Equipment roundup: Getting a grip on material handlers

By Paige HaeffeleFebruary 14, 2022

Excavator-style crawler material handlers look like earthmoving machines at first glance, but they can play an important role on many job sites outside of the dirt, especially those focused on scrap handling and recycling. 

Understanding the differences between a material handling excavator and a purpose-built material handler can help you decide the best machine for your application.

“A material handling excavator is an excavator modified for material handling applications,” said Jason Jones, Americas sales manager for Sennebogen. “Traditional excavators are designed to dig in and pull things out and to work directly in front of the machine. Purpose-built materials handlers are built to pick up, carry and swing. They have powerful 360-degree lift capacities.”

A majority of purpose-built material handlers are wheeled machines, while material handling excavators more often than not have tracks. According to Jones, material handling excavators typically have higher operating costs than purpose-built material handlers.

Here we’ve rounded up a few models from some leading manufacturers, but this list by no means covers everything. See below for a sample of what’s available on the market today.

Atlas Material Handlers

All 11 models of Atlas material handlers are said to be optimized for fast cycle times, ease of handling, versatility and lifespan, according to the company. Machines range from 109 to 289 hp and 35,274 to 130,073 lbs.

Atlas machines feature an undercarriage that can be configured to exact requirements, with four outriggers for stability and high lifting capacity or with two outriggers and a dozer blade for yard cleaning and high log stacking

All models can work with a wide array of attachments and feature enhanced all-around visibility. Designed especially for recycling applications, Atlas MHE feature an undercarriage that can be configured to exact requirements, with four outriggers for stability and high lifting capacity or with two outriggers and a dozer blade for yard cleaning and high log stacking.

Atlas offers a large selection of boom options, some specifically for indoor work: industrial boom, industrial boom for sorting grab, adjustable boom. A main boom with jib cutoff is optional.

Choose from an elevatable cab or fixed high-level cab, which is available with pressurized ventilation for work in contaminated areas.

Electric drive models are available, offering an option when applications require no CO2 emissions, low noise and generation of heat.

Caterpillar

Caterpillar has seven models in its MHE line, five wheeled machines and two on tracks. They range from the 54,000-lb Model MH3022 with a 33.8-ft reach to the 133,200-lb Model MH3260 with a 59.1-ft reach.

Cat offers an advanced electrohydraulic system which is designed to optimize the balance of power and efficiency, improving cycle times to handle more material in the same amount of time, improving profit potential, according to the company.

The MH3250 and MH3260 tracked material handlers were introduced just last spring with the goal of providing longer maintenance intervals and improved fuel efficiency to decrease owning and operating costs up to 20%.

Replacing the Cat 330D MH and 345 C MH models respectively, the Next Generation MH3250 and MH3260 are based on Caterpillar’s Next Generation excavator platform.

Caterpillar has seven models in its MHE line, five wheeled machines and two on tracks

“These 50- and 60-metric-ton tracked material handlers have proven components, lower fuel and maintenance costs, as well as superb operator comfort,” said Vincent Migeotte, Caterpillar global product marketing and application specialist.

The machines’ new fuel-efficient engines meet U.S. EPA Tier 4 Final emission standards and can run up to B20 biodiesel.

Rich Knudson, Caterpillar product application specialist, noted through the use of the Cat C9. 3B and C13 engines, Cat is able to produce greater horsepower than previous models.

“You have more power versus the previous series, which allows you to cycle faster and move more material,” said Rich Knudson, Caterpillar product application specialist. “Reaching and stacking height are real important to material handlers because that’s what they do all day long.”

Doosan Infracore North America

Doosan’s material handlers are built for a combination of performance, efficiency, durability and comfort. All models have hydraulic pumps, cab risers for increased visibility, a straight boom and droop-nose arm to optimize performance, and machine guarding which allows for maximum uptime, the company said.

Select Doosan models include a lifting work mode, which provides increased pump torque, low engine RPMs and an automatic power boost

Four models range from the 162-hp DX225MH-5 with 35-ft, 5-in ground reach and 40-ft loading height to the 267-hp DX300MH-5 with 42-ft, 7-in ground reach and 46-ft, 3-in loading height.

