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

New Portable Stone Separator- Komptech Stonefex


In August 2012, Komptech USA introduced the Komptech Stonefex Stone Separator. Since the introduction of the Komptech Hurrikan Plastic separator, customers have been asking for a Stone Separator. With the Stonefex, Komptech has delivered.

Whether you operate a Compost Site, Green Waste yard or make Biomass Fuel, the Stonefex can handle all your materials. Removing rock from screened C&D Waste is also easy to do and reduces Landfill disposal costs.

The Stonefex effectively removes nearly 100% of rock and stone as well a large majority of lightweight inert materials. The larger the stone and greater the difference in density of materials, the more effective the Stonefex is on separation. Stone as small as ½” can be separated from woody materials.

The Stonefex is powered by a Perkins driven 30kw Generator which uses about 1.5 gallons of diesel fuel per hour. The single axle trailer is easily maneuvered and the front jacking leg makes it easy to adjust underneath a conveyor. Forced air is used to separate the lighter fraction from the heavier materials. The operation is totally adjustable. All functions are variable speed. It simultaneously removes the plastic and paper from the lighter particles while in suspension, as the rock and stone are dropped out. The heavier fraction is funneled to a side discharge conveyor while the wood slides to a secondary discharge conveyor. By adjusting the forced air volume, infeed conveyor speed and the suction fan, the rock can be separated from wood at up to 100 yards per hour of input feedstock. The more consistent the feedstock and the more consistent the infeed of materials, the more accurate the separation. The fines must be removed from the feedstock prior to the Stonefex but a discharge conveyor from most any screener can be used to feed the Stonefex.

The Stonefex is a must for those desiring a quality end product and is an inexpensive addition to operations which will receive a better return on their materials for a relatively small investment.

You don't get anywhere without trying

Amerimulch Quarter 2 2013 Newsletter-

You don’t get anywhere without trying
For many years, this has been my motto. I don’t know who coined the phrase or something similar, but this is the only way you can improve the process. I also believe, in good times and bad, you create your own economy. Trying different processes and ways to improve your business creates success. Failures are just a part of the process.
I received an email question a while back asking if a slow speed shredder and a new star screen could replace a high speed grinder and trommel screen. Aside from spending more than a million dollars, I don’t really know I told my customer.
                The customer’s operation was not unlike most others, grinding pallets and wood waste along with typical yard waste to create compost, mulch and fuel wood. So we took it one process at a time.
The advantages and disadvantages of a low speed shredder verses a high speed grinder are:
·         Less fuel use- This is an obvious savings
·         Less wear part cost- This is another obvious savings
·         Less production- This is an unknown
·         Usable Product size- This is an unknown
We then compared the Star Screen to a Trommel Screen:                   
·         More Production- How much more is unknown
·         Ability to change screen sizes easily- No problem with the Star Screen
·         Cost per yard- More Maintenance with the Star Screen but more production, unknown cost
·         Contaminant removal- Much easier with the Star Screen
So, like any other customer, without visiting another site using these machines or renting one yourself, it is difficult to determine without trying it yourself. Many vendors will gladly bring a unit for demonstration, but you may need more than a few hours to determine if this would work for you.
This is what we determined for this particular customer and for you:
·         The cost saving with the Low Speed Shredder operation was so significant, you can afford to spend more money downstream creating the products. This may not be true for all because of volumes needed.
·         Less production per hour was still less expensive than the cost of running the high speed grinder. This may not be true in all cases because materials and products differ greatly.
·         Because we were able to change screen sizes on the slow speed shredder we were still able to use the finished product for currently marketed materials. For those that we could not produce with the shredder, we let the screen produce those. This can work most of the time, but a finer mulch, playground materials, etc. may not be able to get what you need
·         Because we were creating 3 or 4 different size products it was much easier to use the Star Screen than change Trommel screens. Changing for 2 sizes is doable, but much more than that is much easier for a Star Screen
·         The production of the Star Screen and lower fuel use, made screening much more cost effective. This will be in almost every case.
·         While we were unable to use the star screen as a mulch coloring machine like the trommel, the overall cost savings allowed for purchasing a stand-alone color unit along with reducing coloring cost because of the efficiency of the color unit.
How did we determine all of this? We tried it. Without trying you won’t get anywhere.
In addition to the current operations, we tackled the task of trying to make more usable products out of low value materials. Many new pieces of equipment have come into the market to remove contaminants, plastic separators and stone separators being just a few.
 Yard waste and pallet material that has plastic in it, cannot be used in mulch very well so it typically goes to the low value wood fuel market. Adding a vacuum above a conveyor does not work. For a plastic removal system to work, you need a few things to make it effective:
1.            Plastic or inert materials need to be on top of the other materials
2.            Suction area needs to be where the material can be free floating
3.            Input of the material needs to be a reduced consistent flow
4.            You need a good fan and housing system to trap and pull the material
5.            Fine materials need to be removed
Trying to take a pile of just contaminated overs and process it through a machine to remove the inerts does not work well. There are too many contaminants and too much volume.  Removing contaminants while you are screening makes it much more successful.
By adding a Windsifter to the Star Screen, we are able to create usable mulch material out of the some contaminated wood waste and some of the less contaminated yard waste because the volumes are reduced and the pieces of plastic are not as small as when they go through a high speed grinder.
If you cannot add a fan to a screen, a stand-alone plastic separator like the Komptech Hurrikan is an option. This unit works by:
·         Discharging material from a screener’s overs conveyor directly into it creating a low input flow, fines free.
·         A fan underneath makes inert  materials float or come to the surface
·         Uses 1 or 2 fans to pull off floating material and material on top of conveyor
·         You can add a magnetic head pulley or a stone trap to remove additional materials
For log yard cleanup or landclearing materials that have stone contamination, an air separator like the Komptech Stonefex has become very effective. Using an air system from underneath the conveyor, the Stonefex separates heavies from lights. Stone falls out first while the lightweight materials carry to another conveyor. You can even add a suction fan to remove the inert materials.
All these additions cost money, but what is your return on investment? If you are disposing at a landfill or just selling for fuel wood at cost, these are easy numbers to calculate.
                Some of these options discussed may work for your operation while others may not. There are a thousand other options out there also. The point is, when you have the time, try something new. You’ll never know until you do.
I hope you have a more productive season this year.
Dave Whitelaw

