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Wed February 17, 2021 - Midwest Edition #4
Every job can use an extra hand. Family-owned C&J Contractors of Cleveland, Ohio, is one of northeast Ohio's leading demolition companies. When Robert Crawford, acting COO, heard about an excavator attachment that would make sorting items more efficient, he set out to see it for himself.
C&J's work ranges from small, residential interior projects to the massive $250M Cuyahoga County Port Authority Old Post Office project. Founded in 1983 by James E. Crawford, the company is now managed by second-generation family members Craig Crawford, president; and Randy Crawford, vice president; and third-generation family members Alicia Wigand, CFO; Austin Crawford, operations manager; and Robert Crawford, acting COO.
The company's services include all aspects of demolition for industrial, commercial and residential clients as well as asbestos removal. These services are all conducted with a primary emphasis on safety for customers, the general public and employees. The company's work is primarily conducted within the northeast Ohio market. However, it has taken on specialty projects ranging as far south as Florida for hurricane relief efforts.
As Crawford explains it, demolition contractors were among the first recyclers. Demolition projects involve much more than tearing down a structure and hauling it away, the work includes a significant amount of separating and sorting materials destined for reuse. The process can be time consuming and labor intensive.
The community of demolition contractors in the United States is a tightknit group. Among Robert Crawford's industry contacts is Ricky Webb, president of East Coast Demolition, a company based in Moyock, N.C. There's often a productive exchange of ideas during their conversations and talk frequently focuses on the tools of the trade.
East Coast Demolition is a long-time NPK product user and the company recently acquired an NPK DG-30 demolition and sorting/selector grapple (Demo Grab) and offered an enthusiastic endorsement.
C&J Contractors had been using a standard grapple for demolition, picking and sorting operations and while these attachments get the job done, they have limitations.
Because standard grapples have a limited range of motion, the entire excavator often needs to be maneuvered into position to achieve the correct angle of approach when picking materials.
Based on East Coast Demolition's positive feedback and always interested in ways to improve efficiency and productivity, Crawford decided to investigate the NPK Demo Grab further. He was familiar with NPK because C&J Contractors owns compactors manufactured by NPK, which he estimates have been in service for 20 years. According to Crawford, the NPK tampers are incredibly durable and perform as well today as they did when they were new.
Murphy Tractor and Equipment, Local NPK Dealer
Fortunately, Crawford also was familiar with the local NPK and John Deere dealership, Murphy Tractor and Equipment. C&J Contractors has been running John Deere equipment for years and found the service provided by Murphy has always been exceptional.
According to Crawford, when contacting individuals at Murphy with an issue or a complex question, their response is always prompt and their answers well informed. He contacted Murphy Tractor and Equipment's Curt Thomas and discussed his interest in the NPK Demo Grab. Thomas, in turn, involved Ken Skala, NPKCE district manager, as part of the process.
NPK is headquartered in Walton Hills, Ohio, — a short drive from C&J Contractors' office. Skala arranged a tour of the NPKCE North American headquarters and manufacturing facility for Crawford and Thomas. Crawford was impressed with NPK's manufacturing and customization capabilities and the scope of work conducted at the NPK plant.
When speaking with NPK's engineers, he also was impressed with the thought and planning that went into the design and production of NPK's demolition grapples. Crawford said that Skala's knowledge of NPK's products and applications definitely played a major role in C&J Contractors' decision to purchase the NPK Demo Grab.
NPK's demolition grabs, or sorting grabs/grapples, are designed to deliver high durability and low maintenance cost for efficient, reliable and profitable use in sorting and recycling construction and demolition waste, according to the company. Applications include construction and demolition (C&D) recycling/sorting, industrial recycling systems, commercial demolition, loading and unloading and dismantling.
Sizes range from the DG-9, with a working weight of 990 lbs. and a recommended carrier weight of 5.5 to 10 tons, to the DG-50, with a working weight of 5,510 lbs. and a recommended carrier weight of 38.5 to 55 tons.
Both the frames and the arms of NPK demolition grabs are built with high tension, special wear steel ensuring rigidity and robust wear resistance for extended life. The demolition grabs are designed with large jaw opening and high closing force to maximize work productivity. For specialized applications, NPK's demolition grapples can be customized with different types of jaws, enhancing the capabilities of the Demo Grab.
NPK sorting grabs are built with powerful hydraulic-rotation motors, delivering 360-degree hydraulic rotation, which provides an operative angle to tackle any application. A single motor design is standard in the DG16-40 for lighter duty /general loading applications. Demo Grab models ranging from the DG-20 and above, can be outfitted with an additional rotation motor option that allows for use in applications where heavy offset loads are encountered and extreme demolition applications that requiring high rotation torque as well.
Protection for the hydraulic motors comes by way of a double shock valve and a brake valve protects the internal motor seals with no drain line needed. Rotation speed plus opening and closing speed of the arms are easily adjusted from an access panel located in the swivel top.
Hydraulic component connections in the NPK sorting grabs are fewer and fully encased to minimize the opportunities for leaking or damage. Hydraulic connections on both sides of the swivel top and access to grease ports from any angle provide easy access for maintenance. Oversize pins, replaceable bushings with dust seals and heavy-duty slewing ring reduce downtime while increasing durability and productivity.
Standard features of the NPK Demo Grab includes a standard check valve that guards against unexpected opening of the arms, interchangeable and reversible cutters. Options include side covers and/or arm covers for loading activities and breaker plates for special demolition jobs. The demo grabs can be mounted as excavator attachments for carriers within the recommended weight range for each model with an NPK dedicated mounting kit.
Ultimately, C&J Contractors elected to purchase the NPK DG-20 demolition and sorting grab, which is compatible with excavators in the 15 to 22-ton range and a working weight of 2,710 lbs. When the company acquired the NPK DG-20 Demo Grab, it was put to work on day one and it has been working every day since for the past three months. To say that Crawford is pleased with the Demo Grab may be a bit of an understatement.
Like a standard grapple, the bucket of the Demo Grab works like a hand and thumb to grasp materials. Unlike a standard grapple, the Demo Grab's 360-degree hydraulic rotation also adds the capability of acting as a wrist. This functionality allows C&J Contractors to take down a structure, separate and pick materials with greatly improved efficiency.
Crawford said the robust construction of the Demo Grab stands up to extremely demanding demolition jobs while it is nimble enough to pick even small items. The increased sorting and picking capabilities greatly reduce the need for manual labor on the ground to perform those duties, which in turn minimizes the safety risks of the company's employees.
Crawford also appreciates the fact that the NPK DG-20 Demo Grab can be mounted on several of the company's excavators for greater flexibility in the types of work it's called on to perform. The demolition community continues to embrace this technology to increase jobsite safety, productivity, and enhanced profitability.
"I continue to encounter more demolition contractors as well as general contractors that are inquiring about the Demo Grab and how they can integrate it into daily operation to maximize efficiency and profits," said Skala. CEG