Materials handlers play key role in wood reprocessing

From the year 2004 it will no longer be possible to dump waste wood in landfill sites. Waste processors are looking for minimise wood waste by options. LAWE reports on a company which is investing in wood reprocessing.

West Bromwich is home to WBP Enviromulch Ltd, a recent recipient of Valpack’s Reprocessor of the Year title and which can lay claim to being Europe’s largest wood reprocessor.

At WBP Enviromulch’s company’s new Brandon Way facility, over 6,000 tonnes of wood per month are processed into a range of coloured landscaping mulches.

At the heart of the site’s operations are two machines supplied by local Case main dealer Saville Tractors – a specially modified 988CK hydraulic crawler excavator and a 621CXT wheel-loader, the latter equipped with a 4m³ high-tip bucket.

In such production environments, it is vital that the loading systems are immediately available, with minimum downtime and low servicing costs. Rod Gifford, owner of WBP Environmulch, explains: “Ten years ago we started to get interested in recycling waste from our own pallet refurbishment operation. Since then we have invested millions of pounds to reach a stage where we have a market-leading product manufactured in a world-class facility. When compared with traditional harvested bark mulches, our range of products offers gardeners and landscapers a pest and disease free alternative, with a longer life span due to the maturity and quality of the raw materials being used. They can be supplied in a wide variety of colours to suit different designs ranging from traditional to ultra modern.”

Crushing operation

Dismantled packing cases and pallets are delivered in bulk and discharged on to the floor of the indoor crushing house. The recently delivered Case 988CK hydraulic crawler excavator features a fabricated two metre high extension to the air-conditioned cab. This allows the operator excellent visibility whilst selecting raw materials and then feeding them into the pre-crusher’s hopper. From here the 31.75mm (1.25 inch) chunks are further processed to remove any residual metal and oversized bits before being automatically fed into the crusher plant. Throughout all stages of the operation there are dust removal and suppressant systems – a vital consideration in the total environmental impact of this process.

Mr Gifford comments, “We previously ran a Case 788 based grab and found it to be incredibly reliable. Over four years it had less than two weeks downtime, including routine servicing. When it came to specifying a replacement, we decided to opt for a Rossi sorting and demolition grab on the larger 988CK crawler chassis. This attachment provides the operator with the precise control needed to sort the materials to ensure consistent throughput to a uniform standard.

“To complement the 988CK, we also operate a Case 621CXT wheel-loader to feed the crushing house and to load bulk supplies into high-sided trucks. This machine has been equally reliable, a faulty valve being the only problem in two years. Focusing on quality brings benefits throughout the system. Having safe and comfortable machinery means we are able to attract the better and more experienced operators, which in turn leads to a positive impact towards the quality and quality of finished products at the end of a shift.”

Saville Tractors’ Dave Valentine says: “The machines are operated to a high standard and capabilities. They are regularly serviced, providing high levels of reliability and productivity at a reasonable cost. Case has recognised the problems associated with working in such a dusty environment and has responded by developing a new range of wheel loaders. Featuring a cooling system with a unique self-clean facility, the new 621D model will be a real asset in such a dusty job site.”

What Rod Gifford is now manufacturing is a new product with environmental and commercial credentials. His expansion plans include another processing facility and adding “craft” items, such as picture frames, to the company’s range of products. “I believe this is no idealist dream but a sustainable and profitable way to protect the environment and provide employment by recycling other people’s waste,” he says.

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