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Maine Company Provides Grinding, Chipping

Maine Wood Recycling turns to CBI Equipment to process bark into potting soil.

By Diane Calabrese
Date Posted: 10/1/2004

ASHLAND, Maine — The size of the bark pile at South African Pulp and Paper Industries (SAPPI) in Hinckley, Maine is impressive even now, two years after Maine Wood Recycling began to reduce it. Randy Shaw, owner of Maine Wood Recycling, estimates the pile still covers six acres and reaches a height of 40 or 50 feet.

      The bark pile has been a fixture of the SAPPI yard so long that no one is sure what wood species are in the mix. Nor does anyone know when it was started. Randy theorized that the expanse of bark began some 20 years ago and that it includes remains of both hardwood and softwood species.

      Natural composting has taken place over the years in the huge bark pile, and soil has been blown into it, so it is a great source of raw material for making saleable commodities.

      Seeing the potential value in the bark pile at SAPPI, Randy determined to undertake an effort that others before him had tried and abandoned because it proved so daunting. In 2002 he purchased a CBI Magnum Force Series 6000 HZ Hog grinder from Continental Biomass Industries Inc. (CBI) in Newton, N.H. to advance the project.

      The CBI 6000 is on site at SAPPI in Hinckley at least 80% of the time, said Randy. It is the core piece of equipment in the company’s high volume grinding operations to process the bark into potting soil.

      “We’re producing 1,500 tons per week of wood material,” said Randy, and 4,000 to 5,000 tons of potting soil. The potting soil comes from a high volume pre-screening system that relies on a CBI pre-screener.

      Maine Wood Recycling has six men on site at the Hinckley location. One man runs a Komatsu 220 excavator, loading a conveyor that carries material over the CBI pre-screener and then to the CBI 6000 hog.

      Working at the task full-time, two men pick rocks from material trapped by the screen. The pre-screened material heads to the CBI 6000. The three other men operate other equipment to handle and move the grindings and reclaimed soil. They use loaders, two Komatsu 380s and one John-Deere 534.

      The potting soil coming from the Maine Wood Recycling operation at the SAPPI site is sold wholesale to Jolly Gardener, which markets it at the retail level.

      Randy did not buy the CBI 6000 and the CBI pre-screener only because he required high volume equipment. He purchased the equipment because he already knew the capabilities of CBI machines.

      Randy bought his first CBI machine, a CBI Magnum Force Series 4800 HZ hog grinder, in 2000. He gave the machine and others a tough workout before he purchased it. Randy brought in several grinders for demonstrations, and the CBI machine proved to be the most durable and reliable, he indicated.

      “I have three mechanics,” said Randy. “They say the CBI is very high quality to start with.” They also tell him, he explained, that from that starting point, “it’s simple, but efficient” and “very well built.”

      Both the CBI 4800 and the CBI 6000 run off Cat model 3412 diesel engines, which generate 900 hp. They run year-round without a hitch, said Randy, and that means enduring the freezing cold and snow of northern Maine.

      The CBI grinders are moved with a tractor. “I’ve got several types” of tractors, said Randy, and he does not depend on particular one. Both CBI grinders take to the road and maneuver easily on job sites in snow without chains.

      Converting wood waste and other materials to saleable products is the business of Maine Wood Recycling. For example, rocks that are screened out are collected and sold as landscaping stone.

      Extracting enough stone from the wood is possible because the CBI 4800 and CBI 6000 are such high volume machines. Using screeners on the CBI 4800 and the CBI 6000, Maine Wood Recycling can easily process hundreds of tons — or thousands of cubic yards — each day.

      The CBI 4800, which is road legal like the CBI 6000, is taken to client sites to do much of its work. Maine Wood Recycling travels to mills across the northern two-thirds of the state, grinding residuals into wood mulch and fuel. The wood fuel goes to co-generation plants.

      Maine Wood Recycling has a 60-acre site in Bridgewater where local sawmills bring in and drop off waste. The company does some grinding there, too. The office and main installation for the company is in Ashland, about 30 miles northwest of Bridgewater.

