Saturday, January 28, 2012

Slow Down and smell the Money

Reprint of my C&D World Article-

One of the best ways to get recycle wood and residue from a C&D recycling line is to grind it to fuel size and ship it to some sort of Cofired Plant or Kiln.“Fuel size” though, is different from plant to plant and State to State.
Generally, wood fired plants can handle a 6” minus product. There are some kilns that use a 3” conveyable material and many others that use a 1” blowable material to mix with their coal. The BTU values of the C&D residue are probably 5,000 to 10,000 depending on the materials being recycled in the systems.
But there is one costly constant that I see continually. There is many times some sort of high speed grinder at the end of these systems. These are probably the most costly parts of the operations.
STOP! Why does the material need to be shredded so fine. The only time you can make a case for it is if you are shipping for a 1” product, but even in these cases the infeed rates are so low there is no need for a big diameter rotor and all its expensive parts and all that wasted horsepower.
A slow speed shredder with a small screen size cannot only make the product you want, but reduce your costs by using less horsepower and limiting the wear to about 1/4 of what a high speed grinder would. The hum of that high speed rotor spinning, whether electric or $4 a gallon diesel driven, is costing you all your profit on the fuel and probably everything else too.
Screens are cheap in comparison to grinders. You really need them to remove the dirt fines from your product and reduce your ash content anyway. So if you have some oversize, scalp it off too and drop out those fines while you are at it. You’ll get more money for your fuel.
Star screens got a tarnished reputation from some of the early years in the industry, but today’s models are nothing like its predecessors. They create less dust than trommels, they don’t plug up like flat decks, you can adjust the sizing in seconds and you can create the multiple products with the same deck.
Review your operations. What if your grinding costs were reduced by over 50% and you were paid more for your fuel?
Got a question? Drop us a line.

UFO? Flying Debris?.........

Received this from a friend. This kind of thing just screams regulation so we need to police each other or that is what we will get.

 Got something to share?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Hybrids- Its not just for Cars anymore

One of the most common questions I am asked is how to save money in some way, shape or fashion.
The response I give the most is to automate something, convert to electric, or both.

An electric motor doesn’t need the air filter blown out every day, or the oil changed, or the radiator checked. You push a button and off it goes.

Komptech is constantly looking for ways to help operators cut their costs. Fuel savings are a big part of that, and more and more of the company’s machines are hybrid – they have dual power capability.

Komptech hybrid machines feature all-electric drive, with an auxiliary onboard diesel generator with the capability to run directly off the electrical power grid.

The all-electric drive is more efficient, cleaner, and quieter. The generator allows the customer to move from site to site with ground power or not, and the generator is much more fuel efficient, than a diesel over hydraulic units when it does have to be used. With fuel tanks of 60-80 gallons, they only need fueled a couple times a week. Because of the low rpm of the generator, sometimes it's difficult to tell if the machines are running.

Komptech offers hybrid drive in its windsifters, star screens, and trommel screens.
The Komptech Star Screens have been electric powered for a long time. A diesel generator burning about one and a half gallons an hour has been putting 200 yards of finished product on the ground. Since the advent of Tier 3 engines, the addition of a ground power plug was added to most machines. Any site with 480v 3 phase power, can plug directly into the units. Most generators are 40-80kw which means they do not use a whole lot of electrical power so upgrading service is not necessary in most cases.

            So what does it save?
Well, in a previous article, Komptech USA Writer Ralph Kirschner, used this comparison:
A Cribus 3800 Trommel Screen running from plug in ground power requires 30 kW to operate. At 9 cents per kilowatt, that’s $2.70/hr., x 2000 hours = $5,400 per year.
The same machine running from the diesel generator requires 1.5 gal/hr. fuel x $4.00 gallon = $6.00/hr. x 2000 hours = $12,000 per year.

Diesel powering an equivalent size hydraulic machine uses approx. 30% more fuel, or 1.95 gal/hr. x $4.00 gallon = $7.80/hr. x 2000 hours = $15,600 per year.

In this case, operators can save over $10,000 per year running on grid power instead of conventional diesel hydraulic, or $3600 per year running on the diesel generator. Either way, the hybrid machine costs much less to run.

 In either case, there are no hydraulic lines, pumps or  motors  to leak, break, or come apart and contaminate the entire system.

