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First Grinder Allows N.C. Company to Expand Services: Tub Grinder from Lane Recycling Machinery Creates Municipal Waste and Mulch Opportunities
Roanoke Valley Green Wastes Recyclers: Investment in Lane Recycling Machinery tub grinder opens up opportunity in the pallet recycling arena for North Carolina business.

By Thomas G. Dolan
Date Posted: 5/1/2007

ROANOKE RAPIDS, North Carolina — “We’ve dumped a lot of money over the years before we got our new Lane tub grinder,” said Mark Andrews, who owns Roanoke Valley Green Wastes Recyclers. Mark was referring to the model 2408 tub grinder made by Lane Recycling Machinery in Ruckersville, Va.

   Mark purchased the machine in December. “It’s made a lot more opportunities available to us than we had before,” he said. The company’s business volume is up, and Mark has doubled his payroll from three employees to six.

   Mark started his business in 1994 as an arborist; the business originally was named Andrews Uplimited Inc. Since investing in the Lane Recycling tub grinder has opened up so many new opportunities for the company, Mark created a new company.

   With the Lane Recycling tub grinder, Mark is able to recycle waste wood material into products he can sell. The grinder has enabled him to increase revenues by about $1,500 per week so far. “We were dumping about $1,500 worth of material a week,” he explained.

   Before purchasing the tub grinder, Mark used a chipper to chip limbs on job sites. The tub grinder processes the wood into mulch.

   Mark’s first grinding job was for a pallet company that wanted to grind its waste wood material into mulch. The pallet company colored the mulch and sold it.

   “There wasn’t much money in it for us,” Mark said, so he located another pallet business – a pallet recycling company. “This is a small company that had no way of getting rid of its waste wood,” said Mark. “So we grind up the wood, add color to it and sell it ourselves.”

   “It would cost them to get rid of their waste wood, so it’s worth their while to give it to me,” Mark explained.

   “There’s a lot we can do by adding color to mulch,” Mark continued. “You can turn out a lot of beautiful products with colors like red, brown, black and gold. Red is a real big color. Or dark walnut, which makes the product look like natural mulch. A lot of businesses and homeowners use colored mulch.”

   Mark has also begun to make compost from the wood grindings, adding a nitrogen source and composting it for six months. He plans to sell it wholesale to landscapers and retail to homeowners.

   “In 12 months we will have established a customer base for these products, which we could have had before, but now we’re just getting started,” said Mark. Roanoke Rapids has a paper mill that used to distribute bark free to homeowners, he said. The mill stopped the practice, however. “So the only way they can get it is to buy it at the store, which is where we come in.”

   Mark has three sources of wood that can be recycled with the Lane Recycling tub grinder. The first is the green waste from his tree service work, which, of course, he gets for free. The second is from the pallet recycling company; he gets that wood for free, too.

   The third is a new yard he has established to take wood debris from construction con­tractors. The builders typically have a dumpster on a new home site to collect scrap wood and other debris. They have to pay a tipping fee to dispose of the scrap wood and debris at a landfill. Mark charges a tipping fee, too, but it is less. “It’s cheaper for them to pay me than the landfill,” he said. Mark hopes to expand his yard service to the state highway department.

   The local landfill charges a tipping fee of $45 a ton; Mark charges $50 a truckload. It is considerably cheaper for the contractors. A single stump can weigh three to four tons, he noted, and a whole tree can weigh several tons. Mark earns revenues for collecting the wood debris, the service provides him with a steady supply of raw material to make mulch and compost, and he is reducing demand on the landfill.

   Mark is also negotiating with local officials to provide grinding services for wood waste. It costs the city of Roanoke Rapids $20,000-$60,000 annually to haul away and dispose of wood waste material, he said. Mark hopes to be able to offer a grinding service that would save the city but still enable him to earn a profit. “This could become more important to us than our tree service work,” he said.

   The Lane Recycling 2408 tub grinder cost Mark about $125,000. “This was a big step for us,” he said. “I don’t think we could have done it without Lane’s help. They’ve been real supportive. They’ve given us good advice and helped find someone who would finance it for us so that payments are made over a period of time. They make a good machine. It’s easy to work on, to maintain, and real easy to get into. The 2408 is like a starter machine — all we could afford to get started. But we hope to grow to a bigger machine.”

   Lane Recycling Machinery offers three tub grinder models and a horizontal grinder. The model 2408 is a compact machine for small jobs, such as grinding leaves, bark and wood material. It can grind wood up to 6 inches in diameter. The 13,000-pound machine can be towed by a ¾-ton truck, which makes it easy to move.

   “The 2408 is made with the same quality as our larger machines,” said Thomas Lane Jr., CEO of Lane Recycling Machinery. “It’s just smaller.”

    “The tub is quarter-inch thick AR400 steel but has the equivalent of five-eighths-inch to one-inch tensile strength,” he added. That gives the machine durability but keeps the weight low.

   All three tub grinders are equipped with a Sauer Danfoss+1 hydraulic management system that improves efficiency of the hammermill infeed. With radio remote control standard, options include mulch coloring system, elevator extension, reversible fan, magnetic head pulley and CAT engine type. The model 2408 utilizes a manual dry clutch while the 4011 and 5212 models are equipped with a wet hydraulic style clutch by Kraft-Transfluid.

   The model 4011 tub grinder weighs 27,000 pounds. “You don’t need wide load or overhead permits to haul it,” said Thomas.

   The largest model, the 5212, weighs 38,000 pounds and can grind material from 24 inches to 30 inches in diameter. An optional knuckleboom loader with a 25-foot reach allows the operator to feed the machine from the cab. The 5212 also comes with a 12-foot flare on the tub to accommodate larger bucket sizes. Various screen and hammer configurations are available for primary and secondary grinding.

   All three machines use hammermill technology for grinding, but the two larger machines come standard with fixed hammers. Fixed hammers are
very aggressive, Thomas explained, and require the shock and clutch protection provided on the larger models. All three models can use swing hammers, which provide a superior finished product.

   The tub grinders are powered by engines ranging from 155 hp to 800 hp; the larger models are equipped with John Deere or Caterpillar engines.

   Thomas started building his machines in the early 1980s, an offshoot of his
farm. “We converted hay machines to grinders and made them work,” he said. “Then we saw nobody was making them for the wood industry, so we started building our commercial machine in about 1984.”

   Lane Recycling makes nothing but grinders. “Our niche is to cater to the little guy and build a long-term customer,” Thomas said. “We talk to him, help him set his yard up, and help place the right machine on site. We start him with the small machine; we know he won’t be able to justify the larger machines, at least at the start. But we also know that once he gets up and going, he’s going to come back to us to trade it in on a bigger machine.”








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