With the construction industry currently experiencing yet more uncertain times, the waste sector has been a port in the storm for many vehicle manufacturers, and in particular materials handling machines. Brian Albiston, Hassells UK sales manager and UK dealer of the German Sennebogen materials handling range, explains that materials handling machines have long been considered the preferred option over loading shovels.
“The concept has been sold for a long time that the materials handling machines are the better machines in terms of safety,” he says. “They’re stationary machines that can load the bulker wagons or shredding machines without moving, as opposed to a loading shovel, say, that is going into the pile and reversing back, which is a hazard to personnel.”
Albiston concedes that the previous 12 months has been quiet for the company in terms of waste equipment sales, but believes that business is now picking up again. “We’re certainly putting new machines into waste now,” he says.
The renewed interest in the waste sector comes as Sennebogen displayed its 818m materials handling vehicle in the UK for the first time at this year’s Futuresource exhibition. The vehicle has been designed specifically with waste handling in mind, explains Albiston, with a smaller reach than the previous 821 model. “The 821 is a machine with an 11m reach - you put it inside some buildings and it’s very close to the ceilings. So Sennebogen has come in with a 9m. The new transfer stations are catering for bigger machines, but the ones that already exist are very tight areas.”
“Because of the long reach you can put the material far away from the machine, which means it is space saving as well”
In addition to the smaller reach, the 818 comes with a four-cylinder diesel engine. But it can be equipped with an optional electrical drive, enabling the machine to work inside without generating any fumes, as well as in urban areas. The 818’s cab has also been modified for waste handling and is extendable, raising to almost 5m above visible height, allowing the operator to see into a high-sided vehicle for easier loading. The cabin also features a joystick steer, with two buttons on top of the right-hand joystick for improved visibility, and the front, top and bottom cab screens are made from bulletproof glass.
“If people are using it in wood shredding and anything flies out and hits the glass, then the driver is safe,” Albiston explains.
Another difficulty in waste handling is contamination of machine parts. The 818 features a reversing fan designed to blow dust out of the cooling radiators, which can also be timer activated, and hydraulic cylinders are placed upside-down on the stick and boom arms to prevent dirt and debris clogging the mechanisms.
“No debris can sit on top of the cylinder where the chrome work goes inside. It’s upside down so it all falls off. Tape is the worst thing, video tapes and that kind of stuff - in the past you could get it going down inside the cylinder, which destroys the seals after a period of time.”
Albiston also claims that the 818’s grab gives wider range of movement than before because of its fixed sorting grab attachment. “With the bucket crown cylinder on the end of the stick and a fixed sorting grab, you can basically pick out material and do anything you can do with your hand,” he says. “You can pick it up and turn it 360 degrees; you can hold it straight out from the end of stick, if necessary, to pull an item out of the waste. You can have basically any hydraulic attachment you want, but it is purpose-built for the sorting grab.
“When people are loading with a five-tine grab or a bucket, you’ve got no real control over what you’re picking up. If you’re picking up bulk items and throwing them into a hole, it’s not a big issue, but if you’re trying to sort or separate the material then you definitely need a sorting grab.”
Hassells has already seen interest in the 818, but its UK machine is being kept as a demonstration model only. “We’re expecting to bring some machines over very shortly,” Albiston says.
Another materials handling product which has seen renewed interest from the waste sector is Swedish manufacturer MultiDocker’s CH65. It is a large materials handler with a reach of up to 24.5m, and a ground clearance of between 2.5m and 5.2m, depending on configuration, enabling it to unload material from train carriages, boats and trucks.
MultiDocker product and sales manager Fredrik Österström explains: “The waste market is of great interest to us right now, both here in Sweden, in the UK and in all other countries, of course. It’s growing and I think we have a solution which is very efficient.”
He explains that MultiDocker works so closely with machine manufacturer Caterpillar that the company has been approved as a partner, thanks to MultiDocker’s philosophy of “using as many Cat components as possible in the machine,” he explains. “We are more or less trying to build a Cat machine with a MultiDocker logo and, because of that, [we have been] approved as an integrated partner.”
The CH65 comes in a number of configurations, with four varieties of stick and boom length, and four cab options, including the CM8000. This variant allows the cabin to extend 3.9m from its housing to improve visibility. MultiDocker also offers three designs of undercarriage, each of which boasts rubber tracks and a travelling speed of 4.1km/h.
Österström believes the CH65’s success is due to the impressive scale of the machine, which allows it to sort material much more easily than its smaller rivals: “It’s so tall that you can stockpile material very high, and because of the long reach you can put the material far away from the machine, which means it is space saving as well. Compared with an overhead travelling crane or a rope crane, it’s very precise and very fast.”
Österström uses the example of baled waste, which needs to be handled carefully by material loaders: “You’re not allowed to destroy the plastic around the bale because then you get rats and smells, and you’re not allowed to handle them in the ports otherwise.”
Another feature of the CH65 is the wide variety of attachments that can be equipped for different materials handling purposes. Österström says: “The use of the attachment depends on the kind of waste. If it is for bales you can use a clamp, or if it is loose you could use a clamshell or orange peel grab. We also have a quick coupling system so it’s easy and fast to change work tools.”
He now believes that with growing demand for waste infrastructure in the UK and Sweden, the CH65 will continue to have a place in materials handling for recyclables.
“In Sweden, where we are based, we have seen more and more cities building power plants that will be powered by waste. Talking about the UK, you have quite a big waste problem right now - you need somewhere to place all your waste and Sweden is one market for the UK.”