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Retek Crushers Razes Eyebrows on Jersey Mall Demo Job

Wed January 09, 2008 - Northeast Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

It may be the oldest mall on the East Coast, but it can still change from time to time.

The Cherry Hill Mall in Cherry Hill, N.J., built in 1961, is undergoing a footprint change and Central Salvage of Philadelphia, Pa., demolished a section of the mall to make way for a new Nordstrom department store.

The now razed section was once occupied by Strawbridge’s department store, but the footprint of the old store didn’t match up to Nordstrom’s requirements. As a result, the company was contracted to begin taking down the store.

“We started gutting in June 2007,” said Mike McCusker, job foreman of Central Salvage, who has been with the company since 1998. “There are 2-foot mat slabs and the basement is 20 feet deep. Demolition includes two stories and the basement. There also was a mechanical room on top, which we took down with an ultra high excavator, a Hitachi EX350 with a long stick. We hammered the building down, which consisted of concrete and rebar, foraged all the metal out of it and now we’re at the recycling phase.”

Equipment currently being used on the project includes two Komatsu 400 excavators, a Komatsu 621 wheel loader, a Case 9030 with a magnet and a Case 9050 with a bucket that loads a Retek 313i crusher, which McCusker recently leased from Scott Smith of J.D.S. Tractor Co. in Medford, N.J.

All of the concrete excavated from the site is being reused, mixed with the marl and compacted back into the basement.

“We’re processing the one end and mixing it with the dirt, as we dig out the dirt. Then we perforate the floor with the hammer for drainage. We’re using the basement right now as a mixing area until we start backfilling.

“Then we’ll backfill and compact the basement in one-foot lifts,” said McCusker, adding that a total of 60,000 cu. yds. (45,873 cu m) of material is being excavated and reused.”

The Retek crusher used on the project was something of an experiment, according to McCusker.

“We wanted to try it out,” he said. “It’s a new line that Scott Smith of J.D.S Tractor told me about. So far it’s been the best crusher we’ve ever used. It’s user friendly, the magnet doesn’t miss a piece of metal, it doesn’t jam up; it just runs great with virtually no down time.”

Currently, McCusker said, the crusher is producing a 5-in. minus at a high rate, which is then mixed with the marl.

McCusker was pleased with the Retek crusher from the beginning, particularly with its ease of operation.

“Very little training was needed to learn how to operate the Retek crusher, probably about a day’s worth,” he said. “The main operator on the excavator, Jack Geise, was terrific in this whole deal. He didn’t try to force the machine to crush too much initially. He took the time, got used to it. We have a steel picker, Calvin Hooper, up on top of the crusher, pulling any large steel out. And we have Charlie MacDonald, who works the remote control, vibrator speed and everything else. And Frank Farside, who works in the excavator with the magnet. All of them have done a wonderful job and all have really liked working with the Retek crusher.”

Scott Smith explained the Retek’s salient features.

“What was been unique about this machine from the start is that it’s a 78,000-pound track crusher that came off the lowboy, was turned on and was able to crush immediately,” he said.

“There was no set up time with this unit. There were also no permits required to move it; it’s 8-feet wide, it’s short. It has a 400-horsepower Cat engine and 28-inch-high by 50-inch-wide feed inlet opening, so it takes a lot of material; it can take the good-sized stuff. And it has a side conveyor and cross belt magnet. The amount of material that can go through it is remarkable.”

McCusker is not only pleased with the Retek’s performance, but he also is grateful for the attention he receives from Smith when he needs it.

“Service is unbelievable,” he said. Scott’s there at the drop of a hat for any problems or questions. He calls you right back and gets right on the machine. He’s out here every morning at 7 a.m. for startup.”

This is not McCusker’s first dealing with Smith. About three years ago, McCusker saw an ad in Construction Equipment Guide for the EcoCrusher by Giberson Enterprises, a company Smith had then worked for. McCusker wound up purchasing two EcoCrushers from Giberson.

The Cherry Hill Mall project’s demolition phase is nearing completion. A crew of five, including McCusker, is working 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday, with the job slated to wrap up Feb. 25, 2008.

For more information, call 508/317-3669. CEG

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