The new Cribus line of Trommels is now electrically powered, creating huge savings in comparison to the Industry standard hydraulic machines.
One of the biggest advantages and newest option with the new Cribus line aside from the electrical savings, is that Komptech has added a load sensor to the hopper. This totally adjustable sensor, allows the trommel and hopper to stop as the hopper empties. This allows the drum to stay full of material and not run empty contaminating your product with larger pieces that fall through an empty trommel drum. This will make products, especially on the mulch end, much more consistent.
            Komptech just delivered their first all electric Cribus 5000 Trommel into California. This unit has a 9 yard hopper and 50 square meters of screen area.
            With all this stopping/starting, plugging in or not, how are the warranty hours tracked? Good Question. They are tracked separately. There is an hour meter for the Trommel itself and an hour meter for the generator. This allows for accurate accounting of hours for warranty and servicing.
Times change, and so should your ways. It’s those that look ahead that see the change.

Ralph Kirschner, Komptech USA and The Grinder Guy contributing.
*Originally posted in Amerimulch 2012 Q1 Newsletter

Click here to view entire Newsletter

Friday, January 6, 2012

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year from
I hope we can help make 2012 more profitable for you.
Advice, Equipment, Consulting- We have it all available for you.

Mulch and Soil Council Celebrates 40 years

Original Post December 4, 2011
The 40th annual Mulch and Soil Council meeting was held Oct 26 and 27, 2011 in Chicago, IL.
Executive Director Bob LaGasse said nearly 100 companies were represented which accounts for the majority of bagged materials sold in the US annually.
The organization is used to promote the business interests of its Member Companies
This year’s program included legal regulation, weights and measures, package labeling and  Obamacare amongst many others.
This is a strong organization of members says Brian Faircloth ,of Suwannee Lumber Company, Cross City, FL, in his last year as President of the Organization, and one of the main purposes is networking with other members and sharing experiences both legal and operational with other members.
If you are a mulch or soil producer, you have probably benefitted from the lobbying, governmental and legal efforts of this organization regarding all sorts of rules and regulations.
Consider becoming a member and creating an even stronger Industry Organization.

Hey Grinder Guy, how can I increase profits next year?

Original Post December 1, 2011

The past few years have been trying times for all, but blue skies are ahead.
Winter is a good time to review the past year and the upcoming season.
How can you reduce costs and increase profitability is dependent on each business, but I can give you a few ideas of what to look for.
You cannot compare year to year without comparing something tangible.
Some companies track costs well, but if you don't, compare yards out the door to total costs.
Are you going up or are you going down
The profit or loss doesn’t matter in this situation, they will take care of themselves, but you need to know where you are going. It doesn’t matter if you hired a new secretary or 3 new operators, what went out and what did you spend makes it pretty simple.

Here are 6 ideas to consider and put into your shoes:

·         Repair and Maintenance
Probably your number one issue. Breakdowns are bad enough, but it's the downtime and overtime spent catching up that cost you real money.
1.      Buy a grinder wear parts package and get a discount and replace everything on your time. Chances are that you will find other needs while replacing these items.
2.      Call your clutch manufacturer for advice on checking clutch wear and maybe get a courtesy visit
3.      Audit your colorant usage- How much color did you buy? Subtract how much do you have left? Then divide by number of yards sold. That will give you average lbs. per yard rate. Check with your Colorant Company for industry averages.
4.      Call your Colorant Sales Representative and have them calibrate your colorant scale and pump while checking over your Matt Steward of Colorbiotics says worn color machine blades cause a lack of efficiency. Your Representative can check machine wear for you also. George Midlik of Amerimulch said that his company handed out numerical push button counters and stop watches to machine operators last year so that they could track bucket counts per minute and per barrel and prevent any color usage variation before it happens. Get your operators one.
5.      Service engines and hydraulics- If you are close to your 1000 or 2000 hour service, do it early when you have time rather than in the middle of full production season.

·         Equipment Utilization
Are you utilizing your equipment to its full potential? Double shifts? Split shifts?
Get into other businesses. Drywall Recycling, Shingle Recycling or Food Waste Composting for example.
Or are you using your equipment too much?
Reevaluate that low margin product that is wearing out your equipment.
Remember, Screen More Grind Less, and why haven’t you called me yet?
Replace that old technology like your old shaker deck with a star screen in soil or mulch. Push of a button and you can go from ¼” to 1 ¼” with the same machine.

