Summer is fast approaching, which means most of your businesses are headed into the busiest time of year. When your sole focus is on the work at hand, it is easy to lose sight of the bigger picture, which is the health of the industry as a whole. As you are gearing up for what I hope is a season full of activity, don’t forget organizations are working behind the scenes for your benefit.
Associations like the National Demolition Association (NDA, www.demolitionassociation.org) and the Construction & Demolition Recycling Association (CDRA, formerly the Construction Materials Recycling Association, www.cdrecycling.org) exist to make your jobs easier, your industries better and your voices heard.
Coming off of my first NDA convention in San Diego in March, I have to say I was impressed with the number of people who are dedicated toward the safety and education of their industry peers across the United States and the world. These folks are passionate about the work they do and, while these companies may be competing for the same business, there is a sense of unity and respect these members have for one another.
You can see that providing tools to members and holding the industry to high standards is of utmost importance to NDA board members and Executive Director Mike Taylor. I had the privilege of attending my first NDA board meeting while in San Diego and was impressed with the level of professionalism and organization I saw. You should be grateful to the board and committee members who devote their time to the betterment of the industry on top of running their own businesses; they’ve made a commitment to you.
By the same token, I’ve seen the same dedication to those CDRA board members and Executive Director Bill Turley. The CDRA has joined with other associations to help ensure your interests are represented in Washington. The association also has shed light on C&D recycling industry issues such as false reporting of recycling rates.
The NDA and CDRA do these jobs so you don’t have to. They work tirelessly on the issues facing your industries so you can focus on your business and on being successful.
If you have a chance to thank your associations, their boards, their committee members, their executive directors or employees, I encourage you to do so. If you want to do more than thank them, perhaps you can support these associations by not only becoming members but also by becoming involved. There are many ways to become involved and share your strengths and expertise with your association for the betterment of the industry.
Specifying a loader for maximum productivity isn’t as simple as choosing the loader with the most horsepower. With so many different sizes and options of loaders available, horsepower is only one consideration. Some of the decisions you’ll have to make when choosing a loader can include: Tires versus tracks, vertical versus radial lift, enclosed versus open cab, compact or mini versus midi- or full-size versions.
“These decisions are dependent on three factors,” says Jamie Wright, product manager, Terex Construction Americas, Southaven, Miss. “First, the type of work you are doing; second, what ground conditions you’ll encounter on the job; and third, the time of year you are operating.
“Loaders are not created equal,” continues Wright. “They come in all different sizes and styles, including a variety of skid steer, track loader and wheel loader models to choose from. To get the quickest cycle times and the best productivity, you need to match the loader to the jobsite conditions.”
According to Wright, choosing the right loader involves the three As: analyze, assess and appraise.
Analyze the Type of Work
The first question to answer when choosing a production loader: What type of work will it be doing? From site preparation to excavation work, from landscaping jobs to demolition projects, a loader is capable of doing it all.
To get outfitted with the right loader, Wright says you will need to analyze the specifications of the project: What type of material will you be moving? What is the density of that material? How much material needs to be moved? Are there any space restrictions on the jobsite?
The answers to these questions will help you determine the loader you need. “Selecting the right loader is based on the amount of material (measured in cubic yards) that needs to be moved per hour, the weight of the material and the area that the loader will operate in,” says Wright. “It is important that you know how the loader will get the material, how quickly the material needs to be moved and where the material needs to go.”
Horsepower and operating capacity of the loader are two important factors. Higher horsepower offers more dynamic force for pushing and production but also translates to a heavier machine. If there are weight restrictions on the project site, you may need to opt for a smaller horsepower unit.
And, says Wright, “Know the loader’s operating capacity, including tipping load and lift capacities, when spec’ing the unit for a job. You need to make sure the loader you choose can handle the materials you’ll be moving. The weight of the material and how quickly it needs to be moved will also influence the size of the bucket you need—the bigger the bucket, the bigger the loader.”
Also, Wright says, “Spec’ing a loader with higher travel speeds can increase productivity: The more miles per hour it can travel, the quicker the cycle times you can achieve. Boom speeds, how fast the boom goes up and down, also influence cycle times. Boom speeds will tell you how fast the loader can load and unload the material.”
Boom design also influences productivity. Loaders engineered with a radial lift path, meaning the loader arms raise in an arc pattern, are better suited for digging applications. Vertical path loaders excel at loading applications because the boom stays the same distance from the loader through the entire lift.
Size does matter when choosing a loader. If you will be working in space-restricted areas, you will need to consider a small machine, such as a skid steer loader or compact track loader. If the operating area is more open, a larger wheeled or track loader is an option.
Assess the Ground Conditions
Once you know what the loader will be doing, it’s important to assess the site conditions where the loader will be working.
“Because skid steer, compact track and many larger loaders use the same attachments (buckets, dozer blades, mulchers, augers, trenchers, levelers, box rakes, snow blowers, etc.) and perform in the same applications (construction, landscaping, rental, forestry and agricultural), the type of surface you will be working on significantly impacts the productivity and cycle times of the loader,” says Wright. “When working in soft underfoot conditions, a loader with tracks will be more effective. When working on harder surfaces, a wheeled loader is better suited.”
“It is generally acknowledged that skid steer loaders perform best on firmer ground conditions, such as rock, asphalt and concrete as well as in developed areas,” says Wright. “Skid steer loaders are designed to travel quickly and to complete tight ‘spin’ turns in space-restricted areas.”
Compact track loaders are built to handle wet, soft, snowy, sensitive and muddy ground conditions, such as those found in more undeveloped areas, and on slopes. These loaders distribute the machine’s weight evenly over the length and width of the tracks, allowing them to “float” over uneven terrain. This flotation results in lower ground pressure, more traction and better performance on sloppy surfaces.
“Tracks can make all the difference,” says Wright. “Terex is the only compact track loader manufacturer to offer three different track options to customers. These include general purpose tracks that provide excellent traction in most conditions; the smooth turf track provides ultimate care and protection on sensitive surfaces, like turf or finished landscaping; and the extreme terrain tracks, with aggressive track treads and 10 percent more width, give additional gripping action for use in dirt, snow, mud or other extreme conditions.”
According to Wright, you know it’s time to graduate up to a midi- or full-size wheel loader or track loader when you need the higher payload and larger bucket capacity. The wider and longer wheelbase of these larger loaders offers enhanced stability in all ground conditions, as well as a smooth ride for the operator over rough terrain.
Time of Year
Weather is an important consideration when spec’ing a loader. It not only affects the cycle times of your loader, but it also influences the productivity of your operators.
“For the loader, the weather impacts whether you will be more productive with tires or with tracks,” says Wright. “During rainy months, when the wet conditions cause muddy and sloppy ground conditions, a track loader is the better option. In the drier summer months, the choice of tires versus tracks is more determined by the application.
“Loaders are built to work in extreme temperatures,” continues Wright, “so they can remain productive to keep sidewalks, driveways, cul-de-sacs and parking lots cleared. Track loaders perform well in snowy conditions, but loaders with wheels can be quite effective on paved surfaces.”
If you are using your loader throughout the year, you may want to consider optional over-the-tire track attachments to get the maximum versatility with your wheeled unit. Terex gives you the option to choose between tracks or tires at the time you put a machine to work. Over-the-tire tracks are used in a variety of applications, such as general construction, landscaping, land clearing, side hill work and agricultural, and these attachments are best suited for applications in mud, sand, dirt and clay—anywhere you require traction and flotation. With that flexibility, you can take on jobs that you normally wouldn’t with your current skid steer.
“Over-the-tire track attachments not only give you the increased traction and flotation necessary to maneuver in different soil and working conditions,” says Wright, “but, these attachments also add some ground points of contact, increasing stability and bettering the ride.”
Terex offers the F and Z Series over-the-tire track solutions, says Wright. The F-Series steel pad track offers both traction and flotation to cover the widest range of applications and materials in the construction industry. The Z-Series steel bar tracks are designed for traction and aggressive terrain.
With the Terex Versatile Track System (VTS), skid steer operators have the ability to run a loader with tires or as a full rubber track undercarriage system with suspension. The VTS is extremely stable when digging and backing out of trenches, as well as when hauling and dumping heavy loads, according to the company.
A final consideration to get the most productivity out of your loader: Make sure your unit is properly equipped for the operator’s comfort during the long hours on the job. The more comfortable your operator is, the more productive your operator will be, says Wright.
Options like an enclosed cab and heat keep the operator comfortable and productive during long hours in winter applications, and air conditioning is appreciated while operating during the summer months. When working in dusty conditions, like on land-clearing projects, a sealed and pressurized cab is a must. A suspension seat makes all the difference in reducing operator discomfort and fatigue. The set-up of the machine’s operating controls, the noise level inside the loader’s cab and the visibility out the cab’s windows also contribute to a more comfortable and, therefore, productive, operator.
“It is important that whatever loader you are considering that you test it in actual working conditions,” according to Wright. “Matching the loader’s design and capabilities to the application is vital to productivity: analyze, assess and appraise.”