Specific models have three power modes: “power+”, for greater work speed, “standard’’, for optimized fuel consumption and general working conditions, and “economy” for reduced fuel consumption for less demanding jobs.

In addition to the power modes, select models also include a lifting work mode, which provides increased pump torque, low engine RPMs and an automatic power boost.

Doosan said its X-chassis crawler frame design delivers greater ground clearance to improve maneuverability, giving operators the ability to power through difficult conditions and navigate crowded areas. Features include dual-boom cylinders and under-mount arm cylinder placement for enhanced lifting capabilities.

Meanwhile, more consistent flow from the main hydraulic pump contributes to improved material handler performance, according to Doosan. The high-pressure common rail fuel-injected engine and Electronic Power Optimizing System (EPOS) deliver optimum power and fuel efficiency.

Liebherr

Liebherr offers a wide variety of material handlers in many specific configurations. There are seven crawler models designed for scrap handling. They range from the 143-hp, 46,300- to 48,900-lb LH 22 C Industry Litronic with 10-meter reach to the 543-hp, 286,600- to 319,700-lb LH 150 C Industry Litronic with 28-meter reach.

The smallest model is designed to be compact for use in recycling. With the latest engine and hydraulics technology, developed in-house by Liebherr, the main focus is on fuel efficiency coupled with performance. The attachment of the machine is available in a variety of versions.

Liebherr material handlers feature boom-foot placement that is further back than what is on an earthmoving machine in order to increase machine lift capacities

On the opposite end of the line, the LH 150 C Industry Litronic “combines a modern and innovative concept with extraordinary performance and an extremely sturdy design,” the company states. “The award-winning Liebherr regenerative power system or the ‘Positive Control’ multi-circuit hydraulic system are two examples of the diverse high-tech equipment.”

The modular structure of the basic machine and equipment is designed to offer targeted solutions for all applications. 

Liebherr material handlers feature boom-foot placement that is further back than what is on an earthmoving machine in order to increase machine lift capacities.

“We even go as far as offering different material handler operators cabs, undercarriages, booms and sticks depending on the application the material handler is working in,” said Marcus Barnes, product manager for Liebherr USA’s Large and Special Application Excavators. “A boom and stick used for barge unloading will be different from the boom and stick used in a scrap yard. A heavy-duty boom and stick are used in scrap yards because of the abuse received sorting and handling various materials.”

Sennebogen

The Sennebogen material handler line features models for specific areas of use. Those designed for including scrap handling include nine models ranging from the compact 821E with 9- to 13-meter reach, to the big 865E with 25-meter reach.

All Sennebogen material handlers can be adapted to meet customer-specific requirements with modular undercarriage solutions (mobile, crawler, stationary, rail undercarriages and pylon options) for a wide variety of applications.

Hydraulically elevating operator cabs provide the best view and high levels of comfort. With equipment lengths of up to 40 m, numerous attachments and quick change systems, the machines are made to be versatile (orange peel grab, clamshell grab, magnet system, scrap shears, vacuum crossbeam).

The compact Sennebogen 821E has a 9- to 13-meter reach

In addition to Stage V engines, Sennebogen offers a range of power solutions, including its own energy recovery system, SENNEBOGEN Green Hybrid, or the efficiency package, SENNEBOGEN Green Efficiency, which is designed to reduce operating costs and exhaust emissions.

MORE ARTICLES FROM CONEXPO-CON/AGG 365 NEWS
Takeuchi’s new 15-ton TB2150R excavator tackles wide range of jobs
One of the company’s biggest excavators, the TB2150R has a fixed boom arrangement and reduced tailswing design
Volvo opens order books for latest electric compact machines
L20 Electric compact wheel loader and EC18 and ECR18 compact excavators are now available for order, with deliveries expected in 2023
Cat 906, 907 and 908 compact wheel loaders join Next Generation family
Three new models feature an improved operator environment as well as a new engine and hydraulics, bringing larger machine benefits to a smaller size class