Flag Extends Reach Into the Kill Van Kull

Mon March 05, 2007 - Northeast Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

When Barry Heffernan, sales representative of Edward Ehrbar Inc. heard opportunity knocking at his door, he opened the door and let it in. The opportunity arrived during his first visit to the Flag Container Services office and Vice President Peter Franchini.

At the time of the visit, Franchini was on the Internet exploring various excavator options. Flag Container was using a crane to load barges with materials to be shipped to Virginia for recycling. However, the cycle times of the cranes were slow and obtaining certified operators was a challenge. In addition, operating the crane was physically exhausting.

While Franchini was going through his shopping process, Heffernan went on a mission of his own: to find a good solution for Franchini’s material handling problem. With attention to Franchini’s needs while studying specs and capacities, the two men would often meet to discuss the possibilities that were available to make loading the barges economically sound. As a result, Franchini purchased a Komatsu PC1250LC-8 excavator from Ehrbar, which was delivered in the fall 2006.

The Komatsu PC1250LC-8 has in excess of 650 hp (484 kW) and an operating weight in excess of 250,000 lbs. (113,398 kg). It is equipped with 47-in. (119 cm) track shoes, a 6.7 cu. yd. (5 cu m) rotating grapple and attains a maximum reach of 72 ft. (22 m). Komatsu put 44-in. (112 cm) track shoes on the machine. The delivery of the excavator took four trailer loads, plus two more for the boom and bucket.

Flag Container Services, located in Staten Island, N.Y., is affiliated with Formica Construction Inc. Formica Construction was founded by William Formica Sr. in 1948. In 1986 William Formica Sr. founded Flag Container Services with Peter Franchini, Kenneth Formica and William Formica Jr. to recycle construction demolition materials at its transfer station.

“Materials come to the transfer station in several ways. Some customers rent containers from Flag Container Services, which are then picked up and delivered to its facility for processing. However, some customers opt to bring the debris to Flag’s facility themselves,” explained Franchini.

“Once the materials are dropped off at the transfer station, recyclable materials such as concrete, metal and asphalt are separated for recycling. The remaining materials are then loaded onto a barge and shipped to the Chesapeake, for further processing,” he said.

Each barge is 300 ft. (91 m) long and has hatches to keep the load in place during transport. Each barge holds approximately 4,000 tons (3,600 t) of material. Currently, Flag Container Services is processing two to three barge loads each month and is the only facility in New York State that can accept construction demolition materials for transportation by barge. This eliminates a lot of trucks on today’s congested highways.

“When Flag Container Services first started the barge transportation operation, it had to purchase a bumper barge because the water level near the dock was not deep enough to facilitate a loaded barge and dredging was not an option. The bumper barge extends its work area out into the deeper part of the river,” Franchini said.

Its location however, required the excavator to have significant reach to move materials out to the barge. As a result of this requirement, Ehrbar went to the Jewel Company to have a stick manufactured to meet the special needs of the Komatsu PC1250LC-8. The special stick gave the excavator 72 ft. (23 m) of reach. The Jewel Company also manufactured a spaded grapple, which gave the PC1250LC-8 a 6.7 cu. yd. (5 cu m) capacity. Once a barge is loaded, it takes approximately one-and-a-half days to reach its Virginia destination.

The purchase of the PC1250LC-8 was not Flag Container Services’ first experience with the Edward Ehrbar Inc. Over the years, Flag Container Services have found Komatsu products to be “very reliable,” said Franchini, which helped the company make the decision to purchase the Komatsu excavator. And, according to Franchini, “The excavator has cut our loading costs in half.”

Founded in 1903, Edward Ehrbar Inc. is a fourth-generation, family-owned business. The company represents Komatsu, Ingersoll Rand, Blaw-Knox, Metso Minerals, Rogers Trailers, NPK, LaBounty, ESCO, JRB, Felling Trailers, Mauldin and E.D. Etnyre.

The company is headquartered in Yonkers, N.Y., with branch operations in Holbrook, Long Island, N.Y., and Danbury, Conn.

For more information, call 914/738-5100 or visit www.ehrbar.com. CEG

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