Wisconsin Community Chooses DuraTech 4012 Machine to Recycle Green Waste
NEW BERLIN, Wisconsin — Great ideas are always in vogue. Even so, acting on them requires an extra measure of deliberation when tax dollars are involved.
When the city of New Berlin decided to buy a new tub grinder, the process began with an exacting list of specifications. The town relies on a hard bid process — the low bidder that meets all requirements gets the nod. The bid process resulted in the city buying a model 4012 tub grinder from DuraTech in 2005. The new DuraTech 4012 tub grinder replaced another one the city had used for 11 years.
The DuraTech machine immediately proved itself a good fit for a community committed to recycling and reusing as much ‘green waste’ as possible. The town’s recycling initiatives take many forms. For instance, efforts are made to keep rainwater out of storm sewers by collecting it in rain barrels and using it for gardens. Residents can bring computer components of all sorts to a central collection site for recycling, and the city also recycles used oil, scrap metal and antifreeze.
Chuck Trevorrow, a New Berlin employee for 29 years, is the city’s street supervisor and water resource supervisor. The wood, brush and leaf recycling program has been enthusiastically received by residents, he said. The DuraTech 4012 runs about five hours each day, three days a week — Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
Residents may drop off leaves, brush and wood at the recycling center on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. On the same days, they can pick up mulch or compost that has been a year in the making in windrows. They can also pick up free firewood. Some of the firewood is split, as time allows, with a machine that was shop-built by city workers.
The star of the green waste recycling is the DuraTech 4012, which is kept at the street department when not in use and pulled to its operational location by a tractor. Over the two years the DuraTech 4012 has been grinding green waste into mulch for the community, it has been run by four employees. They are “very happy” with it, said Chuck.
The grinder is fast and efficient. It grinds at an average rate of at least 5-8 cubic yards per minute, according to Chuck.
“It’s very efficient,” said Tom Koss, one of the men who operates the grinder. “It’s very consistent. It handles any size we put in — leaves, brush, stumps.” The machine sometimes has been fed tree stumps up to 3 feet in diameter. He said. The DuraTech 4012 makes short work of them.
Wood that can be used for firewood or other purposes is reclaimed and set aside. After Christmas, however, the city will collect Christmas trees and process them in the grinder.
When wind, ice and snow topple or damage trees, city crews go to work with a boom truck and chainsaws and take debris to the DuraTech 4012. Big oaks that are knocked down in storms generally have considerable dry rot, said Chuck, so they go into the grinder. Similarly, trees that are marked for removal because they are damaged beyond healthy growth also go to the DuraTech 4012.
Tree species in the city include maple, box elder and elm in addition to pine, oak and willow. The recycling center accepts no building material for grinding. Since trees can be contaminated with metal, the DuraTech was purchased with a magnet to extract it.
The city requires that wood material be no larger than 6 to 8 inches in diameter and no longer than 6 feet.
The DuraTech 4012 was put to the test recently when a 15-inch rock slipped through the visual screening process. The rock damaged the hammermill and screens, but it was quickly repaired.
Otherwise, the machine has operated smoothly. “The hammer tips last pretty dang long,” said Tom. “You can rotate the tips 180 degrees,” adding to their longevity. Because the tips unbolt for removal and insertion, they are easily changed and replaced.
What Tom likes most about the DuraTech 4012 is that it combines industrial strength grinding and safety. “It’s much safer,” he said. “I can just press a button and walk away.” The wet clutch makes the push-button start possible. The wet clutch also is self-adjusting, reducing maintenance.
The DuraTech 4012 is a big, powerful machine. It weighs 67,000 pounds and has three 22,000-pound axles. The CAT engine meets all emission standards monitored by the Environmental Protection Agency. The engine has a self-cleaning radiator screen to keep the cooling system free of dirt and debris.
The remote control for the infeed conveyor streamlines operations, said Tom. “We load grass and leaves with a Caterpillar front-end loader,” and the loader operator also can remotely control the grinder. “After we get done with leaves, we move brush with a CAT grapple on an excavator.”
New Berlin uses the wood grindings for landscaping by its department of parks and recreation. When it has a surplus of grindings, they are supplied to pulp and paper mills for boiler fuel.
The city has added a new service at the recycling yard. In the past, homeowners who wanted mulch had to load their truck or trailer, which meant backing up to a pile and moving material with a shovel. Now, on Tuesday and Thursday, people who sign a waiver can have their truck or trailer filled by the loader operator. Mulch that has composted for a year along two acres of windrows is popular for gardens.
Chuck and Tom have become experts in the reuse of green waste. They participate in continuing education classes to keep pace with the most recent techniques, and both men recently attended a compost school at an extension office of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Tom is an active member of the Wild Ones: Natural Plants, Natural Landscapes, a group that promotes sound landscaping with plants, including the use of native species. He donated prairie plants to a demonstration rain garden established by the city.
New Berlin has approximately 38,000 residents. The town is about 12 miles southwest of Milwaukee.
DuraTech offers a line of five tub grinding machines and also a horizontal model grinder. Certain models have distinct niches. For example, the DuraTech 2009 industrial tub grinder is made specifically for regrinding while the big DuraTech 9564 industrial horizontal grinder, which is powered by a 950 horsepower CAT diesel engine, can process entire trees.
The versatility of the DuraTech 4012 makes it a good machine for New Berlin. Leaves don’t fall year around, and storms do not happen every month. Over the span of a year, however, the city has leaves, brush, trees, stumps and Christmas trees to recycle. The recycling center gets a steady supply of brush from workers clearing out ditches and wetland mitigation projects carried out under Chuck’s supervision. With the ability to produce up to 350 cubic yards of wood grindings per hour, the DuraTech 4012 is built to serve the needs of municipalities such as New Berlin for a long time.
DuraTech got its start in 1966. Joe Anderson founded the company in Minot, North Dakota, initially calling it J&J Manufacturing. J&J later became Haybuster Mfg. Co., a name reflective of the grinding the machines did for hay for livestock. In time, no-till drills and rock pickers were added to the Haybuster product line.
A move to Jamestown, North Dakota in the 1970s put Haybuster in a home that would see it through a transfer to an industrial line of products in the 1980s, as well as a name change. DuraTech Industries International still makes its home in Jamestown, which refers to itself as the ‘Pride of the Prairie.’ The company’s name was changed to DuraTech to highlight the blend of durability and technology in its machinery products.
The structural plusses that show up in DuraTech equipment extend to every phase of the use of the machines. For example, the transport width of the DuraTech 4012 is kept to 11 feet, 11 inches, which makes it narrow enough to be transported on the road with proper licensing and permits.
The business philosophy at DuraTech begins with listening to customers and incorporating design features and improvements to meet their requirements. For example, the oscillating conveyor was added as a result of customer feedback. The oscillating off-feed conveyor enables a company to form a much larger pile of grindings. It also enables the operator to load a truck without disruptions for moving the truck. Because the oscillating conveyor reduces the need to move grindings, trucks or the machine itself, it saves more time that can be used for grinding.
With more than 600 dealers around the world, DuraTech has sold machines to customers that work with the heaviest, densest wood on the planet, such as ironwood in Australia. The company has even sold machines to customers using the equipment in Antarctica.