Equipment Focus: Easy Does It

Features - Products & Equipment

Screen and crusher attachments can simplify the production process at small and remote job sites.

November 22, 2011
Kelley Stoklosa

It is usually the simplest things that make people smack their palm to their forehead and ask themselves why they hadn't thought of that. Screening and crushing buckets would qualify as such an invention. Screen and crusher attachments are not competing with larger, stationary attachments, but rather filling a void once apparent at smaller and sometimes out-of-the-way job sites.

Larry Giberson, owner and vice president of Giberson Enterprises, says, "There is definitely a time and place for the tracked, stationary, and mobile crushing machines that are typically all larger than attachments, because they can bring a better cost-per-ton and quicker production with the proper conditions and larger volumes."

However, he adds, processing attachments can avoid hassles caused by using larger machines. Contractors and sub-contractors are seeing the possibilities.

High Return
Giberson, whose Shamong, N.J.-based company created and distributes the Eco-Crusher, says his attachments work well on certain jobs, specifically those that require materials to be handled, moved or disposed of onsite. The attachments can be transported to a job site fairly easily and typically require little preparation prior to use. Small and remote job sites more so than large sites can benefit from screening and crushing attachments, according to Giberson.

"Because one of the more critical factors is cost-per-ton, the smaller jobs – or at least the jobs with smaller quantities of material – stand to gain the most," Giberson says. "There would be no transporting, trucking/hauling, and thus the added fuel costs.

"Remote job sites, even large ones, also recognize the advantages of an on-site attachment since mobilizing and transporting large crushers and screeners is costly," Giberson continues. "Another scenario where the Eco-attachments see an excellent return on investment is where operators have the advantage of stockpiling debris (usually produced in small batches) so it can be attacked when the time is more convenient or conducive to the owner's operation."

Andy Ellinger, marketing and advertising manager with Company Wrench Carroll, Ohio, says scrap yard customers have enjoyed the versatility of the Flip Screen offerred by the company. He says Company Wrench also has worked with customers on other job sites, including: compost, concrete, construction, demolition, dirt lots, feedlots, fertilizer, foundries, landfills, landscaping, mining, road construction and maintenance, pipelines, public works, quarries, railways, recycling and remediation.

Ellinger echoes Giberson's assertion when he says the attachments are easy to have on job sites. "With a quick coupler installed on the host machine, attachment or disconnection of the unit would take 10 minutes," Ellinger says. "Changing of the screens also is a very quick and simple process which, besides releasing and closing two clamps at the beginning and end of the process, can be done from the operator seat."

"Customers who use both the crusher and screener in tandem usually invest in a quick coupler for quick and easy changes with one carrier," Giberson adds.

There is potential for these attachments to handle larger projects as well. Elliger recalls a project where his clients needed to process two and a half acres of topsoil in one week.

"[The] project included skimming the top 12 inches of topsoil in a 10-acre scrap yard to sift through the material and get the ferrous and nonferrous [metal] throughout the yard," Ellinger says. "It usually took a two-to-three-man operation to do and they wanted to go with something different. With a Flip Screen and one operator they were able to process more than two-and-a-half acres of topsoil in a one-week period, recovering 300 tons of ferrous and nonferrous metal," he adds.

Low Maintenance
Although screen and crusher attachments have the potential to handle a wide variety of material, Ellinger and Giberson say training time is minimal.

MB Crushers, a producer and provider of jaw-action bucket crushers based in Reno, Nev., says while it sends technicians to help operators understand thier new equipment, most operators have a strong knowledge of the buckets within minutes.

After an initial training period, operators can expect to see their efficiency improve in a few days, or a couple of weeks at the most, according to Giberson. "The hardest part of any of the training is more about the changing of the output size and even that is just a matter of minutes out of a day," he says. Giberson continues, "Downtimes with attachments are also greatly minimized considering any jamming or clogging can be alleviated by simply dumping or reversing the attachment."

Routine maintenance should prevent any major repairs, say suppliers. Ellinger says regular greasing can do wonders when it comes to keeping screen and crusher attachments running the way they were designed. Giberson compares the attachments to the maintenance necessary to keep a car from breaking down. Jaws should be rotated and flipped as they wear—similar to tires. He also says piles with excess sand and dirt can act like a scouring agent and tear down jaws.

"One simple, cheap malfunctioning or broken part that is allowed to run regardless can cause a train wreck of related parts that cost both time and additional costs that are completely avoidable," Giberson says.

Nitty Gritty
The output crusher and screen attachments achieve depends on the variables associated with each job. Overall, the dollar amount an operator will be able to recover is what matters, Ellinger says.

"The [Flip Screen] can easily process and sort 300 tons per week," says Ellinger. "It isn't only the tonnage, however, it's also the dollar value recovered. Most of this material had been lost and forgotten and much of it is the nonferrous metal you can't recover with bucket loaders, cranes, etc.," he says.

Factors Giberson cites in production output include: input size (prepping); desired output size; size/capacity of the carrier (and thus size of the attachment); hardness of the material; optimized operation of the carrier's hydraulics; and operator efficiency.

Giberson adds, "For the most part, the Eco-Crusher product line of crushers can produce from 8 tons per hour to 200-plus tons per hour. The really important thing to not lose sight of, again, is the cost to produce a finished ton of product. The Eco line of crushers can do their job in the range of $1 to $7 per ton. These costs figure in the operating cost of the carrier (insurance and fuel) the cost on an operator and the associated wear costs on the attachment. Output sizes range from as large as five-to-six inches down to one inch."

He continues, "For the Eco-Screener line, expected production is anywhere from 25 to 250 tons per hour, with output sizes from as big as basketball-size rocks to screening down to as fine as 3⁄8-inch. Screening costs generally run cheaper than crushing, coming in at a range of 75 cents to $3 per ton."

Innovation Included
Giberson credits his customers with finding new ways to use their Eco crushers—often in ways even his company hadn't considered. Customers adapt their processes to maximize their profits and meet new requirements.

Giberson recalls a few examples. "We've seen a customer using the locked-closed flipping screener underwater clean while simultaneously keeping contaminants out and thus significantly increasing the value of the finished product. [Another example is] crushing directly over top of a box screen and getting more than one size finished product with just one pass."

Ellinger admits Company Wrench has been surprised by how efficient the attachments have been in the field.

"We were excited to see the increased efficiency of our customers using the Flip Screen. We conservatively estimated the time to process using the Flip Screen at a month or more based on the size of our customer's scrap yard but it really turned out to be closer to a week," he says.


The author is assistant editor of Construction and Demolition Recycling and can be reached at