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Ronald Figiel, Sales Construction Machinery of Atlas von der Wehl: "We presented a unique crawler excavator here, at the fair."

Ronald Figiel, Sales Construction Machinery of Atlas von der Wehl at NordBau 2023
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Ronald Figiel, Sales Construction Machinery of Atlas von der Wehl at NordBau 2023

IMAGE SOURCE: LECTURA Press, Aleksandra Jastrzab

LECTURA is currently at the NordBau 2023 trade fair reporting on news from the world of construction machinery. Listen to our live conversation with exhibitors, this time with Ronald Figiel from Atlas von der Wehl.


Aleksandra Jastrzab: Atlas von der Wehl GmbH is a part of the Wehl Group of Companies, and their headquarters is in Lauenbrück, Lower Saxony, in the middle between Hamburg and Bremen.

Mr. Figiel, what is your highlight of this year's NordBau trade fair?

Ronald Figiel: We presented a unique crawler excavator here, at the fair. Four years ago, I got in contact with two engineers, and they were looking for a special excavator to recover the dangerous waste of the 1st and 2nd World War from a Dethlingen pond, that's a place, Dethlingen. This project includes among other things an Atlas Weycor wheel loader type 480, which is also armored and was already delivered in November last year and is also here at the fair at the stand of the company PSV. They have borrowed the wheel loader from the Dethlinger pond and present here also the armor of the wheel loader.

So, this crawler excavator has a special drive, namely twin power, which was extensively rebuilt by our colleagues, and thus has once a diesel drive and an electric drive. The machine needs this electric drive, in order to work in a hall that has been built over the pond, with the dimensions 97 × 107 meters. This excavator has a sensor that detects toxic gas. If toxic gas is detected, then the excavator operator gets the protective ventilation switched over and then gets his breathing air from the oxygen cylinders that he has on the roof. This crawler excavator is then used to recover the warfare remains 15 meters below ground level. The excavator operator is allowed to sit in it as long as he can, without a radio, because maximum concentration is required. The workers who are in the pit are under full protection. That means the gloves they wear are four pairs on top of each other, a white pair made of wool first, then rubber, leather, and rubber again. Then the whole thing is taped off. 

When they are done after 30 minutes, since they are not allowed to work longer than that at a time, they take off their clothes again - if they see any liquids on the white glove, they know that the glove is broken and that they have been in contact with warfare remnants. 

This work in the Dethlingen pond is expected to take between five and seven years. For this, the Heidekreis, which is the operator, put this excavator out to tender throughout Europe, and the von der Wehl Group was awarded the contract. Thank you very much.

AJ: Thank you.

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