Master of the incline
The Black Forest – a unique, densely wooded, low mountain range in Germany’s south-west – is not only a tourist highlight with its idyllic slopes and valleys, but also the home and working territory of Felix Finkbeiner and his walking excavator with its ACA 750 add-on compactor from Ammann.
Felix Finkbeiner has made a name for himself and his company, Felix Finkbeiner Walking Excavator, in the Black Forest as a specialist for demanding earth and forestry work. The terrain is usually no longer reachable or accessible to other general contractors and their machine pools when he gets to work with his Kaiser S12 HP Allroad walking excavator. Steep wooded slopes, uneven and rocky substrates and terrain with criss-crossing streams and ditches are, so to speak, the natural environment for Finkbeiner and his S12.
The excavator is transformed into an all-terrain device carrier by the attached tiltrotator and the add-on machines connected to it.In contrast to the serial version with a 360° endless rotation motor, Finkbeiner uses the rigid version on his excavator as the tiltrotator already provides optimum manoeuvrability. “I reached my decision in favour of this combination together with Matthias Pfaff of the Reichert Service Centre in Sinzheim,” explains Finkbeiner. “It enables us to achieve perfect agility with our excavator and the add-on compactor delivers full power in every position.”
Alongside the dark pine trees that give the area its name, the Black Forest also stands for ample precipitation with up to 2100 mm of rain and snow falling in the higher regions each year – up to three times the average for Germany. Accordingly, the towns and villages often struggle with huge amounts of run-off water and its consequences. Special machinery and experienced machine operators such as Finkbeiner are therefore needed to carry out professional earth works on steep and wet inclines. Finkbeiner took us along to one of his assignments on a slope in the municipality of Ottenhöfen in the Black Forest.
Having arrived at the construction site on the outskirts of Ottenhöfen, the add-on compactor immediately had to demonstrate its ability to achieve the right amount of compaction in demanding terrain. Heavy rainfall and the corresponding water run-off had led to a landslide on the slope of a wooded area so that parts of the drainage culvert had to be reinstalled.
The first step was to address the accumulated mounds of earth that had been washed down by the water. The mounds were cleared away up to the ditch on the mountainside with the help of local companies and a trench dug out for the new reinforced concrete culvert pipes with a diameter of 600 mm.
“Once we had created the transition to the existing culvert pipes and installed the culvert beneath the road surface, we then extended the pipeline up to the next ditch,” says Finkbeiner. The trench was then filled with stones and earth until the culvert pipes were completely underground. “That’s when the ACA 750 came into play,” says Finkbeiner. “I attached it to the tiltrotator’s quick-change system and used it to compact the ground above the pipes and along the entire trench.”
All in all, the contractor installed a good 12 metres of reinforced concrete pipeline and took care of professional surface compaction so that the area is now better protected against future landslides. If the substrate on a slope is compacted using just the excavator’s bucket, it can result in the formation of a water film within the layers of earth during heavy rainfall, which in turn can lead to landslides. This is why professional compaction is essential, especially on steep inclines.
The ACA 750 Add-On Compactor is designed for excavators weighing between 12 and 40 tonnes and is the ideal tool for clean compaction on inclines. Its patented stop system on both sides protects the frame, rubber-bonded metal elements and the supporting device from damage. It develops a centrifugal force of 90 kN over a working width of 740 mm and can compact fill depths of up to 1 metre depending on the type of substrate.
That is why Finkbeiner appreciates the special abilities of his compactor: “I have had the ACA 750 for around 9 months now and am very pleased with it. The device is rugged, completely maintenance-free and develops an enormous compaction output despite its compact size. Furthermore, I received competent advice as usual from Matthias Pfaff of the Reichert dealership and now know that I made the right purchasing decision.”
Carmen Meudt, responsible regional sales manager at Ammann Compaction, is pleased with the excellent match between intended use and the right machine from the house of Ammann.
“We know from dealer Reichert that Felix Finkbeiner is the right man for virtually inaccessible countryside areas – and we are proud that, together with our dealer, we were able to provide the contractor with the ideal add-on compactor,” Meudt explains.
A good example of how a trusting working relationship between manufacturer, dealer and contractor can lead to sustainable solutions.