Hey GrinderGuy, should I be using liquid colorant or dry powder colorant?

WHEN Magazine June 2013

Hey GrinderGuy, should I be using liquid colorant or dry powder colorant?
                I had a call last month from a Colored Mulch Manufacturer whom had been using liquid colorant for several years, but saw a competitor just start using dry powder. This competitor was hanging a supersack of dry powder from an excavator bucket and sprinkling the powder over a pile of wood then grinding it all in a Tub Grinder with a fire hose of water spraying into the Tub while they were grinding. Not knowing much about the dry powder, he wanted to make sure he wasn’t missing a new improvement in the industry, so he asked me for my opinion.
                What is dry powder colorant and liquid colorant? The powder colorants, called pigments, are essentially the raw color materials used to create a liquid.  The powder pigment is what gives the liquid its color. 
                These days, anyone with a Trommel Screen and Saran™ Wrap can color mulch. Dry colorant is not a new development. I remember using dry powder back in the mid 90’s. While I did not use this method of application, it did work but the advancement of the liquid lines quickly made the dry application obsolete.
My opinion, and it’s just my opinion, was:
·         While the powder is cheaper, this type of application does not allow for an accurate and consistent measurement of colorant application. So how do you know how much color you are applying and how much the mulch is costing?
·         I would be concerned about color runoff since there are no other chemicals to adhere the colorant to the wood. Also, I would be concerned about the powder that was not broken down in the grinding process and could potentially runoff.
·         The liquid color uses a much finer powder thus covering the wood much better with less actual color and lasts much longer do to the additional chemicals added to adhere the color to the wood
·         I have seen operations mixing industrial ash with mulch to turn it black, and not use any colorant at all
With that being said, many operations use this sprinkle and grind technique today and swear by it.
                After my call, I turned to a few Industry experts for their opinion. Some Colorant Manufacturing Companies sell both liquid and dry, others strictly liquid. Estimates are 95+% of the operations coloring mulch are using liquid colorant.
Those that sell only liquid had some common facts that were repeated:

·         The process of creating a liquid provides the end user with a more effective product.  Thus, a higher price per pound than the dry colorants.

