Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Hey Grinderguy, how do I convert to grind shingles?

Being able to grind multiple materials reduces your grinding costs for everything you grind. So the more material ground the better. If you are a C&D Recycling Company for example, then you not only can separate the wood, plastics, metal and rock, but you can sort the shingles and be able to reduce your landfilling costs by lowering disposal weights. Even if you do not have an outlet for the shingles, mixing with small stone and making roads on your Landfill or site is a great option to eliminate this product after it is ground.
`But grinding shingles will wear out all the surfaces in your Grinder in a hurry and you will need a lot of water to keep the grinding chamber cool. This is the number one conversion you will need. Your radiator will plug solid with shingle dust and even dipping it may not fix it. Roofing tear off shingles are hard and brittle and the easiest to grind. Factory reject materials are much more difficult and if it is the middle of summer in the south, your ¼” ground shingle material will make one giant asphalt cone if you haven’t mixed in a little fine sand to stop it from sticking together.
 There are machines specifically made to grind shingles. On these machines, there are usually:
·         More replaceable wear plates
·         Can be different tips
·         Grinder Hammer pattern is made to keep materials away from the sidewalls of the grinding chamber to reduce wear on the outside surfaces
·         Top Fed rather than force fed with feed rolls. Gives materials time to fall through screen and reduces oversize product
·         Single discharge belt to reduce transfer leakage
·         Conveyor Belt Splicing is different to reduce fine material leakage
·         Heavy duty water spray system
among many other changes to maximize shingle reduction production.
So what do you change or what can you change to switch from grinding wood to grinding shingles? Each machine is different, some say run as is, not a good idea. Look for one that can reduce wear, increase production and is easily changed. You could purchase a shingle package grinder and then convert for wood, and then all the package options are already included. Here are some ideas:
·         Adding additional wear plates
·         Different rotor or rotor configuration with additional hard surfacing
·         Different belt splices
·         Deflector plates or screen to keep overs from mixing with finished product
·         Smooth belts not chevron patterns
·         Adjustable belt scrapers to keep as tight as possible to clean the belts
·         Water, Water, Water. Spray bars and enough water flow to keep the grinding chamber cool
Before you invest in this additional expense, make sure you have an outlet for materials. Even better, make sure you have two outlets, so when the first one disappears, you have another option. Use as an amendment to asphalt mix is great, but when the oil price drops and it is not worth the price to buy your material, the Asphalt plant will go back to straight liquid and leave your grinder worn and wet and covered in shingle dust.

Questions?                 Dave Whitelaw                 Grinderguy@askthegrinderguy.com

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Hey GrinderGuy, Why am I losing Production?

This operator is someone you should all hire. He is paying attention not only to maintenance, but to daily operations.
The question actually was, why am I losing production every time I install new tips or hammers on my grinder? So, the operator is not only taking care of routine maintenance, he is noticing that he is losing production at the end of the day. How can this happen?
Every time you install new hammers, tips, screens, cutting edges or worse, more than one of these at a time, your production will drop. This is because the new parts are much closer together, reducing the distance between the tip and the screen for example, which increases drag, reduces rotor speed and loss of production occurs. The more new parts, the closer the gap, the more drag occurs and less production is the result.
But is there a benefit? Absolutely
Because this distance is reduced, the product that is created is finer and more consistent.
If this is a regrind application, or is being screened to size, the spec product needed, may actually increase in volume as being more consistent, more material may pass through a screen rather than being scalped off.
Can you use this gap between the screen and tips to your advantage? You can in many ways.
If you are only reducing materials like logs, slabs or landclearing debris, and size is not an issue, a bigger gap will increase your production. Use old worn thin screens and shorter hammers or slightly worn tips. This will more eliminate the drag and the rotor or hammermill will rotate more freely and maintain rpm much better, increasing production.
If you tried the same as above on a regrind application, production will suffer and the material will be much finer with a lot more sawdust type finish product.
Keeping the gap tight by hard surfacing things like cutting edges and anvils, will produce a much more consistent product with less oversize pieces in finished product. If screening to size, you most likely will not need as large of a screening machine as these bigger pieces are reduced and the overall volume of material being removed is reduced so a shorter deck or drum can be utilized.
What to watch for?
The increased gap will allow for material to get between the tip and the screen. Not a big deal on strictly wood but there are materials that will ruin your day. Palm trees and palm fronds, along with some stringy, pliable type of woods and brush will squeeze into this gap, wrap around the rotor and stall it and the engine in about 2 seconds. Not a fun day when that happens.
On regrind, keep an eye on material daily. Pull a sample and pile side by side each day and you will be able to figure out how many hours of run time it takes before your product stops meeting spec. It’s easy to do and you just need to take the time to do it. Then change tips, hammers or hard surface screens or anvils and start the process over again.
Questions? Dave Whitelaw grinderguy@askthegrinderguy.com

Friday, April 1, 2016

Hey Grinderguy, what kind of questions do I ask when buying a windrow turner?

