Malcolm Bates reports on Sennebogen Maschinenfabrik's 65th anniversary event with the introduction of 12 new machines.
The Bavarian town of Straubing in Germany is the global headquarters of Sennebogen Maschinenfabrik GmbH. This year marked the 65th anniversary of the company founded in 1952 by Erich Sennebogen senior. So some celebration was in order. But the event wasn’t just about the past – it was also used to announce new products for 2018. All twelve of them!
To be fair, not all the new product announcements at the recent 65th anniversary event in Straubing relate to the waste and recycling sector. But we need to remember that much of the success of this still family-owned business has come about as a result of utilising design, manufacturing and customer support operations across several different industry sectors, like port handling, waste, forestry and construction.
Clearly, the policy seems to have worked well, although once upon a time, each product line was painted a different colour. Today, all Sennebogen machines are finished in bright green. “Unless the customer requests, we paint them in their own corporate colours,” the present CEO of the company, Eric Sennebogen Junior, reminds me.
Our location is the impressive Erich Sennebogen Museum, attached to the Sennebogen Academy beside one of the two main manufacturing facilities in Straubing. Fittingly, for one of the largest employers in the area, this site is situated on Sennebogen Strasse, part of a modern industrial park on the edge of town.
Normally, that would be enough of the ‘scene setting’, but as part of a large contingent of dealers, customers and journalists from all over the world, we’ve all just had a guided tour of the entire site by the energetic Eric Sennebogen himself.
This included a look at the impressive new assembly hall for what he ironically calls “our larger machines.” Most of us know that Sennebogen doesn’t ‘do small’, but that still doesn't prepare me for the size of a building that can make a 130-tonne ma chine look like a 20-tonner. To put that in context, the new spraybooth is 35 metres long.
BUYING INTO THE
Having spent far longer than I should have look ing at the beautifully restored ‘oldtimer’ ma- chines in the company museum, thankfully, there was still time to see the new machines in action on the demonstration area.
During his introduction speech, Eric Sennebogen had underlined the philosophy of the company, starting with the importance of good customer relations and the need for regular feedback.
All CEOs probably include that in any presentation to journalists, but while Eric Sennebogen clearly means what he says, the dealers and distributors of Sennebogen machines have to buy into that message as well. Do they? Based on my conversations over the two days spent at Straubing, I’d say yes, they certainly do.
NEW FOR 2018
Just when I thought he was winding up his presentation, Eric Sennebogen used the opportunity to announce some new range additions for 2018 – all twelve of them!
True, many are aimed at the port handling and construction sectors, but the availability of an entirely new ‘MaxCab’ (which is already in production) is worth a closer look. Available with a sliding cab door option – and available on machines requiring hydraulically raised cabs – it offers the latest ‘Ergo’ joystick technology as well as an air-con
ditioned seat option. But one of the biggest advantages is the extra 70 mm of interior space from front screen to rear panel. True, that doesn’t sound much, but it’s enough to accommodate a coolbox behind the seat and space for other personal effects.
Alongside new range additions, such as the ‘SLC4000E’ – a ‘ladle cleaner’ for operation in the high temperatures (heat resistant up to 1000 degrees!) of steel works and foundries and the new 33-metre, 113-tonne ‘870E’ demolition rig, there are some significant new models aimed at the scrap, waste and recycling sectors.
Top of the list is the new ‘817E’. Named the ‘Waste Beetle,’ it’s a 17-tonne 360 degrees-wheeled materials handler with a standard 9 metre reach and a hydraulically-raised cab. At 4.6 metres long, 2.5 metres wide and 3.20 metres on overall height, it is a gen eral purpose machine in tight, restricted facilities.
“We’ve designed it to be fast and nimble,” Eric Sennebogen confirms. It also features the new Max-Cab and can be transported by road to other sites without special arrangements being required.
While ‘Collection & Handling’ has previously looked at electrically-powered Sennebogens working in waste and recycling, the word ‘hybrid’ crops-up again in a different context.
The new eighttonne capacity (at 25 metres reach) ‘870E’ features a ‘Green Energy Recovery System’, which Eric Sennebogen claims, should result in energy savings of up to 30 percent. On a typical production cycle, this could help save up to 25,000 litres of diesel per annum.
It is in effect a gas accumulator which captures energy from the operation of the boom. Applications could include waste and recyclable materials processing.
While I feverishly list every new model for 2018, I make a note to remind myself to ask Eric Sennebogen at the end of his presentation about new innovations that might have been announced, but weren’t. Like perhaps a new lithium-ion battery-powered materials handler capable of working both inside and more specifically, outside? And why ... Hang on, he’s still announcing new machines ... The new ‘9300E’ – a 90 tonne machine with a 40 metre radius capable of being used on unstable surfaces thanks to having 14 wheels!
That brings new meaning to the term ‘wheely’, I’m thinking. Then there’s the new electric ‘8400E’ port handler – a balance crane design, that is so large, it was shipped by river barge all the way to the customer in Bulgaria. Then we have the ‘825E’ – a Tier-4, wheeled machine.
“One machine with three applications,” Eric Sennebogen suggests. Several variants will be offered, making it suited to scrap, woodwaste and other recycling applications, he tells me.
WHAT’S NEXT, ERIC?
Finally, Eric Sennebogen has finished. Sixty five years of constant growth, innovation and investment. Diversification from the original machines designed to bring mechanisation in agriculture, to the situation today where whatever the material that needs handling or lifting, there’s probably a ‘Green Machine’ able to do the job.
An impressive record of building dealer and customer partnerships throughout the world. Actually, I’m worried that asking about something that hasn’t been done yet might sound a bit negative.
“The reason why we haven’t introduced a lithium-ion battery powered electric machine is down to the cost of the battery packs needed to replace a 170 kW diesel engine,” he explains. It would double the cost of, say, a wheeled materials handler.
But while it would indeed be a zero-emissions unit, unlike many other lithium-ion powered machines, a materials handler is likely to be in use for most of the entire shift. So ‘on-station’ time and battery life would be difficult to predict. “This makes the total cost of ownership hard to calculate,” Eric adds.
What about a move from wheeled or tracked machines working in what in most cases is a fixed location inside a large shed, towards smaller fixed podium machines powered by main electricity?
Eric Sennebogen points out quite rightly that the product range already includes suitable ‘crane’ superstructures for this application, but as yet, he has not spotted a significant shift towards fixed machines. But yes, he agrees, although more expensive, fully pressurised cabs are now increasingly being specified to create a dustfree driver environment.
But what about the clever – and arguably unique – ‘Multihandler’? Although an expensive machine, surely the advantages of a telehandler with a hydraulically raised cab that can be used without stabiliser jacklegs is ideal for operation in tight waste and recycling facilities?
“Our Multihandler 305 is ideal for such applications as it provides the operator with excellent vision when working with a range of attachments,” Eric Sennebogen confirms, but so far it seems, operators in waste and recycling have yet to see the advantages of the larger 10 tonne capacity 310 model.
Me? I’d argue the Multihandler 310’s time is yet to come. And if you missed the party at Straubing? Don’t worry, Sennebogen looks set to have an impressive line-up of machines at IFAT in Munich next May.