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Schäffer loaders keep energy plant moving

Two new Schäffer loaders are proving their reliability at a biogas plant near Ballymena, Northern Ireland, that runs on poultry manure. Dublin based Stream BioEnergy decided to buy two new Schäffer 8610 T telescopic wheel loaders from Schäffer sales partner H Fulton Tractors Ltd in Dungiven to help keep the new energy plant operating.

The company had set some specifications to help with the buying decision and Schäffer came out on top almost ticking every box. Stream BioEnergy developed a new biogas plant that runs solely on poultry manure in Tully Quarry outside Ballymena built by Xergi Ltd in Denmark and local company BSG Ltd.

The new energy plant takes in up to 40,000 tonnes per year of poultry manure from over 100 farmers in Northern Ireland and produces 3MW of electrical energy running 24 hours a day, every day. This is enough energy to supply 4,000 homes.

Xergi Ltd plant manager Simon Edgar had been working with Stream BioEnergy to find a telescopic wheel loader that was best suited to the rigorous use required on the plant. He had researched various other brands, but none compared to the Schäffer 8610 T. He said: “A key factor when researching these machines was reliability, and when you get the heavy build quality you expect from German engineering it gives us confidence that expensive down time can be kept to a minimum. The 8610 T has a lift capacity of 3,800kg and with a compact design allows us to operate in confined spaces making it the ideal choice for us,” he said.

Schäffer Maschinenfabrik GmbH have supplied the same model of machines to many biogas plants in Germany, and it has been proven to be the best machine suited for this high demanding industry. The Schäffer 8610 T model is powered by a 102hp Deutz common rail turbo engine which is water cooled. This machine is very agile and can operate in constricted areas with its pivot steer and low height.  With an operating weight of 6,500kgs the Schäffer 8610 T has a maximum lift capacity of 3,800kgs. This model sits just over 6m long with bucket and has a maximum working height of 2.55m.

Schäffer has also added its SCV cab (Silence,Comfort,View) to the 8610 T model which offers more operator comfort for longer working days. Access to the cab is very easy thanks to the safely positioned steps and the large dimensions of the doors.  

Due to the nature of the business at the biogas plant they use one loader solely for handling the poultry manure when it arrives at the site. In order that there are no contaminations the second Schäffer loader works only loading the digestate by-product which is used as a fertiliser.

One of the Schäffer loader operators at the Ballymena plant is Andrew Tuff who was previously only used to driving forklifts before driving this pivot steer unit. “The Schäffer presents excellent visibility from the cab which is essential at the plant considering the loaders have to use high tip buckets to reach into the hoppers. I was only really used to driving forklifts before getting onboard the Schäffer pivot steers,” said Andrew. “I have to say the Schäffer 8610 T is easy to operate. It’s a relatively small area I work in when the collecting area is full of poultry manure but the Schäffer can operate well in tight areas. The visibility is excellent both directly in front of me, around the cab and to the bucket when tipping. The hoppers we use are very high so the Schäffer is fitted with a high tip bucket and I can see it clearly from the operator seat when at full lift. The machine is also relatively quiet when working which was another consideration when buying these machines. Engine access is straightforward too, should we need it,” he said.

And one more factor that influenced the buying decision for the owners was the assurance from the dealership that should any of the Schäffer loaders break down, there would be a replacement sent to the energy plant as soon as possible to ensure it remained operational 24 hours per day.

With the 8620 T Schäffer has meanwhile introduced a successor model of the 8610 T. The new loaders stands for the new generation of telescopic wheel loaders at Schäffer. It offers a wide range of options for an even more efficient and more environmentally friendly operation.

8620 T product page
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