Kurtz Brothers Inc. has explored ways to increase productivity in the material sorting phase of its recycling operations while ensuring the safety of the workers on site.
Tim Lee, supervisor of the company’s 25-acre construction/demolition landfill and recycling facility, heads Kurtz Brothers’ operations in recovering materials such as metal, wood, and block for re-use. The landfill has been in operation for approximately 15 years.
The facility specializes in turning scrap wood into mulch, in crushing and sorting concrete and other aggregates. Those materials such as soil, sand and fill for road construction are resold. In addition, Kurtz has experimented with dry wall material to be ground into a soil amendment to assist in breaking down clay.
At the facility, metals and plastics are removed and sold.
“Our goal is to be Ohio’s leader in recycling,” Lee said.
On average, the facility receives 700 yds. (640 m) of construction/demolition materials each day. Hard fill goes to the bottom part of the landfill where 50 to 75 percent of the material is recycled.
New construction and building tear out materials head to the upper landfill for sorting.
Currently, Kurtz Brothers recovers approximately 30 percent of the materials received at the top part of the landfill. However, with the addition of its new MRF (General Kinematics C&D Material Recovery Facility), the company plans on doubling that amount.
As a result of receiving a mixture of construction and building/demolition materials, the sorting process requires manual labor, which involves a combination of hand-picking and machines to do the heavy lifting. Those materials include roofing shingles, scrap wood, insulation, various types of metal, carpet, cement and brick. Kurtz Brothers uses a Cat 325 excavator with a grapple on site.
Dean Bradley of Bradley Machinery LLC suggested that Kurtz Brothers employ smaller machines to increase productivity and still promote safety at the site.
“When I went to the facility, I watched the operation and discovered there were actually three separate operations all racing to be completed at the same time,” Bradley said.
“Trucks pulled up and empty their dumpsters. Materials must be picked by hand and machine while materials that can’t be recycled are hauled to the landfill to be compacted. All of this must be done quickly so that trucks aren’t made to wait too long and the cost of material recovery does not exceed the value of the material.”
As a result, Bradley brought in a Gehl model 603 excavator equipped with a Werk-Brau grapple, which is designed to work in tight spaces.
“I was immediately impressed with the short tail swing and full panoramic view from the operator’s cab,” Lee said. “Both aspects are crucial to safe operation in the application that I needed the machine for.”
The site’s mechanics approved the Gehl 603 excavator because of the easy access to the 57 hp (42 kW), four-cylinder diesel engine and hydraulics.
“We looked at a number of brands before deciding on the Gehl model 603,” Lee said. “The capabilities and quality of the machine were a big part of our decision.”