Purpose-built US compactors make a strong impression on UK sites
With landfill under close scrutiny, local authorities and their contractors are subjected to considerable pressure to ensure that landfill operations, and landfill capacity in general, are managed as efficiently and effectively as possible - using the latest equipment and techniques. In this search for "best value", there are lessons to be learned, not least from America, and one company has already made a significant impact with new equipment in the UK, with the introduction of the leading American purpose-built waste compactors - the Al-Jon "Impact" range.
With some 25 machines now operating in the UK, Colin Jones, Managing Director of CSJ, explains, "There are three major reasons why we have been able to achieve such a strong position, and so quickly. It is the sheer performance of the machines, their proven reliability, both in America and now here in the UK, and the dedicated back-up which we provide - right through from advice on machine selection and specification, to life-time product support."
Evidence to support these claims includes the number of repeat sales to some of the biggest and most influential names in the waste management industry. Biffa took the first Al-Jon machine for the Wilnecote (Tamworth) site, closely followed by Caird Bardon at Peckfield (West Yorkshire). Since then, AMPL, Yorwaste, Viridor, Onyx and Waste Recycling Group have all acquired Al-Jon landfill compactors, and many are now taking delivery of additional units. There are two models in the Al-Jon "Impact" range, the 81K (in the 38-40 tonne class) and the 91K (43-45 tonne class), and several existing customers are now adding the bigger machine to their fleets.
Stuart Court, Group Plant Manager for the Waste Recycling Group, commented, "We have a big fleet of compactors, so we know exactly what we're looking for. We chose the Al-Jons, first because they were so impressive on demonstration, and then on close examination, they have all the features which we ourselves would specify if we were designing the ideal machine for landfill compaction. They have the power, the ground clearance, a strong and reliable hydraulic drive system, and a rugged overall simplicity which makes them totally reliable. I can honestly say they have not missed a beat."
The WRG fleet, the biggest single fleet of Al-Jons in the UK, now has six machines: three 81Ks and three of the latest 91Ks, two of which have recently gone to work at the Arpley Landfill in Warrington - one of the biggest and busiest sites in the country.
And this highlights another significant industry trend, according to CSJ - the move towards the larger machines.
"Good compaction depends on a number of factors, and gross machine weight is one of them," says Mr Jones. But even more important is the actual ground pressure which is directly related to wheel width, tooth design and spacing, he says. A full-width drum wheel for instance, will leave a smooth finish - as would be expected from a large roller - but the actual in-depth compaction will be grossly inferior, it is argued.
By contrast, the Al-Jon, with a range of carefully selected wheel-width and tooth options, is designed to maximise the crushing, chopping and compaction power. Also, being a purpose-designed landfill compactor, it has a high under-belly clearance of 760mm, so that the wheels can penetrate deeply without the machine loosing traction.
Al-Jon designers are now preparing to take compaction wheel design another step forward with the introduction of a new "cone-less" wheel, to provide a number of operational benefits which will be fully explained when it is launched later this year.
A further strong point which Al-Jon makes is that it (the manufacturer) and CSJ (the dealer) are both "dedicated specialists" in the field of waste compaction. CSJ, which operates its own fleet of machines exclusively in the waste compaction business, has 20 years of direct operational experience in the industry.
Underlining its confidence in the machines, CSJ provides nationwide product support and offers full "Repair and Maintenance" contracts, which are backed by a comprehensive warranty. Virtually all machines are bought with R&M contracts, which suits all parties, says Colin Jones. "We have a team of service engineers who cover the whole country, specifically for this business. They monitor each machine, and the customer has the comfort of knowing precisely, in advance, his operating costs."
"We have been delighted with progress in the short time since we started", says Paul Case, Sales Director of CSJ Al-Jon, who has been joined by waste management specialist Ted Holland as Business Development Manager.
Features include a fully-enclosed hydrostatic drive system. Mr Case says: "It is a well-proven, contamination-free system which eliminates the problems such as wire-wrapping associated with troublesome drive-shafts."
On-site demonstrations are naturally a strong deciding factor with potential customers, he adds.