Two drums with teeth: ELB Equipment

ELB Equipment’s Komptech Crambo shredders are working over-time at Van Schaik’s Bio Gro’s Melbourne organics facility to keep up with a steady influx of material.

Landscaping and permaculture suppliers have reported unprecedented demand for their products in recent months, with an increasing number of Australians looking to become self-sufficient in light of COVID-19.

According to a recent article published in The Canberra Times, the surge prompted Australia’s largest online gardening club, Victoria’s Diggers Club, to advise that it was no longer accepting new product orders.

While the new wave of home gardeners is challenging supply and demand for some, it’s welcome news to waste management and horticulture specialists Bio Gro.

Operating out of South Australia and Victoria, Van Schaik’s Bio Gro (Bio Gro) produces nutrient rich products tailored for a wide range of horticultural and agricultural applications.

According to Sage Hahn, Operations Manager of Bio Gro’s Victorian Operations and Melbourne facility, the application of Bio Gro products to soil results in a range of environmental benefits.

These include, she says, improved soil health, water savings, improved crop productivity and an enhanced ability to mitigate climate change by sequestering carbon within soils.

In addition to functioning as a distribution centre for premium potting mixes, Bio Gro’s Melbourne facility operates as an organics resource recovery centre.

“We manage green and timber waste for two councils out of the Eastern Organics Tender, with that material processed at our site and sent off for further composting,” Sage says.

“We deal with roughly 40-50,000 tonnes of organics per annum and produce between 35 and 40,000 cubic metres of premium product that goes out to production growers, landscapers and nurseries.”

To process its organic waste material, Bio Gro operate a Komptech Crambo dual-shaft shredder, purchased through Australia’s exclusive Komptech distributor ELB Equipment.

When material comes in, Sage says Bio Gro decontaminate it manually, before using the Crambo to break down material sizing and generate a more uniform stream.

“Particular sizing is extremely important as it allows us to get more material onto trucks, with the organic material tipped out at the other end ready for composting,” she says.

“Komptech equipment is the best we’ve seen for green waste. It’s extremely robust and the machinery is clever in the way it works through contamination. Machinery maintenance is also very easy, and the fuel efficiency is fantastic.”

Komptech Crambo dual-shaft shredders are designed for shredding all types of wood and green waste. The machines feature two slow-running drums with shredding tools to minimise fine particle and noise and dust emissions, while resisting contraries.

Simon Humphris, ELB Product Manager, says the Crambo enables easy adjustment of the output particle size, with operators able to exchange the screen basket to suit the specification.

“The Crambo is powered by a modern Caterpillar engine, with a complete muffling of the engine compartment keeping noise emissions to a minimum,” he says.

“Through load dependent rotation speed regulation, the hydraulic drum drive ensures that full advantage is taken of the engine output.”

When shredding waste wood, Simon says the shredder’s wear-resistant surface hardened teeth provides a high level of resistance to contraries.

“Counter rotating shafts, together with the special shape of the teeth, produce a perfect feed, even for fractions with high board content,” he says.

Similarly, Simon explains that the shredder facilitates a high throughput for bulky vegetation via a generously dimensioned feed area, folding hopper and counter rotating teeth.

“The teeth size the material and press it in a cutting and splitting action against the cutting edge and screen baskets located underneath,” he says.

“Slow turning results in a lumpy shred initially, however, the material does not exit the shredding area until the particle size matches the hole size of the screen basket. This enables the quantity of shredded material in the desired particle size to be maximised.”

The shredding drum, with rotation speeds up to 44 rotations per minute, has specially developed bearings to keep the drum in place even under extreme loads.

Strong planetary gears boost drive train life, Simon adds, providing dependable service through thousands of operating hours.

Bio Gro’s shredder has been performing above expectation, Sage says, maintaining consistent efficiency in the face of high capacity operations. She adds that the ELB team’s technical expertise and training is second to none.

“ELB come out to our facility and do on-site training with operators. There are not many businesses that do that level of training. And we find it to be absolutely integral to the performance we get out of the machine, because our operators actually understand how it works,” Sage explains.

Furthermore, Sage says ELB’s spare parts service works to maximise uptimes.

“With overseas equipment you can get caught out with spare parts, but because Komptech is so entrenched in the organics sector, ELB has a lot of spare parts in Australia, which means there’s much less downtime,” she says.

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Capital compost: ELB Equipment and Corkhill Bros

Phil Corkhill, of Corkhill Bros, explains the process and equipment requirements essential to managing Canberra’s green waste collection service.