Take better advantage of your Screener

WHEN Magazine May 2013

Take better advantage of your Screener
Trying to become more efficient in today’s business world is number one. Maximize your processes and net greater revenue at year end. Step back and take a look and see what you can improve by using what you have.
I had a question this week about removing stone from some woody materials which opened up an opportunity to sell a machine, or to just suggest trying something new. Most Companies in this industry are screening something somehow. When we are screening, we generally end up with our finished materials and some sort of overs or waste product. Instead of making the overs just a product to pile up for reprocessing, try adding an additional process to make more usable products without touching it again.
Generally, with screeners, you will have a consistent flow with a lower volume on the overs belt which is perfect for adding additional processes. Here are a few things to try:
·         Use that consistent flow rate to feed a stand-alone Stone Separator. The lower volume flow makes it perfect for separating any stone or rock from your lightweight materials.
·         Use the consistent flow rate to feed a stand-alone plastic separator. Again, the lower flow makes it much easier to remove the inert contaminants.
·         Feed a smaller screen and make an additional separation. Because the flow is so low, adding a small trommel for example is easy to do and it can make an additional spilt of materials before any material hits the ground for the first time.
·         Add a Head pulley or cross belt magnet and remove the ferrous contaminants.
·         Add a stone trap belt to remove the stone. These are small and inexpensive and work fairly effectively.
·         Adding an additional waste chute to each deck of a double deck, flat deck screener will split the overs for you. This is especially easy to do for a typical topsoil screener.  You instantly have a 3 product machine.
·         Feed a small grinder. You don’t need 1000 horsepower to grind this flow rate, save the fuel and take advantage of the consistent low volume flow.
·         Add a watering system to bring moisture back to compost piles
                Another idea is to create an additional product. What if the overs from your topsoil screen had the 3 inch and over material removed so you had a consistent 3 inch minus topsoil. You would have a new product that was good enough for filling some areas or for topdressing in commercial applications. You could do the same with a mulch product. A consistent 4 inch minus mulch looks good on the side of the highway or on slopes because it is consistent, not contaminated with large pieces, and will hold its form much more than a finer product and last longer.
Think of your process, what do you need to do to your waste product to achieve your desired result and how can you take advantage of this free feed hopper?

Dave Whitelaw       

Hey GrinderGuy, do these plastic vacuums really work?

WHEN Magazine April 2013

Hey GrinderGuy, do these plastic vacuums really work?
In a word, “maybe”.
In theory, if you put enough horsepower behind a fan, you should be able to pull plastic off a conveyor belt. But the plastic needs to be on top of the material passing underneath the fan for that to work. In addition, all the fines need to be removed from the material or the suction of the fan will be pulling all the fine debris also. That is why you cannot use these fans on finished products coming off the fines discharge conveyors.
My only experience with these types of equipment has been with the Komptech Hurrikan units and the windsifter option added to the Komptech Star Screens and there are 3 things that make them work so well:
1.       Plastic or inert materials need to be on top of the other materials
2.       Suction area needs to be where the material can be free floating
3.       Input of the material needs to be a reduced consistent flow
Trying to take a pile of just contaminated overs and process it through a machine to remove the inerts does not work well. There are too many contaminants and too much volume. Take charge of the issue when you are creating it. For example, having the reduced flow and consistent flow from an overs conveyor coming from a screen of any kind will work well for a removal operation.  Also, being able to use the suction of the fan as the material cascades off a screen deck, any screen deck, is another good option.
If you are setting up your own operation or trying other systems look for the following:
1.       Have the ability or the option of installing a fan underneath the material to lift debris to the surface and create free floating particles like the Komptech Hurrikan does. This is why it works so well.
2.       For pulling off contaminants look for the availability of 2 fans instead of 1. You get twice the air movement with less horsepower and for heavier contamination you will need this.
3.       Look for a magnetic head pulley option. Any nails your grinder missed sure do have a way of making it back into your mulch.
4.       Everyone get some sort of stone in there material, so adding a stone trap on the discharge conveyor is easy to do and will remove the stones for you giving you a higher quality product.
While the Komptech Hurrikan does all this, it does come at a price.
So what should you do? Which materials, if they were clean, would give you the best economic boost? It’s not just what material you sell for the highest dollar, it’s what is costing you the most. Moving material piles, trucking to the landfill, whatever. What will give you the best economic benefit?
1.       Define your problem and its source
2.       Define your budget
3.       Choose which contaminants to remove first. The additional options can be added later.
In closing, while we are discussing material contaminants, many new stone type separators have come on the market. Removing the stone from your yard cleanup material, removing stone from your mulch or compost is easily done today. The most benefit I have seen though is from removing rock from Construction and Demolition debris destined for the landfill. It is difficult to see the volume of heavies in a pile of shredded C&D, but after you run it through a stone separator, your wallet will be much heavier with the money you saved on disposal. If you haven’t tried one yet, what are you waiting for?
Questions, Comments?
Dave Whitelaw

Hey GrinderGuy, do I really need a belt scraper?

