(L-R) are Scott Lowe, owner, Lowe Products; Mike Owner, Emerald Equipment Systems; Wolfgang Brouwer, Neuenhauser; Mark Duffy, Emerald Equipment Systems; and Dave Hilker, Lowes.
Lowe Products, one of the largest mulch and topsoil producers in West Virginia, was founded in 1972 by John D. Lowe Jr. and his wife Betty. The company’s location, 50 mi. west of Washington D.C., allows it to service Maryland, northern Virginia, Washington, D.C., and eastern West Virginia markets.
John Lowe had experience in the lumber industry and with the by-products they produced, such as slab wood, wood chips and bark material. The company transitioned through the years to processing these lumber by-products into high-grade bark mulch. Lowe Products currently produces 27 products that range from shredded hardwood mulches to a variety of soil products.
The company has been bagging its products since it was founded. Lowe’s facility currently has four automated bag lines that can produce 32,000 units of bagged products a shift. All bags are palletized, fully shrink-wrapped and capped for ultimate customer satisfaction.
When told how he could reduce his mulch production costs significantly by adding a Neuenhauser starscreen into his operation, Scott Lowe, vice president of Lowe Products, was intrigued. The ability to reduce regrind by as much as much as 70 percent was the first fact that caught his attention. The grinders the company runs burn $200 worth of fuel per hour and the ability to reduce their operating hours by two thirds with a machine that burns $10 of fuel per hour would greatly decrease costs.
A demonstration was arranged with the local Neuenhauser dealer, Emerald Equipment Systems, to prove that the Neuenhauser 2F would keep pace with the company’s 1,100 hp grinders that can produce up to 650 cu. yds. (497 cu m) per hour and also to establish that the screened product was of the same quality as double ground mulch.
The demonstration showed that the Neuenhauser 2F starscreen was up the task and the unit has been in operation for three months at the height of mulch season.
“We have seen significant cost savings other than the grinder fuel usage that we did not initially consider,” Scott said. “We have eliminated a loader out of our operation as we do not have to double handle 70 percent of our mulch, and also grinder wear costs have reduced dramatically because we are not feeding fines back through the mill.”
The Neuenhauser 2F screen Lowes purchased is a two way spilt wheel unit and features a 22 ft. 6 in. (6.9 m) variable speed star deck with low wear polyurethane stars. The low maintenance, user-friendly design features a diesel hydraulic powerpack, modular star deck that can be removed in 15 minutes and a simple control system that can be programed to make different sized products, according to the manufacturer.
“Our experience with Neuenhauser screens has been very positive,” Lowe said. “The innovative technology and its ability to produce a high quality product definitely meet the high standards of excellence that our company requires. This screen is set apart from the others because of its high production rates, its simplicity to operate and to work on, its low fuel consumption, its ability to cut production cost and the extremely low maintenance cost over-all.”
For more information, visit www.neuenhauserna.com.