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Fri November 11, 2011 - Northeast Edition
The transportation of bulk commodities is a vital aspect of shippers who depend on affiliated terminal facilities for the efficient transfer of their commodities. So when Kinder Morgan Terminals went looking for a way to reduce offloading times from cargo barges at its Amory, Miss., terminal, it looked no farther than the Sennebogen 870 M material handling machine.
Kinder Morgan is one of the largest pipeline transportation and energy storage companies in North America with more than 37,000 mi. of pipelines and 170 terminals. The company transports, stores and handles energy products including natural gas, refined petroleum products, crude oil, ethanol, coal and carbon dioxide (CO2). It is continuously investing to expand its existing infrastructure and equipment fleet to help meet demands from shippers and one of its most recent investments was purchasing a material handler from Sennebogen.
Kinder Morgan’s Amory terminal sits on 24 acres of land and has a storage capacity of 71,650 tons (65,000 t) in seven domed buildings. It operates one continuous dock where it handles commodities such as bulk ores, petcoke, steel, lumber and rock coming from cargo barges in the Tenn-Tom Waterway, a 234-mi. artificial waterway that provides a connecting link between the Tennessee and Tombigbee Rivers.
A Purpose-Built Machine
Jim Strawn, terminal manager, of Kinder Morgan said that part of the dock 19 ft. (5.8 m) higher off the water and the hydraulic elevating cab on the 870 M gives his crew the ability to see as they reach into the barges; but more importantly, it has a purpose-built undercarriage with rubber tires.
“Mobility is the key for us and since this unit is on rubber tires, we can move it a lot easier. This was a major factor in our decision to get this machine,” said Strawn.
To reduce the ground pressure of the machine, Sennebogen delivered special outrigger pads to lower the ground pressure and protect the dock surface.
The company purchased the 870 M from Power Equipment Company, an equipment distributor serving parts of Tennessee, eastern Arkansas and northern Mississippi. The machine was ordered with a 6 cu. yd. (4.6 cu m) clamshell bucket and a generator package.
“In the future, we are looking at doing a few more things with it like attach a magnet and grapple to give us a little more versatility,” said Strawn, adding that the company also is looking to expand the terminal to handle scrap.
“There are several different markets out there we hope to get into, and this machine gives us the option of doing that.”
The 870 M is primarily used for unloading coal but it can be outfitted with another clamshell if the terminal gets a rock contract.
Gary Hirsch, the general manger of Crane & Material Handling Equipment for Power Equipment Company said the company has built its business on providing creative and flexible solutions to meet the unique needs of its clients and it is pleased to be Amory’s one-stop shop for all of their equipment requirements.
Prior to settling on the Sennebogen model, Strawn said that he looked at other machines. We visited the steel mills here and other terminals up the river from us like the Hickman Terminal, that run Sennebogen machines. They liked them and I know the steel mills were keen on them.
“We talked to the folks at Power Equipment who showed us the lifting charts on them and they gave us outstanding service. That was one of the things that drove the decision… the service we get from them,” said Strawn.
Not having a service contract is not a huge concern for Strawn and his technicians, pointing out that they have not had any downtime with the 870 M since they purchased it in October 2008. Since then it has logged about 800 hours without any problems.
“From a serviceability standpoint, it can’t get any simpler,” he said.
The 870 M’s hydraulic system does not rely on computers and can be subjected to extreme variations in weather and the elements that make sensitive electronics on other machines more prone to failure in the field. These purpose-built machines utilize smart and simple engineering without relying on complex electronic instruments to ensure the machine starts up and works all the time.
After one year in operation, Strawn has noticed that it also is fuel efficient. According to Sennebogen, the material handler uses half of the fuel of a converted excavator.
Although simple to maintain, it is the performance that counts and Strawn said he was in for a pleasant surprise when they started to put the 870 M through its paces.
“I was looking for a machine that can offload a barge in six to six and a half hours, and so far, if the conveyors are working alright, the Sennebogen unit can unload a 35 by 200 feet standard size river barge in about four and half to five hours, just using the bucket and conveyor,” he said.
Much faster than anticipated and a welcome bonus to the barge vessels at the dock.
“They get free access in and out, but the meter starts running after a certain amount of time. By the time the coal barges get here, they have used up all of their ’free days’ in West Virginia. We’ll have one day after they arrive to get them unloaded before the barge line starts charging them. So it really helps us,” said Strawn.
In addition to the time benefit, the visibility offered by the 870 M is enhanced due to the machine’s hydraulic elevating cab system, which gives the operator a better top down view to see inside the barge.
“From an operator standpoint, the guys love that machine because it’s stable and once they get set up they can see in the barge without having to strain themselves,” said Strawn.
“When it’s up about 22 feet in the air, from that vantage point, the operator can almost see right into the corners. Most of the time they have it raised up about three quarters of its extended cab position. That way the operator is further out and it is a lot easier for them. With the visibility we get from this machine and the rotating clamshell, we can clean the barge floor pretty good before running a skid steer in there at the end for the final cleanup.”
For Strawn, making the decision to go with a Sennebogen machine was fueled by a combination of the experience from other operators, Sennebogen’s reputation, the service offered by its dealer, its mobility and overall performance. As such, he has no hesitation to recommend the 870 M to other terminal facilities.
“It is doing the job faster than we hoped for, it’s reliable, it’s smooth, it’s quick to set up and move and the guys are comfortable in the cab,” said Strawn. “It’s everything that we hoped for.”
For more information, call 877/309-0099 or visit www.sennebogen-na.com.
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