WHEN Magazine March 2013

Hey GrinderGuy, do I really need a belt scraper?

  Unless you like losing money, you need a belt cleaner.

  Belt cleaners keep material from building up on belts which if not done will cause the belt to track off center.
What happens then?
Well if the belts tracks far enough off center, the rubber skirting does not contain material any longer and rock, stone, dirt or other debris will fall off the conveyor and make its way into the tail pulleys. This causes:
- Belts to track even further off center which can make the edge of the belting rub on roller supports or the frame of the conveyor. 
- The belt to start wearing the edge and will start to tear at the belt splice. 
- A worn splice to start to loosen and your belt to become loose on one side which will make belt adjustment very difficult and starts lessening the life of your belt.
- Large Rocks to get into the tail pulley and punch a hole into the conveyor or in the belt splice
- Material to build up around bearings and causing failure.

  Along with all those possibilities, if material builds on top of the conveyor belting, the belt will track off center and start causing all those problems also.
  So with all these potential issues, maintaining a belt cleaner will save you time and money.

  Most belt cleaners are made of rubber and press against the belt as it passes by and scrapes material from the belt.
Others are made of plastic or even steel. Some have automatic adjustment while others need some weekly maintenance which is easily done.

  One troublesome issue are chevron or cleated belts. Because of the raised rubber on these belts, a scraper cannot be used. In these cases, a brush type cleaner works best. By adjusting the brushes so that the bristles are just touching the belt, this literally sweeps material from the belts. But these do not work well in wet sticky materials which cause the bristles to get filled with material and plug up.

  I saw an advertisement for a self powered brush cleaner. This brush cleaner was powered by a 1 or 2 horsepower motor which turns the brush opposite the direction of the conveyor. This seems to me that less pressure would need to be used which would extend the wear life. 
Check it out here-

Take the time for a little maintenance and save yourself some money.

Questions? Dave Whitelaw

Hey Grinder Guy, are there any new equipment improvements in the Industry I should look at?

WHEN Magazine Article February 2013

Hey Grinder Guy, are there any new equipment improvements in the Industry I should look at?

Good question. We are all busy and trying to keep up with all the new designs and options for each piece of equipment is a daunting task. But maybe a new improvement that is insignificant to one may be a major cost savings for another. Throughout the year I am going to try and do a better job of posting useful and significant improvements on my blog by weeding through all the press releases I receive. It seems the move toward more efficient electric machines continues and fuel usage per unit has become the major cost factor for everyone.
In Oct at the WHEN Recycling Expo in Henrietta, NY, several grinder manufacturers were present. I spent a few minutes with Scott Harrington of Rotochopper discussing the new Rotochopper EC-366. It is Rotochopper’s 3rd Generation Electric Horizontal grinder that has a dual purpose of wood and shingles and improves upon their “perfect in one pass” design. After 15 years of electric Grinder experience, updates in wear liners, the conveyor system, in service and maintenance have reduced operating costs even further. For more information on the new EC-366, visit .
The Komptech line of screeners and recycling equipment has increased its Hybrid power offerings to four product lines. The Trommel screen and the Multistar screen lines are 2 of the product lines with available hybrid power. The on board generators use 1.5-2 gallons of fuel per hour while screening up to 600 yards per hour. They also come with an optional ground power plug so there is no need to run the generator for sites with available electric power. For more information visit or call 720-890-9090.
Recently, Colorbiotics introduced the Global Equipment Monitoring (GEM) System. The GEM system, developed for use with Colorbiotics Sahara X Series coloring equipment, is a fully customizable computer program that allows operators to automatically meter, monitor and verify colorant and water output; elevating the world’s most advanced coloring system to unparalleled levels of efficiency. The GEM system allows a single operator effortless control and monitoring capabilities of either one or several Sahara coloring units from one convenient portal. So an Owner or Manager can view their operation in real time from their Office Chair and make necessary adjustments. For more information about Colorbiotics, Sahara X colorant equipment and GEM quality control monitoring system, contact Colorbiotics at 888-663-6980.
In 2012, Amerimulch® introduced the Marksman™ Volume Measuring System. The Marksman is available in two models; Platinum and Gold. The Marksman Gold model constantly measures fluctuating production rates, then calculates and displays the corresponding colorant and water application rates per yard and can be used on any color unit. The Marksman Platinum model only works in conjunction with the Amerimulch ColorTrom® has all the features of the Marksman Gold model but also automatically adjusts color and water rates. Both units offer viewing from PC, Smartphones or tablets. The operator does not need to make constant adjustments any longer, the Marksman System does it for them, automatically. How cool is that? For more information on Amerimulch and the Marksman Volume Measuring System, call 888-556-3304 or .
Morbark has designed a new grinder wear tip that provides a denser end product that renders 2-3 additional tons per load by cutting instead of grabbing the material. The new Razorback Insert can efficiently chop and break down palm waste, reduce wrapping, and increasing run time efficiency.  The Razorback works best in medium-contaminated materials and are recommended for use in primary grind and regrind of oak, cottonwood, palm and green waste. The inserts provided an average wear life of 40 hours per side and are easily installed, with no special bolts required and can also be removed for sharpening. Visit or call Morbark Sales @ 800-831-0042.

