Stella-Jones sticks with Sennebogen log handler in Galloway, BC


When the 830 M-T log handler reached the end of its six year lease term with 22,000 service hours, Stella-Jones Inc.’s, Plant Manager Darrin Vigue did his due diligence to find its replacement.

But in the end, Vigue returned to the machine that had served him well for the previous six years.

“We considered other makes, including two of the industry’s top OEMs,” Vigue said. “But there were really no other options for us. The Sennebogen is a good machine; everyone is happy with it.”

The facility that Vigue manages is one of several wood utility pole treatment plants that Stella-Jones operates in Galloway, British Columbia. Western Red Cedar and Douglas Fir poles are first trimmed and debarked at another facility, then distributed to various yards such as Galloway for further treatment.

Purpose-built for log yards

Reliable uptime is crucial to Vigue’s operation in Galloway. He keeps the 830 M-T log handler running 16-hours a day to handle the yard’s full range of loading, stacking and picking duties. The model was specially engineered by Sennebogen for log-handling, with modifications to the undercarriage for enhanced traction and trailer-pulling capacity.

The new unit features a beefed-up stick with a live heel to handle poles up to 35 metres. Such long poles are straight stacked but, more typically, the poles arriving by truck and rail are unloaded and square-piled in 7.6 metres blocks to allow maximum air flow for natural seasoning.

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“Our only back-up is an old Prentice log handler, just try to get an operator into one on of those now,” Vigue explained.

“The accessibility of service and parts from Great West Equipment, located in Cranbrook, just down the road, was a critical factor in our decision to stick with Sennebogen. If there is a problem, we can count on Great West to be onsite within the hour.”

The Galloway yard is a 36-acre gravel-based site, plus 10 acres of leased Crown land. Vigue describes it as a long narrow yard, so the wheeled 830 machine is well-suited to the long travel cycles that are sometimes needed to haul trailers carrying 9,070 to 13,600 kg loads.

Damage control

Great West fitted the 830 with a BC Forestry cab mated to Sennebogen controls.

“Loading these poles is a delicate operation; we have to take care to avoid scarring or damaging the wood. Our operators are more than happy with the precision and responsiveness of the Sennebogen hydraulics,” Vigue said.

“Pole butts and tops are usually mixed on the trucks coming in, so we usually take a maximum of five logs in a bite. The rotating head and live heel on the stick lets us alternate their orientation on each layer in the stack, without having to change position as we’re unloading.”

The 41,413 kg 830 M-T comes standard with a hydraulic elevating cab that can rise up to 6 metres above ground level, allowing the operator an unobstructed view for efficient high-stacking.

Powered by a 225 hp Cummins diesel engine, the four-wheel-drive system features dual transmissions providing direct drive to each axle, achieving the highest drawbar pull in its weight class.