Brochard builds world record-breaking spreader with SSAB steel
Leading French manufacturer of agricultural equipment, Brochard, has set a new record for the number of tonnes of manure spread in 24 hours. The world’s largest manure spreader, made of SSAB’s Hardox® and Strenx™ high-strength steel, reinforces Brochard’s position as the world’s top developer of oversized and custom-made agricultural machines.
Brochard Constructeur has been developing and producing a wide range of trailers since 1946. Over the years, the company has become particularly famous for its market-leading manure spreaders. Brochard and SSAB began their long-standing collaboration in 2002 and, since then, Brochard has exclusively used Hardox steel and now, since its April launch, Strenx steel to build its machines.
“Hardox is the most wear-resistant material on the market, while Strenx lives up to our strict requirements for power, durability and weight reduction,” says Brochard’s CEO, Alain Bellion.
Last July, Brochard set a new spreading world record on a dairy farm in the Chernigivska Region of Ukraine. Within 24 hours, the world’s largest manure spreader, weighing 18 tonnes and measuring a massive 14 m by 2.5 m, spread more than 4,200 tonnes of manure on a farm with a total area of over 135,000 hectares.
Emmanuel Chevet, SSAB Value Added Services, explains that it was no coincidence that Brochard chose to test its record-breaker in this part of the world.
“This machine was a powerful demonstration of the almost limitless capacity of Brochard’s spreaders,” says Chevet. “Farms in Eastern Europe are huge: while a typical French farmer might keep up to 100 cows on a couple of hundred hectares, farms in countries like Ukraine are typically owned by large food industry companies, often measure more than 100,000 hectares and may have far more than 1,000 cows.”
“Brochard builds a lot of custom-made equipment for its customers and, while the record-breaking spreader itself was not designed for industrialization, it verifies Brochard’s ability to develop giant machines of this kind,” continues Chevet, adding that the customized machine built for this occasion had a payload that was almost double that of a standard spreader.
“While large manure spreaders, like the ones Brochard has in serial production, typically have six wheels and a payload of up to 32 tonnes, the record-breaking machine had eight wheels and a maximum capacity of up to 60 tonnes,” confirms Chevet.
However, putting a machine of this size to work for the first time is not always plain sailing. Chevet recalls an unexpected issue that arose on the day the record was set.
“Before you can use a spreader, it needs to be filled and, for that, you need a wheel loader. But when three large wheel loaders arrived on the field to fill the spreader with an absolutely gigantic pile of manure, it turned out they were too small – their arms couldn’t reach the top of the spreader. A special structure had to be placed under the wheel loaders to make them tall enough,” he says.
The record was set with the support of three partners: CNH provided the 542-horsepower T9-615 tractor that pulled the spreader, while Alliance supplied the radial tires. Meanwhile, the material used to build the spreader itself was provided by SSAB. The spreading screw was made of Hardox 450 – chosen for its superior wear resistance – while the body of the machine was made of Strenx performance steel.
“Strenx is one of the highest strength steels that can be found on the market. It allows us to minimize the weight of the machine, while maximizing its strength. Reducing weight is crucial as every kilogram of deadweight that is taken off the machine can be transferred into increasing its capacity,” continues Bellion.
Although it is high-strength steel, Strenx does not require special processing methods. It therefore enables customers such as Brochard to combine the highest level of material strength with the ease of conventional processing.
“Strenx gives us all the benefits of high-strength material, without obliging us to invest in new processing equipment. It also allows us to maintain the smooth appearance and design that our machines have become famous for,” adds Bellion.
Founded in 1946, Brochard Constructeur is one of the world’s leading designers and manufacturers of equipment for the agricultural and construction sectors. Its product range includes agricultural trailers, public work trailers, grain carts and spreaders. Headquartered in Beaulieu-Sous-la-Roche in western France, Brochard has some 45 employees and an annual turnover of EUR 8 million.