Questions? Dave Whitelaw

Hey GrinderGuy, how do I make millions of dollars in the Hurricane Sandy Cleanup?

WHEN Magazine Article January 2013-

Hey GrinderGuy, how do I make millions of dollars in the Hurricane Sandy Cleanup?
This isn’t really a question I received, but I must receive 100 similar calls every Hurricane asking how to get involved with the cleanup. Most people hear of either the millions of dollars some companies made, or the horror stories of other companies that went broke because they were not paid for the work they did.
But before we all start thinking of sugar plums full of money dancing in our heads, think about what you are cleaning up? The storm debris contains the lives of those affected. A ten year old boy’s basketball, a three year old girl’s pink Little Tikes® Car, a teenagers Baseball helmet. If it was you, it would be your memory foam mattress, your living room couch, your favorite chair. Take your house, turn it on the side and shake out the contents. That’s what you have in a pile of storm debris. Your photographs, Diplomas, your wedding dress, your childs first shoes……your life. Gone in an instant.
Bulldoze your entire neighborhood then pull in the main entrance and try to figure out where your house was. There are no street signs. There are no fancy entrance gates. Water, sand and debris cover the roads. Where is your street?  Your neighbor’s big oak tree is gone, the house on the corner is gone. Everything is flat.  Where is your house? Until you stand in the middle of some horrific tragedy as this, there is no way to understand. Pictures, TV stories, Articles, cannot describe the feeling you have when for as far left and as far right as you can see is gone. Fortunately for the Sandy victims, this was only a Category One Hurricane. It could have been “exponentially worse”, as one Cleanup Contractor described. But don’t tell that to the people who lost everything or those that only had five feet of water in their house. Because they lost their lives.
First, the roads need to be cleared to allow aid to flow in. Then the Hospitals and Support Services need to be made operational. The people need food, water and shelter to survive, then delivering fuel,  restoring power and rebuilding can get started.
It amazes me the way some people use these events for Political gain. Most of these people didn’t do a thing prior to the storm to prepare their Constituents, but they can sure criticize someone else afterward.  Planning is the key. Whether you are in a coastline City, or County in the middle of our Country, Disaster Plans, Debris Management Plans and PreEvent Contracts are a must. Because sooner or later you are going to need it. It’s like an Insurance Policy you don’t want to have to use, but is essential to have.
As for the Cleanup Contractors? Most Major Disaster Cleanup Companies have Sub-Contractor signup information on their websites. Get together all your company information, list of services, and equipment, Bank information, Insurance information and all contact information and locations and get signed up with each Contractor. Depending on the disaster location or your Services you may get a call.
If you are in the Grinding and Shredding or Hauling business, and want to get involved in these Cleanups, I have a few points of advice:
·         Get setup with the Prime Contractors as described earlier
·         You must be able to be on site and operating within 24 hours.
·         Make sure you have enough money to cover all your business costs for at least a month because getting vendor payments setup will take a while which is why, just like pre-event contracts, having all that setup prior to, will get you paid faster.
·         Plan on bringing a place to live with you. Most all the Hotels will have displaced residents living in them or the Prime Contractors, FEMA and Local Officials will already have them all filled.
·         Have every part, spare part, oils and fuel tanks full with you. Getting things delivered when there are no addresses is not very easy.
·         Bring more equipment. If your grinder isn’t running, you are not making money. You are not going to impress your contractor either. When more sites open, or more materials are available, the BEST bird gets the worm.
·         Handle it. No matter who, what, when, how, why? Get the job done. No excuses. Then you will receive as much work as you would want. You will also get the calls in the future.
·         Work for who you trust. This is my number one piece of advice. Don’t be a sub to a sub to a sub to a sub. Lowest man on the pole gets paid last if at all. The best Prime Contractors will have tens of millions banked to pay subs as much as weekly to keep the cleanup going while they are waiting to get paid from their customer. Those that don’t, struggle to keep subcontractors on the job and struggle to keep their contract.
A lot of Business owners are involved in their Local Politics. Make sure your County or City has Disater plans in place to minimize the cleanup delay and expedite the relief efforts.
Don’t forget those effected-
American Red Cross - The organization is accepting donations for its Hurricane Sandy relief fund via its website. You also can call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to donate or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

