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News | Headlines | Metals Recycling, Scrap handlers
Largest electric-drive scrap handler in U.S. installed at Kinder Morgan Port of Charleston facility
Handler achieves faster turnaround, provides less fuel costs
July 16, 2012 - After commissioning a new 370,000-pound Sennebogen electric-drive scrap handler at the Kinder Morgan Energy Partners barge facility in the Port of Charleston, South Carolina, the truck fleet use there was reduced by 25 percent, while still keeping pace with customers’ demand for material.
The facility moves various types and densities of scrap metal product, including pig iron, busling, hot briquetted iron (HBI), plate and structural, direct reduced iron (DRI) and shred. Faster turnaround for Kinder Morgan’s fleet of 100-ton haulers and reducing the impact of rising fuel costs were the main points when Sennebogen approached Kinder Morgan with the concept of the 880 R-HD material handler three years ago.
“We move between 1.5 and 3.5 million tons of material out of port here every year,” says Terminal Manager Daryle Wall. “The volumes of our facilities in this area have provided us with experience using every kind of material handler, crane or excavator you can name. We were already looking for an alternative in 2007, when Sennebogen came to us with their idea for the largest electric drive scrap handler in the country. We saw that we had as good a location as you’d want for this type of machine, so we decided to work with Sennebogen on the project.”
“It took a leap of faith for Kinder Morgan to step up to the 880 R-HD,” says Sennebogen’s President, Constantino Lannes. “Their application here and their experience with our equipment made them the ideal partner. Sennebogen led the adoption of electric drive material handlers in America. No one had produced an electrically powered unit as large as this, so we needed a test bed to prove the engineering.”
We knew we were the guinea pigs. We didn’t know if it would work, but we wanted to try because of the future savings which, with the way fuel costs have gone up, turned out to be a pretty good decision,” said Wall.
Since the new 880 R-HD went into operation in Port of Charleston, it is being used to handle scrap metal flow with a ten-yard grapple and a seven-yard clamshell. Kinder Morgan has reported that diesel deliveries are down more than 20 percent, saving the facility significant costs on a monthly basis.
More throughput with a smaller bite
At Kinder Morgan’s Berkeley County Operations (South Carolina), a fleet of haul trucks carry up to 140 cu. yd. per load from the dock to nearby stockpiles. At dockside, the unloading facility had been using rope cranes fitted with 22 yard grapples. The grapple on the 880 R-HD machine is half the size, with just a 10 yard capacity, but it keeps the trucks cycling faster, with larger loads.
“Our other cranes are big and run much slower for the job,” says Wall. “They couldn’t accurately fill up the corners of the truck like you can with the smaller grapple. The trucks are moving more towards their capacity at 140 cubic yards than the 110 to 120 cubic yards we were getting. The 880 R-HD can also run two complete loading cycles per minute into the trucks, against one cycle with the old machine. The turnaround for our trucks is faster, so we’re unloading the barges faster and doing a better job for our customer.”
The crawler-mounted material handler simplifies the unloading operation further by being able to traverse the length of the dock under its own power. A powered tether line allows the machine a 400-foot range of movement to position itself for unloading either of two barges at the dock. With this mobility, there’s no need to winch barges into place under the crane.
Electric is simpler
Along with the fuel savings, Wall says that switching to electric drive saves other operating costs as well.
“We don’t have to worry about oils, lubricants or engine rebuild costs,” Wall continues. “With a diesel engine, you have the possibility of overheating, which is completely eliminated with the electric motor. The electric motor is a much better solution, causing less downtime. Electric is simpler, much more reliable, much more “accurate” so it eliminates overheating. And it’s quieter, so it’s even better for the operators.”
Wall also notes that the Sennebogen cab was welcomed by his operators. “With the cab extended up and out, the operators are able to view the entire barge at once. We have operators asking to transfer down here for that job!”
Having taken a risk to collaborate on commissioning America’s first 880 R-HD, Wall says the new machine has more than met expectations.
“I can’t give enough credit to the Sennebogen service team, Jim Westlake and Bob Marean. Being so new, there weren’t a lot of mechanics anywhere trained on this, but they and our dealer’s mechanics have been great about coming out and working alongside our mechanics. And, they’re continuing to stay in touch, monitor the machine’s use and servicing, along with talking to our operators.”
“We all committed to this project and it has taken us out further than we ever dreamed.”
