MD Firm Finds Cost Effective Solution in Mobile Crushers

Wed August 25, 2004 - Northeast Edition
Julie Nogalski

David Berg is a man of his word — and he’s got drawers full of awards and certificates to prove it.

Customers large and small — from private contractors to state agencies — are impressed with the quality operation and efficient demolition and crushing work his companies perform. Berg is a man in love with his job and the industry he is part of in Baltimore, MD.

Berg is owner of two companies, Berg Corporation and the Crushing Corporation of America, focused on demolition and contract crushing work, respectively. He knows that his customers want work to be done quickly, safely and neatly. This goal can be reached through efficient management of materials on site, including the immediate crushing and removal of concrete debris. The trick is doing it in a cost-effective manner, and in 2003, Berg added two new mobile crushers — one for each company — to his fleet of equipment to help further that quest.

Bring It Down, Chew It Up

Berg’s companies operate entirely independent of each other with the majority of the work being performed in Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and northern Virginia. Both companies employ industry experts and rely on advanced equipment to get the results his customers rave about.

Berg has been in the demolition industry for more than 20 years and in April 1999, he founded the Berg Corporation. Specializing purely in structural demolition, the company has approximately 70 employees and takes on jobs that vary in size and difficulty.

One week, the company might be tearing down a 1.5-million-sq.-ft. building to make way for a new Performing Arts Center, while the next it might be tearing down a one-story home in a residential neighborhood. Whatever the job, one thing is certain — it’s going to be done neatly and with as little disturbance to the surrounding environment as possible.

Berg’s newest operation is the Crushing Corporation of America. It employs approximately 20 people and has been in business since April 2003. The company focuses on recycling concrete, asphalt and rock materials, and gets its work from outside agencies that hire the company to crush unwanted materials on site.

According to Berg, the company achieves success by reacting quickly to its customers’ needs, being available when needed and giving them what they want — a quick, clean operation.

Know the Competition, Cut Costs

The larger of the companies, the Berg Corporation uses a variety of cranes, excavators, backhoe loaders and mobile crushers on its demolition sites. What has helped put the Berg Corporation ahead of its competition is its material management and ability to reduce costs through the use of mobile crushers.

It’s no secret that tearing down a building can leave quite a mess. And with the help of a mobile crusher, the Berg Corporation not only keeps its sites clean, but it recycles and sells the crushed materials to other contractors.

For example, 99 percent of a recent project was recyclable. With the increasing cost of landfill processing and the high price of trucking out materials — especially if there is nowhere close to haul the materials — Berg has found that having mobile crushers on site greatly reduced its costs.

“Everything these days is more expensive to get rid of,” explained Berg. “Anybody can tear down a building, but tearing it down the most cost-effective way is how you stay in business.”

Improved Productivity, Reduced Downtime

Already an owner of two mobile crushes, Berg made the decision to add another mobile crusher to each of its fleets. Berg purchased a Komatsu BR550JG-1 mobile crusher in June 2003 for the Berg Corporation and a second one in August 2003 for the Crushing Corporation of America. Because the company had favorable experiences with Komatsu equipment in the past and a great relationship with its distributor, Midlantic Machinery, the decision to purchase the BR550JG-1 was easy.

“The distributor played a huge part in our decision to buy the Komatsu BR550JG-1,” explained Rick Maska, vice president of operations, Berg Corporation. “They are excellent to work with and by far have the best service department in the Baltimore area.”

The BR550JG-1 is never in one place for too long. The Berg Corporation changes work sites approximately once every two weeks, making mobility an important feature in the equipment it uses. One reason that the company likes the BR550JG-1 is because it uses the same track undercarriage as Komatsu’s excavators, which makes it very easy to relocate.

“What I really like about the BR550JG-1 is the mobility and ease of set up,” explained Maska. “You take it off a low-boy and within an hour, you’re ready to crush.”

