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Supercharging efficiency: CASE wheel loaders used in biological section of ZUO Krosno plant

Two case wheel loaders are supercharging efficiency in the newly built biological section of the Zakład Unieszkodliwiania Odpadów (ZUO) plant in Krosno. Purchased from Tech-Ekspert Poludnie, Poland, the G series wheel loaders – a 721G and an 821G model – were bought to meet the plant’s new and unique requirements.

ZUO Krosno is one of three establishments that fall within the structures of the Municipal Enterprise of the municipal economy- Krośnieński Holding Komunalny Sp. z o.o.

Last year it underwent a thorough modernisation and expansion, making it one of the most modern and best-equipped plants of its type in Poland. The state-of-the-art technology used allows for the collection and processing of waste from the city of Krosno and 28 neighbouring communes. This translates to the waste of approximately 350,000 inhabitants of southern Podkarpacie.

The biological section within the plant, which processes the ‘green waste’, is brand new. It was only put into operation in 2020 after the installation of 22 sealed bioreactors, which are used for stabilizing oxygen, composting "green" waste, and biologically drying applicable waste into the production of refuse-derived fuel (RDF).

As each bioreactor has capacity for 250-tonnes of waste, fit-for-purpose equipment is required to load and, after 6-10 weeks, to unload the bioreactors efficiently. Based on these requirements and the operating parameters within the facility, a tender was organised. The winner of this process was Tech-Ekspert Południe, which proposed two CASE wheel loaders: a 16-tonne 721G – the most popular model in Poland – and the two-tonne heavier 821G model.

The difference in the selection of the two models was not accidental, either. It was required by the subtly different tasks the machines were bought to perform.

Delivered in November 2020, the 721G wheel loader is not only used for the operation of bioreactors, but also in the mechanical section of the plant. Its smaller weight and size make it easy to move around in the sorting plant, where it is used to handle the imported waste or load it onto the technological line. The larger wheel loader was mainly purchased to work in the biological section of the plant, though if necessary, it also takes over the 721G’s duties. If the 721G is undergoing periodical maintenance, for example, the 821G is used as a temporary replacement in the mechanical section.

Both machines have high tip buckets – the smaller one has a capacity of 4m3 and the larger one has a capacity of 5m3 which means it can collect more waste and, as a result, can efficiently fill up the bioreactors. When completing the specification for the wheel loaders, attention was also paid to the difficult working conditions with waste. For the heavier model, for example, ZUO Krosno specified L5 class tires, glass and headlamp covers, and a central lubrication system, among others.

The ZUO Krosno plant works in two shifts from Monday to Friday and virtually all the time both new machines have something to do. Indeed, despite only being owned for a relatively short period, their intensive use has allowed for an initial assessment. The ZUO Krosno Deputy Manager said this: “Looking at the work of these machines, I can say they meet the expectations we attached to them. They cope well with heavy material and they quickly load it into the boxes. Their appropriate weights and high stability buckets guarantee high performance, enabling smooth and efficient work.”

He develops on the fuel efficiency of the machines, adding: “The operators are satisfied with these machines, they like to work with them, and were pleasantly surprised by the fuel consumption achieved. They could not believe machines of this size could burn so little.”

This is a point which a ZUO Krosno operator agrees: “Both CASE wheel loaders catch the eye of an experienced operator because of their low fuel consumption. Average fuel consumption on the 721G is 6.3 litres per hour, which is a really good result for a large machine. A telescopic handler burns the same or even more and yet does not perform the same job.” He continues: “Fuel consumption on the 821G fuel is also small, only 7.5 litres per hour, because these machines are so powerful you don't have to use them on high speed.”

The operator expands on what it is like to use the wheel loaders from inside the cab: “These machines are neat, well-proportioned and fun to work with. It's quiet inside and everything is clearly visible – if not through windows, by using mirrors and a heating camera. There are practically no blind spots.”

He then explains some of the nuances of using larger machines at waste disposal plants: “With powerful machines, it is easy to spin the wheels on a damp concrete floor. The drive control is therefore a good solution on damp surfaces because it means there are no jerks when changing direction. The machines brake gently and move away gently, you never have to brake or decelerate to zero.”

The Deputy Manager takes up the story by focusing on the relationship the plant has had with the dealer, Tech-Ekspert Południe, which is not responsible only for delivering the machines, but also for their after-sales service. “So far our cooperation has progressed very well. The service reacts quickly to any kind of notification and is always happy to help. All scheduled reviews have taken place on time.”

Giuliano Bellardi, CASE Marketing Manager Central Eastern Europe and Italy, comments on the initial performance of the wheel loaders: “Efficiency has and always will be a key measure of performance. And of course, efficiency can be measured in several different ways. Here at the ZUO Krosno plant, it is evident the CASE wheel loaders are supercharging efficiency on two key fronts. By being well suited to the requirements of the 22, 250-tonne bioreactors, the CASE wheel loaders are enabling the team here to boost technical efficiency. And with their low fuel consumption, which is unrivalled on the market, the CASE wheel loaders are enhancing cost efficiency. It is a win-win.”

He adds: “At CASE, we are confident this will remain the case several years down the line when the team have the chance to give a longer-term assessment.”