Pile it on: larger scrap yards with heavier volumes could opt for high-volumes scrap handlers. (Material Handling Equipment Focus).
But as one or two large companies have emerged as dominant players in several regional markets, these recyclers often consolidate major processing operations at one or two "super yards" that shred, shear or bale huge amounts of scrap each day.
The centralizing of such ferrous scrap operations has resulted in a move toward large wheel loaders and large hydraulic material handlers to keep processing machines fed and railcars and trucks loaded ar these large-volume facilities.
Manufacturers of hydraulic material handlers always offer a range of sizes, but m[my of them often make the case for buying from the larger end of that range.
The arguments appeal to business owners who hope to see their businesses grow and also to those who know from experience it can be frustrating to have a machine that is not heavy, duty enough for the tasks it must perform.
The German scrap handler manufacturing firm Sennebogen has been attempting to establish a presence in North America. It thus fro-has been able to sell some of its largest models to Tube City Inc., a Pennsylvania-based scrap comply that operates large scrap yards on site at large integrated steelmaking complexes.
A Sennebogen 870 model machine is helping Tube City handle the more than 200,000 tons of ferrous scrap that are handled per month at the U.S. Steel Gary Works in Gary, Ind.
Kobelco America Inc., Stafford, Texas, is building excavators (which can be converted for material handling purposes) with "heavy lift switches," which provide 10 percent more lifting power with the flip of a switch. Along with a feature called "power boost," the machines are able to draw upon more force when needed, but when the force is not called for they do not expend excess fuel.
In some cases, recyclers have chosen to place pedestal. mounted material handlers to feed large processing machines or large-volume barge vessels. Grossman Iron & Steel Co., St. Louis, has installed a pedestal crane built by Northshore Manufacturing, Two Harbors, Minn., to feed a Vezzani shear. And Shine Bros. Corp., Spencer, Iowa, is using a similar remote-controlled pedestal-mounted handler built by Northshore to teed its Vezzani shear.
Tom Skodack, a vice president with the Fuchs division of Schaeff of North America, South Haven, Miss., says there are several trends driving the purchasing habits of scrap facility managers. While some of these concern larger volumes, there is a sometimes conflicting need to have equipment that can be nimble and flexible.
In an article prepared for the Recycling Today Scrap Handler Guide of June 2000, Skodack noted that scrap facilities are typically working with smaller stockpiles while turning material around more quickly, processing it from incoming raw material to prepared product ready to be shipped.
While single sites might be handling more material than ever, at the same time they may need to prepare it in different ways and ship it as several different grades. There are "demands from material end users for more precise finished grades, including both sizing and metallurgy, meaning more sorting of both incoming material and finished product," notes Skodack.
The chemistry and furnace-size related demands can mean that ferrous scrap processors need mobile machines that can move from one area of the yard to another, depending on which grade is being produced and how it is being shipped.
"Often, a smaller machine moving between several work locations is much more productive than a larger machine with limited mobility," Skodack writes.
Thus, even managers of so-called super yards may need to think twice before automatically deciding to opt for the machine with the largest lifting capacity.
The need for flexibility affects not only what size of machine a processor might need, but also on what type of platform it is mounted. The platform question is one that all yard managers grapple with, as treads (or "crawlers"), tires, rail and stationary platforms each have their strengths.
Fuchs has specialized in providing fire-mounted machines, in part because the German company's home market of western Europe is home to scrap facilities that were required to install paved surfaces.
Many veteran yard managers who have seen unpaved yards become swampy quagmires are reluctant to go with anything but tread-mounted machines.
Advocates of wheeled machines, such as Skodack, note that crawlers can quickly chew up paved surfaces, and that wheeled machines can operate in most unpaved areas, as long as the mud is not "bottomless."
Because of their unmatched lifting capacity, pedestal-mounted machines remain attractive in places where yard managers can be certain they will receive enough incoming or outgoing material to keep them busy.
While rail-mounted machines may make up the smallest platform category, there are still viable applications. In an article prepared for the Recycling Today Material Handling Guide of November 2001, Craig Goodenough of Eastern Railway Supplies, West Seneca, N.Y., notes that, "Given the lifting capacity and ground speed of rail-mounted hydraulic handlers, even facilities not directly serving adjoining [steel] mills can put these machines to good use."
