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SENNEBOGEN 870 R-HD Material Handler Gives Economic Growth A Lift At Paducah Riverport

With the hydraulic cab, the operator has a clear view of the barge.

Paducah, KY – Located at the confluence of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway, the Ohio River and the Cumberland River and just upstream from the Mississippi, the City of Paducah enjoys a long history as an important hub in America’s inland waterways network. As Executive Director of the Paducah-McCracken County Riverport Authority, Bill Miller is working to preserve that legacy and make the Riverport a key driver for economic growth in the region.

On taking over the position in June of 2015, Miller’s first priority was to upgrade the port’s infrastructure. “Our 20 year old lattice boom crane was past its useful service life,” he reports. “So the Board for the Riverport Authority authorized a bid spec to replace it with the best available equipment.” Today, a new E-Series SENNEBOGEN 870 R-HD purpose-built material handler serves the stream of barge traffic that flows through port’s bulk berthing area.

In service since mid-September 2017, the 870 R-HD is the result of a comprehensive bid process that opened the door for presentations from manufacturers of both rope cranes and hydraulic material handlers, including electric-drive and diesel-powered machines. “Our spec was operational. Our goals were speed, parts, service and an eco-friendly performance.”

“Eco-friendly” to waterways
The 870 model proposed was unlike any other solution reviewed by Miller and his team. Among the newest of SENNEBOGEN designs, the distinctive look of the 870 is notable for the massive “Green Hybrid” hydraulic cylinder mounted between its two main boom lift cylinders. In a unique application using conventional and simple hydraulic engineering, the Green Hybrid system captures boom energy on every down movement of the boom and stores it safely in secure and protected containers at the rear of the machine. The energy is then released to assist the next lift of the boom. According to SENNEBOGEN, this energy recovery process reduces the 870’s fuel consumption by as much as 30%.

“The energy recapture concept is a welcomed feature, easy to understand and simple to work on,” says Miller. “The concept was very well presented.”

The 870’s energy efficiency helped to meet the Riverport’s environmental objectives. Its “green” performance is further enhanced by its Tier 4F compliant 355 HP (261 kW) Cummins diesel engine which adds a level of environmental protections for the vital waterways connected to the ports.

Being on the river channel meant that the water level varied greatly.

Faster loading cycles
In the short time that the 870 has been operating, it has more than proven its production capability. The Paducah Riverport operations sit on 2,300 feet of river frontage, with 14,000 tons of on-site warehouse capacity, large outside storage yards and complete fleeting and switching services. Fitted with a 5-yard clamshell bucket and a bent boom with a total reach of 66 feet, the operators can easily reach down 50 feet below the cell to clear out barges filled with sand, aggregates and fertilizers. “We’re right on the river channel and the water levels vary a lot,” Miller explains. “We wanted to make sure the boom could reach no matter the variance between low and high water.”

Butch Woods, the Port Manager in Paducah, agrees. “We knew the cycle times could out-pace our conveyor system from the outset, and it’s been producing very well. It reduces our operating costs by completing loads in a normal 8-hour shift; we aren’t paying for overtime hours to empty the barges.”

Operators have adapted quickly from the previous lattice boom crane to the new hydraulic technology. According to Woods, “the hydraulic technology is more responsive and very friendly to the operator. They have much better control, with less spillage and loss of product. With the cab being equipped with a floor window and able to extend out over the hold, it’s easier to see into the load. We’ve unloaded some barges that we couldn’t do with the old crane; the operator is getting pretty good at making it do things we didn’t think it could!”

Training support
Brandeis Machinery, the SENNEBOGEN distributor in Kentucky introduced the operators and maintenance to the 870’s service requirements.  “Brandeis is very responsive,” Miller says. “Brandeis always been helpful, even when not award with previous projects, they’ll turn around and help us on the next one.”

“It’s a very quiet machine, too. You can stand next to it and have a conversation without screaming over top of the engine noise – to me it’s even quieter than standing by an open-road truck.”

An economic driver
The progressive initiatives at the Paducah-McCracken County Riverport are getting noticed. In September 2016, Paducah-McCracken County Riverport Authority received the “America’s Marine Highway Leadership Award” from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration. As Bill Miller says, “Improvements like the 870 R-HD help us to further enhance the region’s abilities to service new industries and expand our current business partners.”


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, waste facilities and the tree care industry 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:

1957 Sennebogen Trail
Stanley, NC 28164
Tel: (704) 347-4910 or fax (704) 347-8894