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Pacific Steel Acquires One Machine To Do The Work Of Two With SENNEBOGEN Vario Tool

Great Falls, MT – When Kelly Frantzich went shopping for new scrap-handlers for Pacific Steel & Recycling, he got more than he bargained for.

The company’s management team had agreed that some of its smaller yards, located throughout the northwest, needed more processing capacity. Frantzich, as the firm’s Equipment Manager, was fielding requests to several OEMs for mobile shears mounted on a wheeled machine. Colleen Miller, at SENNEBOGEN, said yes to the request, then anted up with an 830 M paired with a  new engineered multi-function system that SENNEBOGEN had recently introduced in Europe.

As Miller explained to the Pacific Steel managers, the new SENNEBOGEN Vario Tool would give their yards a mobile shear that could still perform traditional scrap-handling duties. The Vario Tool is like an oversized Swiss Army knife, designed especially for scrap processing and demolition work. A unique coupling system connects the boom and a custom stick to any one of several familiar attachments including a shear, orange peel grapple, clamshell bucket, magnet, or lifting hooks. 

Improved machine utilization
According to Frantzich, “We were intrigued by the idea for some of our smaller yards where we don’t get full utilization of a shear machine and material handler. Or it might be a good fit for larger yards where we’re doing some offloading, plus we get the shear too. The Vario Tool is designed to complete all the required connections for each attachment automatically, so operators are able to switch from one to another, in two minutes or less, without leaving the cab.”

With the Vario-Tool system installed on a wheeled SENNEBOGEN 825, 830, or 835, Frantzich said having one machine able to do two jobs or more, would allow significant savings, compared to a single-use machine that would otherwise be utilized only 15% to 20% of the time. 

“More options”
Jack Stoken, Operations Manager at Pacific Steel’s facility in Kalispell, MT, agrees. Stoken’s yard was the first to receive one of the three Vario-Tool machines that Pacific Steel has ordered. “We are mid to smaller sized yard for this company with our scrap iron business. We have a scrap handler and we have a Genesis shear on another machine. We handle a lot of shred here, with relatively little heavy iron. But we needed a little bit more capacity because we were falling behind in our processing.”

Stoken’s SENNEBOGEN 830 M arrived this past September, equipped with the Vario Tool and two attachments: a Genesis 555 rotator shear and a hydraulic grapple. “Adding a new 830 with the Vario Tool attachment seemed to make sense,” he says. “The 830, with its high-flow hydraulics circuit, has plenty of power to run the shear. It will be a scrap-handler most of the time but it will also fill in as a shear. It’s less costly to buy one machine versus two; it gives us more options and it’s able to cover both of the other machines if one goes down.”

Stoken continues: “Our main demand is unloading customers, feeding balers, loading trucks. Right now, our shear is out of the yard on a large project, so we have the 830 filling in with the shear. This allows us to offer more services to our clients without sacrificing productivity in the yard.”

Stoken continued, “Changing the attachments is very easy and can be done in under two minutes We will be mounting a camera on the boom to give the operator  a better look when coupling. It will get even quicker as they get more experienced with it.”

Service support a “deciding factor”
The staff in Kalispell is also pleased with their new unit. The 830 M is larger than their older scrap handler. Operators appreciate the comfort of SENNEBOGEN’s elevating Maxcab, and they appreciate its quiet running. The maintenance crew finds the machine accessible and easy to service. “Colleen (Miller) pointed out the effort that SENNEBOGEN put in to make it user-friendly for us to maintain, where other OEMs want to bring their own tech out. That adds a lot of extra expense that doesn’t need to be there.”

Stoken says that, along with the Vario Tool feature, service support was a deciding factor in going with SENNEBOGEN. One of Stoken’s technicians is among a group of seven Pacific Steel & Recycling staff who were enrolled in the hands-on factory training program at SENNEBOGEN’s Training Center in Charlotte, NC. The yard is also supported by a local heavy equipment shop who now have a factory-trained SENNEBOGEN mechanic on their team. Located just 10 minutes from the Pacific Steel facility, they were quick to enroll in SENNEBOGEN’s innovative ASP – Authorized Service Provider program. ASP shops receive the same training and same access to parts as a SENNEBOGEN distributor. “Over the years, They have  done a great job for us,” Stoken says, and the same service crew can continue servicing all of the Kalispell fleet.

Pacific Steel has been working with SENNEBOGEN machines in various locations since 2007. “SENNEBOGEN has proven themselves to us,” says Kelly Frantzich. “They are in for the long haul; material handlers is all they do. It’s a good quality product.”


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