“A recycling company is always intensively engaged with the topics of environment, environmental protection as well as energy efficiency. It’s important to us that we work sustainably and that we set trends in this socially relevant area. Instead of threshing out empty phrases … it is the actual work to recover valuable raw materials from waste that will help to create a future worth living for our children and grandchildren. And we take this task very seriously,” says CEO Mag Christian Müller-Guttenbrunn about the the topic of “Energy Efficiency”.
Intelligent high-tech wheel loaders with giant high-dump bucket.
Energy efficiency ranges from the energy efficiency of buildings, through to process-efficiency and it stretches up to the energy-efficiency of internal mobility and logistics. A “best practice” example of thoughtful in-house “green” logistics that can be found in the MGG company Metran in Kematen/Ybbs. Managing Director Gunther Panowitz explains why this is the case:”It is our goal to make the internal movements of our equipment as short and efficient as we can. We have five large wheel loaders in operation and these have been equipped with an optimized, huge shovel, with which we have expanded the bucket capacity of two and a half to almost six cubic meters. These high-dump buckets are designed to be able to tip material in each type of truck and to load material into feeders which can be up to four meters high. These buckets are therefore called high-dump buckets. With an extended mast and with more mass at the rear of the wheel loader tilting of the equipment is prevented. You have to realize that when the bucket is full, up to 6.5 metric tons of material is lifted in one handling.”
Another unique feature of the Metran-loaders is the hydraulic scales in the buckets. With this technique the pressure acting on the bucket geometry is measured over a certain movement range and converted into kilograms. Through a software-application that is specially designed for Metran the wheel-loader driver will know immediately how much material from which customers is being moved at a precision range of ten kilograms. Very efficient indeed.
This program also evaluates the proportion of recovered metals in relation to the supplied raw material. That the internal fleet remains on the cutting edge of technology is just a matter of logic – not one of the wheel loaders is older than five years. This implies that modern engine technology, emission control and efficiency continue to be guaranteed within the company of Metran.
E-Lift-trucks: efficient, agile and without exhaust fumes.
The environmental awareness is not limited to the wheel-loaders – the same philosophy is lived with the three lift-trucks that are being used: “We have converted these lift-trucks to electric drive, both the 2 four-and-half and the 1 three-and-half metric ton lift-trucks. The lead-acid batteries were used as counterweights, so that the lift-truck does not tip over under a heavy load on the forks. The truck is charged overnight, whereby one single battery charge is sufficient for a few days of operation,” says Gunther Panowitz. Another advantage of the E-truck is its maneuverability. By eliminating the motor drive the wheels can turn almost at a right angle and the equipment thus rotates almost on the spot. In addition, a soot particle filter can be saved, which would be necessary in case of diesel engines that are used in halls. It is precisely this soot that is classified as carcinogenic substance and any soot emissions therefore need to be avoided in any form.
Anyone traveling by train saves…
We at Müller-Guttenbrunn Group believe that the railways are a useful means of transport, particularly for our type of freight. With the establishment of the Kematen/Ybbs industrial park, we suddenly had a historic opportunity to obtain a railroad connection at the site of Metran. Gunther Panowitz is enthusiastic about “his” railway station: “Can you imagine, I can push a railroad carriage with a load of 65 tons by hand. A similar road alternative would imply three trucks on a total of 45 wheels – I could not even begin to move this by hand, because the rolling resistance is a countless amount of times higher than in a railroad carriage. And then I am not even talking about the 40 to 45 liters of diesel, which are needed for 100 kilometers.
“We at Metran can bring around 20,000 to 30,000 Metric Tons away from the road and onto rail per year – this is sensational.” The rail connection not only used for internal transport of material between the Müller-Guttenbrunn works in Amstetten and Kematen/Ybbs or any of the foreign subsidiaries of the group, but also for material delivery from suppliers and to customers. “On the one hand we receive raw materials that need to be separated by rail and on the other hand we ship the separated and recycled materials such as aluminum, copper and the accompanying elements also by rail. Initially many of our suppliers and customers were not accustomed to this, as they used almost exclusively trucks. Many of the large customers did not think that a relatively small company like us would be out there with a railroad connection. Meanwhile, however, all those involved are very happy with this environmentally friendly transport option”, Panowitz explained.
The use of railway carriages has another efficiency advantage: a carriage can be filled anytime during the day at moments when there are no other loads to be processed. Thus idle time can be avoided and used more efficiently. Completely contrary, however, is the picture at the loading of trucks. The truck must be loaded as quickly as possible and there is always time pressure, as the driver will have to wait during the loading process and this is time and money.
A railroad carriage is patient, it brings three trucks off the road and can be moved throughout Europe overnight and it is energy efficient using electric power instead of diesel. Expressed in figures: a single train driver can move up to 1,000 tonnes of material at a time. If you were to transport the same amount of material by truck, you would need around 45 trucks with a total of 540 wheels, the equivalent of some 22,000 horsepower and 1,800 liters of diesel per 100 km – not to mention the 45 truck drivers … and that is impressive, isn’t it?
“An absolutely worthwhile Investment”
The Metran-rail connection of course has been a serious cost, but Gunther Panowitz sees this as an investment in the future: “The entire connection to the railroad system at Metran with its 3 tracks and the necessary loading ramp and hall was an investment of around one million Euros, but we see this as an investment in sustainability. We put into practice what others just think and say. Transport also belongs to our product – recycling of materials – and sustainability is part of this product. This access to the raw material highway of the future, the railway, will certainly be a good thing for ourselves….and our children. Transport efficiency is at the same time energy efficiency! “