·         Products
Create or add at least one new product next season.
1.      Maybe a high dollar product like a new mulch color of your local sports team
2.      A low dollar wood fuel product to get rid of your dirtier materials
3.      Screen the fines out of your mulch to save colorant usage and weight and sell the fines to a pellet plant or use them in a new potting soil mix.
4.      Offer onsite grinding or screening services.
5.      Add a retail yard.
Just don't add a product that will cannibalize one of your other profitable products.

·         Automate something
1.      Convert something to electric. Grinder, Screener, conveyors, something. There are Hybrid pieces of equipment on the market now.
2.      Screen 2 products at once
3.      Grind into a screener
4.      Add a conveyor and use the wheel loader less.
Conveyors are cheap and come to work every day and they don't have to have Obamacare.
Push a button and it is working.

·         Advertise
1.      Local TV advertising is relatively cheap and their market info is very accurate.
2.      Donate product to local schools and sports complexes
3.      Sponsor local garden radio show
4.      Team with local landscapers and supply all their needs

·         Review the Ask the Grinder Guy Articles of the past year
1.      Screen more grind less. Why haven’t you called me yet? I can screen your 1st ground product to a perfect size at rates greater than your grinder can produce. So why are you double grinding? Do you like losing money?
2.      Did you check out your used wear parts like we told you to?
3.      Replace your stationary shaker deck in your soil or mulch system with a star deck for peanuts and reduce your costs enough to buy the entire Plantation.
4.      Can you use a slow speed shredder instead of a high speed grinder?
5.      Can plastic and stone removal help you?

I hope you had a successful 2011 and look forward to helping you be more profitable in 2012.
Have a question? Want to save money and build your business?

Hey Grinder Guy, will a screen help me reduce cost in my mulch operation?

Original Post November 1, 2011

            It sounds like you are struggling with operational costs vs. sales prices like most everyone these days.
In short yes, but it does create other issues. Screening will make your mulch perfectly consistant, but can make it look bad too. For example, I recently purchased a $5 bag and a $2 bag of colored mulch from my local home improvement store. The $5 bag was very nicely colored and had a good size and texture except I pulled out about a half dozen pieces that were 10”-18” long. Are you kidding me? This is what I get for $5 a bag? The $2 bag was colored about the same but the product looked awful. This mulch was obviously screened to remove the fines, but it looked as if they removed everything 1 1/2” and minus so it made the product look very rough. But I guess that’s what you get for $2 these days.
            I have seen many mulch companies that have started screening their products to remove the fines, mostly for bagged materials to save on colorant usage and bag weight. Some just drop out fines while others scalp the overs also.
This causes several issues you will need to deal with:
·         The overs are easily recycled back to the grinder
·         The fines must be dealt with. Some sites send them for fuel while others use them for soil amendment. Find an outlet before you start screening.
·         While removing the weight, you are also removing some volume. You will need to increase your raw materials which will increase your cost per yard.
·         Your trucking costs inbound will increase because of the greater volume of  raw materials and your outbound trucking will increase because the weight of the fines is greater than the mulch itself so the truckload quantities will be smaller.
·         Different materials make different sizes after the grinding process, so you may need to mix materials or change screen sizes on the screener

So what is the answer?
Just dropping out the fines is a quick fix
If you have an abundance of materials and have a lucrative market for the fines, then that is fine. If not, MAKE LESS FINES!
The number one mistake operations make is that they keep everything the same and drop in a screener, so you end up with the same costs, wear etc., plus you added a screener. You are screening to make the perfect product, so use the screener to make your product size and not the grinder. Increase the grinder screen size. If you use a 1 ½” to make your mulch, then try a 3” screen to feed into the screener and keep increasing the screen size until the finished product size starts looking too rough. This will reduce your fines, fuel usage and wear, and then recycle the overs back to the grinder.

What screener?
·         Trommels work better than flat decks because of shear screen volume but nothing works better than a star screen for easy adjustability in product size without changing screens.
·         Match the screener to your finished product production rate. Matching the grinder production rate, especially after increasing screen sizes, will overload every other component downstream, unless you are only stockpiling.

Fines screen sizes will be anywhere from ¼” to ¾” depending on your product, but don’t drop out too many fines. The overs can usually be scalped with 1 ½” or 2”. The star screen adjustability makes it “push buttoningly” simple to change the product size on the fly.