The article was submitted by Signature Style PR, Coppell, Texas, on behalf of Terex Construction Americas, Southaven, Miss.
There is double-barreled good news and some bad news in the C&D aggregates market. The good news is the economy is loosening a touch and transportation engineers want to build projects in the most cost-effective ways possible. The downside is that highway funds are tight and some engineers have not yet caught up with the idea that reusing C&D material from highway and other projects is a cost-effective way to spend taxpayer money.
Jim Dykes, president and owner of Dykes Paving, Norcross, Ga., says the market for recycled C&D aggregates is off 50 percent from its highs back in 2006 or 2007. He says he figures the Georgia market will remain about the same in 2013.
“I can’t see anything changing as far as quantity,” he says. “There are not enough new projects being started and not enough old structures being torn down.”
That puts Dykes and other C&D contractors in the squeeze between a lack of demand and a lack of product. It also puts him on the hunt for high-profit projects.
John Kent, president of Oxford Recycling, Englewood, Colo., says he would like to see some public money spent in key infrastructure areas. He scoffs at the federal stimulus program, noting that about 60 percent in his state went to government, not to private projects. “We have terrible infrastructure problems in terms of bridges, highways and moving truck traffic,” he says. “We have sewer and water systems built in the 1950s to handle a lot less volume than they do today.”
With the hint of some economic recovery, some states are at least looking at road projects. Recycling the recovered aggregates is getting more attention as state highway engineers, under orders to squeeze every dollar, realize the value of recycled aggregates in their projects. On top of that, they can save project dollars by reducing their off-site shipment costs and the amount of money spent landfilling usable, recovered materials.
Of course, road contractors know that, too. That is why companies like Hanson Aggregates, Long Beach, Calif., closed up its portable crushing division. “We crushed for our own sites and freeway contractors,” says Michael Rogers, operations manager for Hanson.
Today, the large amount of portable equipment available for purchase—coupled with the number of used systems on the market—has lowered the cost of entry for contractors. Many do their own work, cutting the traditional C&D operation out of the loop, according to Rogers.
While some stimulus money is being spent in California, Rogers says overall demand has diminished in light of the economy.
“You do see producers reusing the millings off their grinding projects,” Rogers says. “I don’t see any real increase in it. In Southern California, it has gone on for years and ebbed and flowed.”
Kent questions where the money is allocated—why dollars go to projects at small, regional airports rather than big airports such as the Denver International Airport or the like.
Dykes knows some states are getting a little more money than others. “There still are not enough funds from the federal level to the community level,” he says, adding that highway projects in Georgia are lagging behind any national recovery because the roads were overbuilt to begin with. Still, Dykes and other C&D operators say they see glimmers of hope.
“I see some slight improvement,” Oxford Recycling’s Kent says, “but we’re not setting the world on fire.”
But even with some sunshine, he says the markets are very fragile. “We could go backwards very easily,” he warns.
Part of his optimism is based on the number of housing starts he sees in his area. However, the big projects are not out there yet.
“On the aggregate side we have six stationary locations and two portable teams. The demand we anticipate from stationary and portable for 2013 is consistent with 2012 (2 million tons),” says Leonard Cherry, president of the family-owned Cherry Cos., Houston. His company recycles concrete, asphalt, steel, tires and shingles as well as provides demolition and stabilizing services. “Each is a different market, although all are related,” he says.
Cherry’s revenues last year were roughly $84 million. “We anticipate a modest increase in 2013,” Cherry says.
Not every market is hot. Historically, most metropolitan areas have a glut of recycled asphalt. Little has changed.
“You grind 2 inches off the Interstate. They let you recycle 25 percent of it. What do you do with the other 75 percent?” Dykes asks.
Observers like Rogers are concerned about the stockpiles of asphalt that will be a drag on the market no matter what happens in the near future. “Stockpiles are awfully large,” he says. “The abundance of material means a real imbalance of supply and demand.”
If stockpiles are a problem in California, where a typical site might run three acres and a really big one covers five acres, in other areas of the country the abundance of material is a real drag on the economy.
Oxford Recycling is taking in less asphalt than it normally does. “But it is moving,” Kent says.
His concern is crushed concrete. “Demand for crushed concrete is way down,” Kent says. “We are taking in more than we are shipping out. We have huge stockpiles of product. We were giving it away at cost.”
Meantime, tipping fees are doing nothing but going up. “There is not as much utilization of finished product,” Rogers says. “If you can’t get it out the gate, why bring it in the first place?”
Storage of a depressingly low-value item is expensive. That said, it is certainly not all gloom and doom in the C&D aggregate business.
