Elder Corporation chose MORE in-house grinding, less subcontractor fees

You should give respect to your elders, that’s for sure, but Elder Corporation is giving respect right back to one of the “biggest, baddest” grinders in the industry: the Vermeer HG6800TX horizontal grinder.

Located in Des Moines, Iowa, the Elder team regularly flips the script on the implications that come with their name. “Elder: It’s our name, not the age of our equipment,” it says on their website. The only thing old about this family-owned company is its legacy in earthmoving, underground utilities, demolition, recycling and hard work.”

Elder Corporation spends most of its time digging dirt on some of the largest infrastructure projects happening around the state of Iowa. However, work kept being interrupted or slowing down waiting for subcontractors to take out and/or remove organic material.

The Elder team decided to take matters into their own hands by investing in a Vermeer HG6800TX horizontal grinder and gaining the ability to take on the additional recycled materials services. The HG6800TX streamlined productivity and cut down on skyrocketing subcontractor costs by keeping more work in-house.

“You want the truth?” asked Mike Shores, field coordinator at Elder. “The HG6800TX is the biggest, baddest thing out there.”

As one of the newer pieces in their fleet, the HG6800TX has continued to make an impression on the crew with its power, optional features and serviceability. The team likes to tout their HG6800TX and its abilities to make “problems” — like unwanted trees, stumps and limbs — go away.

“It’s impressive,” said Tom Schultz, a grading supervisor at Elder. “To be honest with you, it has been 14 months and I’m still excited to come to work to feed the HG6800TX every day.”

With the HG6800TX, the team can now offer new land clearing services or even storm damage cleanup. Plus, the intense power of the HG6800TX means the work goes quickly. The 950-horsepower (708-kW) engine has an infeed designed specifically for feeding larger materials like whole trees and large stumps.

“We sat the HG6800TX on a couple sites recently and you couldn’t feed it fast enough,” Shores said. “You couldn’t even stop to take a drink of water or it’d be empty and waiting on you.”

That speed comes from the SmartFeed system on the HG6800TX. SmartFeed monitors the engine rpm and adjusts grinding speed for optimal machine performance.

“I challenge myself every day to make sure there is a constant stream of debris coming off the HG6800TX discharge belt,” Schultz said. “Anyone familiar with this machine will know that’s next to impossible.”

Schultz said he starts feeding the grinder at 7 a.m. and doesn’t stop feeding it until 5 p.m.

In addition to the speed, a favorite feature for both Schultz and Shores is the optional Damage Defense system. This system reduces the likelihood of certain metal contaminants from entering the hammermill. Shores said it has saved them several times.

“In certain situations, you never know what you’re going to get into,” Shores said. “One day there were a couple of engine crank shafts just in the middle of a pile of debris — you just can’t see it all. The HG6800TX started feeding and then all of a sudden the Damage Defense system stopped the machine, reversed and kicked everything back out.”

The ease of maintenance has been a major plus for the Elder crew as well.

“Maintenance and serviceability of the machine are relatively similar to the rest of the stuff we have,” Shores said. “It’s not any more complex than anything else we deal with and that’s a plus.”

Shores said his team services and greases their Vermeer HG6800TX every day. Any time they get into something they can’t handle, Vermeer has been just a call away.

Vermeer service is fantastic,” Schultz said. “I can call at a moment’s notice and they talk me through it over the phone.”

Their dealer, Vermeer Iowa & N. Missouri, never keeps them waiting, said Shores.

“No matter what the problem is, you just call up and say, ‘Hey, I’ve got this issue,’ and they’re working on it right away,” Shores said. “It’s not ever a situation where we have a problem and three days later, they might be looking for a part. They’re sending someone out and they’re trying to figure it out.”

Shores said that while the initial investment to purchase a HG6800TX was big, “it has paid off big time”.

“The HG6800TX has been a great machine for us,” Shores said. “We would purchase another one. It’s growing with us and it’s almost like a child to me. That’s my baby.”

This article contains third-party observations, advice or experiences that do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Vermeer Corporation, its affiliates or its dealers. Testimonials and/or endorsements by customers in specific circumstances may not be representative of normal circumstances experienced by all customers.

Vermeer Corporation reserves the right to make changes in engineering, design and specifications; add improvements; or discontinue manufacturing at any time without notice or obligation. Equipment shown is for illustrative purposes only and may display optional accessories or components specific to their global region. Please contact your local Vermeer dealer for more information on machine specifications.

Vermeer and the Vermeer logo are trademarks of Vermeer Manufacturing Company in the U.S. and/or other countries. © 2021 Vermeer Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

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