Besides mobility, the BR550JG-1 has certain productivity features that make it a good fit for the demolition business. Equipped with a high-performance jaw that has a production capacity of 110 to 507 tons (99 to 456 t) and a crushing range from 2.2 to 7.9 in. (5.6 to 20 cm), the BR550JG-1 is ideal for the company’s operations. Crushing from 1,300 to 1,500 tons (1,170 to 1,350 t) of material each day, the BR550JG-1 is powerful enough to handle the tough materials Berg feeds it.

According to Berg, it’s the power and size of the jaw that has helped the company increase its production rates.

“The BR550JG-1 has the ability to run an abundance of material through it because of the jaw,” said Berg. “So far, it has handled everything we’ve given it and has completely surpassed my expectations.”

In addition to the powerful jaw, the BR550JG-1 utilizes a two-step grizzly feeder that vibrates the material in an elliptical movement so that the materials being loaded into the feeder are separated and fed evenly into the jaw.

“The double-deck vibratory feeder on the BR550JG-1 is terrific,” said Maska. “What I like is the way the material comes off the first deck and drops down to the second, so if there is mud or other debris, it breaks apart and falls freely to the belt beneath. Ultimately, it increases production by reducing the amount of material that we have to send through the jaw.”

Besides muck and mud, the Berg Corporation deals with concrete — and a lot of it. There’s always the risk that rebar is in the concrete, or junk metal gets stuck in the debris during demolition. In order to reduce downtime and increase the value of the end product, the company bought the BR550JG-1 with an optional magnetic separator. Material being fed into the jaw is crushed, thus separating the steel and rebar from the concrete, at which time the magnetic separator catches the metal and spits it out onto the ground or into a container.

According to Maska, this was an extremely important feature in the BR550JG-1.

“When you’re dealing with demolition, there’s bound to be metal in the concrete,” said Maska. “The magnet separator has done an excellent job of catching the metal and separating it from the final product we actually want.”

Safety, Reliability First Priority

Increased productivity and reduced downtime is great for business, but it means nothing if the machine isn’t reliable. Currently, both BR550JG-1s at Berg’s companies are working 10 to 12 hours a day, six days a week crushing tough debris and aggregate materials. The BR550JG-1 has a pre-cleaner and double air cleaner feature, which helps keep the engine intake clean and dust free. In addition, the new monitor system alerts the operator if there is a mechanical problem, or when the machine needs routine maintenance.

“The BR550JG-1 is a very reliable machine,” said Berg. “We haven’t had one problem with the machines as of yet, and we’ve thrown some pretty tough stuff into them.”

If there’s one thing that Berg is more concerned about than doing a quality job, it’s safety. He’s a fanatic about the safety of his employees and equipment. In fact, safety is such a high priority that he’s implemented strict rules and regulations that every person on his company’s property must follow.

The BR550JG-1 is a good fit for his operations, because it’s a very safe machine. Besides the handrails, safety guards and emergency shut-off buttons, the BR550JG-1 has a semi-automatic feeder system, which senses the load on the crusher and adjusts the feed rate accordingly. If at any time the crusher senses an excessive load, the rotating lamp flashes to alert the operator to halt loading.

“Safety is my No. 1 priority and I believe in training my employees well and enforcing strict safety rules.” said Berg. “The BR550JG-1 is an easy, safe machine to run. It works well with our operations.”

Strive for Excellence, Enjoy Success

Whether it’s the Berg Corporation or Crushing Corporation of America, Berg takes his business seriously. He works hard at running companies that people want to work for and work with. An expert in the demolition industry, Berg has found the recipe for success and continues to try new things and expand all the time. Whether it’s implementing Global Positioning Systems in his excavators or getting high-efficiency mobile crushers, it’s clear that Berg has the knowledge, equipment, people and determination to stay in this business for a long time.

“I have excellent people working for this company,” said Berg. “We take our business seriously and try to improve all the time. But more importantly, we take care of our clients and enjoy life.”