Owners Paul and Hunter Cunningham and the staff at Lake Pleasant Recycling and Demolition (LPRD) concluded in 2019 they were having problems keeping up with internal growth. One such problem was their two material handlers, which had been purchased in 2012 and now had 5,700 and 7,500 operating hours each.
Poor reliability, hard to get parts and extended service downtime was costing the company. “We couldn’t get the material where it needed to be in an efficient or timely manner,” says Paul. “That’s what we do at LPRD, so we needed to come up with an economical, long-term solution.”
Paul and Hunter set out to find the “best fit” material handler for LPRD’s 15-acre operation, located in the Irish Hills region of south central Michigan, not far from Michigan International Speedway.
Paul says he considered several factors in his search, including purchase price, safety, productivity, operating costs, reliability, durability, service and parts availability. He says his first deal was already on the table for the same brand of equipment LPRD purchased in 2012. However, Paul wanted to dig deeper into what the market had to offer.
His search led him to Alta Equipment, a dealership group with multiple locations in the Great Lakes region that represents Sennebogen material handlers. The Cunninghams say they found that Alta had many satisfied Sennebogen customers already operating in Michigan, who were eager to share their positive experiences with the green material handlers.
The Cunninghams say they also were impressed by the support staff at Alta, which included dedicated Sennebogen product specialists and field service mechanics who were trained specifically on Sennebogen equipment. Additionally, Alta was stocked with parts inventory and equipped with a fleet of service trucks to get onsite fast to get the job done, the scrap recyclers found.
“Mike Adams, Alta account manager, was a key element in building my confidence in both Alta and Sennebogen equipment,” says Paul. “Mike was there from the start, through the whole process and he still stops in here often, even after the sale. We were very tough on Mike through the negotiation process, but he bounced back every time we knocked him down. That tenacity further strengthened our relationship. Once Alta came to terms with our budget, our deal fell into place. Sennebogen was clearly the equipment frontrunner and most qualified to meet my ‘best fit’ equipment criteria,” he adds.
Says Mike Adams, “Uptime matters. We strive to live up to our mantra every day; Alta is a service company that gets to sell equipment.”
Six weeks after reaching a deal, the first of the two Sennebogen 825 M E Series units arrived at LPRD. The second unit was on site eight weeks later. The material handlers were identical units equipped with Cummins Tier IV emissions engines. One was equipped with a four-tine grapple and the other with a magnet. Either machine can work with the grapple or magnet attached.
“Our yard is really spread out and we need rapid mobility, maneuverability and quick set up,” says Hunter. “Whether we are at the scale, the shredder, loading or unloading trucks or anywhere in the yard, we need to get there and get there quickly with minimal setup time and get to work. The rubber tired all-wheel drive and steerable axles let us travel rapidly.”
Hunter continues, “We needed a machine with full under body protection. We also needed a machine with responsive controls and good visibility that would allow us to surgically remove engine blocks from scrap cars. We got it all, [and] we also got other things like the beefy cushioned cylinders that make it easier on both the machine and the operators.”
From a safety perspective, Hunter says the handlers came with “a bulletproof front windshield and guarding, a sliding door for quick and easy [access to and from the] cab, and full handrails on the outside to prevent falls while performing service work. Most importantly, we needed a rock-solid stable platform that runs hour after hour, day after day. The Sennebogen 825 M has it all and more.”
Paul says he has worked to quantify productivity and has seen improvements of 25 percent since bringing the two Sennebogens online in the yard. “These units are easy to operate, reliable and are quiet and safe both inside and outside the cab,” states Paul. “My operators only have praise for the Sennebogens. As well, I have tracked a significant reduction in our fuel costs. My operating cost are way down and my productivity is way up. As an owner of a yard, what more could I ask for?”
Concludes Paul, “No buyer’s remorse here. We did our homework [and] we built the relationship and without doubt we bought the best material handlers out there.”
Stanley, North Carolina-based Sennebogen LLC offers designed and made by Germany-based family business Sennebogen.