Matthew Applebaum, manager and commercial buyer, Framingham Salvage.
Not all scrap yards are created equal. Most of today’s yards encompass acres and acres for unloading, sorting, processing, and loading out ferrous and nonferrous scrap on its way to a new life. Framingham Salvage Company chose another path to success that relies on efficiency to offset what it lacks in space.
Located on less than one acre of land, Framingham Salvage handles material with a pair of Hitachi ZX350LC-3s instead of the traditional scrap handler. As one of the area’s most successful processors, it is hard to argue with their taste in equipment.
Founded by Cyril Applebaum in 1965 and now owned by his son David, Framingham Salvage is a mainstay in its hometown. According to Matthew Applebaum, David’s son and the company’s current manager and commercial buyer, it was the close proximity to their community that helped them decide what machine to buy.
“We’re certainly not the typical scrap yard,” said Applebaum. “The fact that we are in such a small area and literally surrounded by residential development dictates the way we do business. In a typical setting we could stockpile scrap in a huge pile, which is perfect for a standard high-cab scrap handler. However, the city won’t let us have large piles, and residents have always voted down any of our efforts to relocate to a larger site. So, to make it all work, we have to take a different approach. That includes more immediate sorting of material as it arrives, feeding material to a baler for compaction prior to transport, and loading out on trucks.”
That approach, said Applebaum, is perfect for the Hitachi 350s. He said they made the purchase in June 2008 when their old excavators (non-Hitachi units) needed replacement.
“The purchase of the new Hitachi excavators was actually pushed by a couple of things. First, scrap prices were very high, and that’s a good time to reinvest in the company. Unfortunately, fuel prices were at their highest point ever, and our Hitachi dealer rep, Bob Jerominek, assured us Hitachi machines were excellent on fuel. He was right. Our new 350s cut our fuel consumption in half. We run them eight hours a day, six days a week, so that’s a big number.”
The scrap environment is extremely tough on equipment, so durability was the final criteria.
“This is really a punishing application. The difference between the scrap business and the dirt business is everything they do is below grade, which tends to be easier on equipment.
“More than 90 percent of our work involves reaching up, which is a lot tougher on the boom, the hydraulics, and the entire machine.”
A typical day in the yard can involve a whole variety of activities. Picking up material, sorting it into segregated piles, feeding the baler, piling bales, loading trucks, and finally sweeping the area clean with an I-beam.
“There really is no shortage of work for the 350s. We need to process material quickly because we have so much volume. Our 350s really help us keep things moving. They seem right at home working in scrap.”
Framingham Salvage Company is serviced by Schmidt Equipment, North Oxford, Mass.
This story was reprinted with permission from Hitachi Breakout Magazine, Third Issue 2009.