Abbeville, La., based Broussard Brothers LLC is one of the leading marine and land construction contractors on the U.S. Gulf Coast. As well as marine towing, dock and crane services, the family-owned company plays a major role on the heavy contracting scene in Louisiana’s Intracoastal region.
Looking for ways to be more competitive in contracts for seawall restoration work, Broussard has added a Sennebogen 875 R-HD material handler to its equipment line up.
“We originally saw the 875 at CONEXPO,” says Chip Broussard, a third-generation member and current vice president of finance at the family-owned business. ”We also saw a Sennebogen in a rock yard near here; but we bit the bullet at CONEXPO and decided this is our best bet. We had seen similar machines in the area, but nothing of this size and the other machines have to be welded down to the barge.
“What intrigued us was that the Sennebogen is on tracks. It doesn’t have to be welded down. At times we might be doing rock work and we want a crane on the ground; then we pick up another job and want to put the Sennebogen on the barge. Because of its versatility, we didn’t have to get another barge!”
“All of our machines are engineered on a square footprint,” says Sennebogen President Constantino Lannes. “The slewing ring is centered on the undercarriage and its load ratings are equal through 360-degree swing. That kind or balance is a valuable safety factor on land or on water. And it also gives the operator more flexibility to load and swing in any direction.”
Flexibility is high on Chip Broussard’s list of qualities that the 875 brings to his fleet.
“We can better utilize our different assets according to the application we’re on. We just swap the equipment to get the right piece in the right place,” he says, and notes that the 875 also came with a quick change coupler that allows easy attachment of a lifting hook, clamshell bucket or rock grapple.
“It’s very adaptable to our wide range of operations,” he continues. “Some of these rock jobs, the stones are very large, more than the clamshell can handle, so we have the grapple for that. We have also done some dredging with it, some maintenance work.”
This was where the 875 first showed off its real capacity for production.
“We were loading some material barges, one that can hold up to 350 tons,” says Broussard. “We loaded it in about 20 minutes.”
Broussard admits that his first dredging project let the 875 shine in optimal conditions. In that situation, with short, easy swing cycles, he estimates that the 875 could move as much as 600 tons per hour.
But in a more realistic application, such as shoreline restoration work that requires precise placement of man-sized boulders, Broussard is quite confident that the machine can maintain his target of 400 to 500 tons per hour.
Broussard also believes the 875 will deliver bonus profits thanks to its exceptional fuel efficiency.
The giant material handler features Sennebogen’s “Green Hybrid” energy recapture system. An oversize hydraulic cylinder is mounted between the boom’s two lifting cylinders. This cylinder is used to compress gas on each downstroke of the boom.
On the upstroke, the captured energy is released, like a compressed spring, to assist in lifting the boom and the load. The simple, mechanical system reduces fuel consumption by as much as 50%
“I’m anticipating that we’ll run on 8 to 10 gallons of diesel per hour (gph): about the same gph as a large excavator or our cable crane,” he adds. “That’s great, but if you compare gallons per ton of material moved, it’s very impressive. We usually bid so many gallons of fuel to do the project; now our fuel cost will be cut in half, or even less.”
With the 875’s efficient throughput and low operating costs, Broussard feels ready to take on the competitive coastal restoration market.
“There’s a lot of people chasing this business, as other sectors have slowed down,” he says. “They’re also investing in new equipment, new excavators, but I don’t know that they’re going to get the efficiency or the gallons of fuel saving that we get, and will not have the size of the 875. Besides, an excavator is not built for this kind of work.
“You have to add a counterweight to it, and then make other modifications. But this 875 is purpose-built for the kind of material handling we do here.”