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How SENNEBOGEN's new quick coupling system is helping one machine do the work of many

A material handler with a Vario Tool works in a scrapyard
A SENNEBOGEN Vario Tool attached to a material handler.

When Kelly Frantzich went shopping for new material handlers for Pacific Steel & Recycling, he got more than he bargained for.

The company's management team had agreed that some of its smaller yards needed more processing capacity. Frantzich, as the firm's equipment manager, was fielding requests to several OEMs for mobile shears mounted on a wheeled machine. Colleen Miller at SENNEBOGEN said yes to the request, then bought an 830 M paired with a new engineered multi-function system that SENNEBOGEN had recently introduced in Europe.

As Miller explained to the Pacific Steel managers, the new SENNEBOGEN Vario Tool would give their yards a mobile shear that could still perform traditional scrap-handling duties. The Vario Tool is designed especially for scrap processing and demolition work. A unique coupling system connects the boom and a custom stick to one of several attachments including a shear, orange peel grapple, clamshell bucket, lifting hooks, or even a magnet, without having to get out of the machine. 

Improved machine utilization

According to Frantzich, "We were intrigued by the idea for some of our smaller yards where we don't get full utilization of a shear machine and material handler. Or it might be a good fit for larger yards where we're doing some offloading, plus we get the shear too. The Vario Tool is designed to complete all the required connections for each attachment automatically, so operators are able to switch from one to another, in two minutes or less, without leaving the cab."

With the Vario Tool system installed on a wheeled SENNEBOGEN 825, 830, or 835, Frantzich said having one machine able to do two jobs or more, would allow significant savings, compared to a single-use machine that would otherwise be utilized only 15 percent to 20 percent of the time.

Jack Stoken, Operations Manager at Pacific Steel's facility in Kalispell, MT, agrees. Stoken's yard was the first to receive one of the three Vario Tool machines that Pacific Steel has ordered.

"We are mid to smaller sized yard for this company with our scrap iron business. We have a scrap handler and we have a Genesis shear on another machine. We handle a lot of shred here, with relatively little heavy iron. But we needed a little bit more capacity because we were falling behind in our processing," he said.

Stoken's SENNEBOGEN 830 M arrived this past September, equipped with the Vario Tool and two attachments: A Genesis 555 rotator shear and a hydraulic grapple.

"Adding a new 830 with the Vario Tool attachment seemed to make sense," he said. "The 830, with its high-flow hydraulics circuit, has plenty of power to run the shear. It will be a scrap-handler most of the time but it will also fill in as a shear. It's less costly to buy one machine versus two; it gives us more options and it's able to cover both of the other machines if one goes down."

Stoken continues: "Our main demand is unloading customers, feeding balers, loading trucks. Right now, our shear is out of the yard on a large project, so we have the 830 filling in with the shear. This allows us to offer more services to our clients without sacrificing productivity in the yard. Changing the attachments is very easy and can be done in under two minutes We will be mounting a camera on the boom to give the operator a better look when coupling. It will get even quicker as they get more experienced with it."

Service support was a deciding factor

Stoken says that, along with the Vario Tool feature, service support was a deciding factor in going with SENNEBOGEN. One of Stoken's technicians is among a group of seven Pacific Steel & Recycling staff who were enrolled in the hands-on factory training program at SENNEBOGEN's training centre in Charlotte, NC.

The yard is also supported by a local heavy equipment shop who now have a factory-trained SENNEBOGEN mechanic on their team. Located just ten minutes from the Pacific Steel facility, they were quick to enroll in SENNEBOGEN's ASP - Authorized Service Provider program. ASP shops receive the same training and same access to parts as a SENNEBOGEN distributor. 

Pacific Steel has been working with SENNEBOGEN machines in various locations since 2007. "SENNEBOGEN has proven themselves to us," says Frantzich. "They are in for the long haul; material handlers is all they do. It's a good quality product."

Company info

1957 Sennebogen Trail
Stanley, NC
US, 28164


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5 River Drive South
Great Falls, MT
US, 59405


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