In conclusion, if you couple the grinder to a screener you are now starting to automate the process. Whether you are grinding whole trees or regrinding, you can now load at a specific rate while reducing engine load and fuel usage and extending the life of your engine and grinder.
Combine those savings with your savings from increasing the grinder screen size which increased your grinder wear parts life, and now it makes CENTS to screen your mulch.

Have a question, we’ll try and answer,

Hey Grinder Guy, is there a less expensive way to grind shingles? Is bigger better?

Original Post October 1, 2011

            I’m not going to touch the latter, but could you be more specific about expensive? You are obviously spending a lot of money.
            Shingles are made of tar and gravel. They stick to everything and wear metal so fast you can see your money eroding away.
            In my limited shingle grinding experience I can tell you that tips last hours and screens last just days and you better be getting paid a whole lot per ton for the material.
            This is a fairly new and booming industry. There are purpose built machines strictly for grinding shingles and there are shingle packages that can adapt other grinders into shingle grinding machines. Both can process whole shingles into ¼” pieces and bigger is not necessarily better.
In either case, the significant speed of the hammermills create tremendous wear and most machines need some sort of screen on the finish side to bring material to spec.
In addition, the heat generated with this speed needs to be minimized. A lot of water is pumped into the grinding chamber to suppress the heat and control the dust which is created by the high speed hammermill. The air turbulence created forces shingle dust out the incoming and outgoing sides of the grinding chamber and if not controlled is trapped in air filters and will melt and stick to every hot surface of the engine.
Although water is necessary in this situation, in grinding in general, water is not your friend. Ever grind wet leaves? If so, then you know what I’m talking about. In some industries water is used as a lubricant, but most any type of wet material in grinding causes additional wear.
The excessive water use also carries away shingle fines and released oils, that you want to keep, out every small hole and crack in the grinder. They also stick to the discharge belting and are washed away and lost.
Drew Meylan, Operations Manager for C.S. Carey Inc.of Kansas City, KS thinks he has the answer and uses very little water. “I use a sprinkler on the pile,” only for nuisance dust as you may do in a wood grinding operation. C.S. Carey does contract grinding and shredding and uses a Komptech Crambo slow speed shredder with 2” screens for shingles and ends up with 70% finished ½” minus product one pass without using water in the grinding process. The slow speed of the shredder shafts limit his wear also. Current asphalt plants buying recycled product “are paying for two and a half tons of water per truckload,” Meylan says. Every asphalt plant has to evaporate that water before being able to liquefy their product in the process, so Meylan believes he can ship a higher quality product and give his customers a larger volume per load.
Whatever method or size machine you are using, “it all comes down to cost per ton,” says Scott Harrington of Rotochopper Inc., manufacturers of the first shingle specific machine.  If a machine costs twice the price, it has to do twice the volume and the parts and fuel costs can’t increase the cost per ton.
            Shingle material “is gritty and abrasive” says Lori Rheinberger of the Queen of Parts, “this means you will wear out your parts faster.” Rheinberger suggests trying different tips. She stocks tips that have a solid carbide surface, not just a tungsten carbide coating. If you are limited in your selection of tips because of patents of proprietary parts, it is probably going to cost you money.
            So with all this information, how do we reduce costs?
·         Try a slower speed machine if possible.
·         Try different tips. Also, try building up your screens and tips with weld. This does not have to be perfect especially if you are screening to spec. An extra hour out of a tip is probably a 10% savings. All these parts are going into the steel recycle bin eventually anyway.
·         If possible in your grinder, reverse the screens. Each screen will wear at an angle one way and you can get a little longer life just by flipping a screen around 180 degrees.
·         With a high speed machine, try different grinder screen sizes if you use a trommel or similar machine on the backend to make spec product. If larger pieces are blocking the holes in the grinding process and not letting the finer material out, then you are creating additional wear. A larger screen will increase your production and lessen your wear. You will have to compare the yield of finished product to over as each machine and screen size will be different.
·         Control the dust. Air filters are hundreds of dollars and you will change them daily in your grinder and your support equipment.
·         Cooler weather is better. If you can stockpile for a different time of year, the shingles are much more brittle when cold.
·         Use a smooth discharge belt and belt cleaner to capture all the fines you are creating and keep them in the pile. May need a chute to funnel material off the belt into a pile to it doesn’t get carried away.
·         Keep the radiator out of the dust. The radiator will plug resulting in increased engine temperatures and more fuel usage.
·         Keep your source pile as clean as possible. Contamination costs you money on disposal and rejected product. If you screen material, use a Windsifter or Hurrikan on the  overs material to remove paper and plastic prior to regrinding.
·         Limit the speed, heat and fines containment in the grinding chamber.

