MD Firm Stakes Reputation on Large Landclearing Projects

Mon February 06, 2006 - Northeast Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

As Emory N. Stull Inc. Land Clearing marked its 40 anniversary, the company could look back and note several distinct milestones that helped shape it into one of the largest dedicated clearing contractors in Maryland.

Started in 1965 by Emory Stull Sr., the company was well known for 20 years as one of the area’s leading excavation contractors.

In 1982, Emory Sr. passed ownership on to his son Emory Jr., who, through a combination of continued hard work and wise equipment purchases, refocused efforts on landclearing. The most recent milestone occurred in the company’s anniversary year when it replaced three of its existing excavators with a pair of Zaxis 330LCs, each equipped with a CBI wood shear, to maximize the efficiency of the firm’s clearing operations.

Shear Performance

Based in Eldersberg, MD, a suburb of Baltimore, Emory N. Stull Inc. Land Clearing uses an impressive fleet of equipment and a committed workforce to tackle some of the area’s larger clearing projects.

“We do both commercial and residential clearing with a fairly broad range of different-sized projects,” said Emory Stull, the firm’s president. “We try to stay away from one-and two-acre jobs, preferring instead to focus on larger projects — many as large as 100 acres. In doing so, we’ve established a nice niche for ourselves in this area.” The company clears approximately 700 acres a year.

Stull’s operation can typically be broken down into three phases: felling, processing, and material removal. It is in the final phase that the excavators prove their worth.

“The Zaxis 330LCs with the CBI wood shears are effective at grubbing stumps out of the ground, then splitting them in advance of being fed to a Morbark model 1300 tub grinder,” Stull said. “Using the shear actually provides several benefits. Not only does it downsize the stump to make it more manageable in the grinder, it also shakes loose most of the dirt contained in the debris. That, in turn, reduces the wear on the grinder’s hammers, which are already subjected to a good deal of punishment.”

And Then There Were Two

In the past, Stull and his crews had relied upon a trio of excavators to tackle this facet of the job. However, high machine hours and a desire to keep production levels up prompted a look into replacements.

“We already knew Hitachi had a a great reputation for being a reliable machine; we just needed to make the numbers work. Having worked with Pete Schaeffer of Elliott & Frantz in the past on other equipment purchases, we knew he could do just that. Since we took delivery of the Zaxis 300s, we have been extremely pleased with their performance and the support Elliott & Frantz has provided.

“We use a broad range of processing equipment in our operation — more than 23 pieces from nine different manufacturers — and some of the replacement parts can be very difficult to keep in stock. We have peace of mind knowing that will never be the case with Hitachi. Support to date had been just outstanding.”

Wood prep is critical to the success of its operation and, according to Ken Derenberger, Stull’s estimator, the shear-equipped Zaxis 300s are a key part of that.

“Before we made the move to a tub grinder, we had equipment that would grind the stumps right in the ground. However, equipment wear was horrendous; it was not uncommon to grind for eight to 12 hours, then weld on them for four. So the tub has replaced those units, and the Hitachi/shear combinations are invaluable in helping minimize damage to the tub.”

Teamwork Counts

“This is really a team effort, and that includes everyone from those of us here in the office to the crews at the sites,” said Stull. “We are proud of the work we do and equally proud that nothing from any of our projects goes to waste. We recycle literally everything from the stump up. It’s the right thing to do from an economical, environmental, and practical point of view. We’ve made it for four decades by relying on both planning and performance. We take care of the planning, and the shear-equipped Hitachi 330s help give us the grinder performance we need.”

Emory N. Stull Inc. is serviced by Elliott & Frantz, Jessup, MD.

(This story appears courtesy of Hitachi’s “Breakout” magazine.)

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