SENNEBOGEN 850 Locomotive Units Turns Smaller Operation Into Giant Producer

AXIS, AL – Since going into operation in 2007, the SENNEBOGEN 850 locomotive units at the Axis location of Tube City IMS (TCIMS), one of the world’s leading steel services organizations, have seen an impressive 15,000 hours of service. Working in conjunction with other rubber-tired SENNEBOGEN machines – 850 M and 870 M – the two locomotive units charge buckets for the site’s melt shop and have played a major role in maximizing the site’s production volume.

“Visitors to the site are always extremely impressed with the kind of volume we turn out here,” says Dave Chapman, TCIMS General Manager, Mill Service Group. “We charged over 1.7 million tons of scrap in 2008. That’s a phenomenal amount of work for a yard designed to operate with a monthly maximum inventory of 80,000 tons of material. Our SENNEBOGEN machines have definitely been a major factor in helping us achieve this kind of volume.”

SENNEBOGEN fleet keeps things moving at Axis site

The hydraulically elevating cab on all the SENNEBOGEN units, give them a perfect view into the railcars.

The TCIMS Axis location is a hub of activity. Scrap metal is delivered to the yard by rail car, truck and barge. TCIMS 50 ton haul trucks deliver scrap off-loaded from barges at the company’s dock facility, while scrap from outside suppliers arrives in trucks and by rail cars on rails that run through the yard. Equipped with interchangeable grapples and magnets, the site’s rubber-tired SENNEBOGEN machines move around the dirt and gravel yard working the outside scrap pile lines and handling all of the truck deliveries. The Axis site administers and provides mill services for all scrap metal coming into the yard.  

“The SENNEBOGEN 850 locomotive units’ primary purpose is to load charge buckets with scrap,” says Darrin Blount, TCIMS Scrap Yard and Dock Superintendent. “The units’ Caterpillar engines and hydraulic systems are used to move them along rail tracks within the yard. Using 2-yd grapples, the 850 special locomotive cranes usually unload scrap from rail cars directly into the charge bucket, and at other times unload it onto inventory commodity piles to be charged later. The loaded charge buckets are then shunted to the melt shop via Kress RT Pallet carriers. It’s a pretty efficient operation that allows us to process the impressive amount of material we have managed in the last two years.”

TCIMS Maintenance Superintendent Tim Middleton says mounting the 850 material handlers onto the locomotive cars and getting them operational was a joint co-operative effort between SENNEBOGEN Service Manager Jim Westlake, Danny Wright at Tractor & Equipment Company in Mobile, AL and the yard’s own maintenance crew, with the latter putting in most of the work involved with the installation. Routine maintenance on the machines is done onsite by TCIMS technicians, while service and parts for the machines are provided by Tractor & Equipment, says Middleton.

SENNEBOGEN elevating cab a winner with TCIMS operators

SENNEBOGEN 850 special locomotive crane with its long reach works the pile.

The elevating cabs on the SENNEBOGEN 850 locomotive units were deciding factors in the acquisition of the units and have proven to be important in increasing their efficiency for this application, says Middleton.

“Being able to look into the scrap rail cars as we unload them is an absolute necessity,” says Middleton. “The elevating cabs on our SENNEBOGEN 850 locomotive units enable us to do that. The elevating cabs on our mobile machines enable us to do the same thing with trucks and trailers that come into the yard. The all-round visibility offered by the cabs saves time, eliminates guessing and has helped us eliminate potential damage to rail cars and trucks and trailers.”

The Axis location management team agrees that their SENNEBOGEN 850 locomotive units are simple to use and service, and with a swing speed from 0 – 6.5 rpm they have a higher cyclical rate for handling material than other manufacturers’ machines they have used with the locomotive application in the past. Reliability, maneuverability and purpose-built efficiency have also proven to be important post-purchase strengths of the machines.

With the SENNEBOGEN locomotive crane they charged over 1.5 million tons.


SENNEBOGEN has been a leading name in the global material handling industry for nearly 60 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, barge and port operations, log-handling, transfer stations and waste facilities 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:

Constantino Lannes, President
1957 Sennebogen Trail (formerly 7669 Old Plank Road)
Stanley, NC 28164 
Tel: (704) 347-4910 or fax (704) 347-8894
Visit the web site at