Gaeta Recycling achieves faster loading cycles, lower facility costs with Sennebogen purpose-built waste handler

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April 7, 2021

The 821 on rubber tires gets around the facility easily and quickly.

In its 85 years of operation, Gaeta Recycling has seen a lot of machines pass through its yard. Michael Portannese is the fifth generation of his family to lead the operation. Serving 30 municipalities in central New Jersey, Gaeta Recycling processes upwards of 720 tons of waste material a day through his MRF-certified facility. Moving material is at the heart of his business and, over the years, he has watched loading equipment become increasingly sophisticated and complex. But for his most recent purchase, Mr. Portannese was ready to try a different approach.

Switching to purpose-built

“A friend of mine recommended Sennebogen to me, a purpose-built material handler to replace the excavator we were using in our solid waste building,” he says. “Our latest machine had been nothing but problematic. It was constantly out of service, we had DPF and regen issues. But the garbage keeps coming in, whether we are broken down or not!”

He contacted the local Komatsu Northeast branch, Sennebogen’s distributor in the region, and soon had a new model 818 M to test out on the Gaeta site. “We put on a 3-over-2 construction grapple instead of the traditional rotating grapple you see in a scrap yard. We got the longer stick they offer for more reach and less movement of the machine.”

Mr. Portannese found that the 818 M did not have the power required for his application, but he liked what he saw. So, Komatsu Northeast placed his order for a larger 821 M Sennebogen.

Faster cycles, less downtime

The impact on his operation was immediate. “With the size of scoop we had and the long reach on the stick, the 818 did not have all the power we needed. The 821 provides all the hydraulic pressure we require. We are now loading a 20-ton walking floor trailer in 8 to 14 minutes—down from the 20-plus minutes or more with the excavator.”

Even better, with the reliability built in, Mr. Portannese can count on his new 821 to show up for work every day. “There’s very little computerization in it,” he says. “That’s what really caught my eye. The hydraulic over hydraulic controls are great. Powered by a Cummins engine, it seemed like it’s a very simple machine. I felt like we could work on it and maintain it much better than all these high-tech machines with these technologies that, in the end, just result in headaches.”

Dependable performance

In his estimation, Sennebogen got it right when it comes to producing a machine able to handle the dusty, harsh environment of a waste handling facility. “They have really put the machine through its paces and realized what the user wants. We want fewer things to go wrong, more things that are easy to fix and to be able to work on.”

Gaeta Recycling offers a complete range of recycling services, from C&D waste to paper shredding and secure e-waste handling. The 821 M is assigned to load trailers for Gaeta’s Type 10 and Type 13 solid waste processing facility. Because the material is delivered by compactor trucks, the Sennebogen is moving very dense, heavy loads. “Our machines run 16 hours a day, 5 days a week plus a Saturday shift,” Mr. Portannese says. “Whether it’s idle hours or utilization hours, there isn’t a moment that we don’t have a trailer backed into the building; as soon as one trailer pulls out loaded, the next one is in there to be loaded.”

With the raised cab, the operator has a perfect view of the trailer being loaded and can balance the load from front to back.

Reduced costs for facility and fleet

The 821 M is a rubber-tired machine, weighs in at 52,800 pounds (23,950 kg) and is powered by a 141 horsepower (105 KW) Cummins engine. As well as improving cycle times, the 821 M is saving facility costs for the business. Mr. Portannese explains, “When I was running excavators, I had to replace the concrete floor every two years! The tracks would destroy it! The rubber tires on the 821 save the floor, and they also give us better mobility on the street when we have to move the waste handler between buildings.”

He sees savings in his truck fleet, too, which is an unexpected bonus. “With the way the excavator is configured, you get a downstrike to help pack the load. We thought that we would lose this capability with a material handler, but we found that we don’t need it. The size of the scoop gives us the weight we need so we don’t have to tamp down the loads at all. We also aren’t destroying our trailers anymore!”

Operator-approved visibility

Mr. Portannese takes pride in the experience and loyalty that his employees bring to the business. He’s pleased that his operators are also enthusiastic about their new machine. “Our operators are very happy with it—with the cleanliness of the operations, what they are able to see from the cab, the hydraulic functioning and the fact that it’s not always breaking down!”

Sennebogen’s hydraulically lifting Maxcab achieves a new level of visibility for the operator. On Gaeta’s previous excavators, the cab was raised on risers to a fixed height. The Maxcab lets the operator raise the cab only as much as needed. Two safety cameras, standard equipment on all Sennebogen machines, give operators a 360-degree view of the entire work area. According to Mr. Portannese, the extra visibility improves loading efficiency and also provides some assurance to OSHA for job site safety in such a high-traffic facility.

Operators also appreciate how the Maxcab can be canted down to look directly into the trailer, instead of being set at a fixed eye level looking over the trailer.

With Gaeta’s scope of services and facilities, there is more room for Mr. Portannese to upgrade to purpose-built Sennebogen equipment in loading, feeding and sorting applications. “When we do need another machine, we will be looking at another Sennebogen. It definitely excels over other machines.”

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