About Brochard’s record-breaking manure spreader
The world’s largest manure spreader, tested last July in Ukraine, set a world record by spreading more than 4,200 tonnes of manure on a dairy farm measuring more than 10,000 hectares. Standing tall at 3.7 meters, the body of Brochard’s 18-tonne machine was made of SSAB’s Strenx brand of high-strength steel, while the spreading screw was made of Hardox 450.
Lightweight, high-strength timber haulage solutions for rail transport
Located in Kuhmo, Finland near the Arctic Circle, Nopan Metalli Oy develops heavy-duty timber racks for carrying loads over long distances. The company uses strong Strenx 1100 MC* to create its lightweight solutions for heavy hauling.
Plant Director Pentti Heikkinen explains that weight reduction is one of Nopan Metalli’s key objectives and that this is one of the main reasons for choosing Strenx 1100 MC from SSAB. “Advanced high-strength steels and good design make it possible to reduce the weight of the vehicle and increase its payload,” says Heikkinen. “This, in turn, leads to lower transportation costs, while reducing fuel consumption and emissions.”
Lightweight solutions for heavy log hauling
Since Nopan Metalli was founded in 1937, it has manufactured equipment for the transport industry. Its main products include timber racks for railway wagons and terminal trailers, along with components and steel structures used at power plants.
Nopan Metalli chose SSAB’s Strenx 1100 MC for its timber racks used both on railways and at terminals in the Finnish timber industry. While the railway trailers operate over long distances, the terminal trailers are used in closed areas and carry extremely heavy loads. Heikkinen explains that, in both applications, very high demands are placed on the material in the racks.
Efficiency savings in the workshop
“Apart from offering excellent opportunities for reducing the weight of the structures, we have also found that Strenx 1100 MC has very good workshop properties,” he adds. “It performs well for cutting, bending and welding.”
The company also benefits from SSAB’s expertise in prefabrication services, which allows it to flexibly adjust its own capacity and utilize larger items.
Fassi is taking the fierce competition in the lifting and transportation industry head on. With the company’s new F2150RAL crane, which fully utilizes the advanced and ultra-high-strength steel Strenx in the lifting arms and crane booms, Fassi has gained a significant competitive edge.
A revolution in knuckle boom cranes
Italian Fassi Group is one of the world’s largest loader crane manufacturers. The company brings innovation, quality and performance to its products by using advanced materials from leading steel manufacturers. In its new crane model F2150RAL, Fassi chose to use Strenx 1100 and Strenx 900 from SSAB in the lifting arms and crane booms. The result was a revolution in heavy-weight knuckle boom cranes, which can now be installed on 4-axle trucks.
The F2150RAL crane stands out for its ability to combine exceptional lifting performance with a machine body that keeps structural dimensions to a minimum and limits tare weight. It has a lifting class of 160 tm / 1570 kNm and a maximum reach of 41.30 m with jib that was made possible thanks to Strenx.
Since Strenx is designed for areas where structural strength and weight reduction are important competitive factors, the research and development department of Fassi in partnership with SSAB worked together to co-engineer new applications with extremely advanced mechanical solutions.
Reduced weight, increased advantages
Fassi’s goal is to remain at the forefront of the industry by generating significant competitive advantages. This is why the development of the new Fassi crane was focused on improving the power to weight ratio, without sacrificing reliability or safe operation limits. Using Strenx and SSAB’s technical experience allowed Fassi to effectively lower weight and reach new levels of performance.
Reducing weight by utilizing Strenx also contributes to a lower tare weight, which plays a large role in improving the overall performance of the crane and vehicle package. This allows Fassi to achieve three goals: lower fuel consumption, realize savings in operating costs and lower environmental impact through less CO2 emissions
The right property and quality mix
In addition to a low weight to strength ratio, steel used in cranes is required to have high toughness, good welding and bending properties as well as good consistency in terms of physical, chemical and mechanical properties.
Strenx meets these critical demands and SSAB is continuously improving its development work with advanced high-strength and ultra-high-strength steels to provide even more advantages to crane manufactures.