 Dave Whitelaw-

Hey Grinder Guy, why are Star Screens so expensive?

WHEN Magazine Article Dec 2012-

Apparently, you have been pricing screening equipment.
I assume you are comparing Star Screens to Deck Screens or Trommel Screens?
What if the Star Screen could produce double, triple or quadruple the production? Then what would you say? I sell both Trommel Screens and Star Screens, so let’s take a closer look.
Star Screens contain many more parts and much more technology than a Drum that turns round and round. The stars, made of rubber or Urethane, can number over 1000 per machine. With a hole in the center of the star, they are slid onto a shaft and rotate continuously all in the same direction. Materials are dropped on top of the rotating shafts and the finer product falls between the stars to a waiting conveyor or onto the ground. The spacing between the stars on each shaft creates the actual product size. By turning the shafts faster, material has less time to drop between the stars, thus giving a finer product size. Conversely, the slower the shafts turn, the larger the product size
                So what does this does this mean?
·         The same Star Deck can produce a range of sizes of materials without changing anything but the speed of the shafts. Turn a knob, touch the touch screen and you magically change from 1 ½ ” material to ¼” material.
·         Production in the under 1” sizes Star Screens can out produce Trommels easily 2:1, 3:1 or even 4:1 in wetter materials
·         Wet materials are no problem for Star Screen because of the pliable Star, the speed of the shafts and the cleaning ability of one star to another.
·         Plastic removal is much more efficient on a Star Screen because of the material floating on top of the Star Deck and the stepped drop from the Deck to the Discharge Conveyor
·         Product quality is much better because of the range of adjustability in the product size because of the Star Shafts. Most Star Decks have multiple drives so you are able to run the shafts at different speeds and create the perfect end product.
·         Star Decks can be Electric or Diesel and much more energy efficient using as little as 1.5 gallons per hour
·         Stars can be sized for each application. Larger Stars for removing 6” or 8” wood to small stars for producing ¼” topdressing.

But they are not perfect.
·         Star Screens cannot be used for aggregate
·         Star Screens cannot be used for heavy soils
·         Star Screens cannot be used as a scalping deck
These applications are for Trommel Screens or Deck Screens.

So what should you look for in a Star Screen?
If you are like most users, screening compost, soil blends or mulch choose the following-
·         Choose Electric over Hydraulic. Electric motors give you much more rpm to turn the shafts and a wider range of product sizing
·         Choose smaller stars. A star in the 4 or 5 inch range will give you a beautiful ½’ product and be able to screen even finer. Stars larger than that will not be able to make much finer than ¾” material efficiently.
·         Choose a Star Deck with a cleaning system so wet materials will not be an issue
·         Size the screen for your support and production equipment. Who cares if the Star Screen can screen 500 yards an hour if the support equipment can only handle 250 yards an hour?

Because of the ability to screen multiple materials and multiple sizes with the same unit, the Star Screens have become a much more useful tool then the Trommel Screen.
Review your products and your raw materials. If they meet the conditions above, give the Star Screen a try. 1/3 of the screening time, 1/3 of the Loader time, 1/3 of the manpower time, less fuel reduces the initial capital investment considerably while achieving product perfection and happy customers.

Have more Star Screen questions? Or any other Industry questions?
Dave Whitelaw