Sun Services in Beltsville, Maryland, has served the waste and recycling needs of customers throughout Maryland, northern Virginia, eastern West Virginia, southern Pennsylvania and Washington D.C. since 2004. Specializing in commercial disposal, residential demolition recycling projects and construction dumpster rental, their team relies on streamlined operations to increase efficiency and maximize production.

Determined to capitalize on its thriving hauling operation, Sun Services constructed a new construction and demolition (C&D) recycling plant in October 2013 to better leverage the value of the materials it collected.

The company designed the 33,000-square-foot plant on five acres to house all material loading and processing under one roof for local ordinance compliance. As such, having the right equipment to safely and effectively handle the vast volumes of incoming material was of paramount importance.

That’s why in 2018, when the time came to replace the company’s existing excavators used for loading material into its shredder, Sun Services President Brian Shipp did his due diligence to find the best equipment on the market.

After researching and testing various options, the Sennebogen 818 material handler track unit won Shipp and his team over thanks to its versatility and maneuverability as well as its potential for fuel and cost savings. Sun Services added a rotating demolition grapple attachment to the equipment for increased functionality.

“We wanted to get machines that had an elevated cab as well as a rotating grapple that could pick the material a lot better,” Shipp says. “We also wanted to visually inspect what was in the grapple and be able to spin the load around before we dropped it in the shredder. The Sennebogen 818 material handlers offered that flexibility. Also, they priced out lower than the other equipment, and we didn’t have to worry about a lot of wasted pump power for digging that you sacrifice [while] running excavators. So, the setup of the machine was actually way more fuel efficient than a regular excavator of a comparable size.”

Shipp says the company purchased three 818s—two to run consecutively and one to switch out every week for Sun Services’ scheduled cleaning and preventative maintenance service. While Sun Services is always mindful of maximizing its equipment’s uptime, once the company received the material handlers, Shipp says he wasted no time in seeing what they were capable of.

“We handle a large volume of construction and demolition debris that is brought here from our roll-off dumpsters,” Shipp says. “We set it up so a wheel loader pushes the pile of debris up to where the Sennebogen is sitting. Then, our operator does a sort with the material handler, which we’ve outfitted with a grapple to get out any big steel or concrete pieces that we don't want going through the shredder. On any given day, the machine handles 500 to 700 tons of C&D debris over 10 to 12 hours. I’ve been in both the excavators and material handlers, and there is no comparison—the material handlers can move a lot more material than a comparable sized excavator.”

Beyond the improvements in processing capacity, Shipp says the Sennebogen’s design is more operator-friendly.

“The design of the Sennebogen definitely allows more freedom for the operator,” Shipp says. “There's a lot more room, and the cooling system works a lot better than a standard excavator. There's also a lot more open space with the way the engine is mounted. In these units, the engine is placed parallel with the stick versus perpendicular across the back. So, there's a lot more room for the cooling package, and the Sennebogen machine is able to deal with the dust a lot better than a standard excavator does. But the fact that the cabs are huge in these units is ideal for our operators because being able to work for 10-plus hours a day without feeling encapsulated makes for a better environment and is good for their wellbeing.”

Shipp says that with all the benefits the Sennebogen material handlers offer, perhaps the greatest is their ability to keep working long after other machines reach the end of their service life.

“With our rugged environment, our excavators were pretty much trashed at about 7,000 hours. With this set of Sennebogen equipment, we’re hopeful we can double that, and with the volumes we process, that is significant.”

For more information on Sennebogen’s material handlers for waste: