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Match game: specifying the proper shredding procedure is critical for recyclers to tap into desired end markets.


What goes in and what comes out--those are critical and equal considerations when recyclers of C&D materials are in the market for shredding equipment.

Recyclers who handle C&D debris handle a wide variety of materials, and the shredding equipment that will best fit their needs can range widely.

With the exception of recyclers who are focused on aggregates, shingles or drywall, the majority of remaining recyclers are either dedicated to recycling wood and green waste, or they handle a mixed stream of which wood makes up the greatest percentage.

Recyclers handling a clean, uncontaminated stream of wood or land-clearing debris will likely go with a high-speed horizontal or tub grinder to accomplish their goals.

But wood to be shredded also comes in as part of mixed and contaminated streams. And the end markets desired can call for very different results, meaning that both recyclers and the vendors who serve them may need to explore using a slow-speed primary shredder as part of their configuration.



When asked what recyclers and their suppliers should be considering when in the market for a slow-speed or primary shredder, equipment vendors are quick to remark that defining and characterizing the feedstock is critical.

"What needs shredding--and why?" are the key questions a supplier should ask, says Terri Ward of SSI Shredding Systems, Wilsonville, Ore. The company uses the "What needs shredding?" question in its marketing materials, and Ward says it is in fact where the conversation should start.

"The point is, the more we understand about the 'big picture,' the more likely we are to identify the right shredder for the joiner even if a shredder is an appropriate solution for the buyer," Ward remarks.

Morbark Inc., Winn, Mich., sells predominantly high-speed grinders and tree chippers, but this decade it has also introduced the Predator series of slow-speed, high-torque primary shredders. "The plus of the slow-speed units is that they can handle a larger amount of contamination," remarks Doug Weedmark, international sales representative for Morbark.

Establishing that potential customers are dealing with a mixed or contaminated incoming stream is what can steer a conversation toward primary shredders, says Weedmark. "That's the first thing we're going to ask, since it can help determine whether they need a high-speed or a slow-speed machine," he remarks.

Slow-speed shredders are also commonly referred to as primary shredders because they are often deployed as the first of several processing steps in a mixed C&D operation. That is a process that can often include primary shredding followed by sorting, screening and another shredding or grinding step.


Steve Stoker of Badger Shredding Products Inc., Sturgeon Bay, Wis., says the machines his company makes are designed to tackle tough streams such as heavily-reinforced concrete, railroad ties and thick tree stumps and trunks.

In terms of fitting into a mixed C&D scenario, the machines can definitely be considered primary units, says Stoker. "Our machine is not a finish machine, it is the primary machine that will pretty much take anything that is fed to it," he comments.

Weima America Inc., Fort Mill, S.C., makes single-shaft and four-shaft shredders that can handle bulky wood waste or mixed materials. The company's Vikki Van Dam notes that not only the nature of the incoming material should be considered, but also the size of it. "The size of the hopper or the opening on a horizontal machine must be wide enough to fit the largest piece of material without bridging," she remarks.

Not just the condition of the incoming material but how much is expected each day is part of the picture, notes Todd Dunderdale of Komptech USA Inc., Erie, Colo. "It is also important to know the volume, since each type of shredder has a number of different model sizes for desired throughputs," he comments.


At the same time recyclers are receiving inbound shipments of scrap wood or mixed C&D materials, they are also trying to make a clean end product that they can ship to a buyer at the end of the day.

Determining what type or types of products will be created and marketed also fits into the shopping process, say equipment suppliers.

"The customer's goal is to size his material [for a given market]," notes Weedmark. "That's important to the customer."

In tandem with knowing the feedstock, "End products also drive shredder selection," says Ward. "For example, you wouldn't typically use a shredder configured for coarse, primary volume reduction before a sort line to generate a three-inch-minus fuel product," she notes. "Likewise, a wood grinder shouldn't be used for primary reduction of mixed C&D containing metal and concrete."


The size of wood to be marketed is critical, says Gert Semler of shredder manufacturer Hammel New York LLC, Holtsville, N.Y. "If a small product, let's say less than 4 inches, is the goal, most people do not realize it is more cost-effective to use two steps rather than trying to do it in one step," says Semler.

The task of taking mixed materials of widely ranging sizes and hardness and converting them to saleable products is what often leads to the need for recyclers to deploy both a primary shredder and a subsequent grinder.

"Whether a single shredder or multiple shredders are required for an operation depends [upon] materials mix, recycling system design and desired end products," says Ward. "More and more prospective buyers understand very well that one machine can rarely do everything."

Stoker says slow-speed, high-torque machines are commonly used in tandem with other units, and can be deployed at some demolition jobsites to reduce material before it is hauled offsite. "If you have a structure that has been demolished, you could pretty much feed the whole house to our machine," he remarks.

From there, the resulting product can be hauled more affordable either to a landfill or to a mixed C&D facility for further processing, he notes.

Many recyclers will deploy a shredder and a grinder together as part of one process at the same facility. "One instance may be if the customer requires an end product smaller than 1/2-inch," says Van Dam.

Ward states that combining to units is common, but sometimes a primary unit alone will suffice. "For a fully integrated C&D recycler, the reality is usually a combination of low-speed and high-speed equipment for maximum efficiency," she comments. "That said, we do have customers who use a single, low-speed shredder in combination with a screen and magnet to generate acceptable end products."

She summarizes, "Selecting the right shredder and positioning it properly takes good coordination between shredder manufacturers, prospective buyers, and complementary equipment suppliers."

No Prisoners

Makers of slow-speed, high-torque shredders gravitate toward choosing tough-sounding names that convey just how solid their machines really are.

Among the candidates for the Tough Guy Award is Continental Biomass Industries (CBI), Newton, N.H., which markets the Annihilator line of primary shredders.

The Annihilator, which was also initially marketed as "The Mother of All Shredders," is designed to handle more than 100 tons per hour of "the most contaminated, commingled waste streams you can throw at it," according to the company.

CBI touts the model's "extreme throughput and outstanding durability processing C&D, bulky waste, and municipal solid waste."

Annihilator features include a 6-inch forged steel, 20,000 pound rotor and an 8-feet by 10-feet feed opening with extended sides to provide wide open loading of large volumes of material.

Those who are interested in seeing just what the Annihilator can do to material to earn its name can see clips on the company's Web site or request a DVD through the CBI site at

Stoking a Market

Vecoplan LLC, Archdale, N.C., has been selling several of its shredder units as part of Refuse Derived Fuel Systems. Recently, the company completed the installation of its 50th such system at a major cement manufacturer in the southern United States. (See news item on page 24 of the Sept./Oct. 2007 issue of Construction & Demolition Recycling.)

A Vecoplan RG62U shredder is the heart of these specially-marketed systems. The shredder is used to reduce post-industrial plastic and wood scrap for use as a fuel.

With 50 RDF systems now installed in cement plants around the world, Vecoplan has become a leading vendor of this technology, according to the company.

The Refuse Derived Fuel Systems also include "complete conveying and material handling systems; screening and separation technologies; and ... fuel mixing, storage, and delivery systems," according to Vecoplan.

More information on Vecoplan's full line of industrial shredders and size reduction equipment can be obtained by contacting the company at

The author is editor in chief of Construction & Demolition Recycling magazine and can be contacted at
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Author:Taylor, Brian
Publication:Construction & Demolition Recycling
Date:Nov 1, 2007
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