Here’s a great place to get additional help. The 5th Asphalt Shingle Recycling Forum is in Dallas, TX on Oct. 27-28, 2011. Get more information here- .
Also, the Construction Materials Recycling Association(CMRA) supplies all its members with support and assistance from other members around the Country. Consider becoming a member  .

Please send any grinder questions to or any other cost savings ideas and I will post them as I receive them with credit to the appropriate person.

Hey Grinder Guy, can I save money by using a slow speed shredder?

Original Post September 1, 2011

Well, let me ask you a question-
·         What if you only had to fuel your grinder every 2 or 3 days?
·         What if your tips lasted 3 months?
·         What if you reduced weight gaining, color using fines?
·         What if you could use contaminated materials?
If any of these would save you money, then absolutely. Is it for everyone? Probably not.
There are different types of slow speed shredders, dual shaft and single shaft, and they are getting more and more advanced in specialty operations. In general, the operations that can use a slow speed shredder include those in general volume reduction and most everyone sending waste for fuel.
Is it for a mulch operation? Not for finished product, but for a first grind it is.
How do they save money?
·         RPM- They say speed kills in driving, but in this industry, speed costs. Most slow speed shredders turn at 30-50 rpm, not 1000-1800 rpm like grinders. This saves in multiple ways. Compared to more direct drive grinders, slow speed shredders use gearboxes to transfer the engine horsepower into torque to turn the shredder shafts reducing the extreme variation in engine rpm which in turn saves fuel. The gearboxes also allow for use of a smaller horsepower engine which reduces fuel usage. Because of the lower rpm, slow speed shredders will not create the same amount of fines which reduces weight and color usage for mulch, and the tips and screens last ten times as long in many cases.
·         Contamination- Damage to high speed grinders is usually twice as bad because of the amount of downtime, repair hours and overtime associated with the breakdown. Slow speed shredders can impact contaminants at a slow enough rpm that they can reduce or eliminate damage. The shredder recognizes a contaminant by monitoring the pressure on the shafts and reducing speed and reversing, before finally shutting down or discharging to reduce or eliminate damage from contaminants.  In addition, because of the slow rpm, the brittle carbide coating on the tips of the shredder will not damage like it would with a high speed impact, therefore the tips will last even longer.
·         Materials- The slow speed shredder can shred many different types of materials without the wear and damage of a high speed grinder. By changing screens slow speed shredders are able to create large pickable size pieces of C&D, or reduce C&D to 6” minus for transfer. Shingles can be reduced for sorting plastic, paper and steel out, or made to 2” minus. Steel and aluminum can be reduced to a consistent size for an optimum price per ton. Logs and stumps will be reduced using half the fuel of a grinder.

Are slow speed shredders perfect? No.
·         Production is generally lower than a high speed grinder. How much depends on materials and sizes. The fuel saved as compared to grinders is increased by the amount of increased shredding hours, but the total amount of grinding maintenance and repair hours on a weekly or monthly basis will be far less with the shredder. Also, the wear factor is considerable lower.
·         Material sizing is an issue. It is very difficult to shred product smaller than 2” or 3” with any sort of production, but for first grind or fuel size, it would be difficult to beat the cost per ton.

Some things to consider and ask when purchasing a slow speed shredder-
·         Sizing- Can you put in screens to make a several consistent size products and are they easy to change
·         Replaceable tips- Are the wear tips replaceable? Some shredders do not have replaceable tips and you have to weld on the shafts constantly, jeopardizing the integrity of the steel shafts themselves.
·         Protection- Do they have gearbox drives? Are they hydraulic for protection or direct drive with no protection? Do they have the same torque in forward and reverse? Do the shafts reverse individually? Does the shredder have the ability to release/remove contaminants?
·         Magnets- Does the shredder have a crossbelt magnet which stays on for transport? Is it adjustable? For C&D a magnet is about 8”-12” or so away from the belt, but for wood, it is 4”-6”.
·         Engine and Parts- Are the engines a common brand with the correct type of support in your area? Do they have field service? Are parts stocked locally or available overnight?

