Sunday, June 16, 2013

Hey GrinderGuy, who makes the best grinder?

WHEN Magazine July 2013

Hey GrinderGuy, who makes the best grinder?
Believe it or not, I rarely get this question.
The answer is simple, it’s what I am selling of course!
In the past 10 years, all grinders have made huge improvement thanks to the use of computers. There are obviously better built machines and not so well built machines. In this business, the more expensive the grinder or shredder, more than likely the more heavy duty built it is. Steel costs money. The more of it you use to build a machine, the more expensive the cost to build it. It’s that simple.
Grinders and shredders are made to destroy things. The more weight they have, the more they will survive. More and more horsepower are being added, which means more and more steel is needed to support all that horsepower. I can recall when a large V-12 diesel engine had 650 horsepower and after the advent of computers in the engines, they were pushing well over 1000 horsepower. Same Engine! Then the machines that supported the 650 horsepower had to support the 1000+ horsepower.
                So back to our question, everyone has an opinion, but one fact mostly determines everyone’s opinion, machine break downs. A lot of times, misuse of equipment causes these problems. If a contractor has a 400 horsepower grinder, he will grind the same large stump that a contractor with a 1000 hp grinder will grind, because that’s what he has. The 400 horsepower machine may not be made to grind large stumps, but because that is what the contractor has, that’s what will be used and repeated use like this will cause breakdowns.
                The number one issue you want to address prior to purchase is SUPPORT. Parts and Service will make or break you. You can purchase the best overbuilt, most horsepower grinder available, but if you have no product support, it will cost you more money than you can imagine.
So who has the best one?
·         Ask current grinder operators what they are using and why?
·         Ask current grinder operators if they have owned any other grinders?
·         Ask your local grinder Dealer for references and follow up and contact these people.
·         Find out what kind of support you can expect? Dealer service, Manufacturer service?
·         If you are working with a Dealer, find out their history with the product and speak with any previous Dealers.
·         Find out what type and how many grinder spare parts are stocked locally?
When purchasing:
·         Rent. This is the number one rule. Rent for a month or 2 or 3 and see what kind of production you get, costs you incur and support you receive. It’s easy to walk away from $75,000 if it cost you an additional $75,000 in those 3 months.
·         Check the thickness of all the steel components and compare to other machines. How heavy is the hammermill? How thick are the screens, ¾” or 1 ½”?
·         Make sure you have engine support nearby. You will need parts and service sooner or later.
·         Check the costs of wear parts and how many are needed and compare with other grinders.
·         Purchase extended warranties for both engine and machine.
·         Compare replaceable wear liners with other grinders. The more the better. Instead of wearing out the grinder, liners are worn out and replacing them makes the grinder like new.
·         Ask what the limitations of the grinder are? How big of a log does it grind? Can it shred C&D material?
·         Get the manufacturers cost per ton/hour sheets. Take these with a grain of salt, don’t expect them to be accurate.
·         Look for a remanufactured machine. Check it out and get a warranty.
·         Check serviceability. The easier it is the more employees will do.
·         Easy controls to operate machine. The easier to adjust, the more production you will get.

Many other issues and items come up, but do your homework and in a 3 month rental period, most everything comes up to help you determine if you chose the right machine or not.
Have specific questions? Call me.
Dave Whitelaw

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