Ian Lockwood (L) of American Crushers & Screens and Scotty Hipps of Pacific Organics go over the level of productivity the company is achieving using the McCloskey machines.
Pacific Organics serves the eastern United States from its 28-1/2-acre facility in Henderson, N.C., providing products to nurseries and landscape professionals. The company produces and supplies a total of seven products, including premium potting mix, pine bark mulch and pine bark mini-nuggets.
Scotty Hipps serves as operations manager. He said that they try to get raw bark from within a 100-mi. (160 km) radius of the plant.
"It comes from saw mills, paper mills and we also get some from logging companies," Hipps said. "It just depends where we can get it from within a 100-mile radius. The biggest source is paper mills and small saw mills."
Once the company gets the product, it goes through various processes depending on what the final plan is, and also what time of year it is.
"Sometimes we screen it and don’t grind it, or we’ll grind it before we screen it," Hipps said. "It just depends on where we’re going to delegate it to, but it goes through a grinder and screener eventually, one way or the other."
Currently, the company’s grinder is a Amadas—Hammermill 450, and the screening machines are all McCloskey, including two McCloskey 516 trommel screens and one McCloskey S130 triple deck vibratory screen.
"The McCloskeys are great machines," Hipps said. "We’re on our fifth one now. The last one just died last year, and we had over 20,000 hours on it. The engine had also been swapped out from one machine to another one, so it had been through the ringer. We’ve been well blessed with them, and we can’t complain."
Hipps said that the McCloskey S130 triple deck screener is used for the final process at the plant.
"What we did before was screen it for one size, and then we had to rescreen it and rescreen it to make our different products," Hipps said. "Now that we’ve got the S130, we can screen it, and we can make three or four different products at the same time — so we cut down on labor, hours, fuel, everything. We make a bunch of different products — all based on particle size. So what we did before — before they even mentioned about buying something like this — we did it the old fashioned way, with an old shaker box from a saw mill. We rigged it up and made it run and it worked.
"With that, by being an old shaker box — it had a bunch of old problems. With the S130, with the economy being so bad, we got it for a good deal, and it was the perfect time. It’s the same thing we were doing, but it’s on a bigger scale, and it’s more efficient. We actually don’t have to run it a lot of times, because we can catch ourselves up very fast. We’ve probably decreased production hours by at least 40 percent — maybe as much as 60 — just because of it. It fits us exactly right, because we don’t have one size fits all."
Hipps said that the company produces three sizes. The first, the "bottom screen" is propagation, which is ¼ in. (.6 cm) screen. It’s used by nurseries for propagating plants. Next is the CC55, which is a little coarser — a 3/8 in. (.9 cm) screen and looks more like bagged potting soil because of its size. Next, there is ½ in. (1.3 cm) screen, which is used by most container nurseries because it fits pots better. Then there is everything above ½ in. to 5/8 in. (1.6 cm) screen — the bigger particles that some people like for more air space and drainage.
"We set the machine to whatever product we want to produce," Hipps said. There are various settings on the machine, whether it be speed, including feed speed, and/or hopper speed, and the angle which the machine is set at."
Hipps said that the S130 allows them to not run the other machines as much.
"It has basically increased production and decreased hours," he said. "We don’t run it unless we have to. Basically, we do what most quarries do with it. There are different grades of product, and we do the same thing, but just with potting soil."
Pacific Organics got its start when Bobby Oakley (who currently serves as vice president and general manager) came up with the idea to supply the nursery industry with a defined product. He pitched the idea to investors, and the company has grown into what it is today. The owner is George Cunningham Jr., who was one of the original investors.
Last year, the company shipped more than 180,000 cu. yds. (137,619 cu m) of all the various sizes combined.
For more information call 252/492-4451 or visit www.pacific-organics.com