Sennebogen machines solve search for specialized pipe handlers
Extra-long reach and load capacity make material handlers strong pipe yard options
According to Pe Ben Operations Manager Jimmy Gregory, the pipe yard for a current project in McKeesport, Pennsylvania presented specific challenges that led him to search for a wheeled pipe handling solution. The answer he found was a SENNEBOGEN 825 M material handler.
“We typically use excavators with a vacuum attachment to move pipe to and from our trucks,” Gregory explains. “For this job, the owner of the pipe yard required us to use a wheeled machine, so we went searching for it. We checked the dealers for a couple different OEMs. The SENNEBOGEN dealer had this machine available on their lot. We tested it out, liked it, so we put it to work.”
Pipe handling differs from most material handling applications, requiring an extra-long reach with the load capacity to safely maneuver the lengths of heavy steel pipe. Tommy Haynes is the Project Superintendent on site. He points out that each joint can weigh from 6,000 to 9,000 lb. (2,722 to 4,082 kg), in lengths from 20 ft. to 60 ft. (6.1 to 18.3 m). “The pipe in this yard is stacked on wooden stakes,” he continues, “so that extends the reach that the machine needs to pick a load.”
At the height of the construction season, Pe Ben has had as many as 22 excavators and 200 trucks operating in the field. However, Gregory admits he was surprised by the capability of the 825 M. “I would have planned to have a 130,000 lb. (58,967 kg) excavator to do this job. But the SENNEBOGEN machine is less than half that size. The 825 M weighs in at less than 62,000 lb. (28,123 kg). But, as a purpose-built machine, it’s engineered to lift instead of dig. The SENNEBOGEN’s geometry allows a much smaller machine to lift like a heavyweight! The compact size allows easier maneuvering within the yard and also achieves a significant fuel saving.”
The purpose-built material handler is also able to keep up with the cycle times for the Pe Ben trucks that service the jobsite. The fleet runs 7 trucks in the cycle to and from the site of the pipeline, with each truck carrying 11 lengths of pipe. Haynes’ target is to complete the loading for each pipe length in one minute, and the elevating cab on the 825 M provides an excellent vantage point for seeing into the stack when picking the load.
From this experience, Gregory says that Pe Ben will consider material handlers more closely for future projects. He acknowledges that a tracked SENNEBOGEN model would also be helpful for offloading his trucks at the construction site. The greater flotation and stability of the tracked undercarriage would be better suited to ground conditions there, but the SENNEBOGEN’s long reach and high load capacity would allow operators to set up conveniently at the end of the truck, where they can pick and place the pipe efficiently and safely.