5 reasons why material handlers can be the right choice for waste and recycling applications

Material handlers can be the right choice for waste and recycling professionals looking for an alternative to excavators.

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February 12, 2021

If you’re trying to improve productivity KPIs, then investing in a material handler, commonly called a scrap handler, is something to consider. You no longer need to work with a dealer to spec out a normal excavator for your yard or special order a machine. Several manufacturers now sell ready-made material handlers.

Here are five features that make them worth the money.

1. Droop-nose arm

Droop-nose arms are a common feature of material handlers. The geometry of these arms makes them perfect for picking demolition debris from a pile and placing it neatly over the sides of a nearby container, truck or railcar. The swing radius of a droop-nose material handler is tighter than the radius of an excavator outfitted with a standard arm. This is a benefit when working in a cramped yard.

2. Elevated cab

Operators have a better view of their surroundings from the cab of a material handler. Material handlers have a cab on a fixed riser or one that lifts hydraulically. Fixed cabs are typically more economically priced and have fewer moving parts to maintain. Hydraulically lifting cabs, conversely, usually lift higher than a fixed cab, enabling operators to see the entire space of the container they are loading. A material handler with a cab on a hydraulic lift may also be easier to transport because owners can lower the cab to reduce its required vertical clearance. Another benefit is that operators can enter and exit the machine closer to ground level rather than climbing the cab riser.

3. Rotating grapples and magnets

You shouldn’t have to order special hydraulic options to operate a scrap grapple on a material handler. Most machines come standard with the hydraulic setup to operate a rotating grapple. You can combine a magnet and a grapple or just attach a powerful magnet to make sorting demolition debris and recycling material easier. Your material handler will need a small generator to operate a magnet, which is an option available from most manufacturers.

4. Heavy-duty undercarriage

Material handlers have options to help them withstand tough working conditions. Extra guarding protects an undercarriage’s critical components. On a tracked machine, the drive motors are often recessed for further protection. On a wheeled material handler, solid tires are a common option to minimize machine downtime.

5. Cameras to increase visibility

Rearview cameras are moving from an option to a standard feature on many material handlers sold today. Sideview cameras—and even cameras offering 360-degree around-the-machine visibility—are also available as options. These advances have the potential to make recycling yards safer and reduce damage to machines caused by environmental hazards.

Mike Slusark is in charge of strategic communications at Des Moines, Iowa-based Two Rivers Marketing. This piece has been provided on behalf of Doosan Infracore North America.