ZZO Włodawa is an inter-municipal waste management organization within an association of seven municipalities in eastern Poland near the borders with Belarus and Ukraine. Due to the need to recycle waste for more than 24,000 inhabitants, its operation runs 24 hours a day, six days a week. Transfer machines play a key role in the proper functioning of the operation. Articulated loaders are often used in similar places, but in the village of Włodawa they use three Bobcat telehandlers instead, occasionally supported by a front-loader tractor.
“The Bobcat telehandlers are perfect for our conditions. They are compact, easy to operate and offer a high lift height. Disposal of waste on the sorting line is organized in such a way that the loader must rotate through 90° in a small space. This is an easy job with these machines,” says Krzysztof Chilczuk, Chairman of the Board of ZZO Włodawa.
Over 20,000 Operating Hours without Major Disruption
The first Bobcat telehandler, a TL470 model with a maximum lift height of 7 m and a load capacity of 3.5 tonne, was delivered to the plant in Włodawa in 2013. So far, it has completed over 20,000 operating hours and is still in use: “It has never had a serious breakdown and we have never repaired the engine in it. There was once a problem with the fuel pump, but it was not the fault of the manufacturer, but rather the fuel itself,” recalls Krzysztof Chilczuk. In 2018, they bought a second Bobcat machine, a TL35.70 model, with the same operating parameters as the older machine. This machine is now approaching a total of 5000 operating hours. Having evaluated that the investment in the machines is very efficient, the management of ZOO Włodawa therefore added a third Bobcat telehandler to the fleet in August 2021. Again, a TL35.70 model was chosen, but this time with a slightly different specification.
Krzysztof Chilczuk explains the choice of the machine as follows: “Telehandlers with these working parameters meet our needs and working conditions well. However, the two older machines have 20-inch wheels. When considering the purchase of another telehandler, we wanted it to be equipped with 24-inch wheels. As a result, it has a greater ground clearance and is even more efficient when working in a landfill. In addition, when loading on the processing line, the operator can drive more boldly directly into the waste heap. The new machine also has more features, which include, for example, air conditioning, an air-cushioned seat, cab protection and also a reversing warning system that does not beep, but provides the white noise sound we really wanted.
At ZZO Włodawa, there is no division of tasks between the Bobcat telehandlers – every machine is used for all tasks involved. This is mainly due to the assignment of individual telehandlers to specific operators, which facilitates their maintenance. The sorting area operates 24 hours a day, so the telehandlers change with the operators. In addition to loading material onto the processing line, they are used here for pushing and stacking waste to maximize the use of available space.
The waste that is filtered and sub-sieved goes to containers that were initially handled by another leased carrier. However, this solution was associated with high costs, so the decision was made to introduce another method.
The telehandlers are now equipped with special holders, while small wheels are attached to the containers at the rear. This allows the Bobcat machines to easily tow the containers and empty them: the undersized portion into three composters and an overflow amount in a dedicated yard, from where it is picked up by an external company after being picked up by the transport unit.
The Bobcat telehandlers are also used to unload composting bins, create compost piles and to turn them over for aeration. After the compost has matured, it is sieved. Loading material into the sorter as well as collecting and transporting the resulting products is also the job of the telehandlers. An important task that they perform almost daily is also the loading of the so-called sliding floors of waste for disposal and bulk recyclable materials. Packaged materials are also loaded onto trucks. The best equipment when stacking them is a bale grab. The high lift height and reach of the telehandlers allows such work to be carried out easily and safely.
Operating Efficiency due to Attachments and Low Fuel Consumption
At ZZO Włodawa, Bobcat telehandlers are used additionally to maintain the currently operated landfill and to rehabilitate a landfill that has already been closed. They are used mainly for the creation of transmission layers and the construction of technological communications. In order to make the use of Bobcat machines even more efficient, in addition to the universal bucket, two high-volume buckets, pallet forks and a bale grab, the ZZO Włodawa range of attachments also includes a sweeping brush. As a result, the loaders can help clean up the plant premises.
Krzysztof Chilczuk has great belief in the Bobcat telehandlers. He praises them for their performance, good visibility and versatility – they have never had a job that they cannot do with these machines. He also draws attention to their low fuel consumption, on average 4.7 l/h. It is all the more impressive given the amount and scope of work they do. The length of the warranty is also important. For Bobcat telehandlers, the standard is 3 years or 3000 working hours, which may be extended to 5 years or 5000 hours.