Major tree nursery relies on compact wheel loader
A Schäffer 2436 SLT has been helping to lighten the load at the Bruns tree nurseries in Lower Saxony for a few months. A light working weight, a low overall height and an impressive lifting power make the manoeuvrable loader the flexible all-in-one package. Operations Manager, Frank Einemann, tells us about a standard working day at one of the largest tree nurseries in Europe.
With a total area of more than 500 ha spread across 4 locations in the north-western region of Lower Saxony, the Johann Bruns tree nurseries are leading examples of their kind in Europe. In 1876, gardener Diedrich-Gerhard Bruns founded a gardening company which was later further developed by his son, Johann, into a very efficient tree nursery. Around 300 employees are tasked with looking after the entire range of 40,000 species. One of those employees is Frank Einemann, Operations Manager, who is responsible for the Bruns container operations in Gristede. It’s at this location where bushes and broad-leafed trees and shrubs are grown in pot sizes of 7.5 to 40 litres. More than 400,000 plants per year are sold in Gristede; it represents quite an impressive number which can only be achieved with a modern fleet of machines.
A Schäffer 2436 SLT has been used for the Bruns container operations in Gristede for a short while now. “SLT” stands for “Schäffer Lader Tief” (Schäffer - Loader - Low) and therefore for the particularly low design of the 2436 with a total height of 1.95 m. The loader has a powerful output of 26 kW (36 HP) and is equipped with a 4 cylinder Kubota engine. The lifting height at the loader arm is 2.50 m. The wheel loader can take on typical tasks such as transporting and loading pallets as well as bulk goods such as turf, sand and gravel and moving plant containers with a special hydraulic hitch fork to name but a few. A dirt scraper can also be used to quickly and efficiently clean a large area of coarse dirt.
The wheel loader is the perfect solution for use in tree nurseries with a working weight of just 2,450 kg and a tipping load of a remarkable 1,700 kg. “We were looking for a compact but high-performance loader which we could use with a great deal of flexibility and which could be used to drive into our tunnel greenhouses. Some of the greenhouses have particularly low clearance heights of less than 2 m. We are impressed by the low ground contact pressure and low height of the powerful loader,” Frank Einemann explains his decision to opt for the Schäffer 2436 SLT. The low construction design offers yet another benefit: “During our work, we often need to get on and off of the loader. The low design will dramatically reduce this,” Einemann says.
The low contact pressure on the ground is also very helpful for driving on the tarpaulin. “Almost all greenhouse tunnels and exhibition spaces are covered with Mypax tarpaulin. So that we don’t cause any damage to it, we decided on wide tyres which reduce the impact on the soil with an SKD profile by distributing the load across a greater area. Even with a fully-laden pallet fork, the tarpaulin remains in sound condition when manoeuvring the loader. The tyres also provide greater stability”, said Frank Einemann who is happy with his choice.
An additional advantage of the 2436 SLT is its manoeuvrability. “It’s an absolute must for loaders to have a good degree of manoeuvrability in the tight passageways within our greenhouses and exhibition spaces”, the experienced master gardener explained further. The articulated steering of the wheel loader allows for an inner turning radius of just 1.05 m and therefore provides the manoeuvrability required in day-to-day business. “We were particularly keen to be able to have great manoeuvrability with the loader on our Bonsai exhibition space. If the wheel loader were to get caught on or disturb these very valuable plants in any way, this could quickly cause a huge amount of damage”, highlighted Einemann.
Efficiency is, of course, a topic which plays a particularly important role at Bruns tree nurseries when such a large sales volume is involved. “We spend a lot of time and effort looking into how we can optimise operational procedures. One of the outcomes from these deliberations was to equip the 2436 SLT with a hitch fork which can be hydraulically adjusted. By using this attachment, we are able to transport up to 70 plant containers with a volume of between 5 and 15 litres at a time. It’s especially on days when it gets a little stressful that being able to do this means we can increase efficiency enormously.
Frank Einemann recalls the day on which the decision was taken to purchase the loader, “In the run-up to making the decision we had tried a number of wheel loaders from various manufacturers. In the Schäffer 2436 SLT, we found a loader which fully meets all of our requirements. The first few hours of operation with the new wheel loader proved that we had made the right decision.”