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Stainless Steel Succumbs to SK350 With LaBounty Shear

Fri May 04, 2007 - Northeast Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

Teamwork and a Kobelco SK350 excavator with a LaBounty shear changed Utica Alloys’ scrap yard into a more efficient enterprise.

Utica Alloys, located in Utica, N.Y., is a large scrap management company. The company processes stainless steel that is collected from across the upstate New York area and then re-sold.

For shipping purposes, the steel must be cut down to uniform sizes. The process involved moving the steel from the stockpile to the cutting area where several employees would cut the metal with a steel guillotine and welding torches.

Ralph Hoffman, general manager of Utica Alloys, thought otherwise. He believed that one man working at the stainless steel stockpile using an excavator with a shear would be able to handle the entire process.

To check out Hoffman’s theory, Tracey Road Equipment, along with a couple of its competitors, was invited to give Hoffman a demonstration of their equipment’s capabilities.

“Setting up our equipment for the Utica Alloys’ demonstration was somewhat of a challenge,” said Scott Collins, vice president of Sales of Tracey Road Equipment located in Syracuse, N.Y.

The Kobelco excavator required special modifications to fit Utica Alloy’s purposes. The excavator needed the capability to easily switch between a grapple, magnet and hydraulic shear. In addition, the magnet needed a diesel generator for power.

“Most hydraulic shears are set up for cutting I-beams, which is a completely different setup than what is used for cutting stainless steel. Much of the stainless steel that Utica Alloys processes would be similar to the gauge of steel that you would see in the manufacturing of a kitchen sink. It is quite thick and quite pliable, so it took some experimentation on our part to find the right setup,” Collins explained.

“To meet the challenges of this project, Tracey Road Equipment worked closely with the manufacturer’s representatives from both LaBounty and Kobelco to achieve the necessary customization,” said Collins.

Currently Utica Alloys uses a Kobelco SK350 73,000-lb. (33,112 kg) excavator, the first Tier III emissions compliant Kobelco excavator sold in New York State. The excavator is equipped with a LaBounty MSD 2500R 15,000-lb. (6,804 kg) shear to process the stainless steel and a diesel generator piggybacked to the excavator to operate a scrap yard magnet.

“This setup from Tracey Road Equipment has met and exceeded our expectations,” said Hoffman. “The Kobelco pulls up to the stockpile and goes to work. We are saving tremendously in manpower and we have increased our overall processing speed,” he said.

“A 20,000-pound pile of steel now takes us a half-day to cut down. This same process previously took us three days. Of course, the excavator also serves other purposes such as loading and unloading trucks, which enhances its value to us,” explained Hoffman.

“We are getting tremendous wear from the blades on the shear. We only need to flip them approximately every 50 hours. The improvements on our efficiency have been tremendous. No more moving piles of steel around for processing,” he said.

Tracey Road Equipment demonstrated that by working as a team with its manufacturers, it was able to put together the right package and the proper levels of support to meet Utica Alloys’ requirements, said Collins.

“When Tracey Road Equipment brought the Kobelco in for its demonstration, it showed its superiority in flexibility, loading, unloading and cutting ability,” said Hoffman.

“Price was not particularly an issue in this purchase. We were looking for the machine best equipped to meet our needs. We looked at purchasing a specialized scrap machine, but it did not offer the total flexibility that we were looking for,” he said.

Hoffman was not the only one impressed with the Kobelco capabilities.

“I like the Kobelco much more than our old machine. It is smoother, faster, and gives us greater flexibility. When we tested the LaBounty shear, we threw a lot of different cutting challenges at it, and it did a good job no matter what we threw at it,” said Andy LaPorte, Utica Alloys’ operator of the excavator.

“Tracey Road Equipment worked closely with us to put together the perfect package of Kobelco and LaBounty to fit our needs,” concluded Hoffman.

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