Uptime machines

Features - Equipment News

Sun Recycling processes large volumes of C&D debris with machines that can handle the heavy workload.


The construction industry is one that eats materials for breakfast. It chews them up, spits them out and then comes back for more. What’s left are the waste materials that can either end up in a landfill or be sent to a recycling facility like Sun Recycling in West Palm Beach, Fla., operated by Southern Waste Systems (SWS), headquartered in Lantana, Fla.

Founded in 1999, SWS is an industry leader in the collection and processing of commercial and residential waste. As the largest privately owned recycler of construction and demolition material, yard waste, recovered materials and mixed waste in the southeastern United States, its innovative recycling processes have been met with national acclaim. The company’s goal of its business is to turn the highly recyclable products it collects into marketable products that can be put back into the economy instead of a landfill.

At the West Palm Beach facility, Sun Recycling operates on a 12-acre site. The facility takes material from third-party customers as well as from SWS. Rock crushers and wood grinders go to work in breaking down construction debris items to their most basic and reusable forms. In processing wood, metal, concrete, cardboard and plastics, Sun Recycling has a recovery rate of up to 92 percent. The debris comes in on trucks and then the Volvo equipment goes to work.

Working overtime

Southern Waste Systems owns 50 pieces of Volvo equipment, which clock in about 2,000 hours each per year.

Paul Valenti is the director of facility operations at Sun Recycling. As he looks across the wide expanse of the main yard, dozens of Volvo machines fill his view. When asked why his company has made such an investment in Volvo equipment, he answers with one word: uptime.

“One of the most important decisions for us in why we purchase Volvo equipment is uptime,” Valenti says. “The Volvo equipment will stand up to our heavy-duty cycle with the long hours, and at the end of the day that’s the name of the game. If there’s no equipment and no uptime, there’s no recycling.”

Sun Recycling’s rock crusher, a Volvo EC300D excavator is equipped with a hydraulic pulverizer attachment, simultaneously moving and crushing rocks and concrete the size of motorcycles. In an environment like this, the Volvo Care Cab becomes more necessity than luxury, Valenti says. Mounted on viscous silicon rubber to absorb shocks and provide comfort, the operator cab is a safe environment with filtration through 14 air vents, and low noise and vibration. With features like a rear-view camera and a color I-ECU monitor, the interior is designed to provide comfort and safety.

More excavators are found at Sun Recycling’s wood grinding operation. The Volvo EC250DL excavators are equipped with three-over-two grapple attachments. The excavators lift piles of wood waste and place waste into the grinder. Excavator attachments are switched out with versatility depending on the application — whether that application requires a bucket, grapple, fork or other attachment.

Throughout the Sun Recycling facility a series of Volvo L220 and L250 wheel loaders move tons of recyclable products through the process, including materials such as rock and concrete, logs, wood waste, cardboard or plastics. These wheel loaders help Sun Recycling to keep production moving at peak performance.

Fueling decisions

Equipped with OptiShift, the wheel loaders are designed to offer fuel efficiency and operator experience. OptiShift is a feature offered by Volvo Construction Equipment, Shippensburg, Pa., designed to increase operator comfort and machine durability while optimizing fuel savings. Load and carry applications such as those experienced at Sun Recycling can expect up to 15 percent fuel savings over the competition, with some applications experiencing up to 30 percent better fuel efficiency, according to Volvo. OptiShift combines the company’s patented Reverse by Braking (RBB) system and a new torque converter with lock-up and free wheel stator. The result is shorter cycle times, durability and fuel efficiency. OptiShift combined with CareTrack (the Volvo telematics system that provides machine monitoring information) marries built-in fuel efficiency with the ability to track a machine’s performance and keep tabs on fuel usage.

“With the cost of fuel today, and the amount of hours that we put on the machines, fuel efficiency is extremely important,” Valenti says. “The CareTrack program allows us to monitor fuel consumption and the way the operator is operating the machine. If we see a machine that is burning too much fuel, we can address the operator and try to remedy the situation. We have done this over the last three to four years, and our fuel consumption across the board on all of our equipment has dropped somewhere in the range of a gallon and a half per hour. If I take that times 2,000 hours for 50 machines at $3.50 a gallon, that’s a substantial savings to the bottom line.”

Spending less on fuel helps add to Sun Recycling’s profit margin, Valenti says. And fueling less frequently means less downtime. As demand increases, that becomes more and more important. With government regulations enforcing higher recycling rates, Sun Recycling must be able to keep up with the increasing demands placed upon it by contractors in the company’s area requiring a recycling facility for their waste materials. Reliable machinery that performs at a consistently high level is necessary for them to stay ahead of that demand.

“As a trendsetter in the industry of recycling construction material, we realize it’s important that we have equipment that can keep up with the demands of uptime,” Valenti says. “Volvo has a key role in that uptime.”

Building a business around environmental sustainability and recycling and reusing construction debris is an admirable proposition. But it’s a business nonetheless. Like any other business, SWS and Sun Recycling rely on their equipment to do the job consistently at a high level.


The article was submitted on behalf of Volvo Construction Equipment, based in Shippensburg, Pa.

To watch a video showing how equipment is being put to use at Sun Recycling in West Palm Beach, Fla., visit www.CDRecycler.com/sun-recycling-volvo-video.aspx.