The latest video produced by Fassi and SSAB shows the new top range crane, the F2150RAL, operating in a construction site near Helsinki, Finland. This excellent crane is a perfect combination of high level steel properties with advanced features and advanced design solutions thanks to Fassi’s more than fifty years of experience.
Follow Fassi and SSAB on YouTube to learn more about features and technology.
Bronto Skylift pushes the limit with SSAB's new Strenx
Pushing the limits is standard procedure at the Finnish aerial platform manufacturer Bronto.
“Bronto is an innovative company within the aerial platform segment,” says Pasi Leiviskä, segment manager for lifting at SSAB. “And the designers at Bronto have always seen new, advanced high-strength steel grades as an opportunity to keep ahead of the competition.”
SSAB has launched the new advanced high-strength steel Strenx™, and Bronto Skylift is already using the material to develop stronger products that can reach higher than ever before without compromising safety.
Bronto Skylift’s HLA, High Level Articulated Range, is a particularly good example of an application that benefits from low weight and high strength. The booms are made of Strenx in 650MPa to 900 MPa strength level and there are plans to use even higher strength levels in the future.
Bronto Skylift’s HLA can lift a fully loaded platform up to 112 meters (367 feet) above the ground. Mounted on a special chassis, this aerial platform has become very popular among metropolitan fire brigades all over the world. It is reliable and extremely fast. The HLA can be stabilized for rescue and ready to work in 40 seconds.
Bronto Skylift has a long history of working together with SSAB beginning back in 1992, when the first high-strength steel grades were delivered to the company.
With a wider program of even more advanced high-strength steel grades and further processed components, the collaboration between Bronto and SSAB has grown.
“When we offered advanced high-strength steel grades on the level 900-960 MPa, Bronto was not only interested to know more about the steel but also about further processing and delivery of ‘ready to weld’ components,” says Leiviskä. “The SSAB Shape concept and tubes and profiles ensure the possibility for us to offer Bronto pre-manufactured parts.”
There are strong motives to keep the aerial platform as light as possible. The lighter it is the more people can be saved to the lifted fire truck platform; in addition, several fire fighters can be lifted up in the air to work from the platform. With its low weight the platform can be used on ordinary streets, something which heavier equipment cannot do.
The weight of the Bronto Skylift F 112 HLA has been pushed down to 77 tonnes after extensive use of Strenx advanced high-strength steel.
“Thanks to the advanced high-strength steel grades from SSAB, the last boom is made of thin steel, which previously did not even exist on the market,” says Leiviskä. “This is a good example of Bronto Skylift pushing the limits by utilizing the full product portfolio of SSAB.”
Iconic Mack Trucks uses high-strength steel to pioneer developments in heavy-goods vehicles
Road transport using heavy goods vehicles is essential to delivering the commodities that people around the world rely on in their daily lives. Given the volume of traffic on the roads, any improvement that reduces environmental impact or improves safety can make a significant difference.
Mack Trucks, part of the Volvo Group and one of the US’s largest automotive companies, created a new suspension solution that leverages the properties of high-strength steel to deliver improved handling and reduce tire wear by up to 25 percent. The new suspension also results in safer vehicles and increased driver comfort.
Pioneering improvement in a long-established feature of heavy-goods vehicles
The Mack Twin Y™ Air suspension is an entirely new principle for truck suspensions that is not only lighter, but offers considerably improved handling. The design is based on a supporting arm comprising two interlocking sections made of high-strength steel, which absorb the forces exerted upon the vehicle’s rear axles in an entirely revolutionary way.
This new solution reduces vibration and increases tire traction. Not only are steering, braking ability and driver comfort considerably improved, but Twin Y also significantly reduces tire wear. Similarly, Twin Y is also lightweight and sturdy, meaning that the suspension has a long serviceable life and low maintenance costs.
Mack Trucks has introduced the new suspension on the rear axles of its highway transportation trucks. They have been fitted to the Mack Pinnacle since early 2013, a truck model designed for hauling heavy loads over long transcontinental routes in North America.
