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Electrification of Construction Machines and Material Handlers

April 17, 2023

As a main dealer for Sennebogen, Molson are at the forefront of the fight against climate change. Sennebogen are constantly developing new technology to make the move towards electrification more practical and more affordable across a range of equipment and applications.

This innovative approach is summed up in Sennebogen’s white paper ‘Electrification of Construction Machines and Material Handlers’ which can be downloaded in full on their website. This document discusses the economics, the technology and the practical application of electric drive machines, and it explains how they benefit operators as well as the environment.

The economics of electrification

Even with a drop in lithium-ion battery prices of almost 80% over the last decade, electric drive construction machines and material handlers are still more expensive to initially acquire. However, this price needs to be taken in context, considering the full life cycle of the machine.

Electric machines have significantly lower service costs than their diesel counterparts. They are also cheaper to run, with electric motors delivering around 30% more energy efficiency than internal combustion engines. These machines also avoid the frustrating downtime needed for refuelling and oil and filter changes. This results in approximately 50% lower operating costs for electric drive construction machines and material handlers.

Developments in electric technology

As the Sennebogen white paper says: ‘In addition to the price developments of electric vehicles, technological maturity has also improved significantly in recent years.’ This technological maturity includes significantly improved battery capacities. The energy that can be stored in the battery of an electric drive machine has increased substantially in recent years, and the white paper predicts that this will rise by a further 42% by 2030.

Sennebogen material handlers can currently operate for up to six hours in battery mode, while telecranes can work for up to 14 hours. Full battery power is still limited to small construction machines and material handlers, up to 110kW, such as the 817E waste handler, or the 825E waste handler. However, Sennebogen predicts that this will extend to medium sized machines, up to 250kW, by the end of the decade.

To maximise the benefits of electric powered machines, Sennebogen offers a comprehensive range of stationary and cable supplied machines, such as the 835E port handler and the 875E hybrid scrap handler. These deliver direct power from the grid, allowing continuous working without the need to recharge.

Hybrid energy supply

In addition to battery and cable powered machines, Sennebogen also offers a range of hybrid Powerpack and electric travel drive machines. These combine the economic and environmental benefits of electric machines with the flexibility of diesel power.

Powerpack machines, such as the 821E scrap handler, are normally powered in situ by a direct mains cable, however they also include a diesel Powerpack. This allows the machine to be moved beyond the reach of the cable for re-siting, service and maintenance.

Electric travel drive machines, such as the 735E timber handler, are diesel powered in the upper carriage. However, a generator connected to the diesel engine supplies the power for moving the machines around. These generators also recover ‘braking energy’ when the machine decelerates. This hybrid combination can reduce fuel consumption by up to 30%.

Flexible solutions

Despite the variety of options available, as the Sennebogen white paper states: ‘no one technology will necessarily prevail, as the optimal solution always depends on individual customer applications.’

At Molson, our team have the experience and expertise to help you find that ‘optimal solution’ for your project, your budget and your environmental aspirations, as Commercial Director, Andrew March explains:

“At Molson, we understand the importance of electrification and decarbonisation of the construction and material handling industries,” he says. “However, we also know that these changes have to be made in a flexible, cost-effective way that works for our customers. That’s why we work closely with your team to find the best possible solution for you from the wide range of options available.”

To find out more about decarbonising your operations with electric drive machines from Sennebogen and other leading manufacturers, get in touch today.