An additional choice confronting ferrous scrap facility operators is determining which attachments to use with their hydraulic handlers.
The variety of attachments available to and used by scrap processors has caused manufacturers of both hydraulic handlers and attachments to strive for quicker change-out options.
Most processors choose their attachments based on what type of material they most commonly handle and what type of processing equipment they use. Those encountering a higher percentage of demolition scrap are likely to rely on their mobile shears more often than a processor who deals primarily with stampings and turnings.
Shredder operators may have to keep different attachments on hand depending on whether they are feeding primarily auto bodies or other forms of obsolete scrap.
The competitive attachment market has produced an impressive variety of grapples, shears, magnets and other tools that are often designed to accomplish a combination of tasks.
RELATED ARTICLE: From melter to melt stock.
A demolition crew with R. St-Pierre Excavation, Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada, had the closed-loop task of turning a former scrap-consuming foundry into scrap for other furnaces.
In seven weeks the crew took down the Canadian Steel Wheel foundry in Montreal. The 250,000-square-foot structure yielded 4,500 tons of scrap steel, which was trucked 50 miles to consuming furnaces, where the scrap was reborn as new structural steel H-beams.
"We have a fleet of 22 Caterpillar excavators," says Rene St-Pierre, founder and president of Groupe St. Pierre, the parent of R. St-Pierre Excavation--the excavating and demolition branch of the company. "We usually operate three jobs at a time. We now have another demolition job for the Port of Montreal that requires removing 60,000 tons of concrete and 7,500 tons of steel."
The company has maintained an all-Caterpillar fleet since St-Pierre Excavation incorporated in 1969.
For the scrap-metal intensive Canadian Steel Wheel job, R. St-Pierre purchased Caterpillar S365 and S390 Mobile Scrap and Demolition Shears from its regional Caterpillar dealer, Hewitt Equipment Ltd., Anjou, Quebec. The new shears feature 360-degree left and right rotation, reducing the need for repositioning the excavator/ carrier when cutting steel beams and other scrap steel. The rotating system torque and strength are designed to handle the heaviest loads the excavator can handle.
R. St-Pierre mounted the S390 on a Caterpillar 350 L hydraulic excavator. The shear--the largest of Cat's six 360-degree rotation models--weighs 21,000 pounds and has a jaw opening of 33.9 inches. The S365 weighs 14,300 pounds and has a jaw opening of 29.1 inches. It is mounted on a Cat 235 hydraulic excavator.
Gilles Hebert, general foreman and project manager for R. St-Pierre, has calculated that the new Cat Work Tools are paying off. Based on working five, 10- hour shifts per week, the S365 shear can produce the equivalent of one day of additional work when compared to another manufacturer's shear working on the site. In addition to 360-degree rotation, increased jaw force and fast jaw cycle times boost productivity, he claims.
Knife maintenance on the Caterpillar shears is much reduced compared to another brand of shear on the same site, adds Hebert. Cat shears have replaceable knives made of long-wearing alloy steel. All four cutting edges of each knife, except for the side cutter, can be used before the knife is discarded.
The St-Pierre crew has turned the knives on the S365 only once, and the S390 has not required any knife changes. Hebert estimates the maintenance time for the Cat shears is one hour per week, versus half an hour per day on the competitive shears.
Even though older excavators require some hydraulics updates to accommodate new work tools, R. St-Pierre soon will add two more new Caterpillar work tools. A Caterpillar MP40 Multi-Processor equipped with crusher jaws will see its first action on a bridge demolition job, and a Cat G300 Scrap and Demolition Grapple will be used for sorting. Both new tools are expected to help R. St-Pierre bolster speed, efficiency and profitability in its demolition and recycling operations.
--Sidebar provided by Mark W. Sprouls Editorial Services on behalf of Caterpillar Inc.
The author is editor of Recycling Today and can be contacted via e-mail at btaylor@RecyclingToday.com.
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|Date:||Nov 1, 2002|
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