Since the early 1990s, Ted Heitsche has operated Ted’s Trucking, a successful hauling company in Collins, OH, just south of Toledo. With his trucking business firmly established, Heitsche did what few people would do: create a second business in an industry he knew little about.
In 1998, a former asphalt plant manager at S.E. Johnson introduced Heitsche to the asphalt and concrete recycling industry.
“I heard there were opportunities to make money in recycling, but never considered making it a living,” said Heitsche. At the time, Heitsche was using his company trucks to haul crushed asphalt to S.E. Johnson’s construction sites in the area.
“I did some research and found that asphalt and concrete recycling materials were generating healthy profits for recyclers. I also discovered there was a need for recycling aggregate in this part of the state,” Heitsche said.
Heitsche took the plunge in the asphalt and concrete recycling business after spotting a gap in the market for a company able to crush C&D debris. With the profits from his trucking company, he created Heitsche Boyz Crushing (HBC). His goal was to operate the only mobile recycling plant in the region. To date, Heitsche is the only mobile contract crusher in northwest Ohio to step up to the challenge.
Choosing the Right Crusher
Before inaugurating the new operation, Heitsche carefully researched the recycling market and the most current crushing plant technology. While studying the market, he kept coming up with the name of the same portable crushing plant—the UltraMax from Galion, OH-based Eagle Crusher Company.
Heitsche was impressed with Eagle Crusher’s craftsmanship and reputation, but he admits he was also influenced by the company’s location.
“We’re only about an hour from Eagle’s factory,” said Heitsche.
HBC selected an Eagle Crusher UltraMax 1200-25CC. The unit is designed to handle 150 to 250 tons (135 to 225 t) per hour of reinforced concrete, ripped asphalt, C&D debris and limestone. It can accommodate feeds of up to 48 by 34 in. (122 by 86.3 cm), and it is powered by a 335 hp (250 kW) diesel engine with a 135 hp (100 kW) generator.
The 1200-25CC produces two absolute-sized products simultaneously. Concrete rubble is reduced and screened to produce cubical Ohio 304, or 2-in. minus. When the impactor crushes asphalt, it produces a .5-in. or 0.625-in. minus. Most of the spec product is used for road base, pavements and parking lots, and is sold to paving contractors, concrete contractors, developers and highway projects throughout the region.
Recently, Heitsche used the UM 1200-25CC to crush 3-ft. slabs of concrete for road base for a street reconstruction project in Bucyrus, OH. A Caterpillar 320 excavator sorted through large pieces of rubble, while a Caterpillar 950 wheel loader fed the crusher plant feed hopper. The UM 1200-25CC processed approximately 6,000 tons (5,400 t) of concrete in five days.
Sean Cassaro, engineer technician of the city of Bucyrus, said it’s the first time the city has tried recycling concrete. The project yielded savings for Bucyrus because the city did not have to pay tipping fees or buy crushed stone for road base.
“HBC ended up crushing a whole lot of concrete…it turned out to be a win-win situation,” said Cassaro.
Portability Makes Tough
In the summer of 2002, HBC took on one of its most challenging and mobile jobs to date. The Ohio Department of Transportation hired HBC to crush concrete slabs for reuse on a concrete widening project on I-71, about 15 mi. south of Cleveland, OH.
Operating along the busy interstate, the UM 1200-25CC produced a 4-in. minus that was used as sub-base gravel for a third driving lane. From May to August, Heitsche estimated that the crusher recycled about 40,000 tons (36,000 t) of concrete. The crusher was moved three times during the project’s four-month span, and it took about half a day to set up and to tear down.
“We crushed in the morning, finished up, then moved down the road and began crushing again. So essentially, we started and finished two jobs in one day,” said Heitsche.
On average, HBC moves its crusher about 7 to 10 times a year. According to Heitsche, thanks to the high portability of the UM 1200-25CC, the contract crushing company has cut its time on jobs from months to weeks. “We can get in, get the job done, and get out in a timely fashion, which makes our customers very happy,” reported Heitsche.
Low Wear Costs
Heitsche Boyz Crushing crushes and screens as much as 2,500 tons (2,250 t) of material per day. Heitsche estimated that he has run about 900,000 tons (810,000 t) through the UM 1200-25CC.
According to Heitsche, to lower wear costs the company uses Eagle Crusher’s specialized alloy blow bars. Depending on the job application, Heitsche uses one of several different alloys.
“The parts department at Eagle is able to match wear parts based on job site or geographical region,” said Heitsche. “I told them what I would be crushing, and they offered me a number of options,” he added.
Currently, he outfits his crusher with N1 blow bars when he crushes concrete and UltraChrome titanium blow bars when he crushes asphalt.
To prolong the life of his blow bars, Heitsche keeps the hopper at a constant fill rate so that the material flows into a position where it can be crushed more efficiently. He flips the bars after running approximately 17,000 to 18,000 tons (15,300 to 16,200 t) through the crusher, about half the life of the bars.
“The blow bars keep our downtime low and help produce uniform, cubical spec product,” noted Heitsche.
Heitsche said he also keeps his downtime to a minimum by following Eagle Crusher’s recommended maintenance procedure. “We do all of our own maintenance, like lubrication and changing the oil. We monitor it pretty closely to keep the operating costs down,” said Heitsche. “And once a year, we take it down to Bucyrus for a thorough inspection, though we haven’t had any major problems to date,” he added.
Heitsche and his crew of five work full-time all year round to operate the crushers. Even in the coldest months, Heitsche and his crew continue to crush. To get his team warmed up on those frigid northern Ohio mornings, he personally equipped the crusher, excavator and loader with heaters. “It’s a well-liked convenience,” joked Heitsche.
Two Crushers are Better than One
In August 2003, Heitsche purchased a second UltraMax 1200-25CC.
“We couldn’t keep up with the first one, and we had to stick to the contractor’s schedule,” said Heitsche. “It was only natural to buy another crusher from Eagle. We already knew how to run the first plant…why go and change something when you know you are in good hands?”
Heitsche also noted that he has saved on parts, operation training time and maintenance issues by adding the second plant. HBC has run about 180,000 tons (162,000 t) through its new crusher.
Heitsche credits Eagle Crusher’s ongoing support for his company’s success. “The Eagle service guys are excellent. Whether it’s late or you’re in the field somewhere, all you have to do is pick up the phone and someone will be on the line, talking you through a problem or looking up parts availability,” he said.
Expanding Crusher Applications
Due to the success of his contract crushing business, Heitsche is venturing into other crushing opportunities. For example, he uses his crusher to process red tile scrap.
“We crush it, screen it, and make it into saleable landscape material,” he said. “The red tile doesn’t fade or blow away…we’ve used it as permanent mulch around tree and garden beds. We even put the red tile in a customer’s driveway once.”
Heitsche just started dabbling in recycling gypsum for farmers, too.
“There are a lot of different recycling ventures out there…you just need to track down the possibilities and make them work,” he declared.