Suppliers Offer Machines, Colorants for Coloring Mulch
Making Colored Mulch: Roundup of information and photographs from suppliers of machinery, products and services to produce colored mulch.
By Staff Writer
Date Posted: 8/1/1999
The rising popularity of colored mulch for landscaping is evident both in the number of companies now supplying coloring machines and colorants and the increased participation by pallet and related businesses in this market.
In recent years, progressive-minded pallet businesses have sought profitable ways to convert waste wood into value-added, revenue-producing products. Instead of being faced with the cost of disposing of waste wood, or using it solely for fuel, or grinding it for marginal value as hog fuel or livestock bedding or stock for mulch products, some companies are investing in the capability to convert it to a ground wood fiber product and adding value. For example, some companies screen wood fiber to various sizes and use magnets or other technology to remove nails. Coloring mulch is another example of a way to add value.
Converting waste wood to colored mulch may not be appropriate for many pallet businesses. On the other hand, it certainly deserves attention from those companies looking for ways to increase revenues.
Pallet Enterprise has featured several companies in recent issues that have invested in colored mulch technology. Most recently, our article on PalEx affiliate Southern Pallet in Butner, N.C. in the June issue reported on the company’s extensive grinding and colored mulch production operations; the company is positioned to handle grinding and mulch production for all of PalEx’s North Carolina units. Southern’s considerable investment included machinery for bagging colored mulch and palletizing the finished product. The company’s mulch sales amount to 10% of revenues.
A few months earlier, we reported on McNeilly Wood Products in Campbell Hall, N.Y., which added colored mulch production capability last year. The company is marketing colored mulch in the greater New York City metropolitan region and expects about 5% of its sales to come from the new endeavor.
In this issue we also are featuring a Mid-West company that provides a mobile coloring service to companies with a supply of ground wood fiber. (See story beginning on page 33.) The company, Exterior Designs, is serving businesses that mainly use scrap pallets as their source of wood fiber. According to company owner Chris Brown, demand for his services is growing. An important benefit of the service offered by Exterior Designs is that it allows pallet companies an opportunity to test the market for colored mulch without necessarily making any investment in technology or machinery; essentially, they need only supply the ground wood fiber.
Of course, pallet companies need to carefully weigh the pros and cons of starting a colored mulch operation, just as they must any strategic business decision. It requires researching or investigating markets for colored mulch as well as precisely assessing the costs and potential revenues — in short, a sound business plan.
On this and the following pages, we present information from suppliers who provide colored mulch technology — machinery or colorants.
Color Mill Latest From AmerimulchAmerimulch
Valley View, Ohio
The Amerimulch Color Mill is the company’s latest in coloring technology. It was designed after consultations with leading producers in the industry. Its variable speed hopper design can produce colored mulch at rates of 150 to 250 cubic yards per hour.
The Amerimulch Color Mill has several important features. It can produce color-enhanced wood fiber in-line with any grinder, screener or feed conveyor. The system can operate with liquid or dry colorants. It uses a high level of intense mixing action to minimize the need for water; in fact, the coloring system uses so little water that some customers report shipping and bagging their product the same day. The heavy steel construction is designed to absorb the abuses of mulch production.
The machine has received favorable response from the market in the past two years, according to Amerimulch, which also supplies colorants.
Becker-Underwood Offers Coloring Machines, Mulch Magic® ColorantsBecker-Underwood
Becker-Underwood’s Mulch Magic® colorants and Second Harvester ™ mulch coloring system can be used on almost any kind of recyclable wood, bark mulch, or green wood. The company offers to customize machinery and pricing programs.
In contrast to auger systems used in some batch mixers, the Second Harvester uses a unique, five-stage continuous mixing action to aggressively blend the colorants and mulch. The combined mixing technology and pneumatic colorant delivery system enables the Second Harvester to use 50% less water, which reduces drying time and shipping weight. The result is a high quality, evenly colored product that appeals to landscapers and homeowners.
Mulch Magic PF colorants are highly concentrated. Original Mulch Magic PF colors in red, black, brown, gold and rose have been complimented by a variety of custom shades to suit regional markets and also primary colors that are attractive for schools, playgrounds, and amusement parks. Becker-Underwood colorants are specially formulated to be non-toxic to plants and animals.
Becker-Underwood ships in-stock orders on a same-day basis. A quality control program ensures colorant products are uniform with each order. The company also is an ISO 9001 registered business.
The company has a technical staff and research facility devoted to improving the performance of its products.
Two Systems, Rainbow Mulch®Colorants Available From FeconFecon
Fecon Inc. offers both Batch Mix and Continuous Mix Rainbow Mulch® coloring systems with automated controls for coloring pallet or green wood mulches.
Fecon Batch Mix processing provides maximum control of the coloring process for optimal colorant, water and labor utilization. Operators are able to control how much water and colorant to use and also can pre-water dry wood fiber to minimize the amount of colorant that is required. Batch Mix processing also provides a long dwell time for maximum exposure of the mulch to color spray nozzles. A five-minute batch can process 6 or 12 cubic yards, depending on model. Material is automatically colored and discharged while the operator is free to perform other tasks, such as loading trucks. Power options include PTO, electric or diesel. The equipment requires a minimum of 20 gpm and can be mobile or stationary, with production of up to 140 yards per hour.