Twin Y consists of two stamped steel blades made of Domex 100 XF/Domex 650 MC*, which absorb the vertical movements of the axle through the air suspension component of the suspension system.
The benefits: Stronger, lighter more sustainable products
Twin Y benefits from both the strength and flexibility of high-strength steel and represents a revolutionary way to counteract the motion generated by the axles. This improves road handling, which in turn results in a considerable reduction in tire wear — one of the three major expenses for a hauler. A longer serviceable life also means fewer maintenance stops for tire changes and rotations or for maintenance on the suspension itself.
The new design can save up to 180 kg (400 lbs) in weight per truck compared with other air suspension systems.
The high-strength steel design also results in a significantly simpler, cleaner and more efficient manufacturing process for Mack Trucks.
Innovation and high tech drive success for Polish trailer manufacturer
Wielton is the leading trailer manufacturer in Poland and the fifth largest in Europe. Back in 1997, the company crossed paths with SSAB, beginning a long-term collaboration focused on technological advances in product development. With SSAB’s high-strength steels, the company can produce 8,000 truck bodies and trailers per year, up from 4,000 since switching to SSAB’s steels.
Located in the small town of Wieluń in southwestern Poland, Wielton was founded in 1991 as a small trading company. In 1996, it started producing its own trailers and steadily began to grow and expand its product portfolio. The Wielton logo proudly sports a camel, symbolizing the animal’s strength, endurance and ability to carry heavy loads over long distances.
2007 saw the beginning of a new era for the company as it became listed on the Polish stock exchange. The high-strength-steel it used became even thinner and stronger. At the same time, Wielton invested in new, modern equipment in order to increase the volume and quality of its products in an efficient way.
“Our main challenges are lean production and to develop lightweight vehicles that can accommodate higher loading volumes,” says Andrzej Szczepek, chief executive. “To achieve this, we cooperate with suppliers and with leading polish technical universities. Innovation is crucial for market leadership — that's why we invest heavily in our R&D department.”
Strenx™, Docol® and Hardox® high-strength steel plates are used in a wide range of Wielton products to reduce product weight and increase payload for the end users.
“In 2011, we signed a consignment-stock agreement, which has facilitated our access to the products and steel types we require and enables us to react faster and with shorter lead time in a volatile market environment,” states Szczepek.
Development at Wielton never stands still. In fact, together with SSAB it recently developed a new tipper using Docol 1000 DP. By using this steel and its specially designed side-wall shape (the design is patented), Wielton can now produce an even stronger product.
“Before, we produced the side walls out of several sheets, but with this Docol 1000 DP we reduced the number of sheets to just one,” says Bartosz Strugacz, purchasing manager at Wielton. “So far we’ve sold almost over 70 pieces, and the interest is big in this product.”
A close partnership with SSAB Shape and the high-strength steel Strenx™ is helping the trailer and tipper manufacturer Feber stay strong in the market – by reducing weight, costs and their environmental footprint.
Feber is a tipper and trailer manufacturer based in Poland that is well known for its high-quality products and innovative thinking. In their continual pursuit to become more competitive, the company has made it their goal to develop tippers that can contribute to lower fuel consumption and increased payloads. The challenge, however, was finding a material that allowed them to make the necessary design changes, while staying economical.
Lighter, more fuel-efficient tippers
For nearly 10 years, their winning strategy has been the use of Strenx high-strength steel from SSAB. Strong yet thin dimensions of Strenx allow them to manufacture lighter and more fuel-efficient end products. Furthermore, a close partnership with SSAB Shape for pre-processed components has helped Feber keep manufacturing costs to a minimum. Today, Strenx can be found in nearly every tipper chassis that Feber makes.
“By partnering with SSAB and using Strenx, Feber has been able to refine their chassis designs over the years in order to get the most out of the high-strength steel,” says Janusz Kuczynski, regional sales manager SSAB Poland. “The chassis that Feber manufactures today are some of the most advanced on the market, in terms of resistance to cracking and fuel efficiency; however, Feber wants to reduce weight even further.”