      At the yard in Bridgewater, Maine Wood Recycling produces hardwood chips for pulp mills, explained Randy. For chipping, Randy uses a Morbark 5048, which he purchased in 2001. The machine is used to chip whole trees and tops. The material comes from logging crews for Fraser Paper, Ltd., Seven Islands Land Co. and J. Paul Levesque & Sons, Inc.

      Maine Wood Recycling also does some grinding at landfills. It captures the green waste and the clean material, which is approved by the state in its monitoring role.

      Maine Wood Recycling was scheduled to take delivery of a new Precision chipper in October. With the Precision and Morbark machines, the company expects to produce about 100,000 tons of chips annually. The Morbark 5048 is fed by a Hood loader and has been producing 60,000 tons of chips per year, according to Randy.

      Grinding and chipping are just two parts of the business of Maine Wood Recycling. “We also do brokerage of bark and hog fuels,” said Randy, including transport. “I sort of take care of local mills.”

      Randy is a licensed forester. He earned a forestry degree from the University of Maine. After graduating from college, he worked for J. Paul in Ashland for four years, then he spent 14 years at Fairfield Energy, working in procurement of all hog fuels.

      Although he did not plan to go into procurement, he said it was something he enjoyed. “I grew up in a logging family and area,” said Randy, “and farming.”

      Randy always thought he would be on the logging side of the wood products industry after earning his degree in forestry. But he got started in procurement and found it was a good fit. He explained that he “likes getting things accomplished” and felt the setting gave him the opportunity to do just that. He likes owning a company for the same reason.

      Maine Wood Recycling works within Maine, going as far north as Ft. Kent on the border with Canada and as far south as Skowhegan, a span of 180 miles. At one time the company did work in Canada.

      Including the six people deployed full-time in the yard at SAPPI, Maine Wood Recycling has 23 employees who work a five-day week. “We’re a very family-oriented business,” said Randy. “Our employees are like our family. We work together.” That means if there is a challenge, he explained, the team collaborates to find a solution.

      Randy’s wife, Linda, does the bookkeeping, payroll and other administrative tasks for the company. Their son, Sam, headed off to college this semester to study mechanical engineering at the University of Maine. Until then, Sam had been driving a truck for the company. Randy said it has been wonderful having his son work for him.

      Randy launched his first business, Shaw Lumber Co., a sawmill, “as a hobby,” he explained. By the mid-1990s, he decided he wanted to launch a business that would be devoted to wood recycling. So Shaw Lumber Co. became Maine Wood Recycling.

      Maine Wood Recycling got going with a Morbark grinder and a John-Deere skidder. When Randy first started the company, he did whole tree chipping. He got into grinding when he purchased the CBI 4800 four years ago.

      The CBI 4800 and the CBI 6000 are designed for extremely tough grinding conditions. The tips on the CBI 6000 have a projected life of 500 hours. That means fewer hours of downtime for routine maintenance.

      Both the CBI 4800 and the CBI 6000 can handle full-length trees, stumps, brush, railroad ties, telephone poles and demolition wood. Although the 900 hp engines work well for Randy’s operations, CBI offers customers a range of engine options from 630 hp to 1030 hp.

       The CBI 4800 and CBI 6000 grinders are equipped with upper and lower feeder rollers. Three high-torque planetary gear drives power the infeed rollers. The crushing force of the upper roller is adjustable remotely by radio control.

      With the pre-screener built into the CBI machine, tiny particles like crushed rock can be filtered out before they come in contact with the hog. With fewer fines destined to abrade it, the hog wears better over time.

      The CBI 4800 and CBI 6000 Magnum Force grinders are designed for rugged use and longevity. There is full front and back access to the hog chamber. There are also bolt-in liners. Different rotors can be matched to the type of production an owner wants.

            A native of Bridgewater, Maine, Randy enjoys fishing when he gets to take time away from his business.


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