This is just one Grinder Guys opinion.
I have posted some videos of slow speed shredders shredding RR ties, C&D, tires and more at
Have a question or issue or need more help with slow speed shredders?

Hey Grinder Guy, is the Yard Waste ban repeals affecting your business?

 Original Post July 1, 2011
First, thank you for considering my welfare. I am accepting donations to my PayPal account.
I won't be the only one affected. There are many companies in the equipment field of recycling organic waste along with the many green waste and C&D recycling sites that have made a business out of recycling organic waste.
Secondly, maybe not immediately, but it will absolutely affect the organics recycling industry in the long run. Two States, Florida and Georgia have recently changed rules to allow yard waste back into the Landfills if they have a Landfill Gas Recovery System. Georgia’s repeal is awaiting the Governor’s signature.
Waste Companies have not been left out of the recession of the past few years. Volumes are down from the Construction Boom years. They need volume to turn dollars. How do you increase revenue? The answer? Increase the tonnage into the Landfill.  Also, the numerous Recyclers, large and small, whose business relied on the boom in construction and demolition material along with organic waste took a lot of volume from the Landfill Companies.
I was involved in several conference calls where lobbyists for the big waste companies were trying to convince, i.e. lobbying, others that recovering the methane from the yard waste in the landfill was a better idea than keeping it out of the landfill. Unfortunately for them, they were speaking to mostly Organics industry professionals that laughed and told them to at least tell the truth and say that they just wanted more landfill revenue. I mean come on, just tell your shareholders you are working in their best interest and not the best interest of the environment.
The Waste Industry money spent lobbying, and I'm sure some donations along the way, were able to convince a couple states, even though the percentage of methane they would be able to capture is supposedly under 20%, If this is such a great, lucrative idea, why don’t they just build anaerobic digesters and capture all the gas?
Speaking of filling the landfill, how much yard waste is actually diverted from our garbage burial grounds every year? That’s a good question for the US Composting Council,, which worked tirelessly trying to stop the repeals. Log on and become a member and show your support.
I know in my County alone, about 200,000 ton per year of yard waste is collected and kept out of the Landfills. Loose quantities, that is equivalent to about 1-1.5 million cubic yards or a pile 10 foot high, 10 foot wide and 2-3 miles long. Doesn’t take long to fill up a Landfill with that kind of volume, and that is just one County. Still think possibly capturing 20% of methane from Yard waste is a good idea?
                The original Yard Waste bans commenced in the late 80’s and early 90’s to reduce the amount of material being disposed of in Landfills, primarily so we could extend Landfill life and not have to keep building more Landfills. This repeal does nothing to extend Landfill life.
So, for those in States that have pending similar Legislation, ask your Representatives if they want to keep filling and building Landfills? Then make sure any new Landfills that are built, are built in the neighborhoods of all the Representatives that voted for the repeal.

Hey Grinder Guy, what kind of steel should I buy?

