack of water as a result of climate change.

To support the plants’ operations, the Linthal Project was launched in Switzerland in 2015, aimed at the construction of a large storage reservoir to hold some of the water that would normally be reintroduced into rivers after being used to generate power.

The construction of this large installation took place in heart of the Alps, at an altitude of around 2400 metres between the towns of Limmern And Mutt, involving the creation of:

  • two huge caverns over 150 m long and 30 m wide, with a variable height of between 25 m and 50 m. The pump room, transformer room and control centre are located here
  • two parallel penstocks
  • a network of service tunnels partly equipped with rail tracks

Building the installation called for robust, safe, comfortable vehicles with great operational capabilities, suitable for working in atypical surroundings at low temperatures and in extreme conditions.

Why the DIECI three-boom telescopic handler?

The construction of the two engine rooms and the tunnels of the Linthal Project involved a DIECI special vehicle, the three-boom centring handler.

DIECI’s vast experience of producing vehicles for specific uses in major civil engineering projects has enabled the company to design a telehandler specially for laying voussoirs and centring frames in tunnel excavations.

The three booms significantly save time by speeding up operations inside the tunnels, even at very high elevations:

  • The central boom supports and positions the centring frame inside the tunnel;
  • The two side booms, each with a man basket, enable operators to carry out the fixing phase at the same time as the subsequent processes.

There are also additional features that ensure highly precise and controlled performance, such as the transverse steering system on all 4 wheels, which enables the vehicle to be positioned with extreme precision inside the tunnel, working in total safety even in large-sized environments; and the hydrostatic transmission and inching pedal control, which enables slow and controlled travel even with the engine at maximum revs, for total control of the vehicle.

Safety and comfort with the ROPS-FOPS cab

Operator safety is a crucial prerequisite of all DIECI vehicles, and the three-boom centring handler is no exception. On any worksite, and especially in tunnels, it is vital that cabs are equipped with the most innovative comfort and safety systems, to protect the operator’s wellbeing during all work phases.

To guarantee a high level of safety, the telehandler is equipped with:

  • ROPS-FOPS approved cab, i.e. certified against the risk of overturning and risks associated with falling objects or materials. In this way, the worker inside the cab is protected during all operations, including against any structural failure of the tunnel overhead.
  • Automatic stopping system in case of overload, which comprehensively prevents loss of control of the moving vehicle.
  • Starting only with gear in neutral and load limiters.

The safe, fast and optimised operation of the three-boom telescopic centring handler has helped to create an equally safe environment for the reservoir operators too, by ensuring the construction of a properly supported and reinforced tunnel. This is just one of the great success stories behind this extraordinary project, which was completed in just one year thanks in no small measure to DIECI!

Switzerland: European leader in hydroelectricity

Thanks to its geographical location in the heart of the Alps, Switzerland has over 600 hydroelectric plants that produce 56% of the country’s electricity, an enviable statistic surpassed in Europe only by Norway and Austria. But this seemingly inexhaustible supply of cheap, clean energy is at risk due to the climate emergency. High temperatures and a lack of snowfall have reduced the volume of glaciers, and consequently the availability of water at high altitudes, which is necessary for power generation. The implementation of the Linthal Project has helped to bridge this deficiency and further promote the generation of clean energy with low environmental impact.