Fecon Continuous Mix coloring systems are designed for high production or continuous in-feed from a grinder or screen. A large feed hopper directs material into a pre-mixing chamber that breaks up clumps and provides smooth material flow to the color mixing section. Adjustable heavy-duty paddles continuously fluff material for maximum exposure to 18 variable flow spray nozzles. Paddles are bolted on steel stakes, welded to a 10-inch diameter steel tube driven electrically, or hydraulically on diesel models. Diesel models also are equipped with variable agitator speed and auxiliary hydraulics for an optional stacking conveyor. Continuous Mix models can produce over 200 cubic yards per hour.
Rainbow Mulch colorants are available in a variety of colors for either system.
Other Fecon products include Satellite Screens and Willibald Grinders.
Morbark Unveils New, Improved Portable Mulch Coloring SystemMorbark
Morbark Inc. has introduced a new, improved portable mulch coloring system to transform low value wood waste into high value premium landscape mulch.
The Morbark N-Viro Mulch 2000 Portable Coloring System is a completely self-contained and portable unit that makes attractive colored mulch in a variety of popular colors at rates in excess of 250 cubic yards per hour. The system uses a patented process and rich, organic dyes to transform recycled shredded wood waste into decorative landscape mulch that resists fading, providing homeowners and landscapers color retention and a consistently fresh appearance.
The N-Viro Mulch system can be simply added to existing grinders. It is easy to operate; wood flow and colorant are metered automatically.
The Morbark N-Viro Mulch is powered by an 80 hp diesel motor and equipped with three feed augers and two mixing augers. Colorant is injected through 12 replaceable nozzles. An anti-plugging system prevents costly jamming of material. The system also has a hydraulic folding discharge conveyor.
National Paint & Coatings Supplies Color Mulch Line Of ColorantsNational Paint & Coatings
National Paint & Coatings Company, founded in 1948, is a manufacturer of specialty paints, coatings, and colorants.
Its Color Mulch line of colorants includes red, brown, dark brown, black, and hardwood black. Specialty colors are also available. The colorants are non-toxic and contain only biodegradable ingredients.
Color Mulch colorant provides the end user with a brilliantly colored product resistant to ultra-violet light and "bleeding."
National Paint & Coatings does not sell coloring systems but is familiar with colorant application tecnology and the machinery available on the market.
National Paint & Coatings also offers distributor agreements for Color Mulch Touch-up. Color Mulch Touch-up is a concentrate colorant used to rejuvenate faded mulch. Four ounces of concentrate is diluted in a gallon of water and can be applied with a simple garden sprayer. This product can be marketed to landscape contractors or sold directly to the consumer.
Patented Spray, Agitation, Flow on Wood ’N Colors EquipmentWood ’N Colors
Wood ’N Colors Inc. manufactures mulch colorants and coloring equipment. Colorants are available in the following shades: brick red, old English red, harvest gold, misty black, forest brown, dark brown, cedar, and cypress. Most shades produce quality colored mulches when applied at a rate of 2.25 to 3 pounds per cycle. Misty black may require up to 4 pounds per cycle. Rates depend on equipment, water-to-colorant ratio, and the content of the fiber being colored. Colorants are priced at 89 cents per pound or from $2.01 to $2.67 per cycle. Colorants are formulated to dry fast and for long-lasting color; they resist settling and are water-resistant, so they will not run off after the colorant has cured.
Wood ’N Colors machines can color mulch at rates ranging from 100 to 300 cycles per hour. All are equipped with patented spray, agitation and flow devices. The Pro Series 100, 200 and 300 are horizontal coloring machines designed to color mulch consistently without packing or jamming. They are effective on fiber that may include as much as 40% sawdust and use as little as eight gallons of water per cubic yard. Prices range from $26,500 to $49,500. A water pump, in-feed device and out-feed conveying are required for efficient production.
The EZ-200 (pictured) is a self-contained horizontal coloring unit that requires only power, water, and an out-feed conveying device. It has a 10-yard in-feed hopper that is 12 feet wide. It also features the company’s patented spray, agitation and flow devices. The EZ-200 has removable legs to allow trailer mounting for mobile applications.
Rotochopper Systems Grind, Color, Load All in One System
Coon Valley, Wisconsin
Rotochopper is a supplier of wood waste grinders and complete coloring systems. Its grinders are capable of processing cut-offs, pallets, slabs, edgings, cants and brush into mulch, fuel and animal bedding. The company also makes machinery to grind wood into mulch and to color it in the same operation.
The Rotochopper EC-156 model grinds, colors and loads colored mulch at the rate of 25 yards per hour using only 150 hp. The company also offers systems that have capacities to 125 yards per hour.
Rotochopper has both diesel and electric machines. Colorants are available in a variety of hues. Rotochopper has a promotional video available to potential customers and also provides references.
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