Bob Childress simply wasn’t satisfied with the choices he was facing when he was ready to bring a new material handling machine into the Owensboro Gateway transfer station operated by Kinder Morgan.
Located at mile 750 on the Ohio River, near the town of Maceo, KY, the 113-acre facility managed by Childress moves almost every type of product, from aluminum to salt to scrap steel and timber.
A former coal miner with an ingrained appreciation of heavy equipment, he knew what he would need from the new machine and from the distributor behind it. When Kelly Cates arrived on the site from Brandeis Machinery & Supply Company, Childress was ready to hear about the new green machines that Brandeis had just taken on.
“I won’t take a machine without good service,” said Childress. “I’ve always had good results with Kelly Cates and the Brandeis people. Then [Sennebogen North America President] Constantino Lannes came in and showed me how they had a full parts inventory in North Carolina and could deliver any part I need overnight –– any part. That’s what I need to run my business on a day-to-day basis.”
Childress was purchasing a new machine to load rail cars with logs, up to 1,000 tons a week moving wood from the pine forests of Kentucky, Ohio and Illinois en route to Chillicothe, OH, for milling.
Cates examined the specifications that Childress had in mind for the new machine and recommended the 825 M machine, Sennebogen’s 63,300-lb. rubber-tired model, equipped with a hydraulic elevating cab.
Brandeis was able to bring in an 835 M unit right away and fit it with the log grapple provided by Childress for demonstration.
This line of material handlers, widely recognized by its distinctive green color, was the first Sennebogen machine to be sold by Brandeis.
“This is an easy machine to sell,” said Cates. “I’m always impressed with the simplicity of the Sennebogen design. It doesn’t take a lot of technical aptitude to explain why it’s the better machine.”
In fact, in other parts of the world, Sennebogen material handlers also have been a common sight in a wide range of logging and forest operations for many years.
Once Childress saw the Sennebogen 835 M, he could see immediately that he was getting a sturdy, very stable purpose-built machine that would fit the application.
“We took the 835 as a loaner until the 825 could be delivered and it worked out very well,” said Childress. “I wanted the mobility of a rubber-tired, purpose-built machine. It has to cover about 6-acres of gravel-based yard to pick from our logs. And I expect it to unload a truck in 10 minutes. It’s a great machine for what we do.”
The hydraulic cab on the 825 M is an essential feature for the log loading application. The log grapple picks up as many as 10 logs at a time and stacks them between the standards on the rail car. Then the logs are strapped down. Naturally, it pays to have as many logs as possible in a car load but, for safety, the logs cannot be any higher than the standards.
“The operator has to see level with the standards as you’re loading. If you have a stationary cab, you have to find a way to elevate it; I can’t see any other way. So the 15-foot lift with the Sennebogen works out real nice. As you sit in the cab, you’re sitting even with the standards and see right where you are,” said Childress.
“I’ve got three operators that use it. It’s real operator friendly, a smooth machine. As a matter of fact I could go out there right now and load a truck with it myself, I’d feel real comfortable,” he added.
While Childress relies on Brandeis for good service support, his own crew maintains all the machines on the site. For that reason, he appreciates the simplicity of the Sennebogen machines, which are designed with virtually no electronic controls.
“I don’t want anything that I’ve got to have special people to work on it,” he said. “Service on the Sennebogen is pretty ’generic,’ for want of a better term. We can actually fix it; my mechanics here that have never seen the machine before can look after anything that might come up.”
The 825 M has now served more than 18 months in its log handling duties. Today Childress, as well as Sennebogen, is looking at other applications.
“If we have more requirements where a Sennebogen machine would fit, yes, we’d see more of them coming in here,” he claimed. “We’ve looked at them for off-loading bulk material, and some of the other site managers have been paying attention to it. I think it’s a nice machine, it fits a lot of different applications for terminal facilities like we have here.”
Sennebogen has been a leading name in the global material handling industry for more than 50 years. Based in Charlotte, NC, Sennebogen North America offers 21 different purpose-built machines to suit virtually any heavy lift or “pick and carry” application.
A growing network of distributors supports Sennebogen sales and service across North America, ensuring the highest standard of professional machine support and parts availability.
For more information, visit www.brandeismachinery.com or www.sennebogen-na.com.