Case study: Using a wheeled excavator for beet harvest
Showing that wheeled excavators have a life outside earthmoving, a French company is using a Hyundai R210W-9A for picking up a sugar beet harvest from the fields of Seine-et-Marne.
The task for Mauroux Transport’s machine and its operator is to pick up the harvested sugar beet from several plots near roads and, using a specialised clamshell-style grab shovel, load the trucks that head off to the Lesaffre de Nangis processing facility.
Mauroux Transport is co-directed by Joel Mauroux and his son Laurent, who rely on sugar beet pickups for 20 percent of their turnover.
After a comprehensive search for a robust and powerful wheeled excavator that could be modified for the job, Mauroux settled on the Hyundai R210W-9A.
This excavator has an operating weight of 21 tonnes and gets its power from a Cummins QSB 6.7 engine pumping out 176 horsepower (131kW). Two variable dispacement piston pumps deliver a hydraulic flow of 2 x 222 l/pm.
Hyundai dealer Sermat TP made the modifications for Mauroux Transport.
"These include the installation of four stabilisers which are needed for the beet collection – a blade is never used," Sermat TP’s Lionel Registrar says.
"Also additional lights were installed for good visibility and the bucket cylinder was removed to make the machine lighter. A ‘Beet Basket’ rotator was also installed at the end of the machine’s boom and it has super single wheels," he adds.
The machine is equipped with the Hyundai Hi-mate GPS remote management system, which allows owners to monitor performance, check its location and remotely access diagnostic information.
"A computer is also installed inside the cabin which is linked to the gathering of sugar beet and monitors the collection," Registrar says.
Delivered in time for the sugar beet collection campaign, the Hyundai R210W-9A wheeled excavator went into operation straight away.
Operator Didier Fourquenay, who has been with Mauroux Transport for 13 years, says it took him a couple of days to get used to the new excavator as the machine is much more responsive and more flexible than the one he was using before.
"It’s much more comfortable, the cabin is spacious and offers good visibility, which is particularly important in this operation as I am operating from five o’clock in the morning to three o’clock in the afternoon and sometimes from 10 o’clock in the morning to eight o’clock in the evening," Fourquenay says, adding: "This is the perfect machine – just what we needed."
The grab ‘basket’ on the R210W-9A takes 3 cubic metres of beet and it takes 17 slew cycles to load the awaiting trucks with 30 tonnes of produce.
"The fact that this machine is equipped with a very large basket enables us to optimize loading and improve efficiency," Joel Mauroux says. ""We have gained about one minute per load — for example it now takes four minutes instead of just over five minutes, compared to the old machine.
"This means that we use two fewer ‘baskets’ per truck during the beet harvesting campaign," he says. "These minutes gained are very important to us as we gain an extra hour a day compared to the old machine to do exactly the same weight with the same number of trucks."
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