When the Canberra Business Chamber sought to find the territory’s oldest surviving business in 2019, Corkhill Bros was among a handful of those recognised.

Operating in multiple capacities since 1954, Corkhill Bros has been running a public green organic drop-off facility in the nation’s capital for more than 35 years.

While the drop-off facility always received a steady flow of material, its intake jumped in April 2017. The surge in material followed the introduction of separate green organics kerbside collection in the ACT.

The ACT Government subsequently tasked Corkhill Bros with collection and processing via a government contract. As Canberra does not have individual councils, this means Corkhill Bros manage the entire territory.

By July 2019, all Canberra residents had access to separate organics collection after the service was rolled out progressively over three-years.

As a result, Phil Corkhill, of Corkhill Bros, says the family-run business now deals with an average of 350,000 tonnes of green waste each year.

“As a company, we’re committed to a circular economy waste management and resource recovery approach. This means it’s very important that we achieve high recovery rates and nutrient-rich feedstock,” he says.

According to Phil, all organic waste processed at the facility is reused for the benefit of the community, with the resulting material turned into high-quality landscaping supplies and compost.

“We grind our green organics daily, before allowing the product to sit for three months to achieve quality pasteurisation and composting,”
he says.

“This allows the particles to break down before additives are introduced and turned into the piles for mixing.”

To manage the process efficiently with minimal downtown, Corkhill Bros work closely with machinery supplier ELB Equipment.

“When dealing with that level of material, operators can’t afford equipment breakdowns or to work with suppliers that don’t remain significantly engaged in the business,” Phil says.

“We manage and process all of Canberra’s green waste, and as such, require efficiencies of scale. ELB can provide those efficiencies, which is why we continue to work with them.”

Phil says Corkhill Bros currently operates a Topturn X55 Compost Turner, Multistar L3 recycling screen and four Nemus 2700 screens all supplied by ELB at its Mugga Lane Resource Management Centre.

“ELB calls us at least once a month, not just to check in on existing equipment, but to enquire about future needs and maintenance requirements. They are always on the front foot,” he says.

“I consider them more of a partner than a supplier – they’re a very proactive company.”

Corkhill Bros uses the Multistar L3 and Nemus mobile machines for screening and mixing. Phil says both recycling screens facilitate consistent operations, particularly in contrast to drum screens or flatbeds.

“Drum and flatbed screens often suffer significant blockages, which in turn creates inefficiencies,” he says.

“The technical makeup of star screens circumnavigates that problem through curvature, to create a reliable piece of equipment capable of processing organics in all weather conditions.”

The core of the Multistar L3 screen consists of one or two screen decks, with the rotating shafts of the coarse screen deck moving the material horizontally. Phil says particle size can be controlled by varying the rotation of the star shafts.

“The particle size of the material can be changed within seconds using frequency converters on the operator console, within the range determined by the star geometry,” he says.

All functions are monitored by a central control unit, which reports on the current operational status to streamline site operations.

In regard to Corkhill Bros’ four Nemus screens, Phil says he uses the barrels for final screening and blending. “Nemus 2700s are very high production machines, with some great improvements on the previous mustang model,” he says.

With a large steep-walled hopper and high-performance discharge system, the Nemus 2700’s material flow enables 10 per cent more throughput than predecessors,
he adds.

“The clearance between the drum and sidewall also allows for a wide range of material inputs, with hole sizes up to 100 millimetres,” he says.

Fine particles are discharged by a cross belt and profiled discharge belt, with the Komtech design preventing material trickle at transfer points to facilitate high capacity.

Corkhill Bros’ Topturn X55 Compost Turner runs in a separate part of the Mugga Lane facility to facilitate open air windrowing,
Phil says.

As one of the most widely used compost turners in the world, the Topturn’s frame is designed for heavy-duty applications, namely varied and unpredictable municipal green waste.

Phil says the turner’s large hydraulically driven drum, with efficient conveyor and throwing blades, accelerates the turning and rotating process. This, he adds, means all material is mixed before passing through the drum. Since purchasing the machine in 2017, Phil says he has noticed a rise in material quality.

“I’ve been nothing but happy with ELB’s compost turner. It really helps us maintain workflow and product excellence,” he says.

While Corkhill Bros works with multiple manufacturers and suppliers, Phil says ELB’s commitment to service, including spare parts and process maintenance, is a standout in the industry.

“I’m always impressed with their methodology and business model, as it’s very customer focused. We deal with multiple manufacturers and suppliers, and I’d like to think some of them could aspire to the ELB model.

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