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Aiming high: versatility and adaptability make multiprocessors ideal in high-reach applications.

Multi-tasking is familiar territory in any business today, and the same holds true for the demolition, construction and recycling industries. Contractors and recyclers are constantly looking to do more with less.

The desire to accomplish more things at once has contributed to the growing popularity of multi-processors, a hydraulic attachment with ambitions to be a contractor or recycler's one stop for many demolition and recycling tasks.

Furthermore, as many contractors move away from the wrecking ball in favor of more controlled methods of demolition, the multi-processor is in high demand for high-reaching applications.

CHOOSING JAWS

The multiple jaw sets available for multi-processors mean that it can tackle a wide variety of tasks on the jobsite.

Multi-processors on the market today offer up to six different jaw sets, according to Scott Rosengaard, marketing consultant for the Industrial & Work Tool Solutions branch of Caterpillar Inc., Peoria, Ill. Typically, these jaw sets include shear jaws capable of cutting steel, primary pulverizer or crusher jaws for demolition of concrete and combination shear and crusher jaws that offer contractors versatility on projects where there is a mix of structural steel and concrete in the structure, Rosengaard adds.

While the multi-processors main use involves primary demolition--the actual tearing down of a structure--the versatile jaw sets mean it can tackle other tasks as well, including recycling and sizing material, according to Steve Letko, research and development manager for Genesis Attachments LLC, Superior, Wis. "It depends on the job," he says. "Some [contractors] want to crush the concrete, remove the rebar and leave the crushed rock on the jobsite--this is a good tool for that."

Certain jaw sets are highly specialized and offer separate benefits depending on the user, according to Rosengaard. For instance, contractors can choose between primary pulverizer jaws and crusher jaws to tackle concrete. Rosengaard says that the primary pulverizer jaw allows for the primary and secondary pulverizing actions to be completed in one step when pulverizing concrete, separating and cutting the rebar--eliminating the need for secondary handling. Crusher jaws, he says, are recommended for primary demolition jobs where speed is a primary requirement and secondary handling of the material is done later in the process.

Rosengaard adds that multi-processors can also be equipped with secondary pulverizer jaws that are specifically designed to pulverize piles of concrete debris and separate and cut the rebar.

Whatever jaw set is in use, the ability to rotate the attachment makes it particularly useful in demolition applications, as it can cut steel beams overhead, on the ground or vertically, according to Rich Elliot, hydraulic applications manager for Atlas Copco Construction Tools Inc., Springfield, Mass. Elliot adds that the multiprocessors ability to be fixed to either standard or high-reach carriers also allows it to ride another demolition industry trend the move to controlled demolition.

EXTENDED REACH

Excavators armed with arsenals of attachments have enjoyed a boost in popularity as the industry moves toward more controlled methods of demolition. According to Elliot, multi-processors are enjoying a similar swell. "The trend is going up," he says.

Uwe Kausch, product line manager for Stanley LaBounty, Two Harbors, Minn., has also noticed an increase in the popularity of the multi-processor, particularly in high-reach applications, which have been very popular in Europe for some time and are beginning to catch on in North America. "Legislation and local laws are demanding more controlled demolition instead of imploding a building," Kausch says, which has had an impact on the numbers of multi-processors in use.

Cat's Rosengaard agrees. "Really, we are seeing a movement of UHD (ultra-high reach demolition) machines in North America, and from what I've seen, this trend has really taken off over the last two years, with 2006 being one of the most active years as far as interest is concerned," he says. "There's no doubt that a multi-processor itself is well-suited to the UHD due to its versatility and ability to be adapted to handle many types of applications and materials that can be encountered."

However, employing multi-processors at such heights comes with its own set of complications, according to Kausch. "The challenge is to get the biggest production out of the smallest tool," he says. As contractors want attachments that can work higher, "it's always a challenge to increase performance and keep the weight down," says Kausch.

Rosengaard adds that when using a multi-processor in a high-reach application, it is important to "let the jaws do the work and not use the machine's weight to pull and pry at the material" during demolition. "This is the case with any machine but is magnified on a UHD due to height, but also because the boom and stick structures on a UHD are very different from those on a standard excavator."

REAPING THE BENEFITS

Multi-processors have proven their mettle in demanding demolition applications by offering a number of benefits. "They offer quiet operation, while producing minimum dust," says Elliot, which is a particular benefit for demolition jobs in urban or heavily populated areas. "They also work nicely for the demolition of structures in a confined area surrounded by buildings and/or rivers or waterways," he adds.

The versatility the multi-processor brings to demolition and C&D jobsites should ensure its continued popularity in the industry, according to Rosengaard. "Multi-processors offer many advantages over dedicated tools," he says. "In short, the multi-processor offers more for less and in the extremely competitive world of demolition, this is a key ingredient."

The author is associate editor of Construction & Demolition Recycling and can be contacted at jgubeno@gie.net.
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Title Annotation:EQUIPMENT FOCUS
Author:Gubeno, Jackie
Publication:Construction & Demolition Recycling
Date:Jan 1, 2007
Words:920
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