Improved crack resistance, weight reduction and less welding
Feber first decided to make the switch to Strenx steel (originally called Domex) because the chassis, made from mild steels, were too heavy and prone to cracking. Feber chose to use Strenx 700 and has continued using it when developing new, lighter chassis designs.
“Feber has been highly satisfied with their choice of Strenx and now have the intention to go towards even higher grades like Strenx 960 in the future. This may result in a further weight reduction,” says Kuczynski.
Another major benefit that Feber has realized from their choice of Strenx 700 is better resistance against cracking. The high strength, consistency and excellent weldability of the steel allows for designs that would otherwise be prone to fatigue cracks.
“Overall, the amount of welding performed during the manufacturing of the tipper chassis has also been reduced drastically thanks to the thinner profiles,” adds Kuczynski. “The lower thickness of Strenx equals lower welding costs.”
Yet another benefit is the reduction of costs thanks to prefabricated components from SSAB Shape.
SSAB Shape has been instrumental in the success of the tippers manufactured by Feber. They provided design assistance as well as deliveries of prefabricated flanges and webs produced by SSAB in Poland.
“By using SSAB Shape to produce the flanges for the trailer chassis, Feber not only gets a component that fully leverages the benefits of Strenx steel, but one that they can quickly implement into the manufacturing process, thereby saving time and money.”
Bending and laser welding were other operations performed by SSAB Shape in order to supply Feber with components that need only a few steps to assemble.
“The result was that Feber has been able to produce and sell more sophisticated and innovative products that have changed industry standards and boosted their competitiveness.”
After such a long-term partnership with SSAB, technical cooperation is more or less a daily routine. Over the years, Feber has been able to achieve the highest design results in terms of weight and fatigue as well as a streamlined manufacturing process thanks to simple workshop procedures – and this means high-quality products with lower production costs.
SSAB expertise helps crane manufacturer develop cranes that can take the strain
Effer, the Italian crane manufacturer, is the main driving force behind the development of Strenx* 1300. Effer plans to make the world’s strongest structural steel an integral part of its product line.
A user-friendly, stronger and lighter steel
Like all crane manufacturers, Effer is always looking for lighter and stronger materials. Weight is a major consideration when they develop a new model, especially for end users, since the cranes are installed on trucks. Effer needs to continuously develop lighter, stronger cranes to compete successfully in the crane market.
Effer had been using Strenx 1100 from SSAB. Although they were pleased with it, they really wanted a steel that was even stronger yet still retained all the characteristics that make Strenx easy to work with. They challenged SSAB to come up with a solution.
Strenx 1300 meets customer requirements
The project team from SSAB first sat down with the Effer product and design team to determine exactly what they wanted, and then it was back to Oxelösund, Sweden to start work on the steel. Although it took time to develop the steel, the SSAB project team knew right from the start exactly what Effer was looking for.
By 2005, the SSAB project team had developed a product they were happy to send for testing. Effer was just as pleased and started to design a new crane with Strenx 1300 once they had completed the tests.
Customer-driven product development drives innovation
Effer uses Strenx 1300 because it is the only type of steel that can take the strains put on its cranes while still being light and easy to bend and weld. Crane manufacturers constantly face the challenge of having to develop new sections in their designs that best utilize the properties of new products, and this is where SSAB can help.
”In my opinion, SSAB is one of only a few companies in the world that can give the sort of information we need in helping us develop new sections and using new materials properly. SSAB has helped us reach our objectives,” says the product marketing manager at Effer.
Along with Effer, 10 other companies are eagerly testing Strenx 1300 for use in their products.
My Inner Strenx program for forestry and agricultural
“We are convinced that our state-of-the-art products are superior to every other brand on the market, and participating in the My Inner Strenx™ program means added value that will support and reinforce our marketing and sales.”
J. David Señarís, head of the design department at Spanish manufacturer of agricultural machinery TMC Cancela, explains why the company was the first SSAB customer in southern Europe to become a My Inner Strenx member, and the first one in the world in its sector.
