Flexible. Safe. Reliable.

06. September 2021
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PRECISE AND EXTREMELY RELIABLE. Exactly these characteristics are decisive for the Styrian forestry company Pretterhofer when it comes to working with timber. They are always in good hands with the EPSILON M12Z, even in challenging weather conditions.

Founded in 1996, Pfau GmbH has been located in the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate for generations and is successfully managed by Ulrich Pfau and his son Alexander. The family business from Mauden, a local community in the German district of Altkirchen, specializes in forestry work, transport logistics and construction. A team of 25 employees and a modern fleet of machines guarantee the highest quality and performance. “We have been using EPSILON cabin cranes for 20 years already. That’s because nothing matters more than professional and safe working conditions for our employees. In addition, the electric pilot control system makes controlling the crane with a joystick simply more convenient. On a normal working day we have about 10 loading cycles per crane. That means loading 10 times and unloading 10 times, with each stage taking about 20 minutes. So the driver sits in the crane cab for most of the day, which is why safety and ergonomics are important factors,” explains junior manager Alexander Pfau, who has been with the company for 12 years. 

Over the past three years, the timber trading and forestry company has been in daily operation for the Mauden forest and logging cooperatives, a typical form of cooperative forest management in the Westerwald forest. “In central Germany and especially here in the Westerwald, the bark beetle problem is a major challenge. The infested areas must be felled and removed as quickly as possible. For us, the rapid changeover from long logs to short logs is particularly important, as we transport very high volumes of timber every day and have to be very flexible. On one job we have to load long logs and drive them to the sawmill, on the next we have to transport short logs to be loaded onto railroad wagons, or containers for ocean transport. With the adaptable trailer system made by Müller in Eslohe and our EPSILON S260L cabin cranes, we manage this challenge very well and can work efficiently all day long,” says senior manager Ulrich Pfau. Müller is also the local PALFINGER service partner for timber loading cranes and is always on-site immediately if necessary. “We are also in excellent hands with Müller when it comes to service. We have all our maintenance done there and always get prompt help for our cranes,” adds Pfau.  

Normally, a truck always operates with the same trailer. This is different at Pfau, and as a result the units can be used in a more versatile way. Trucks with cranes do not lose valuable time on the way to the sawmill, but can continue straight away to the next job site. The family-owned business can handle long logs up to 21 meters and all lengths of short logs from 2 to 13 meters. On a normal working day, long logs are loaded first onto the vehicles without a crane. When all three long log trailers are fully loaded, it is then quick and easy to switch to short logs and spend the rest of the day loading and transporting. 
Richard Heimann, one of the forestry company’s experienced truck and crane drivers, takes us along today on what is for him a very ordinary working day, but which demonstrates to us the full range of tasks he has to handle. Arriving at the first job site, a large clearing on a small hill in the Westerwald forest, three vehicles with trailers were already waiting for us. Two Scania trucks with mounted EPSILON S260L cranes are in the process of simultaneously loading the two trailers with logs that are approximately 11 meters long. The third truck has a hydraulically steered long log trailer and is also being loaded. “Here we have an extremely high performance system that is especially tuned to our requirements. The two EPSILON cranes are ideal for us to load these heavy long logs. Afterwards, the adaptable trailer system made by Müller enables us to quickly switch to loading short logs. This means that the third truck can spend the rest of the day taking the three hydraulically steered trailers to the sawmills. Meanwhile, our two Scania trucks with the powerful EPSILON cranes can drive straight into the forest and start loading the short logs,” says Richard in describing his job schedule.

“Today is another action-packed day for us. We still have a railroad shipment to deliver. The train arrived a day late, but still has to be loaded by this evening because the customer needs their wood on time,” says Richard, explaining the urgency of the next job. The company’s state-of-the-art logistics system shows us exactly the route through the forest to where the short logs are stacked. Richard and his colleague skilfully steer the trucks up to the timber piles. They then load their two semitrailers with precision and accuracy. “The double telescope boom on the EPSILON crane is just perfect for loading short logs. Because you no longer have to reposition the trailer next to the pile, you can fill it with short logs in one go,” says Richard as he continues loading his semitrailer. The timber must then be transported promptly to the railroad loading yard 50 kilometers away. When transferring the load onto the train, working quickly and accurately again plays a decisive role. Michael lifts a large bundle of short logs with the crane’s grab and places it on the railroad wagon. “Here, the ease of use of the crane and especially the reach of the double telescope boom is crucial for me. I can load all the short logs onto the railroad wagon without having to leave the crane cab. This saves me a lot of time, and nerves. In addition, the cab provides a good all-round view, which is particularly helpful here when working on the railroad,” says Richard, explaining the advantages while operating the crane. He and his colleague operate the two EPSILON cranes with precision and care as they efficiently load the railroad wagons. By 5.30 pm the job is done, the train is completely loaded, and the short logs can be transported to the customer.

“With the Müller adaptable trailer system, our two loader cranes pay for themselves twice over. Especially today, when we had to load the whole train by the evening, we managed to do everything in record time thanks to our powerful cranes. Because we can use our equipment flexibly, we can react quickly to current market situations,” concludes Alexander Pfau proudly.


Watch the video: EPSILON S260L

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