Full power for the Paul Heavyweights
The area looks like a desert or moon landscape with steep slopes stretching over many hectares. A gorge up to 100 metres deep opens up in the midst of this surreal landscape. At its base: brown coal, or lignite, the black gold of the Lausitz, extracted by excavators with undreamt-of dimensions.
Vattenfall Europe Mining AG extracts 8000 tonnes of raw lignite per hour in its open cast mines located in the Lausitz region. In three-shift operation at the Jänschwalde, Welzow South, Cottbus North, Nochten and Reichwalde sites this results in a production volume of 190,000 tonnes per day and approximately 60 million tonnes per year – sufficient energy to cover about one tenth of the electricity consumption in Germany. However, Vattenfall is not only one of the most
important energy producers nationwide, but also one of the largest employers in the region with over 8000 employees.
At the same time the enterprise is also a specialist in large-scale renaturation. The recultivation work starts as soon as
the giant coal excavators have completed their work. Thriving arable land and new forests with more than 30 million trees, brought to life by a multifaceted fauna and enriched by new forms of use such as viticulture and energy wood plantations, have already been created on approximately 6300 hectares of tips and pits on the former mining area. For both mining and recultivation Vattenfall uses almost exclusively vehicles from Mercedes Benz, optimised for their specific purpose by means of conversions made by Paul Nutzfahrzeuge. Hence, all-wheel-drive vehicles based on the Unimog and Zetros, painted in the characteristic Vattenfall yellow and proudly bearing the Paul logo, constantly dart between excavators, conveyor belts and the headquarter’s main offices.
There are now 27 heavyweight all-wheel drive perfectionists in total, and the trend is upwards. The range extends from crew transporters with extended wheelbase, in which the drivers can transport up to 35 miners to the base of the pit at the change of shift, to fully equipped workshop vehicles enabling urgent on-site repairs to excavators and conveyors to be carried out. These are joined by the most diverse dropside, crane, winter service and service vehicles. “Extended wheelbases and overhangs, noise-insulated bodies, air suspension, single tyres – Paul supplies us with the optimum combination of agility, driving comfort and safety, thus making it possible for us to get to any place of action at any time”, says a delighted Frank Schroeckh, head of process control and optimisation at Vattenfall Europe Mining AG.