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Grinder turns wood waste into fuel.

Marvin Windows & Doors converts its pallets, crates and scrap wood to fuel to steam heat its plant.

In a small town in northern Minnesota that's known for windows, walleyes, hockey sticks and sometimes being the coldest spot in the nation, the biggest wood grinder of its type can be found. The Vortex K-1800 waste grinder is helping Marvin Windows and Doors of Warroad, Minn., convert its wood scrap, pallets and crates into wood chips for boiler fuel at the rate of up to 3,000 tons per year.

The need for this machine was identified after Marvin's plant engineer Keith Landin, studied the size, shape and quantity of wood waste being generated at this facility. Since Marvin offers custom windows and doors, the special lengths required by its made-to-order manufacturing style results in wood waste. Furthermore, a large portion of the wood waste consists of crates and pallets measuring 6 to 12 feet long and 6 to 9 feet high. The goal was to minimize the work and reduce the hazards involved in grinding these crates and pallets to wood chips suitable for use as boiler fuel.

The Vortex K-1800 is manufactured by Vecoplan Gmbh, is distributed in the United States by Nordfab Systems Inc. and is sold in Minnesota by Robert White Industries Inc.

The grinder, the largest Vortex unit, was the first one of this size to be installed in the United States. The majority of this unit's steel structure is over 20mm thick and has a total weight of nearly 20 tons. Because of its size, a house mover was employed to position and lower the grinder into the basement.

This basement was constructed to facilitate ease of material handling. A massive hopper was built on top of the grinder to enable loading of large quantities of wood. It was built 42 inches above the floor to ensure operator safety. An enclosure was also constructed above the hopper to help contain wood dust and the noise generated by the grinding of the wood.

Grinding is done by a 6-foot-long, 24-inch-diameter rotor on which there are 31 cutter knives. This rotor is at one end of the hopper and rotates at approximately 100 rpm, which is quieter and safer than highspeed rotors. The wood material is reduced to chips between the rotor and the counter knife at the bottom edge of the hopper. These chips may then pass through the screen or if too large, will come around again for further reduction. Various sizes of screens are available for the Vortex unit resulting in different size chips.

The material to be ground is moved to the rotor by a hydraulic ram system which is 21 inches high and is like a second floor moving through the hopper. A vibrating conveyor has been placed under the discharge of the grinder to carry the chips away. The material then goes over a magnetic separator which removes staples, nails and screws. This conveyor was also supplied by White Industries.

The grinder can be loaded by fork lifts, hydraulic dampers or by hand. This grinder reduces numerous large crates and other wood scraps to chips in just moments. In addition to its labor saving benefits, the grinder also has safety advantages; previously, employees used chain saws to reduce the size of the crates.

According to Landin, these wood chips have proven to be excellent boiler fuel since most have a high BTU value. With the costs of waste disposal rising, Marvin's use of wood scraps has taken a step forward with the addition of the grinder. Employees enjoy the warmth of wood-generated steam heat which is required for at least eight months of the year in northern Minnesota.
COPYRIGHT 1992 Vance Publishing Corp.
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Copyright 1992, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Vortex K-1800 used at Marvin Windows and Doors
Publication:Wood & Wood Products
Date:Jul 1, 1992
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