I gave a presentation at the USCC Conference in Jacksonville and was asked this question. Here are a few things you need to determine when sizing up Windrow Turners. Use them to relate to your situation:
·         How much material do you need to turn? Can you adjust your windrow size to be able to use a smaller turner? Why buy a 20’ Turner when a 16’ can turn the amount of material you need to turn? Most Turner specification sheets say they are able to turn 4000-6000 yards per hour. That’s a lot of material. So if you have the space, can you make smaller windrows and still turn what you need to turn?
·         Horsepower and Fuel Usage- See if smaller unit horsepower is sufficient to turn your material. The weight of Yard Waste is much less than the sludges or food wastes, so horsepower may not be an issue. The units running 600+ horsepower use a lot of fuel. Check fuel usage when you have demonstration.
·         Portability- If you need to move from site to site, make sure the unit doesn’t need to be taken apart or need permits that will limit your transportability
·         Drive System- Track or Wheels; try both for your situation. Check the cost of replacing wheels or track pads and links. Hydraulic driven drum or belt drive. Check the operational cost of both.
·         Automatic Control System- Can you let the machine maximize turning speed and load so the operator can concentrate on driving the unit?
·         Cab Features- Things like Charcoal Air Filtering keeps the operator cabin air clean. Bluetooth stereo with phone controls keeps the operators hands on the joysticks. Gauges easily visible limit any issues before they arise.
·         Safety- Ladders and platforms along with a ground entry cabin, helps operators and maintenance personnel work safely.
The main question to ask is the one to you. Can you make your material and site fit a particular size Windrow Turner and the cost of it?

Questions?         Dave Whitelaw                                 grindergu@askthegrinderguy.com

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Hey Grinderguy, how do I start composting?

Making the switch from Grinding Service Vendor to Composter takes a little planning.
If you are an onsite grinding contractor or even if you currently have a mulch or soil yard and want to make the switch to full scale composting. What do you do? Most of the Mulch suppliers are quasi-composters. They pile up wood or bark Mulch and let it darken before they sell it. Well, THAT IS COMPOSTING!
So what are some points you should consider:
What are the Site needs? And do you currently have what is necessary?
·         What are you going to Compost? Yard Waste, Sludge, Food Waste
·         Type of Composting- Windrow, Static Pile,  Aerated Systems
·         Permitting- Depends on State
·         Space- Windrow, Piles
·         Water- YW mostly, Sludge and Food Wastes maybe not necessary
·         Leachate Collection
·         Contouring of Property for drainage
·         Additional Feedstocks- Mixing, Cover Material
Use these points and apply them to your current situation and see what you can achieve with what you currently have as a facility.

What additional Equipment needs are necessary?
·         Equipment Utilization is the Key
·         Can you use Subcontractors? Grinding, Screening
·         Do you need more Wheel Loaders? Moving Materials, Turning Screening, Etc.
·         Another Grinder? Or Subcontract
·         Windrow Turner- Number One Question? Do you need one?
·         Screen- Need to sell the product you create
·         Water Truck or Water Pumps- Water and oxygen equal composting
·         Compost Equipment- Temperature Probes, Testing Sieves
Do you have what is needed or do you need to purchase more equipment?

How do you change operationally?
·         Contracts- Need materials to compost and blend
·         Marketing- Have to find the customers
·         Screen Sizes- For screener and grinder
·         More Products- Soils, Potting Mixes
What can you use internally and what volumes do you need to sell?

What are the projected goals?
·         Increase Revenue? Diversify?
·         Exhaust Inventory? Eliminate current inventories?
·         Reduce/Eliminate Competition? If you don’t, someone will

If you have been a subcontractor grinding for others that may be in the business or a similar business, learn from your customers:
·         See what they do and how they do it
·         Note what you like
·         Note what you think is not working
·         Ask for Advice- There are others that have been in your situation

Dave Whitelaw “The Grinder Guy” www.askthegrinderguy.com

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Hey Grinder Guy, how do I control my traffic flow?

This is a common issue and safety is an issue with it also.
Anyone with a dump site needs a controlled traffic pattern with signage for your new customers. Your customer base that shows up daily knows where to dump and how things work because they are there regularly. But if you accept materials from the general public, they may show up on occasion and not know where or how to unload.  The general joke is that people are like sheep and follow what the previous one is doing. So if one person does the wrong thing, the others follow.
Here are a few ideas to use to keep a controlled pattern and to keep an efficient off-loading of materials:
·         Use as many signs and arrows as possible.
·         If you have the space, keep a separate area for commercial and public traffic. The general public off load by hand whereas most of the commercial vehicles are using a dump truck of some kind. The public vehicles will take more space and time moving around outside of the vehicles and get in the way of commercial traffic that can just dump and go.
·         Use a spotter or other employee to tell vehicles where to off load
·         Fill one area and move to the next while pushing and piling the off loaded materials from previous drop offs.
·         Any site operations should be on the opposite side of the pile being created with new material drop off. Grinding near the disposal area is an extreme safety concern. Everyone wants to see what the grinder is doing and will walk into unsafe areas not knowing any better.
·         Leave a large log or stump near the dump area. Vehicles, especially small landscapers, will pile material on a flatbed trailer and need to hand unload. If they have something heavy to tie off to, they can put a rope around the large stump and around some brush on the bottom of their trailer and just pull away and unload. Watch for vehicles running in reverse and hitting the brakes to unload, this is more than unsafe and you are within your legal rights to bar them from the property if they do not adhere to the rules of the site.
What about using the drop off vehicles to assist in site operations?
·         Pile new materials in windrows and grind next to them to create ground material windrows and keep moving to the next windrow as they are created.
·         Dump in the center of the site and pile ground materials on either side and keep the windrows moving away from the center as you turn and compost them.
·         Separate materials as they are dumped. Have the spotter look at each load and direct traffic to the appropriate pile. This saves on grinding and separating materials with equipment later. It’s easy to keep chip and logs separate for use in mulch later for example.
I’ve given you several things to consider but the most essential and safe things to do regardless of your site size and disposal numbers are:
·         Use Signs or Arrows
·         Use a spotter
·         Keep equipment away from incoming traffic
Hope this helps.
Questions?

