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N.J. Firm Eyes Continued Growth With New Peterson 5710C

Fri June 17, 2011 - Northeast Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

County Conservation has expanded its inventory in a big way. In fact, the Peterson 5710C horizontal grinder it recently purchased is the largest piece of equipment County Conservation’s dealer, Trico Equipment Services has ever sold.

Founded in 1991, County Conservation, a Sewell, N.J.-based recycling facility is a producer of mulches, enriched soils and organic compost. It is looking to expand its repertoire.

“We are really not a landclearing operation, so we don’t have the big wood, big stumps and roots,” said Johnny Petrongolo, co-founder and managing partner of County Conservation. “We do get some of that material in from time to time, but that’s not our bread and butter. Our bread and butter is mainly curbside collections from about 35 townships. So, when you add that in with what the landscapers are bringing in, that is what constitutes a good portion of our material.”

Later this year, Petrongolo is looking to provide shingle processing to a larger extent.

“The feature of the 5710C that really caught County Conservation’s attention was its ability to process shingles, for which it is specifically designed,” said Andrew Volponi, Trico vice president of strategic accounts, who sold the machine to County Conservation. “The 5710C has the best shielding in the industry to combat the abrasive wear when processing shingles.”

Trying It on for Size

Before making the decision, County Conservation turned to Trico for a test drive.

“Trico and Peterson gave us a good opportunity to demo the machine,” Petrongolo said. “It really gave us a good insight on what it could do and what it couldn’t do.”

“What caught our attention [in addition to the 5710C’s shingle processing capability] was the way it produced the compost,” said Bill Jaworski, County Conservation’s director of operations. “We never had a grinder that could ever do compost. We used to do all our compost with a screener. This Peterson 5710 has outdone anything we had on this property by 9 to 1.”

Jaworski and Petrongolo also liked the way the 5710C performed on asphalt shingles.

“That is something we just started last year, and then we got interested in getting a horizontal machine, because of the asphalt shingles,” Petrongolo said.

Emissions standards also played a key role in County Conservation’s decision in purchasing the 5710C.

“The DEP here in New Jersey is very tough on emissions,” said Petrongolo. “And they are getting more stringent every year. So, we thought the best business decision was to get rid of the older, mid 1990s tub grinder with the old engines, that according to the DEP, either you have to spend $100,000 to put convertors on them or limit them to about 300 hours per year. We weren’t inclined to do either one of those things, so we went with a newer machine and got something on tracks that is exempt from all emissions. The only thing that they want us to do is permit the machine. The engine is exempt, because it is on tracks.”

About the Peterson 5710C

The Peterson 5710C was designed and built around lowering the cost per cubic yards, according to Peterson’s Regional Sales Manager Charlie Bagnall. It has a 1,050 hp (782 kW) Cat C27 engine and weighs 83,000 lbs. (37,648 kg).

“It’s a heavy-duty machine. It was built with landclearing in mind, but it’s not unusual to have a 1,000 horsepower grinder. What is unusual is the fact we have been able to get maximum efficiency with that engine. We take that 1,000 horsepower and utilize all of the horsepower by having a far more efficient feeding system,” Bagnall said.

“We put a lot of research into this machine as far as its design, making sure that most of the features that you work on are at ground level, so the technicians don’t have to climb on the machine. We made it so that it is easy to get at everything,” he added.

The machine’s relief system is an integral element. “In some machines, if a piece of metal gets in there, it just breaks everything. This machine [5710C] has a relief system and it has a wider discharge belt, so the magnets, which are on the head pulley, are more efficient at pulling the metal out.” Bagnall said.

The machine also is designed with four screens. The first screen is held within air bags, so if a piece of metal goes into it, it will pop the screen open, according to Bagnall.

“In piles of shingles, sometimes you can get a contaminant, like a sledgehammer head or an axe head, that comes in whether you like it or not. The piece of steel will be ejected out of the grinding chamber. Not out of the machine, out of the grinding chamber, minimizing the damage, because of the air bags. It not only cushions it, it allows it to open up completely and it notifies the operator that you have hit something,” Bagnall said.