Original Post June 1, 2011
This question comes up all the time, mostly when purchasing screens for wood grinders, but unless you work for a steel company, how do you know the difference?
The steel from each manufacturer is comprised of different steels and alloys to create the chosen strength, hardness and impact and wear resistance required. Each manufacturer uses its own proprietary blend and heat treats and tempers differently. Each has their premium grade, trademark name, overlays, etc. Using ASTM specifications or the Brinell scale, comparing these products may be a little easier, but not always. The American Society for Testing and Materials uses standard specifications to classify steel. The Brinell scale measures hardness of steel and the rating numbers increase the harder the material. Harder is not always better though. The harder the material, the more brittle and less flex steel will have. A typical analysis available from your steel supplier will supply these values so you can compare products. We can help narrow the choices a bit.
The basics are:
Common Steel- Used for framing, constructing, etc. Common quality falls into this category, and then increases with strength. Which regular grade you need is based upon design and load factors.  Say your operator is texting and loading and drives right into the side of your feed hopper. Along with hiring a new operator, what will you be purchasing to reconstruct your feed hopper? Here are a few examples of common steel:
·         A36- Standard, Low Carbon, No Heat Treat. Brinell hardness is approximately 150. Many framing and structural uses that are based on design factors.
·         4140- Heat treated and tempered. Brinell Rating of 250-300. Used mostly for machining parts, molds, etc.
·         T1- Heat Treated for strength and hardness. Brinell rating of 300. Used in mining, farming and construction equipment industry. Has a good combination of strength and wear.
Abrasion Resistant Steel- Used for Wheel Loader Buckets, Screens, Hopper floors, grinding chamber liners, thus the prefix, AR- Abrasion Resistant. Here are some examples:
·         AR400- Common abrasion resistant plate. Brinell rating of 400. Used in all high wear applications, wear plates, cutting edges.
·         AR500- Harder abrasion resistant plate. Brinell rating of 500. Used in all higher wear applications for longer wear life
·         Hardox®- Most common “Name Brand” in the industry. Brinell rating of 400- 600 or more. Used in all high wear applications, grinder screens, dump truck beds and a host of others.
So how do you choose? Ask your local steel or wear parts salesperson for assistance. Hey have much more experience and the good ones will not just sell you the most expensive type. For example, Lori Rheinberger, of, suggests using an abrasion resistant plate for grinder screens with hole sizes below three inches. For screens with larger holes, she suggests using a T1 steel because it has a little more flexibility and strength. But as she said, some customers know their material and equipment and request AR Plate or T1 exclusively.
What is the difference in cost? For this example, we will use Hardox® only because it is the most recognized name in Abrasion Resistant Steel and we will use $500 just for a nominal number. If you use a Hardox® 400, which has a Brinell rating of 400, and switch to Hardox® 450, which has a Brinell rating of 450, for an extra $500, what kind of extra life did you get in hours, yards or tons for the $500 and increase of 50 on the Brinell scale? Then you could estimate the increase if you were to purchase a Hardox® 500 or 550 or 600. You could also do the reverse, and see what you could save by downgrading steel. You could save up to half the cost and get similar wear life. Try half a new cutting edge for your wheel loader bucket using an AR400. Then on the other half, try a T1 for example. Each will wear differently depending on your applications and materials, but they do not cost the same. See which is more economical.
Hard facing, welding and forming are possible with some steels, but each manufacturer has its own specific procedure so as to not lose quality. Most screens and buckets that are welded or hard surfaced end up cracking and falling apart because too much heat has been put to them in the process and they become too brittle. Hard facing a couple inches at a time, then moving to another area and hard facing for a couple inches and repeat is common welding practice.
Remember, each site and material is different and they all vary greatly. What works best with your equipment on your material? With steel prices constantly increasing, find the most cost efficient steel you can get based on cost of wear life.
Have a question? Visit us at .

Hey GrinderGuy, what should I do to service my hydraulic clutch?

Original Post April 21, 2011
Most of the internal components of these clutches are above my head.
I know how to push the button to start it, push the button to stop it, and that’s about it.
But I did a little homework.
Most of the new hydraulic clutches over the past several years for the grinder industry have been” Wet Clutches.”
 These clutches are engaged totally by hydraulic oil, not just a hydraulic cylinder.
Engaged means they couple the engine and hammermill or rotor as one.
Most of these hydraulic wet clutch systems are “closed loop” systems, meaning the hydraulic system is of unto itself only. The oil, reservoir, cooler and filter are for the clutch and the clutch only.
This maintains the integrity of the clutch system and doesn’t expose the system to contamination from other parts of the equipment.
What do we maintain daily?
Most of these new clutches have no grease fittings or maybe have 1 or 2. Grease as required.
Check the breather and make sure it is free of debris and maintain proper oil level.
While the breather seems to be a minor maintenance issue, if air flow is blocked, internal pressure increases which may cause seal failure and ultimately failure of the clutch. Keep it free of debris and clean area with compressed air if necessary.
Oil level should be checked while cool and engine off.
Aside from that, changing the oil filter, breather and hydraulic oil every 500 hrs keeps the clutch maintained.
Be sure to drain fluid from oil cooler during these changes to ensure complete removal of old fluids.
Oil Sampling is a great way to track internal wear of the clutch. Take a sample of the used oil and contact your clutch manufacturer to discuss testing methods or requirements.
Use only approved replacement fluids. Your warranty requires this.
After 5000 hrs, a factory overhaul may be needed. Clutch Torque will begin to drop prior to most failures, so have operators be aware for changes in grinder performance.
Check with your clutch manufacturer to ensure these are the proper guidelines for your hydraulic clutch.
Start with help here