Manufacturer of compact construction machines and light equipment Wacker Neuson has supplied five tele wheel loaders and tele- handlers for use at a project aimed at reducing scrub encroachment on farms in Namibia and turning the subsequent biomass into fuel for a cement factory.
The Otavi/Namibia project was initiated by Germany-based Schwenk Gruppe, whose Ohorongo Cement factory, in Otavi, required high levels of heat for the manufacture of cement.
To meet this demand, shredded timber was obtained by means of offering a scrub clearance service through the Energy for Future (EFF) project for local farms facing the problem of a poor grass: scrub ratio. This poor grass:scrub ratio is caused by increased scrub encroachment, which, in turn, has made the land agriculturally desolate because animals can no longer graze there.
“The EFF project benefits both farmers and our cement factory. In addition to making farmland usable again, EFF will, in the long term, also provide economic benefits and could even be exported to other countries as a means of successfully obtaining local, renewable biofuels.
We chose Wacker Neuson machinery not only because of its reputation for efficiency but also because it copes well with demanding working conditions,” explains EFF director Tobias Konzmann.
Bush on farms is shredded using a unique harvesting device made by Germany-based specialist machinery manufac- turer AHWI. Unlike conven- tional scrub-clearing methods such as bulldozers or chemicals, this method ensures erosion control and the protection of certain species and trees that provide shade for animals.
After shredding, four 750T tele wheel loaders with all-wheel steering are used to load the shredded material onto trucks for transport to cement factories.
The wheel loaders demonstrate reliability through their ability to work in hot, dusty conditions and under the continued stress of multiple loading cycles.
Windhoek-based company Independent Business System (IBS), which is a Wacker Neuson dealer, is also pleased with the new machine. IBS has been selling and servicing Wacker Neuson construction equipment for more than 30 years and is now also assuming responsibility for construction machinery, says owner Wolfgang Büttner.
He says the Wacker Neuson 750T tele wheel loaders are suitable for scrub-removal tasks on farms, owing to the stability provided by the all-wheel steering.
He explains that, for traditional scrub-removal tasks, no fewer than 56 load cycles are required to load a truck with about 90 m³ of shredded material, which, despite the low material density, equates to over 25 t a truck.
“Using the hydraulic grab buckets and the loader’s standard third control circuit, a sufficiently practised driver will require only 30 minutes for each cycle, which underlines the machine’s performance and ease of operation,” states Büttner.
The cement factory, which is located 450 km from Windhoek, also presents extreme conditions for Wacker Neuson’s service division.“
After-sales service is important in this geographically and demographically challenging region. Here, too, we can offer EFF around-the-clock service owing to the well-trained and organised staff at IBS,” explains IBS workshop manager Ulf Diemer.
In addition to undertaking work on farms, Wacker Neuson is also active in the reprocessing plant at the cement factory where a 4009 telehandler is in constant use to feed the system.
Ohorongo Cement factory manager Markus Nauiseb says the 4009 telehandler has been in use for 24 hours a day, seven days a week for three months.
Owing to the telehandler’s built-in reversal fan, which blows the radiator clean at the push of a button, full cooling power is ensured, even at high ambient temperatures.
The working height of up to 9 m and a payload of up to 4 t mean the telehandler performs the work of a large truck but with far lower acquisition and operating cost, says Nauiseb.
Further, the factory’s operators appreciate the operability and good visibility when loading the material using the lightweight materials buckets.
Wacker Neuson states that tele- handlers and tele wheel loaders are making a significant contribution to the preservation of valuable farmland in Namibia and are a significant factor in the economic operation of the new cement factory. “The company is, therefore, proud to be part of the EFF project and of gaining an even stronger foothold in the market for compact machines in Africa,” it states.