Founded in 1971, TMC Cancela decided early on to focus on repairing and innovating custom solutions for the agriculture and forestry sectors.
High-strength steel for tough environments in highly specialized industries
Today, TMC Cancela is highly specialized in its core industries with a large product program including forestry mulching solutions and quality agricultural machinery like mowers.
“As you can understand, our products are mostly used in a very tough environment and our customers expect our machinery to fulfil their purpose whatever the situation,” says David Señarís.
Advanced high-strength steel has a long history at TMC Cancela.
“But it really was an improvement when we got in contact with the SSAB product program,” says David Señarís. “This was around 2008, shortly before TMC Cancela started its international marketing.”
Strenx steel a perfect fit for customer requirements
The properties of the Strenx™ steel grades fit TMC Cancela’s requirements perfectly.
“Strenx means added value in every step of our process,” says David Señarís. “From design to cutting, bending and welding we benefit from the SSAB products we use.”
David Señarís stresses that part of the recent success for TMC Cancela on the world market is a result of a totally new design program.
“We have even implemented ideas from the automotive sector in our design department,” he says. “Quality and lifespan are of course important when customers are buying new machinery, but almost always a good design makes all the difference when it comes to the final decision.”
A good design choice
And, in David Señarís’ opinion, when it comes to design SSAB’s Strenx steel really is a good choice.
“When we are able to use a thinner steel we gain advantages without losing properties when it comes to design,” he states. “Not only does our product become lighter, but perhaps more importantly it looks lighter. And we can add several design elements that are attractive to our customers.”
TMC Cancela keeps most of its development and manufacturing processes in-house. In addition to development and design, there is also a workshop that handles most of the cutting, bending, welding, painting and final assembly of the product.
Continuous improvement and product development
“This really is an advantage when it comes to our work with product development and continuous improvement,” says David Señarís. “The close connection between all the departments in the company makes us more aware of trends on the market, customers’ experience from using our products, and also if there are any kind of difficulties during the manufacturing process.”
That’s why he is very well informed about the advantages of the Strenx products in the workshop.
“Easy to bend, easy to cut, less deformation when welding, better mechanical properties. I could go on…”
But equally important is the final customers’ recognition that TMC Cancela always uses Strenx steel. The company reinforces this connection using serialized stickers on the products that display the My Inner Strenx logo.
“It gives added value to our products, which the final customers really appreciate. They know that the combination of TMC Cancela design and Strenx is a winning concept. And we see that confirmed in our sales figures.”
SSAB’s Strenx 1100 high-strength steel was chosen for use in Zoomlion’s super all-terrain crane, which will be used in wind power installation projects
Zoomlion, a long-term SSAB customer and one of China’s biggest crane manufacturers, recently delivered the world’s largest tonnage all terrain crane QAY2000, known as the “son of wind”, to its end user in Ningxia, where it will be used in wind power construction and equipment installation.
Produced the first truck crane of China in 1972, Zoomlion enjoys a leading position in the crane market in China. Its lifting equipment portfolio includes mobile cranes, rough-terrain cranes, all-terrain cranes, crawler cranes and lorry cranes. Zoomlion had spent several years on technology development and tests before launching the QAY2000 model and delivery to the end user.
The QAY2000 has a maximum lifting capacity of 2,000 tons. The key parts - the whole set of the booms - were made out of SSAB’s Strenx 1100 high-strength steel. Strenx’s superb consistency, flatness, bending properties and workshop-friendliness enabled the QAY2000 to achieve the aim of greater performance and reduced weight. Strenx 1100 has a minimum yield strength of 1,100MPa and the use of such high-strength material in a structure like QAY2000 requires very high impact toughness to ensure safety. The all-round properties of Strenx 1100 provide the best performance in this niche market. Ms. Wang Lianfang, senior engineer at Zoomlion, said “For big capacity all-terrain cranes, no material with a yield strength below 1100 MPa will meet our weight reduction requirement. We only buy this grade of materials from SSAB, who not only provide us with reliable steels of consistent quality, but also abundant technical support to enable us to take full advantage of the steels.”