Green Machines Are The Simple Log Handling Choice For Wood Chips Specialist

Simple engineering and 360o load capacity make SENNEBOGEN’s 830 R-HD “D” the only choice for West Point Chips.

Mill Manager, Chad Cowart (right) with Willie Holt, Operator, with their new  830 R machine.

Mill Manager, Chad Cowart (right) with Willie Holt, Operator, with their new
830 R machine.

West Point, VA – When Chad Cowart arrived at West Point Chips in 2004, SENNEBOGEN was not a well known name in the American wood industry. However, when it was time to replace his site’s aging log handler in 2006, he followed up on the advice of his equipment dealer, Atlantic Equipment and Supply Inc., to look into the line-up of green machines. Now, when Cowart is looking for log-handling equipment, his choice is simple.

The operation that Cowart manages in West Point, VA, is one of the specialized wood processing businesses operated by The Price Companies, Inc. Cowart’s facility is dedicated to supplying hardwood and softwood chips for the Smurfit-Stone container plant adjacent to the yard. At Atlantic Equipment and Supply, Jim Smelgus and Garland Miles were well acquainted with Cowart’s operation and its old equipment. They had taken on the SENNEBOGEN line a few years previously, and offered to take their customers at West Point Chips to see a number of SENNEBOGEN units in action.

One of the approximately 300 truckloads every day that comes into the yard.

One of the approximately 300 truckloads every day that comes into the yard.

The simple choice

“At the time, SENNEBOGEN was strong mainly in the scrap business, so we went and got a look at those machines. You could see that they were very simple machines – I don’t mean that in a bad way; the simplicity appealed to me.”

Cowart was also attracted to SENNEBOGEN’s elevating hi-rise cab. This would give his operators an advantage in loading and stacking. “The old machine was fixed at 12 feet, and you climbed into it on a ladder. The SENNEBOGEN goes up 20 feet in the air. They can see the tops of the trailers and the top of the pile, so they aren’t guessing where to put the wood. It makes the work safer, and they can stack the wood neater.”

As a wood processing service, loading and moving logs is a primary activity for West Point Chips. Smurfit-Stone’s wood suppliers deliver up to 300 truckloads of mixed hardwoods and softwoods every day. Cowart’s plant turns these full-tree and short-wood deliveries into 1.2 million tons of chips per year, along with another 300,000 tons of bark and other fuel woods that Smurfit-Stone turns into electrical power. Some of the power generated is returned to West Point Chips to drive the facility’s debarker and its 3000 HP 130” Carthage chipper. With its 15 heavy-duty knives, each one 40” long, the chipper has no problem keeping up with the container plant’s appetite. “It will take a hardwood tree 30” in diameter and it never even changes gear,” says Cowart.

With an eye level view of almost 25 ft. in the air, the operator has a perfect view of the top of the pile.

With an eye level view of almost 25 ft. in the air, the operator has a perfect view of the top of the pile.

Material handling from logs to chips

The operation utilizes a number of material handling machines to feed wood to the chipper. An overhead crane with a 100 ft. boom is primarily used for transporting tree-length logs. The SENNEBOGEN 830, fitted with a Rotobec 8610 grapple, spends about 18 hours of each day unloading short wood, stockpiling and loading the conveyor to the chipper. Chips travel to the container plant by conveyor.

The debarking process here is performed by a rotating drum debarker developed by the parent company of West Point Chips. The Price Companies, Inc. first developed the machine in 1981, which eventually led to the company’s transition from lumber and milling equipment to fabrication and contract wood chipping. West Point Chips is one of 21 similar specialized facilities operated by The Price Companies, Inc. under contract to many of the country’s leading pulp and paper producers.

Cowart’s yard ran its first SENNEBOGEN log handler for almost 17,000 hours in four years. When the time came to order another machine, Cowart knew exactly what his next step would be. “I loved that machine in our operation so the decision to order another unit was a very easy one to make!”

Like their first SENNEBOGEN machine, Cowart special ordered the 830 R-HD with flat tracks – a feature that lets the machine negotiate over logs and uneven areas of the dirt yard, without scraping up the paved sections outside the loading area. The tracks extend out to 14’9” and provide an exceptionally stable lifting base. “You can lift and move as much out the side of the machine as you can to the front or the rear. No other machine we’ve seen can match its 360o capacity.”

The SENNEBOGEN feeds the chipper and stacks the decks 18 hours a day.

The SENNEBOGEN feeds the chipper and stacks the decks 18 hours a day.

Current updates from SENNEBOGEN

The new machine also provided Cowart with a few welcome bonuses. With its latest model update, SENNEBOGEN had upgraded the undercarriage of its 830 R-HD units to a stronger and more robust design. Cowart welcomed the change to an external drive for the slewing ring, which he says makes it stronger and easier to service. “The base of the boom is a bit better protected now,” he reports, “with more steel around the hoses and sensors in that area. The new 830 also gives us a couple more feet of stick.”

With the improvements, Cowart is still most impressed with the simplicity of his 830 R-HD. “I just like a simple machine. Our operators love it, too. It’s very dependable. And if something does go wrong, you only have two or three places to look. We have tried other machines but, for our work, none of the others compare.”


SENNEBOGEN has been a leading name in the global material handling industry for over 65 years. Based in Stanley, North Carolina, within the greater Charlotte region, SENNEBOGEN LLC offers a complete range of purpose-built machines to suit virtually any material handling application. Established in America in the year 2000, SENNEBOGEN LLC has quickly become a leading provider of specialized equipment solutions for recycling and scrap metal yards, demolition, barge and port operations, log-handling, transfer stations and waste facilities from coast to coast. A growing network of distributors supports SENNEBOGEN LLC sales and service across the Americas, ensuring the highest standard of professional machine support and parts availability.

For more information on the full line of SENNEBOGEN green line material handlers, contact:

Constantino Lannes, President
1957 Sennebogen Trail (formerly 7669 Old Plank Road)
Stanley, NC 28164
Tel: (704) 347-4910 or fax (704) 347-8894
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