An ambitious project in Namibia is reducing scrub encroachment of farms and using the subsequent biomass as fuel for a cement factory. Wacker Neuson is right in the thick of things in Namibia, with a total of five tele wheel loaders and telehandlers, which have proven to be more than a match for the exacting conditions in Africa.
(Seen right: Rugged Wacker Neuson 750 T Tele Handler loading shredded material onto truck.)
The Otavi/Namibia project was initiated by the Schwenk Gruppe from Ulm, Germany, whose "Ohorongo Cement" factory in Otavi required very high levels of heat for the manufacture of cement. To meet this demand, shredded timber was obtained by means of a "scrub clearance" service for local farms. These farms face the problem of a poor grass-scrub ratio caused by increased scrub encroachment which in turn has made the land agriculturally desolate because animals can no longer graze there.Tobias Konzmann, Director of Energy For Future explains: "The Energy for Future or EFF project benefits both farmers and our cement factory. In addition to making farmland usable again, EFF will, in the long term also provide economic benefits and could even be exported to other countries as a means of successfully obtaining local, renewable bio fuels. That is why we chose Wacker Neuson machinery; not just because of its reputation for efficiency but because it copes superbly with these very demanding working conditions. In addition, the fact that Wacker Neuson is a worldwide company means that similar forms of this project could also be extended to other countries."
Bushes on farms are shredded using a special harvesting device made by specialist machinery manufacturer AHWI, also based in south-west Germany. Unlike using conventional methods such as bulldozers or chemicals, this method ensures erosion control and the protection of certain species and trees that provide shade for animals. After shredding, no fewer than four 750 T tele wheel loaders with all-wheel steering are in daily use to load the shredded material onto trucks for transport to cement factories. Unfazed by heat, dust and the continued stress of multiple loading cycles, their reliability has confirmed that Wacker Neuson was the right choice.
Rudi Richartz, head of Wacker Neuson sales and distribution in South Africa, is proud of the success of the new model in the range of products: "Our compact machines have only been on sale in South Africa since 2009, but they build on the excellent name that Wacker Neuson construction equipment has made for itself here." Wolfgang Büttner is also pleased with the new machine. His company, IBS, based in Windhoek, Namibia, has been selling and servicing Wacker Neuson construction equipment for over 30 years and is now also assuming responsibility for construction machinery.
"For the scrub-removal tasks on the farms concerned, the Wacker Neuson 750 T tele wheel loaders are the only real option thanks to the perfect stability provided by all-wheel steering. And a lot is demanded of them; no fewer than 56 load cycles are required to load a truck with more than 90 m³ of shredded material which, despite the low material density, equates to over 25 tons per truck. The drivers are now sufficiently wellpracticed to require just 30 minutes per cycle, operating the hydraulic grab buckets to perfection using the 3rd control circuit fitted as standard. At least ten trucks need to be loaded every day," states Büttner, underlining the machines' excellent performance and ease of operation.
The cement factory is located 450 km from Windhoek which also means extreme conditions for the Service division. "After-Sales Service is very important in this geographically and demographically challenging region. Here too we can offer EFF a round-the-clock service thanks to the superbly trained and wellorganized staff at IBS", explains Ulf Diemer, Workshop Manager at IBS, a Wacker Neuson dealer in Windhoek.
In addition to work on the farms, Wacker Neuson is also active in the reprocessing plant at the cement factory where a 4009 telehandler is in constant use to feed the system. Factory manager Markus Nauiseb explains, "The term 'constant use' means precisely that because our 4009 telehandler really is in use 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. And it's been that way for three months now, despite very high levels of dust. Thanks to the built-in reversal fan, which blows the radiator clean at the push of a button, full cooling power is ensured even at very high ambient temperatures". The working height of up to 9 meters and a payload of up to 4 tons mean it performs the work of a large truck but with far lower acquisition and operating costs. However this is not the only thing that makes operators so enthusiastic. "They also appreciate the excellent operability and good visibility when getting the material in the perfect position using the super-lightweight materials bucket. Wacker Neuson telehandlers really are superb for materials handling under very difficult conditions."
In Southern Africa, Wacker Neuson telehandlers and tele wheel loaders are making a major contribution to the preservation of valuable farmland in Namibia and are a significant factor in the economic operation of the new cement factory. Wacker Neuson is therefore proud to be part of the "Energy for Future - EFF" project and of gaining an even stronger foothold in the market for compact machines in Africa.