Cameron River Logistics Finds a Log Handler it Can Rely On

From the operator's vantage point, 16 ft. CTL logs are easily moved from the stack to the railcars going to Dunkley.

Wed March 03, 2021

Nothing much has changed over the past three years here at Cameron River Logistics (CRL), and that, in itself, is a good thing.

The huge transload facility in BC's Peace River district still receives up to 50 truckloads a day of 16-ft. CTL spruce logs. Dozens of train cars leave the yard every week, moving the logs to the Dunkley sawmill five hours south. And the Sennebogen 830 M-T log handler shows up to work every day to keep the wood moving.

Three years ago, though, uptime in the yard was a challenge. The previous log loader could do the job keeping up with the required pace of deliveries. But if the machine had a technical problem, it could cause serious productivity issues.

"We had issues with parts availability," said Andrew Moore, president of CRL. "Wire harnesses were taking four to five months to deliver; a steering knuckle failed and we were told it would be three months before they'd have one to ship from the factory."

When the previous loader was ruined in a fire, Moore and his team thought twice about how to replace it. That's when, in the summer 2018, they decided to make a change.

They chose to purchase a new Sennebogen 830 M-T from the nearby Fort St. John branch of Great West Equipment.

Beyond the Machine

Sennebogen engineers have always worked to the principle of keeping equipment repairs and maintenance simplified by using readily available parts whenever possible. Local distributors like Great West don't have to wait for OEM parts from overseas either. Sennebogen's 100,000 sq. ft. warehouse near Charlotte, N.C., maintains a complete inventory of replacement parts for every make and model currently in service. Dealer orders are usually on their way to the customer overnight.

"With Sennebogen, you're not reinventing the wheel," Moore said. "It's got a Cummins engine, Bosch Rexroth hydraulics; all industry-standard components easily sourced nearby, should they be needed."

Constantino Lannes, president of Sennebogen LLC, said that maintaining a dependable parts supply is a core value for the company.

"We're thinking ‘beyond the machine' to support our customers' business through the whole life of the equipment. Recently, we introduced new programs and incentives to help our dealers think and act the same way. We're very proud of the depth of local inventories, especially in remote locations serving resource industries. And, with our training center, it has led to Sennebogen having North America's largest network of factory-trained material handler technicians."

With two sets of tracks, when a set of railcars are filled, they move in the second unit.

Purpose-Built for Log Yard Conditions

Moore reported that parts availability already had the yard leaning toward Sennebogen, but the purpose-built design of 830 M-T clinched the decision. The 830 M-T is a 91,000 lb. (41,400 kg), 225 hp (168 kW) machine built specifically for log handling and trailer-pulling applications.

A specially reinforced undercarriage features dual transmissions, providing powerful 4-wheel traction to handle the stresses of pulling heavy log trailers loaded with up to 64,000 lbs. through muddy yard conditions. Operators have said that the Sennebogen has already pulled through spots where, in the past, the old machine would have been stuck.

Even more important is the fact that the Sennebogen helps to keep operations smooth simply by showing up every day.

"Going on to three years, we have 5,200 hours on it now," Moore said. "We do our own preventive maintenance servicing. Great West comes out any time we need them — we're very happy with the parts staff there. About 90 percent of what has been needed are hydraulic hoses that break in minus 30-degree weather. Nothing big. We added a fire suppression system, and we do a structural inspection every year. With the price of lumber as high as it is, demand for our logs has grown and our Sennebogen is doing the job."

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Logs as far as the eye can see.