Multihandler Works Triple-Duty
Maintaining kiln temperatures in excess of 1,450°C, energy is a primary cost for every cement manufacturing facility. At Ciment Québec Inc., one of the largest producers of Portland cement in Quebec, it is a priority to always be on the lookout for finding a lower cost fuel alternative for its coal-fired kilns.
Ciment Québec recently launched a new alternative fuel project, converting a wide variety of rejected materials that could not otherwise be recycled, into fuel. With a target of processing impressive volumes of material per year, a key step in the project’s design was to acquire economical methods to perform three material handling tasks on the site: stockpiling the material, feeding it to the shredders and, when called upon, to feed the processed alternative fuel directly to the pyroprocess.
“We designed the project with the SENNEBOGEN 305 Multihandler in mind,” says Ciment Québec Maintenance & Project director Denis Gagnon. “We evaluated and demo’ed a number of telehandlers and loaders, but then we searched the internet for other options. That’s when we found the Multihandler.”
According to Mr. Gagnon, the SENNEBOGEN machine was the only choice that met all of his criteria for material handling duties that include pushing, reaching, loading and lifting. “We saw some telehandlers that attach a bucket for loading, but they are not built for prolonged duty in that role,” he explains. “The 305’s boom is comparatively more adapted to pushing/loading applications. It has the strength and agility to work as a loader as well as a telehandler.”
Versatility is the name of the game for a mixed materials operation like the Ciment Québec facility. Located about 50 km outside Quebec City, Mr. Gagnon’s project relies on recycling yards throughout the region for any material that provides sufficiently high BTU values to serve the furnace. The amount and type of material available as fuel depends entirely on what the recyclers decide to provide: from surplus papers and plastics, to scrap tires and asphalt shingles, to wooden railway ties. It all goes into the shredders.
To handle the different material types, the operator of the Multihandler typically switches between boom attachments a couple of times a day. The machine was originally equipped with a bucket and forks attachments, and a new grapple attachment has just been delivered. “Changing attachments is very quick,” says Mr. Gagnon. “It takes less time to switch than it takes to drive across the yard.”
The 305 Multihandler covers that ground pretty quickly, too. The machine can hit a top speed of 25 km/h and it can turn inside an outside radius of just 4.7 m. The operator uses a single joystick control and can select from three steering modes (crab, all-wheel steering, front wheel steering) to work quickly in confined areas.
Denis Gagnon cites the elevating operator’s cab as a valuable feature of the Multihandler that continues to set it apart from the other telehandlers and loaders they investigated. “The top of the hopper is close to 7.6 m above ground level,” he explains. “The hi-rise cab can elevate the operator up to a 4 m eye level, so he gets a much better look at his work area. It’s a very comfortable cab, too, which helps because he is often in there for many hours every day!”
In operations since 1951, the Saint-Basile facility produces about 1,000,000 t/y of cement, which it ships to customers throughout Quebec, the Maritimes, the New England states and into Ontario. The company has earned an excellent reputation for innovative methods of “greening” its operations with low emissions and high energy efficiency. Ciment Québec was the first company in North America – third in the world – to install the “Ecofurnace,” an advanced solid fuel handling and burning circuit which allows it to use alternate fuels cleanly.
At the time Denis Gagnon was searching for a material handling solution, he was unfamiliar with the SENNEBOGEN line. His internet search led him to Top Lift Enterprises, the local SENNEBOGEN distributor who arranged for a demonstration. Top Lift continues to provide onsite maintenance services for the Multihandler.
With the success of the system to date, Denis Gagnon reports that Ciment Québec is considering the purchase of a second 305 Multihandler as soon as material volumes warrant it. “It’s up to the recyclers,” he says. “If they can supply more material, we’re ready to replace more coal!”
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