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Volvo loader proves its worth

A Volvo L150F wheeled loader has been chosen as the main vehicle for moving material around a newly commissioned combined heat and power (CHP) plant at Invergordon, Cromarty.

The plant, occupying part of an old aluminium smelting works and operated by wood product supplier Balcas, is fuelled by timber, and the new machine handles both logs for processing and chipped wood pellets.

The loader has been supplied with both a 3.1m² sorting grapple and a 12m³ light materials bucket, which are easily interchangeable, allowing it to handle incoming loads of predominantly lodgepole pine and other low grade timber which has to be unloaded, stacked and then fed into the mill for debarking and chipping.

At the other end of the process large volumes of chipped and pelleted wood need to be rehandled for storage and loading. In all, 700t of incoming timber is handled every week, and the plant produces 100,000t of pellets every year.

The incoming material is combusted in the CHP and the emerging steam is condensed to drive an electrical generator, which feeds 5MW of power to the national grid. Residual heat is then used in the manufacture of the high-energy wood fuel pellets, which Balcas sells as fuel.

The L150F supplied to Balcas is covered by Volvo’s gold customer support agreement, meaning repair and maintenance of the machine is carried out by Volvo-trained personnel.

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