In the landfill business, getting the most out of space is key. Ocean County Landfill, located in Manchester, N.J., is using Cat 836H compactors to help keep the piles down — literally.
The Ocean County Landfill, which has been in business since 1972, accepts household garbage, bulk waste, building debris and grass, as well as “ID 27,” which is non-chemical industrial waste, and expects to be in business at the location until 2030. The landfill is 750 acres, approximately 300 of which are the landfill acres where the garbage is disposed.
The landfill has a “working face” and can be no more than 15,000 sq. ft., according to John Fink, Ocean County Landfill vice president of operations.
“We usually try to keep our working face within 10,000 square feet. We normally run three compactors at one time and one would be a spare, but when you are busy in the summer time, you may even run four. You try to contain the waste and compact it as much as possible.”
“The challenge for the manufacturers is how to increase compaction. So you can extend the landfill before you run out of space,” added Kevin Sullivan, Ransome CAT sales representative. “Density is their only asset. The better density they have, the less they have to go back later and fill in.”
Trying Something New
The newest compactor to Ocean County’s fleet has Cat wheels and blades, rather than the Caron wheels and blades it typically used.
“This one, we are trying something different,” said Fink. “Other than [the Cat wheels and blades] it is pretty much the same as our other ones, except with little modifications here and there. There are a lot of new innovations on this, but not much on operating. It is more like the belly pan design and things like that. The guarding system they have on the bottom. That’s different.
“I am really excited to see how the wheels hold up and also see how the blades work, because the Caron blade is like a W. I am really interested to see how they compare,” Fink said. “The Caron blade is designed to bring the waste underneath the wheels, for compacting ability.”
In addition to the compactors, the company’s fleet includes dozers, dump trucks, scrapers, motorgraders and rollers.
The Cat 836H
The Cat wheels and blade on the 836H purchased by Ocean County Landfill include new tips that Cat designed. The life on those tips is 10,000 hours, according to Augusto Salles, Caterpillar representative.
“There is a life expectancy for the amount of wear that they should have. If it wears faster than that, there’s a prorated warranty on that, depending on the number of hours. Of course the blade is different than [Ocean County] had before. We believe the design of this blade will be more effective than what they had before. The 836 is probably the number one machine for landfill compacting application, especially for this size of landfill,” Salles said.
Launched approximately six years ago, the biggest difference between the 836H and its predecessor, the 836G is the hitch position, according to Salles.
“If you were to look at the G series you can see that the hitch area is a little bit lower and on the H series it is elevated. There is less accumulation of trash in the hitch area, which will improve the life of the machine. The bottom of the machine is also fairly well protected compared to what you would see in an older machine. Of course all the guarding for landfill applications is completely different than what you see on a different machine that is in a construction application. You see the guarding on the front on the machine and the back of the machine as well. This machine I believe has an on demand fan, so it’s going to reduce the fuel consumption. The fan is only gong to work when it is an on demand situation.
“The design on the front of this machine is based off a 988-size wheel loader, but the machine is completely redesigned because of the application that the machine goes in. Several small components are going to be the same, but the structure of the machine will be different to be able to take what this machine will be put through in a landfill,” Salles added.
A Quick Turnaround
The usual turn-around time between placing an order and shipping is 35 weeks, according to Sullivan. Ocean County’s Cat 836H shipped in only two weeks.
“Caterpillar decided to put a couple of these in what they call a quick ship program so they have a couple of them sitting for emergency deals at all times,” Sullivan explained. “This actually came out of Aurora, Ill.”
“The way I understand is they make about 330 a year. Most of them are made to order, but a couple are in the line and sometimes you get lucky, somebody has got one in the line and you can grab it then,” Fink said
“This [one] matched the way they would have spec’d it out. Caterpillar had already built it to those specifications. It had everything we wanted. We were lucky on that,” said Sullivan.
Because of the economy “no one is building,” Fink said. “The construction part of it is down. People are not spending money the way they used to. Also, Ocean County has introduced single stream recycling. It is now being recycled, because obviously the easier you make it for people to get rid of recyclables, they are going to follow it.”
Despite a lower waste flow, Ocean County is handling approximately 2,100 tons of waste a day in the summer and averages about 1,500 tons in other seasons, according to Fink.
A Team Effort
Ocean County Landfill has been working with Ransome CAT for more than 20 years, and with Kevin Sullivan since 1983.
“Whenever there is an issue, we discuss it, we figure out a way to solve it. To get it done,” said Fink. “The service is great. Our mechanics have a great relationship with their whole service department. Product support is great; everyone takes care of my account, the way I would want them to take care of it.”
As the garbage decomposes it produces gases, including sulfur and methane. Ocean County is using the methane gas produced to run generators in its two buildings.
“If the power plants go down, or if you get more than the power plants can handle, you have to do something with the gas, you can’t have it back up into the landfill. So you basically burn it off. We used to burn it off, then we went to the technology of producing electricity, but we have [flares] as safety valves. It runs 24/7,” said Fink.
According to Fink, a vacuum system extracts the gas from the landfill. The gas spins the turbines on the generators, which produces electricity that goes back to the power grid. It creates power for 7,000 homes. CEG
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