by Giles Lambertson on behalf of Sandvik.
Concrete products are manufactured to last almost forever. So why discard the sturdy material just because the useful life of a building or highway has ended? Sending old concrete to a landfill didn’t make sense to Terry McAfee and his son David. As a result, they embarked on a mission to recycle concrete, and Sandvik equipment is helping them.
The McAfees, who own DT Specialized Services Inc. in Tulsa, Oklahoma, oversee demolition projects across the lower Midwestern United States. Five years ago, while they were in the process of tearing down a concrete structure, they decided that the project created an unusually large pile of refuse material. That’s when their thinking changed.
“We realized the sheer volume of concrete debris we created was going to be wasted, rather than recycled. That was the cornerstone of our decision to start the crushing business,” says Terry McAfee. The result is an affiliated company that they started, called ReRock Materials, Inc. Through ReRock, the McAfees are committed to recycling as an environmental best practice, even though they live in a region where natural aggregate is in ample supply and landfill fees are low. ReRock Materials, Inc. creates recycled concrete and aggregate products.
“We want to recycle a large amount of concrete per project,” David McAfee says. “But we are not doing this because, hey, this is a windfall. We are doing it as a commitment to the recycling industry.”
While McAfee was experienced in construction and demolition management, he was a novice recycler. He had seen a rock crusher at ConExpo, so he went shopping for more information. After visiting recycling operations and looking over different brands of crushers, in 2008 he finally bought a mobile jaw crusher and began recycling.
It was during this time that his meeting with Brian Costello, co-founder and sales director of Crushing Tigers, took place. Crushing Tigers are suppliers of mobile crushers, screening machines and spare parts in the Oklahoma and Arkansas markets. Costello sold McAfee an Extec S-3 screen, currently known as the Sandvik QA140, a tracked unit with a 10-foot-by-5-foot double-deck screen.
It exceeded McAfee’s expectations. More importantly, when McAfee discovered that not only did Costello sell reliable products, but he was also was knowledgeable about the industry. That was when he began to look to Costello for other industry insight.
McAfee learned that when Costello and managing director Pat Doab started Crushing Tigers, they did so with the intention of guiding customers toward more efficient crushing and screening operations. With that in mind, Crushing Tigers took a critical look at DT and concluded that a secondary crusher would provide more efficiency for DT operations. The problem was that David McAfee was not in the market for another crusher!
To convince McAfee, the team demonstrated a Sandvik QI240 PriSecTM mobile impact crusher. Their demonstration and subsequent analysis showed that while the overhead of a second machine added to the crushing process, the cost per ton of crushed concrete decreased. Costello and Doab repeatedly crunched the numbers with David McAfee until there was no question in McAfee’s mind.
“Before adding the Sandvik crusher, we were normally producing 30-50 tons of sellable products per hour,” McAfee says. “Now, if we are not doing 200 tons an hour, there is something wrong.”
That massive increase in production makes all their numbers look good. The addition of the Sandvik QI240 reduced the cost per ton to one third of its original cost. Furthermore, with the QI240’s four-bar rotor turning irregular chunks into uniform nuggets, reliance on the original jaw crusher was lessened, extending its working life.
At DT Technologies, the QI240 is used primarily, but not exclusively, as a secondary crusher. Because the QI240 is the only impact crusher on the market capable of operating in either a primary or a secondary position, the McAfees can use the machine in either process. This unmatched versatility comes from the patented design of its impactor box.
And, it’s portable
Besides the QI240’s operating efficiency, what sold McAfee on it was its portability. The 43-ton crusher moves on 20-inch wide tracks, which makes transporting it on a lowboy, convenient. The compact machine is just 8 feet wide and 46 feet long—easily permit-able for companies wanting to operate the crusher at more than one location.
“My bigger motivation in getting the QI240, aside from cost savings, was to have a machine I could throw on a trailer, run 500 tons of material in a day at one location, then move it back off site,” he says. “Its mobility is key, especially with its quick set-up.”
These two attributes of the QI240—the efficiency of the machine’s crushing process and its portability—have ushered in additional business at DT. This is because they are able to process more aggregate to sell by stockpiling it for future sales. Second, when work is slow at a demolition site, they move the QI240 elsewhere for custom crushing.
“I’m glad we started doing business with Crushing Tigers and Sandvik,” McAfee says. “We are better than we were before. Developing this relationship, coupled with the sharing of expert advice has certainly improved our business.”
Such trusting relationships are precisely what Costello and Doab want to forge with their customers, according to Doab, “The key is working together as a partnership. The relationship is important for sustainability, and the trust creates opportunities for everyone.”
Respecting business decision-makers and supporting crushing operations is what the people of Sandvik Construction Mobile Crushers and Screens in North America do. A new office in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, is staffed with engineers and sales support specialists. It is stocked with equipment parts to respond quickly to dealer calls. “Sandvik equipment is superb,” says Stu Gamble, a Sandvik Business Line Manager for mobile crushing and screening. “Keeping it operating at crunch time is the real test of partnership. We want to pass that test every time,” he says.
Costello adds that selling and servicing good machinery is gratifying, but becoming trusted partners with customers tops all. “I respect what machines can do,” he says. “But it is working with people that makes my day.”