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Black Dirt Uses ’Maximum’ Screening Power on Meigs Job

Fri November 07, 2003 - Midwest Edition

As part of a longterm project to convert the old Meigs Field site in Chicago to a lakefront park, massive amounts of topsoil were needed for landscaping.

The challenge in recent weeks was to make and deliver 2,800 semi-trailers worth of pulverized topsoil within 25 days for use as fill where runway had been demolished

Black Dirt Inc., Mokena, IL, used two Screen Machine “Maximum” screening plants to get the job done.

According to company principal Steve Wright, Black Dirt takes excess topsoil from area job sites, and screens, pulverizes, and delivers it for a wide variety of clients.

In this case, Black Dirt loaded soil from scraper piles into the Maximum plants, which processed it for reloading and delivery to the Meigs Field site. Working 16-hour days, five days a week, the company was able to produce enough pulverized topsoil to cover the site with 11 to 12 inches of topsoil where the old concrete and asphalt runways had been removed.

Wright attributed his crew’s successful completion of the project primarily to the production capacity of the Maximum screeners, the largest in the Screen Machine line.

Powered by a 150-hp Cummins diesel engine, the Maximum features a 6-by-12-ft. (1.8 by 3.6 m) double deck, four-bearing screen. With a 48-in. wide (122 cm), three-ply 330 PIW feeder, and 14 cu.-yd. hopper, the Maximum is able to run up to five conveyors.

Wright described the Maximums’ performance as “very efficient. We were constantly making dirt, even when there weren’t any trucks,” he said.

As for product support, Wright said Columbus, OH,-based Screen Machine has been “excellent.”

“If you have a technical problem, you’re referred to an engineer. If you need parts, they always have them,” he said.

Black Dirt Inc. bought its first Maximum plant three to four years ago after seeing one at work in the local area.

“We took a look at it., and went to the factory for a day and saw how they built it. We decided to purchase one and now own three,” Wright said.

Screen Machine has three facilities, including its factory, in the Columbus, OH area.

According to Matt Neuhaus, Screen Machine sales manager, Wright was so impressed with his first look at the company’s manufacturing process that he bought his first machine factory direct.

“He’s been a great customer, and a great reference for us,” Neuhaus said of Wright.

In business for six years, Black Dirt has four employees — three in the field and one in the office. The crew uses its Screen Machine Maximums about nine months out of the year. The machines’ only downtime is due to weather, Wright said.

Other equipment Black Dirt used for the Meigs Field project include John Deere 644H wheel loaders from West Side Tractor, which has locations in Naperville, South Holland and Wauconda, IL.

For more information on Screen Machine, call 800/437-3344 or visit