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REMONDIS’ branch in Erftstadt near Cologne has entered a new age of pre-treatment logistics with its acquisition of a new electrical excavator (model: MHL 820). Up to now, professional businesses have been reluctant to use electrically run vehicles for moving medium to heavy loads. The reservations towards such technology appeared to be too great as it requires an external source of energy and – unlike engines run on fossil fuels – is dependent on a lead. The tide, however, is turning thanks to clever technology and a number of advantages. Electrical excavators are now a genuine alternative. REMONDIS has picked up on this trend and taken the first step towards sustainably saving energy.
The first thing a person notices when they enter the large hall at REMONDIS’ facility in Erkrath is that it is relatively quiet. Indeed, they might even think that a shift is ending and a new one just starting or that some of the machines have been turned off. Then, though, they see the arm of the new excavator removing specific areas of material from the input pile and feeding it into the shredder to create, as far as possible, a homogenous mixture. The driver sitting in his cab is handling the excavator in the same efficient way he would his old diesel-run excavator only there are no loud engine sounds nor is there a smell of diesel in the air. Where would such a smell come from? The energy for the excavator comes from an electrical socket. There are no emissions, no soot, no fine particulates. For a business working with waste, the air is by comparison clean.
One of the many advantages of the electrical excavator: it can work without a break. The weekly breaks which the diesel-run excavators have to take to fill up with fuel and which cost two hours of production time are a thing of the past
The MHL 820 not only means there are no emissions and that it is relatively quiet in the enclosed hall, it also cuts energy consumption by up to 25%. Whilst the first generation of electrical excavators also had these advantages, they had the disadvantage of not being mobile. The equipment was unable to propel itself forward as it lacked its own source of power such as that provided by a conventional engine. In contrast, the new electrical excavator has absolutely no problem moving its own weight (21 tonnes) from one place to another. The reason for this: a so-called ‘Power Pack’ has been installed in the vehicle, a kind of selectable range extender in the form of a small diesel unit which feeds its energy directly into the batteries and then transfers it to the wheels. Once the excavator has reached the place it needs to be in, everything is run electrically again. And this is precisely what the next big advantage is of the electrical excavator. Reinhard Hohenstein, managing director of REMONDIS Rhineland, describes it thus: ”The new excavator hardly ever has to be moved as it doesn’t need to be filled up. The excavator run on diesel had to stop its work three times a week and be driven to the filling station. In all, almost 2 hours of production had to be halted – valuable time which is now saved thanks to the electrical excavator. It just keeps on going.”
This emission-free work with the electrical excavator helps to improve the atmosphere and is healthier for the employees and so increases work safety. Less time is needed to maintain and service the vehicle. Besides checking the hydraulic oil, the filter and, from time to time, the air conditioning system in the driver’s cab, there is very little left to service. So what does it feel like to handle such a modern excavator? Johannes Ungermann, one of the drivers at REMONDIS in Erftstadt, put it in a nutshell: ”The excavator is not only quieter, it runs far more smoothly and vibrates less. It is more stable, too, as the power transmission is simply better as a result of the torque. Sitting in the cab, you can feel how the machine is being permanently and steadily provided with energy rather than having to step on the accelerator all the time.” Thanks to this acquisition, REMONDIS in Erftstadt is leading the way as it heads towards creating a logistics system that is not only quiet but free of emissions, too.