Rotochopper’s New StopWatch System Protects Grinders from Tramp Metal
Date Posted: 5/2/2005
Rotochopper is familiar supplier to the pallet industry, which always has the door open to clever, ambitious, hard-working people.
Start from the beginning. In 1992 Fred Peltz and Vince Hundt were asked by a waste hauler to supply him with a machine to grind junk pallets into boiler fuel. In a matter of a few months they developed a red, compact, electric-powered machine they called the Rotochopper. The first Rotochopper could process whole pallets into splinters at the rate of almost 1,000 per hour. The customer said, "Wow!" and bought it.
That began a long process of additional research, development, innovation, trial and error -- and a lot of red paint. Rotochopper grinders now are in use all over the world, and the company is a leading supplier of grinding machines to the pallet industry.
Early versions of the Rotochopper were fed by hand and had little control over finished product quality. It was clear from the beginning that what was needed was a machine that could not just grind pallets but process the wood fiber into a useful product.
The introduction of high speed rotors with up to 68 teeth and baffled screens put Rotochopper in the position of being able to guarantee a uniform finished wood product, and grinding junk pallets became profitable for its customers. Big, wide steel belt infeed conveyors made the machines easy to feed while electronic controls enabled the machines to pretty much run themselves. It is not uncommon to find Rotochoppers running all day, every day at the end of pallet disassembly conveyors, and with 30-40,000 hours on the meter.
Rotochopper was granted a patent in 1997 for the process of grinding and coloring wood in one pass through its machine. The system was very simple, and the development of this technology was fueled by a national explosion of growth in the mulch business. Grinding scrap pallets and converting them into colored mulch sold to the landscape industry made millions of new dollars for people in the pallet industry. Where waste disposal used to be a big issue and expense for the pallet industry, now it has a ready market for these new, proven mulch products.
Rotochopper recently introduced its breakthrough StopWatch system. The StopWatch system is designed to protect high speed, high performance grinders from damage by large pieces of tramp metal. Rotochopper has applied for a patent for the system, which uses simple harmonics and a PLC. The Rotochopper StopWatch system has demonstrated repeatedly that it can detect the presence of large ungrindable material and stop the machine before damage is done.
Rotochopper has a growing list of patents and innovations. Another key to its success is a company culture of service and loyalty. In 2003 and 2004 Rotochopper hired 11 new employees and experienced no employee turnover. Most Rotochopper employees have dairy farm backgrounds. They enjoy machinery, their work, and the opportunity to deal with independent businessmen all over the world.
With rapid growth, national and international representation, and world-wide service, Rotochopper has become a leading partner to the pallet and sawmill industry.
For more information, call Rotochopper at (608) 452-3651 or visit the Web site at www.rotochopper.com.
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