“The use of portable crushers on demo jobs appears to be on the rise,” Cherry says. He also sees some improvement in the utilization of asphalt in non-hot mix applications.
“Expansion of new end markets is always near the top of our goal list, but as long as we continue to build on past successes, the market continues to expand which is what we are currently seeing,” Cherry says.
Bright Spots on the Road
In some areas, highway specifications for crushed concrete have been relaxed significantly. This trend is helping the markets in several states.
Being more lenient has allowed for greater use of recycled materials in main-line route construction. In most cases, the regulations allowing use of recycled concrete aggregate have been in place since the early or mid-1990s. The challenge C&D operators have is getting recycled material written into the jobs that have been funded.
Dykes Paving recently completed a 250,000-ton job on I-75. “They allowed every bit of it to be used on the main line…not just shoulders and ramps,” Dykes says happily.
That is a major sea change from the norm, where this recycled material has been used on a limited basis. On highway jobs, it goes beyond road materials.
“Seasonal adjustments are always a factor but demolition, aggregate stabilized and steel are currently the strongest markets we serve,” Cherry says.
Kent did take advantage of the tax incentives offering 50 percent depreciation to purchase a new loader. “It’s not in production yet,” he says. However, he figures if and when things get busier, he will need the machine.
Cherry has a similar outlook. “We have a substantial capital expenditure budget for 2013 in anticipation of returning markets,” he says. “Specifically, we plan to be adding across the board.”
That means Cherry Cos. will be adding crushers, pugmills, screens, loaders and excavators. This, Cherry says, is to allow the company to be positioned for growth in 2014.
Up on the Roof
The asphalt roofing shingle market is another area where some C&D recyclers say they expect to turn a profit.
“We have seen a pickup in demand for asphalt shingles,” Dykes says. He says his operation is one of the few in the state still handling the material. “Everyone in Georgia has given up on shingles but us,” he says.
In urban centers, he see jobs with 50 percent buildup of asphalt roofing, making it worthwhile to handle a project.
Still, there is interest. Recovery Technology Solutions (RTS) is building a $22 million asphalt recycling facility between Macon and Atlanta.
The goal of the plant is to recycle asphalt-based material, distilling it down to asphalt for construction.
RTS uses what might be considered an expensive and technical process to recycle asphalt shingles and extract and recover asphalt cement, fiberglass/felt, mineral aggregates and mineral fillers.
The idea is to keep the material out of landfills and to allow the resultant liquid asphalt to be reused for shingle manufacturing or highway asphalt. RTS takes the processed recycled asphalt and adds material to bring it back to the required viscosity to meet spec.
Alabama just relaxed its specifications on recycled asphalt roofing, allowing 5 percent recycled material, up from 3 percent, in highway uses.
“We’re already seeing the Alabama market taking shingles from Georgia,” Dykes says.
“You are starting to see a lot more people getting into C&D,” Dykes says. “They want to keep it out of the landfills and make money out of it.”
In his area, Kent would question this business plans. “The private sector is sucking air,” he says, adding it will take another presidential election—whether a Democrat or Republican is elected—to get things on an even keel.
“I do not see things making huge headway. I don’t know that some companies can wait that long…they are hanging on by a string,” says Kent.
The author is a freelance writer living in the Cleveland area. He can be contacted at email@example.com.
|// Scrap Iron RMDAS
No. 1 Heavy Melt Steel Pricing
(Per Gross Ton for No. 1 HMS scrap)
// Stone and Aggregate Pricing
Exports of U.S.-made construction equipment increased by 13 percent in 2012 compared with the previous year for a total $26.7 billion. This follows 43 percent growth in 2011 and 28 percent growth in 2010. (Source: Association of Equipment Manufacturers)
ISRI Gulf Coast and New Southern Chapters’ Summer Convention & Exposition,
Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries Inc., Gulf Coast and New Southern chapters,
CARI 72nd Annual Convention,
Halifax, Nova Scotia,
Canadian Association of Recycling Industries,
23rd Annual Recycling & Organics Conference,
Professional Recyclers of Pennsylvania,
CRRA 37th Annual Conference,
California Resource Recovery Associaiton,
www.crra.com or 916-441-2772
Long Beach, Calif.,
Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA),
301-585-2898, ext. 240, or wastecon.swana.org
23rd Annual Arkansas Recycling Coalition
Conference & Trade Show,
Eureka Springs, Ark.,
Arkansas Recycling Coalition,
Paper Recycling Conference & Trade Show,
Recycling Today Media Group,
12th Annual BioCycle Conference on Renewable Energy from Organics Recycling,