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Cat Clocks 10,000 Hours for Tire Recycler

Tue November 20, 2007 - Southeast Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

Jackson, Ga., native Doug Bernhardt will say that reliability and top-notch equipment are the keys to his successful tire recycling business.

He sees the value in investing in the best employees, machines and equipment, from the computer-controlled, touch screen equipment that is used in the plant to the Caterpillar machines that support the recycling process.

Bernhardt is the owner and operator of Quality Tire Recycling Inc. (QTR), a 5-year-old company that recycles scrap tires into tire-derived fuel and landscape mulch. He began his career with another recycler and went on to start his own recycling operation in 2002. Bernhardt saw the rising opportunity in the tire recycling business and has seen tremendous growth as a result. With just two employees at the beginning the staff has grown to 17 in just five years, with expectations to reach 25 employees by the middle of next year. QTR now recycles between 3.2 million and 3.6 million tires a year.

In the midst of this incredible growth, one factor has remained constant — the performance of the Cat 262 skid steer loader that Bernhardt purchased from Yancey Bros. Co. when he went into business for himself.

In October, the 262 surpassed the 10,000 hour mark.

Bernhardt ran a Cat 226B skid steer loader as well as other brands of skid steers at his previous employer. When Caterpillar introduced its line of skid steers, Bernhardt discovered that, “Cat found the best features that other brands had and incorporated them into the design of their skid steer.”

That discovery was instrumental in his decision to purchase a Cat 262 skid steer loader, IT28G integrated tool carrier and a GP40 forklift as a package when he started QTR. Since then, Caterpillar and Yancey Bros. Co. have been Bernhardt’s exclusive equipment and equipment dealer.

Bernhardt relies on the 262 to run an average of 16 hours out of his 20-hour workday, five and a half days a week.

“Next to our shredding equipment, it’s about the most important piece of equipment that we run,” Bernhardt said. “I’m happy to get five years out of a machine that we run every day.”

The 262 takes the whole tires from the stockpile and transports them to the infeed container to start the recycling process. The shredders reduce the rubber tires down to 1-in. minus chips, which means that the chips are no larger than one square inch. After a series of magnets remove the liberated wire, the rubber is sold either as tire-derived fuel or landscaping mulch. QTR also sells the liberated wire to steel mills. Since the 262 is the workhorse that begins the recycling process, Bernhardt can’t afford for it to be down.

“The more we can have better running equipment, the better off we are. We can’t have down time,” Bernhardt said.

For Bernhardt, the commitment of service and support he receives from Yancey is crucial. He gives credit for being able to meet the demands of the past five years to his relationship with Scott Chapman, his Yancey sales representative, and the Yancey preventive maintenance and field service departments.

“No one has touched the machine except Yancey and us,” Bernhardt said.

In 10,000 hours, Bernhardt’s 262 has seen the inside of a Yancey shop only once, which turned out to be an unnecessary trip due to a bad oil sample. The original engine and hydraulics are still in place and Bernhardt attributed the outstanding machine life to the partnership he has developed with Yancey.

Bernhardt performs his oil changes on schedule and takes advantage of Yancey’s SOS services as well. Yancey’s PM department services Bernhardt’s equipment and Field Service was dispatched to replace hoses and tubes, but a major engine or hydraulic failure has never occurred.

“I can guarantee five years into it, I never thought it would last this long,” Bernhardt said. “It’s been a really good machine.”

Article courtesy of Yancey Bros. Co.

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