Dave Whitelaw Grinderguy@askthegrinderguy.com

Friday, January 1, 2016

Hey Grinderguy, what do I do with all my Mulch Fines?

Screening of mulch prior to coloring or bagging has been a recent development of the past few years. As fuel hit $4 per gallon, maximizing weight on a truck became a major cost savings measure. By screening the fines out of the mulch before coloring and/or bagging, the individual bag weights decreased, which meant pallet weights decreased and more pallets were able to be put on a truckload and still be within legal State limits. Same was said for more bulk yards per truckload. So screening mulch became a priority.
                But that created another issue, all the mulch fines. Depending on the materials, the grind process or the screen, as much as 30% of the material came out in the fines. This created a major dilemma for some. Others did not have as much of an issue and had an easy outlet. So here are a few ideas:
·         Compost- If you have the space, compost them and sell compost or use them in your soil mixes
·         Pellet Plants- Seems to be one on every corner now. If you have straight wood fines, this is your place
·         Soil- If you screen a lot of landclearing material, you will probably have a pretty good blend of dirt, wood, leaves, brush, grasses that after it sits a while, is a pretty good potting soil
·         Fuel- Some places will take as is, others need to be mixed with a courser fuel wood
·         Another Fuel Supplier- Maybe another Fuel supplier could mix them with their material. Fines are weight, weight is tonnage. You get paid by tonnage
·         Animal Bedding- Clean wood, this is always an outlet. If not Direct, to an Animal Bedding Supplier
·         Another Mulch Product- There are Mulch Suppliers selling ¾” minus mulch as a premium product and making double what they do off their normal mulch inventory
Basically, you will develop another product, which can increase revenues also. The alternative is it may become burdensome.
If you are creating too many fines, try not creating them at all. If you are grinding too fine which is creating the fines, grind at a larger product size and scalp the oversize while screening out the fines. If these fines are coming mostly from one vendor, change the vendor or ask them to change their operation. Either way, there is always a solution, just minimize any negatives best you can.


Questions? Dave Whitelaw Grinderguy@askthegrinderguy.com

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Hey Grinderguy, how can I reduce my compost overs?

This is a great question and something I see a lot!
I am not a Soil Scientist, or a Scientist of any official kind for that matter. But I am an expert at Compost operations because I lived it!
                For some reason these Scientific types, whom study the science of the compost process, invariably suggest a large material grind size of bulking agent to blend with Sludges or food wastes. This makes perfect sense for making windrows or static piles to allow airflow through the pile and create a perfect environment for composting. Aerobic Composting takes water and oxygen and continued airflow increases the speed of the compost process. But you need to earn a living from the compost, so the more of it the better.
                The objective of a Compost Facility is to make Compost, not make overs. If you are mixing 8”-12” material with your food wastes or sludges, airflow through the pile will be great, but if you are screening out the composted material at ½”, your split of finished product to overs will be about 1:5.
                So if you compost 10,000 yards per year, then the next year you will have 18,000 yards because of all the overs you are adding back in. Then the following year, you will have 25,000 yards to compost. Obviously the reduction in volume from composting reduces these numbers, but you get the picture.
                When I first started composting, I thought I was smarter than everyone and mixed sawdust with all the wet sludges and food wastes. It worked great in drying the materials and made them able to be windrowed. Of course, after the first time I turned these piles, I had odor complaints from about 3 different Counties.
So, what do you do? Try these options and see if you can decrease your composting time, reduce your overs and create great looking compost:
·         Start reducing your bulking agent size.  The smaller your bulking agent is, the more fines you have and the faster they break down to a usable compost size.
·         Keep a nose out for odor. The finer the material, the less airflow and the more potential for odor when you break into the piles.
·         Use a windrow turner or turn the windrows more often. You have reduced the airflow with the finer material so you need to add more oxygen more often than previously.
·         Watch the temperatures. With the finer materials, the heat will generate much more quickly which means you need to turn more often.
Over time, you will figure out the best grind size and turn schedule to accommodate your operations. Shoot for a 65%-75% finished product to 25%-35% overs. This will be enough overs to work back into your new windrows to kick start your compost process. Good Luck.

Questions, Dave Whitelaw Grinderguy@askthegrinderguy.com