Bagnall added that this attention to detail is the hallmark of the Peterson design and manufacturing process. “Neil Peterson, who founded the company, was a landclearing contractor before he began building machines. So for everything we do, the vision is always from Neil’s perspective. What is the operator going to be looking for out of this machine? The family is still very much hands on,” he said.

Dealing in Dirt

County Conservation produces an estimated 240,000 to 250,000 yds. of mulch a year, plus an additional 40 to 50 thousand yards of topsoil, according to Petrongolo.

The topsoil goes off to market and garden centers where it is sold to construction sites and homeowners. The state also is a customer, Jaworski added.

The company also provides a location for landscape professionals and municipalities to dispose of grass, leaves and tree trimmings, in order to facilitate recycling, according to the company’s Web site.

The Future

When the weather turns colder, County Conservation plans to turn its efforts into asphalt shingle recycling.

“Right now, we are grinding up asphalt and making a roadbase out of it around here and at different sites. Plus, one of the local landfills is using them also for roadbase. We are working on some homes for it, too. We are working on a couple different things to try to start to make a better market for the asphalt shingles,” Petrongolo said.

“We are hoping in four or five years, we’ll be taking in 300 to 400 tons a day. Right now it is probably only 30 or 40 tons a day.

“We tried different size screens in them and we came to find out that actually a bigger screen, two-and-a-half inch screen, which produces material anywhere from a dime to the size of a half-dollar, seems to be the best product. We were making something that looks like coffee grinds, its beautiful material look wise, but when you went to roll it in, it just wouldn’t stay. When you mix it in and you have the fine mixing with the bigger pieces. The fine holds the bigger pieces together. Kind of like glue. It stays a lot better when you grind it a little bigger,” Petrongolo explained.

According to Volponi, there is a growing demand for recycled shingles to go into asphalt production because of the higher liquid AC content.

In total, for all the material County Conservation handles, Jaworski predicts that the 5710C will allow his company to pick up production by approximately 30 percent. And that could lead to County Conservation purchasing another 5710C down the road.

“We sure are thinking about doing that,” Jaworski said.

Becoming a Peterson Dealer

Vineland, N.J.-based Trico became a Peterson dealer in 2011. Peterson, based in Eugene, Ore., chose Trico because it was able to showcase several sizes of the machines.

“This is a flagship account for Trico and it’s a showcase for potential customers,” Volponi said. “Peterson chose us as a dealer because we’re a heavy equipment specialist, and we have fully equipped service trucks available 24/7. Our trucks are fully equipped with welders, air compressors, 8,000-pound cranes to meet any needs.”

Trico is understandably pleased to be carrying Peterson equipment. “We feel good about the future with the ever increasing demand for biofuels and wood recycling,” Volponi said.

Service, of course, is always a vital element for a piece of equipment, especially for the clockwork operation County Conservation has. And Trico is well positioned to handle any of their service needs. “If they need us right away, we are right here,” said Volponi. “Our service trucks operate in this area [Sewell, N.J.] frequently. We have customers all along here that our road technicians are working with,” added Volponi.

Trico’s representatives have been factory-trained by Peterson.

Trico Equipment has two locations in addition to its headquarters in Vineland: Freehold, and Totowa, all in New Jersey.

Growth on the Horizon

County Conservation has grown every year since 1991, Petrongolo said.

“We were on 20 acres; now we are on 54. The acres were always here; we just purchased additional land over the years and there’s still more land once we clear everything out. Once we do that, we’ll have about 60 acres.

And what’s the most challenging part of his business?

“Keeping all the neighbors happy,” Petrongolo replied. “All around us are housing projects and the hardest part is keeping the smells down. We do that by covering 4 to 1 all of our grasses with wood chips so when the grass starts decaying it leaves no odors. It’s the only way we can do it.”

With that under control and the new Peterson 5710C, there appears to be no stopping County Conservation from becoming an ever-larger and more successful presence in southern New Jersey.

For more information, visit and CEG

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