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Ace Intermountain Recycling Efficiently Handles Waste

Thu December 07, 2023 - National Edition #25

The Liebherr excavator and NYE grapple as a team dramatically increased the efficiency of Ace Intermountain Recycling Center.
(Ace Disposal photo)
The Liebherr excavator and NYE grapple as a team dramatically increased the efficiency of Ace Intermountain Recycling Center. (Ace Disposal photo)
The Liebherr excavator and NYE grapple as a team dramatically increased the efficiency of Ace Intermountain Recycling Center.
(Ace Disposal photo) Closeup view of the NYE HD grapple.
(Ace Disposal photo) The NYE 4 over 5 design gives it tremendous picking power and volume.
(Ace Disposal photo) Despite extreme abrasive conditions the NYE grapples have held up better than anything previously used by Ace Intermountain Recycling Center.
(Ace Disposal photo)

Nine years ago in Salt Lake City, Utah, Ace Disposal and Intermountain Regional Landfill partnered to establish Ace Intermountain Recycling Center, essentially a transfer station. Both parties — Ace Disposal and Intermountain Regional Landfill — are privately owned companies.

Landfills are not ideally designed to directly receive the garbage that they process. A transfer station provides the interim step between disposal companies and/or garbage producers and what ultimately ends up in the landfill.

Ace Intermountain Recycling receives waste collectors' garbage and recyclables, as well as construction recyclable materials, sorts out what needs to go to the landfill and what needs to go to a recycling facility and then transports those materials to its ultimate destination. In the process, transfer stations take small loads of garbage and combine them into large loads, reducing the number of trips into the landfill, making it more economical to transport.

Salt Lake City is Ace's largest facility (110,000 sq. ft.) with additional locations in Pleasant Grove, Utah, and Heber City, Utah. These transfer stations by necessity must run clean to reflect the company's green business initiatives and at the same time run in a very efficient manner due to the volume of trucks that are coming into the facilities each hour to prevent backups and frustrations to those that are using the facility. Trucks routinely get in and out of the transfer station in under 20 min. Great care also is taken to make sure that the facility is as clean as possible to maintain a good relationship with the neighbors of the facility.

With a massive amount of material to be processed, Ace Intermountain Recycling is always looking for ways to streamline operations.

The Salt Lake City facility processes between 1,600 to 1,800 tons of material a day. The Heber City facility is 15,000 sq. ft. and only processes construction recycling materials and processes approximately 260 tons of material a day. The Pleasant Grove facility receives all materials. The facility is 50,000 sq. ft. and processes approximately 800 to 900 tons of materials a day.

Between the three facilities, a massive amount of material is being loaded, unloaded, stacked and sorted each day. The backbone of all that material processing is made up of a fleet of predominantly Liebherr excavators. Each facility has its own fleet of Liebherr loaders and excavators running all day long.

"As we have grown and expanded, we tried several different brands of excavators and loaders," said Seth Burgess, controller of Ace Intermountain Recycling. "We've settled on the Liebherr brand, finding that they were really engineered for this type of work. This is a very harsh environment. It tends to really tear machines up. The Liebherr machines have held up by far, stronger than anything else we've tried."

As previously mentioned, the pressure is really on at a recycling facility to move loads in and out as fast as possible.

"As our volume has grown, we've also had to move to larger excavators with the goal being to be able to move material faster," Burgess said. "The key tool on each excavator is the grapple attachment that is used like a giant hand to pick up the materials and move them. This is a high wear item, it gets a lot of abuse, but how much material it can pick up and hold in one grab is the key to our success.

"The decision was made to start moving towards larger excavators, thus the ability to use larger grapples. In the last eight months, we have purchased four of the Liebherr R936 machines. In Salt Lake City, we have reached our capacity, loading one truck at a time. So, our only option for growth was to start loading two trucks at a time.

"With our previous excavators with a grapple, we were able to load a 34-ton load into a truck in 20 to 30 minutes," Burgess added. "Currently, our goal of buying new excavators and larger grapples is to dramatically reduce that load time. We knew what excavators we were going to buy. We started to search as a team for the ideal grapple and our search led us to National Attachments.

"We worked with Gabe Guimond at National Attachments who matched up what he felt would be the ideal grapple to work with our sized excavators. What he recommended for us was a 4 over 5 grapple built with heavy duty steel for severe duty which fully opens to 92 inches. The grapples are manufactured by NYE.

"In talking with National Attachments, we felt very comfortable with their level of knowledge and expertise. They were very confident that they had the grapples that would excel in our application. When they were delivered, we knew we had made the right move. Everything about these grapples were far more impressive than what we had been using. The steel was heavier, the welds were strong and perfect, they were beasts. It didn't take long to find out that these grapples didn't just look strong. We've been using them for a while now and where our previous grapples would start to wear and crack quickly, we've seen none of that with the NYE grapples. Our truck load time has changed dramatically from 20 to 30 minutes down to every nine to 10 minutes. That's two trucks every nine to 10 minutes instead of one truck every 20 to 30 minutes. It has completely turned around the volume that we can process.

"It's a real game changer for us," Burgess said. "We've gone from trucks being backed up and waiting to unload to completely eliminating the bottleneck. Mission accomplished. It was a team effort. We had to get the right durable, larger excavators from Liebherr and we needed to get the right recommendations for a grapple that would maximize the efficiency that the Liebherr excavators brought to the table and National Attachments got that done with the NYE grapples. It is a premium product and worth every penny. We had deadlines to meet, and they met all of our deadlines. Our initial order was for two grapples. We are now receiving our fourth." CEG

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