Atlantic recognized as top dealer by Sennebogen
“When we began selling SENNEBOGEN, we were taking in a machine that nobody had ever heard of,” recalls Garland Miles, Sales Manager of Atlantic Equipment & Supply Inc., based in Hampton, VA. “Sales were not easy. We were going to the expense and the time to basically give customers a machine and hope we could convert it into a sale once they could see how it worked and why we were promoting it to them.”
In 2012, Atlantic has been celebrating its 10th year with SENNEBOGEN after winning the manufacturer’s “Dealer of the Year” award as the top selling distributor in 2011.
Constantino Lannes, President of SENNEBOGEN LLC, said, “It’s a pleasure to have this opportunity to recognize the great work Atlantic Equipment has been doing for us for so many years. They show what can be accomplished if you develop and serve the territory well.”
Jim Smelgus, President of Atlantic, founded the firm as an equipment repair and service business more than 20 years ago. When Erich Sennebogen arrived from Germany looking for someone to help launch his family’s material handlers in America, Smelgus’ focus on service and parts dovetailed perfectly with the company’s blueprint for long-term success.
“These weren’t the first true material handlers we had seen,” says Smelgus. “But most scrap yards were still using cable cranes and antiquated excavators that were converted with some kind of grapple. Being first doesn’t always mean better! The first line of material handlers to come here failed because of service.”
Atlantic entered the equipment sales business with customers’ confidence that Smelgus and his team would stand behind the product. SENNEBOGEN’s plan was to reinforce that confidence with reliable parts supply and excellent application support. Smelgus notes that SENNEBOGEN’s nationwide sales success is still rooted in its commitment to the service side of the business.
After establishing a base in Charlotte, NC, SENNEBOGEN built a 54,000 sq. ft. parts warehouse and training facility in the nearby town of Stanley. Recently, Lannes announced expansion plans that will nearly double its size to 100,000 sq. ft. by the end of 2012.
“What they have done to improve the product in just the past 5 years has been phenomenal,” Smelgus says. “It just goes to show you that they are very committed to the North American market and they have listened carefully to both the dealers and their customers. Through that, you can see why so many equipment customers have become SENNEBOGEN customers.”
According to Garland Miles, the second key point in SENNEBOGEN’s growth strategy was to avoid growing too fast. “Erich Sennebogen’s game plan from the get-go was to focus on quality and service. He didn’t start off dumping machines with low-ball prices, he did it the old fashioned way: by proving the machine was a good one.”
The company set a policy that it would not sell a machine until a servicing dealer was in place locally and the complete parts list was on the shelf.
The Atlantic team took an active part in helping SENNEBOGEN refine its program for the U.S. market. Smelgus’ fluency in German helped to establish a close friendship with the founder of the family firm, the late Erich Sennebogen Sr.
“Erich Sr. was very personable and as down-to-earth as anyone could be. He was very open-minded to our experience with the material handling industry in the U.S., so it was a learning experience for both of us.”
The gamble ultimately paid off as SENNEBOGEN emerged as a highly trusted brand, not only in America’s scrap yards, but in river ports, waste handling, mills and forestry applications as well. “The scrap business is a real fraternity,” Miles observes. “If one guy does something, the others know about it; word just spreads.”
“SENNEBOGEN was an unknown then but once when you got around to telling them it was a non-computerized system, that’s when they stood up and took notice,” he continues. “Especially when the customer had a shredder in the yard. For other machines with a computer onboard, all the fluff would just make a mess of the connections and the normal mechanic had no way to fix them. The simplicity of SENNEBOGEN means that our techs can at least walk their mechanics through some of the less complicated issues in order to keep them operational. With a few minutes on the phone, we can get them up and running, then they turn around and make us look good to the people buying the equipment.”
The foundation that Atlantic helped to build with quality and service led the dealership to its highly successful sales year in 2011. Serving a territory that includes Maryland and Virginia, Atlantic still finds new opportunities to expand its customer base.
“Most of those early prospects in the scrap business that didn’t get on board with us 10 years ago have since become SENNEBOGEN customers,” says Miles. “Since most of the scrap processed here is going to export, up to 90% of it, we recently took on container tilters so we can deliver a complete top-loading solution for yards shipping through the Port of Baltimore.
At this point in Atlantic’s sales strategy, Smelgus and Miles agree that, “… repeat business is our claim to fame…” With commitment to service as their cornerstone, Atlantic and SENNEBOGEN look forward to seeing every sale from past turn into satisfied customers for the future.
To learn more about this company:
1957 Sennebogen Trail, Stanley, NC, US, 28164
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