The Canal du Midi is more than 240 km long and connects Toulouse to the Mediterranean Sea near Sète. Completed in 1681, it was a critical transport route for years, opening up regional markets to interregional trade long before modern streets and transportation routes came to France. Today the canal, which was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996, is a beloved vacation destination and is primarily used by pleasure craft and houseboats. However, this idyll is being threatened. The some 42,000 plane trees lining the Canal du Midi have been stricken by a disease. A microbial fungus is infesting the trees. Branches and bark begin falling off, and the tree is dead in two to five years.

The only solution for curtailing the disease is to chop down and burn the affected trees. Specialized companies spend the winter clearing out a number of targeted locations. This is where the two SENNEBOGEN material handlers delivered at the start of 2015 by Sales and Service Partner SYGMAT come into play.

 

Modern felling with grab saws at SMDA and Groupe SERPE

Depending on the size and thickness of the trees, the properties of the soil and the regional location, two SENNEBOGEN machines join in on behalf of Voies Navigables de France, the state authority for inland waterway management.

For this work, the company SMDA SAS relies on an 830 HD crawler material handler equipped with a 17 m boom and a hydraulic grab saw. The robust, telescoping HD undercarriage with 700 mm wide track shoes keep the 830 stable and secure, and also allows it to navigate difficult terrain with ease. The machine is powered by a 164 kW diesel engine and has a comfort cab that can be angled up to 30° and extended up to 2.7 m. This gives the operator an optimal view of the work area and direct sight even of higher branches. Protective gratings on the windshield and glass roof panel protect against falling materials.

Another green machine is performing a similar task about an hour's drive away for Group SERPE. The 718 forestry telescopic crane with 13 m boom and mobile undercarriage is practically made for this kind of mobile use. This configuration includes a grab saw with a tilt rotator. The operator has to bring the branches and trees piece by piece to a specific location in order to then burn them on site. This is designed to prevent further contamination of the tree population. The impressive, compact size of the all-wheel drive 718 also preserves the ground. The machine also drives short distances itself, thanks to being approved for road use and a top speed of 20 km/h. A normal flat-bed trailer is enough for transport over longer distances.

Both machines are handled by Sales and Service Partner SYGMAT in France and have already proven themselves after just a few weeks of continuous use.

Captions: A SENNEBOGEN 718 forestry mobile crane and an 830 HD material handler at work in France to manage the trees along the Canal du Midi. The historical tree population is suffering from a fungus and must be precisely and thoroughly treated.

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Florian Attenhauser

SENNEBOGEN
Maschinenfabrik GmbH

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SENNEBOGEN head of training technical training academy Florian Attenhauser