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Customizing a Road-Portable Concrete Recycling System

Tue September 16, 2008 - National Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

There are four major considerations in specifying a road-portable concrete/asphalt recycling system to meet specialized needs:

1) Determine needs and evaluate the ability of standard, off-the-shelf equipment to meet those needs.

2) Consider ways to customize the equipment, then evaluate the benefits compared to the standard system.

3) Find a manufacturer that has the will, capability and experience to design and build the specialized system and can advise on ways to improve it.

4) Evaluate the purchase and operating costs of the specialized system versus the standard equipment. Customizing may cost less than expected. Plus it may easily pay for itself in a short time and be far more profitable over the years than an off-the-shelf plant.

Customizing can include such things as providing hydraulic clamping and fastening mechanisms or quick-disconnect pins instead of bolts for faster setup and teardown of the crushing and screening plants so there are no nuts and bolts to wear or get lost. Customizing also may include a longer feeder on the crusher, an enclosed, specially designed cab that enables the operator to monitor and operate all crushing/screening/conveying systems and receive data from weigh scales on the transfer conveyors. Or radial stackers that can be raised or lowered hydraulically from the operator’s station. Or solid reinforced steel side panels on the crushing plant to prevent material from invading interior areas and breaking hoses or damaging mechanisms.

The unit could have an ISO-certified interior shell in the control trailer for sound suppression of the generator and motor. Or, in addition to the electromagnetic separator on the crusher discharge conveyor, there could be integral secondary and tertiary magnets on transfer conveyors, removing about 98 percent of remaining ferrous particles.

Maybe the customer wants a crushing plant where he or she designates or provides the new or used crusher he or she wants mounted on the road-portable or pit-portable chassis. Another example is a double pre-filter on the generator engine to prevent dust damage. Or controls where the operator can switch from generator power to electric utility line power by simply throwing a switch. Key structural members of the crushing plant, screen plant and conveyors can be customized for greater strength and stability under extreme load conditions. And so on.

There are endless possibilities that could make a recycling system better for a particular operation.

Finding a manufacturer that can and will customize a plant isn’t always easy. Building a standard system is easier and often more profitable. Customizing may tie up engineers and/or slow the production line. And an inexperienced customizer may not know how to go about it properly, efficiently, or in their best interest. Generally, the bigger the manufacturer, the more they resist customizing. Also, it may cost a lot more, take longer to manufacture, and the customer still may not get exactly what he or she wants.

The manufacturer should be able to design and build to an individual company’s specifications or do the design work for the company. Its engineers should investigate equipment processes, recent developments and innovations related to your type of operation. It should be able to do material analyses, product specifications tests and system capacity checks. It should create flow charts to show how the system will work, including all components and their production capabilities.

The manufacturer should specify equipment, itemize costs and spell out any options to show cost versus benefits. It should provide operation and maintenance manuals custom written for the specific system and be able to train the production and service personnel.

The customer must ensure the manufacturer is not using the lowest priced components to reduce its costs or make the overall cost seem more palatable. Heavy-duty components will pay off in the near term and the long run both. Usually, the biggest factor in recycling profits is downtime. So quality design, construction and simplified maintenance are vitally important.

Is the manufacturer’s experience primarily in recycling or aggregates? Can the manufacturer also provide a road-portable screen plant, conveyors, stackers and control system to meet individual needs? The equipment should be designed and sealed with features such as belt covers and screen skirts to avoid leakage and resultant clean-up problems. And all equipment should be operated from one control station for efficiency and safety.

Any concrete/asphalt rubble plant, whether standard or custom, should normally utilize a primary impact crusher designed for recycling. Jaw crushers have their place when crushing hard/abrasive material, but do not have the reduction ratio an impactor has, plus an impactor is better at liberating rebar and mesh from concrete.

But no matter which manufacturer the customer may be considering, they should ask how many custom recycling systems it has built and how many are still operating. The customer also should talk to some long-time owners of those custom plants regarding their efficiency, durability, maintenance and whether the manufacturer customized them properly, on time and within budget.

Chances are that a custom recycling system will meet needs better than standard, off-the-shelf equipment, and the extra that it costs will pay for itself.

Grasan designs and manufactures complete crushing, screening, conveying, stacking and feed/storage systems of all kinds for recycling and aggregates operations.

Most Grasan recycling plants utilize Hazemag APPH primary impact crushers designed especially for recycling. These hydraulically controlled crushers provide greater product uniformity and up to 20 percent increased capacity over crushers of the same size with standard controls, according to the manufacturer.

Grasan road-portable crushing plants feature a skid-on, skid-off hopper and six independent hydraulic legs that provide infinite leveling adjustments and complete operational support. The crushing plant, screening plant, conveyors and radial stackers can be set up quickly without crane assist.

For more information, call 419/526-4440 or visit

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