Emission-free all-round service for Louise and Frosja

Electric loader 23e delivers at Augsburg Zoo

The new elephant house at Augsburg Zoo opened in February 2020. The two year project was the largest construction project at the zoo in the Bavarian City which has more than 650,000 visitors every year. Together with a spacious outdoor enclosure, the elephants have a 10,000 sqm area at their disposal. Elephant keeper Stephan Zips has been involved from the beginning, supported in his work by the electric loader Schäffer 23e.

The new elephant house at Augsburg Zoo is home to the two Asian elephants Louise and Frosja. Their home is one of the most modern elephant houses in Europe: spacious with a soft, sandy floor, a waterfall with a swimming pool, a sprinkler system and an automatic feeding system offer plenty of comfort for the two elephants. To ensure that this savanna-like idyll is not disturbed, the quiet and emission-free Schäffer 23e electric loader takes care of feeding and helps with daily cleaning.

The 23e is used for about three hours a day at the Augsburg Zoo. In addition to cleaning out, transporting feed is part of the daily tasks.

Emission-free operation is of crucial importance

“For us, it was clear from the outset that it would be an electric loader,” explains elephant keeper Stephan Zips about the decision for the E-loader. “It‘s obvious that working without noise and emissions benefits everyone here in the zoo. Another crucial advantage is the fact that the electric drive does not stir up additional dust. The entire system is water-cooled and the loader does not have a fan.”

Tight conditions: during feed delivery in the elephant house, a narrow entrance gate and two 180° curves have to be navigated when transporting a hay bale. Although the loader shows signs of use in the dusty and sometimes muddy conditions, it does not have any negative effects on the reliability of the machine.

It’s easy to see from the loader that it can get dusty even without a fan in the elephant house. “During cleaning, the loader is constantly on the dusty ground, and in wet weather it can get muddy outside,” explains Stephan Zips about the operating conditions. “And the loader lives up to its promises. Despite the adverse conditions, we could rely on the loader and its electronics through 3,300 operating hours.”
The loader is in use for about three hours a day. “We can do that with one battery charge. After work, we charge it at a normal socket and the next morning it can continue with a full battery,” explains Stephan Zips. The battery is a first-generation lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 6.7 kWh. The loader is equipped with a driver protection roof, travels at up to 20 km/h and has an operating weight of 2.2 t. It lifts loads weighing up to 1.3 t (pallet fork) or up to 1.5 t (shovel) to a height of 2.88m. Schäffer also offers the loader with a high lifting height of 3.11m. Two independently operating electric motors provide drive (21 kW) and work hydraulics (9.7 kW).

More time for the animals

In the old elephant house, manual labour was required: “The wheelbarrow was our best friend,” recalls Stephan Zips of the time without the E-loader. “We are now much faster at cleaning the area and transporting food, and we have more time for the animals, as they need to be occupied and trained.”

Stephan Zips explains more about the selection process: “We had two electric loaders for comparison here, but we decided on the Schäffer due to its very good performance and manoeuvrability. During feed transport, the distance is a bit longer, so the faster 20 km/h speed was the deciding factor. And when entering the building with a hay bale, we have to drive through two very tight 180° curves to get to the feed storage area, which the Schäffer managed without any problems.”

Intuitive and fun to operate

The elephant keeper was relieved that it didn’t take long to get used to the new electric loader. “I already had experience with a larger diesel loader myself. The new direct electric drive was initially unfamiliar, but I quickly got used to it. The operation was also very intuitive for the other colleagues from the area who use the loader, and they quickly became familiar with the machine. They appreciate the how easy it makes work and enjoy operating the machine.”

Elephant keeper Stephan Zips is completely satisfied with working with the 23e.

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