Whether you process waste into compost, produce wood chips for power generation, or turn discarded wood debris into landscaping mulch, selecting the right equipment — configured, sized and set up for maximum efficiency — can be a challenge. Variables such as screen choice on a horizontal grinder or tub grinder, support equipment, region of the country and jobsite layout all influence your results.
Nobody understands the challenges you face better than Archie Griffith, Recycling and Forestry specialist at Vermeer All Roads. He is one of the dedicated recycling and forestry experts employed by Vermeer dealerships to help you navigate wood-processing challenges.
Archie took time out of his busy schedule to answer a few frequently asked questions.
What is the role of Recycling and Forestry specialists in the selection of the best machine for the customer?
As Recycling and Forestry specialists, we are only focused on recycling and forestry material. Many of us belong to recycling or biomass councils and compost councils. We receive constant factory training. We understand what you are looking for and what the industry’s future looks like.
Because of our experience and exposure, we can help you find better ways of doing the job. It is always a good strategy to consult with individuals who have made it their mission to know as much as possible about the industry in which they work, no matter the niche.
Unlike a traditional salesperson, we don’t sell into many different markets. By focusing on recycling and forestry — the industry and the machines and their capabilities — we are able to share what we know. We become your partners. We can help you identify best business practices and educate you on the latest equipment innovations. There are a lot of innovations out there and Vermeer builds technologically advanced machines.
Since Vermeer established Recycling and Forestry specialists, they have become more than a position. We have built a family. We call and consult each other a lot. Someone can usually bring that “aha!” moment during the conversation. We literally get information from all over the world — what works, what doesn’t work. We stay in tune with market demands.
That really benefits all parties involved.
As a Vermeer Recycling and Forestry specialist, how do you help your customer determine which machine works best for specific applications?
Whether you are researching a horizontal grinder, tub grinder or commercial compost turner, consulting a Vermeer Recycling and Forestry specialist removes the guesswork.
Horizontal grinders and tub grinders are unique machines. They have their own applications. By focusing on the recycling and forestry industry, we understand what the machines can do. When you’re not producing, you’re not happy. We take that personally. Your business is our business, and your success is our success.
The process starts with listening. A Recycling and Forestry specialist wants to understand your goals and objectives. We find out what your needs are. Are you involved in land clearing? Do you have a mulch business where the machine never leaves the yard? What end product are you looking for? I’m here to find out what you need, not to tell you what you need. I ask a lot of questions. Especially with grinders — it’s usually not a one-time visit. The relationship often goes beyond the machine.
What factors do you typically consider when providing purchasing advice to recycling and forestry customers?
Recycling and Forestry specialists consider all your jobsite factors to help narrow down the machine attributes needed. We look at selection from a safety perspective. Are you working alongside a highway or in a residential area? That can influence whether a horizontal grinder or a tub grinder is the best choice.
One of the first things I look at is the support equipment. You don’t want to have a machine that produces 500 yd3 (382.3 m3) an hour and load it with a machine that can handle 100 yd3 (76.5 m3) an hour. We help match the machine you are about to buy with the support equipment you already have to keep the machines productive. Our recommendations are based on experiences we’ve had at other locations and on information gathered from our colleagues around the globe.
We also help you select a machine that will fit into future workflows. As your demands evolve, a Recycling and Forestry specialist can help you with fleet management. Sometimes you may have to dispose of a horizontal grinder or tub grinder as your operation grows to bring in a larger unit. We can often use connections to help you sell the used machines.
What are some of the most common mistakes contractors make when selecting a machine to process wood waste?
A common mistake is choosing the wrong application for a tub grinder or horizontal grinder. This often occurs when a new customer purchases a used machine that may not be the best machine for the application. An example is placing 10-ft (3-m) logs vertically in a 5-ft (1.5-m) tub. Operators will try to compensate by packing loose material around the log or they will hold it with an excavator. This creates stress on the machine.
The temptation is to purchase a one-size-fits-all machine. In this instance, a horizontal grinder would be the best machine. Depending on the model, there is a 14-ft (4.3-m) to 20-ft (6.1-m) infeed table. The log can then be placed down and it will go right through.
Conversely, there can be a temptation to continually feed stumps through a horizontal grinder. Operators spend too much time trying to manipulate that stump to get it into a small infeed opening. If you handle a lot of these stumps, maybe look at a tub grinder.
Recycling and Forestry specialists are there to help educate you to avoid these pitfalls and help you maintain productivity when you face unique jobsite challenges.
What are the advantages of consulting with a local Recycling and Forestry specialist prior to purchasing a new machine versus dealing directly with the factory?
Having an expert who understands your regional differences can be a real advantage when it comes to selecting a tub grinder or horizontal grinder. Because we live in the area, we understand how different woods react in a grinder.
Wood in the Carolinas does not grind like wood in Pella, Iowa. An oak tree in the coastal area of North Carolina and the same species from Grandfather Mountain, North Carolina, will grind differently. The tree adapts to the wind and environment, so its density will be greater than what it is on the coastal plain.
If you’re trying to create a mulch product in these different regions, you will need to change screens. Recycling and Forestry specialists are aware of these different geographical areas and can help you choose the best screen and setup to make the grinder efficient in that territory.
We understand the machine. We know the sounds it makes. So, we know when things are going well and when things aren’t so good. We can tune the machine to meet your needs.
Recycling and Forestry specialists can help you choose the right equipment for the job, that is set up to produce an optimized end product.
Contact your local Vermeer dealer to connect with a Recycling and Forestry specialist.
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