Crushing Equipment Brings Business Success

By Carl Emigh | September 28, 2010

"In a business where downtime can make all the difference between profit and loss, having exactly the right crushing and screening equipment for your type of operation is crucial. And the dealer is every bit as important as the machines. Sometimes more so. We learned that lesson the hard way." So says Steven Stewart, president of Metro Atlanta Demolition and Marietta Recycling Center, both headquartered at the recycling center site on Marble Mill Road in Marietta, Ga., near Atlanta.

"We started with used jaw crushers and poor dealer support," Stewart said. But since then the company has switched to new Terex Pegson and Powerscreen equipment, working with Powerscreen of Florida and Georgia and local representative Ken Furey to get the equipment and support they need.

Metro Atlanta Demolition started operations in 1992, handling small jobs and gradually working their way up to larger projects by 1998. Now they are one of the five largest demolition contractors in the Atlanta area and probably the first to own their own crushers, according to Stewart.

At present, Metro Atlanta Demolition is doing contract crushing at new residential and commercial construction sites. The Atlanta area has grown and been developed so much over the years that there is very little prime land left. Thus, builders are now developing hilly, rocky land. Shot rock, mostly granite, is crushed on-site and used as base for buildings, roads, pipelines, and so on. Otherwise, the shot rock would have to be hauled away and crushed rock hauled back in. Crushing on-site keeps the jobs on schedule and cuts the builder's costs.

Marietta Recycling Center designates half its yard space for scrap metal and half for recycling building materials. Recycling materials come from three sources: Metro Atlanta Demolition trucks in construction and demolition debris from its jobs; area contractors who pay to truck in concrete and rock and can leave with crushed material if they need it; and Marietta Recycling Center, which crushes the rock and is backfilling its yard with the crushed material mixed with fines to meet state specs. Then, if necessary, the crushed stone can later be dug up and screened to keep up with market demands if there is a lull in incoming material.

At the recycling yard various materials are produced, depending on what the market requires at the time. Currently this includes #57 stone (1-1/2-inch gravel with fines), #34 stone and 7-inch to 24-inch rip-rap. Metals such as tramp iron and rebar from crushing C&D debris are accumulated and recycled with other metals.

"Crushing has been the primary factor in our growth and overall success," Stewart explained. "It has enabled us to expand Metro Atlanta Demolition and start up and expand Marietta Recycling Center. You might say we've been a crushing success. But it didn't start out quite the way we wanted.

"We began with two used jaw crushers that had a succession of mechanical issues and electrical problems, which were nightmares to find. We couldn't get parts quickly or the expert dealer service we needed. Downtime was driving us crazy. So we bought a third used jaw crusher, and that was the biggest mistake of all. Our problems just got worse."

Then finally, he says, things took a turn for the better.

"Ken Furey had called on me a few times and knew of our downtime problems," Stewart said, and following those contacts Stewart looked into Terex Pegson crushers and Powerscreen of Florida and Georgia dealer service and parts support.

Ultimately, "Powerscreen of Florida and Georgia took our three used machines in trade on two new Terex Pegson 650HA jaw crushers," Stewart said. "Plus I also bought a Terex Pegson 1000 Maxtrak cone crusher. I wasn't sure buying new equipment would be the best use of our capital." But he adds, "The greater production efficiency of the new machines, plus all the service backup we ever needed — including service people on-site within hours, even on a Saturday — were real eye-openers for me. It was at that point that our crushing costs dropped substantially."

The company used the 650HA crushers very successfully for about 18 months — one for Metro Atlanta Demolition, along with the 1000 cone, and one for Marietta Recycling Center.

"Then Ken came in and told me about two new jaw crushers that Terex Pegson had introduced: the XA400 and the XR400. So I traded in the two 650HA crushers. The XA400 has a hydraulic adjustment feature that lets you quickly change the machine setting with no drawback rod adjustments. It has very low fuel consumption — I think we're using about six to eight gallons an hour. It handles large feed due to an aggressive high-swing jaw. And it transports easily. Typically I use the XA400 with the 1000 cone and a Powerscreen Warrior 1800 on contract crushing operations at construction sites."

The XR400 has the same features as the XA400, plus hydraulic overload protection, which made it well suited for use in the recycling yard. The jaw has a hydraulic release feature that opens up if anything too hard — like tramp iron or rebar — gets in it. That eliminates shutting down the crusher to get the jaw unlocked and the iron out, which takes a lot of time and can even be dangerous if you're standing over the jaw burning the metal loose.

"The XR400 is exactly what we need at the recycling yard, where we typically have to crush a lot of C&D debris, concrete and asphalt rubble, and granite. The XR400 jaw can handle everything except the asphalt, although an impactor is better for concrete rubble, too. So when we get an accumulation of materials best suited for an impactor, we have Ken bring in a Terex Pegson 1412 Trakpactor on rental."

In some parts of the country, he notes, impactors are the crushers of choice for concrete and asphalt rubble and some aggregates, too, mostly limestone, because impactors are faster than jaws and have better material sizing capabilities. But the hammers wear down too quickly with the granite found in the Atlanta area, he adds, "and that can be quite expensive."

Stewart's XR400 is used also for contract crushing on location for C&D recycling applications. One example is an Atlanta steel mill that was demolished recently. Materials to be crushed were basically a mixture of concrete rubble, granite and chunks of steel slag, as well as the rebar and other metals normally found in C&D debris, with the crushed material used on-site as base for a new multi-level shopping mall, condominiums, and adjacent roadways and parking lots. It was difficult if not impossible to tell the slag from the rubble as the mixture was fed into the XR400 hopper. Time and again the hydraulic release opened the jaw, dropped the slag or rebar onto the discharge belt, then closed back up immediately and went on crushing.

"Otherwise we would have been shutting down when the jaw seized in the middle of a stroke to unfreeze the locked jaw time after time after time," Stewart said. "That would have delayed the job, thrown the schedule into chaos and cost us a lot of money in the process."

Stewart's other new machines, the Terex Pegson 1000 Maxtrak and Powerscreen Warrior 1800, have now been in use by the company for about three years. The Terex Pegson 1000 Maxtrak cone crusher utilizes the Automax all-in-feed design that can be fed directly from the primary crusher, as well as from a screen plant. The Terex Pegson 1412 Trakpactor features a Hazemag horizontal AP-PH 1214Q primary impact crusher with a 32-inch by 54-inch feed opening, hydraulic apron locking mechanism with overload protection and automatic reset, and the PLC CANBUS control system. The Powerscreen Warrior 1800 is a high-capacity, three-way split machine capable of dry screening and separating a wide variety of materials in applications such as recycling, aggregates, compost, topsoil, and C&D waste.

Stewart concludes by underlining the importance he places on checking references before making equipment selections.

"Every dealer says they'll give you good parts and service support, but they don't all come through as promised," he says. "Unfortunately, you won't find that out until it's too late and you're tearing your hair out because one piece of equipment has your whole system shut down and it's costing you a fortune. So always get references before you buy. If a manufacturer or dealer isn't anxious to have you talk to their customers — beware!"