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The Right Chipper for the Job: Not all whole tree chippers are created equal. But with a bit of diligence,you just might find the right machine.
Realizing the best profit margins require machines that deliver high production without losing throwing power, knife life, or fuel efficiency.
By Christopher Smith
Date Posted: 10/1/2016
A lot of time is spent talking about chips from whole tree chippers and how they’re used to supply biomass markets. For good reason—according to www.risiinfo.com, demand for biomass will likely triple in the next three years, with Europe leading the way as a major consumer. Large scale biomass power plants continue to go online around the world, but smaller scale biomass applications are also growing in popularity. Whether large or small, central to these facilities is high-quality biomass fuel, and that of course starts with wood chips.
Micro chips are typically the chips of choice for wood pellet production, as the smaller chip dries quicker and more evenly, allowing for more efficient pellet production with higher energy yields. Most chipper manufacturers offer machines or option packages to produce these specialty chips, but they typically fall short when it comes to performance and efficiency. And they aren’t always capable of producing larger sized chips, should they be required for other fuel wood markets.
To get the best of all worlds for these ever expanding markets, customers need machines that can not only produce micro chips, but switch back to standard chips. Realizing the best profit margins require machines that deliver high production without losing throwing power, knife life, or fuel efficiency.
Available on the Bandit Model 2590, 3090, 3590 and 3590XL, Bandit’s micro chip drum features double the cuts per revolution compared to a standard Bandit drum. The drum works in conjunction with a card breaker system designed to help filter out oversized chips exiting the drum. The result is a very uniform wood chip approximately ¼” in size, all without affecting the throwing power, production and efficiency. Should a larger size chip be required, Bandit’s micro chip drums can be easily converted back to a standard style for normal-sized chips. Regardless of the drum configuration, these machines require no auxiliary chip throwers to fill trailers.
“Right now our main market is a cement plant, where we started out needing the small chip for their old coal boiler,” explained Jimbo Nathe of R.J. Nathe & Sons in Dade City, Florida. The company runs a Bandit Model 3590 with the micro chip drum, working primarily on tracts in the central part of the state. The chips they produce go to multiple end-users.
“The other market we’re dealing with is a local power plant,” continued Nathe. “They don’t necessarily need as small a chip as what we’re producing, but the machine is versatile enough to where the chips still meet their specs. Being able to feed two markets is the reason we went with the 3590, and this machine is capable of going back to an eight-knife system to produce bigger chips for other markets.”
For places where biomass markets are slim, chip size and consistency are still important. Large-scale biomass markets get the exposure, but smaller-scale users such as universities, municipalities, and stand-alone manufacturing plants are viable markets for chips. Mulch producers also look for high-quality, clean chips for creating top-dollar mulch.
Even without an end-user for chips, production still matters. As more attention comes to land clearing for utility clearance and fire mitigation, having reliable, highly productive equipment can mean the difference between getting contracts or sitting on the sidelines. Track chippers are the machines-of-choice for these projects, where mobility and all-terrain capability are key to reaching areas towable machines could never go. Bandit Industries developed the first self-propelled track whole tree chipper in the 1990s, and these machines remain popular today for a wide range of clearing contractors.
“We’re at work five days a week, all-year round,” said Mike Rowe, foreman for Edwards Landclearing Inc. based in Amherst, Ohio. The company purchased a 600-horsepower Bandit Model 2290 Track that is used regularly for utility clearing.
“This thing has been running since we got it; it doesn’t sit,” he said. “It’s not happy unless brush is going through it. Doing pipeline, it seems like they run them in the worst spots that you can get. The 2290 has been on some pretty steep grades, some pretty muddy spots. We’ve chipped pretty much as big of stuff as we could fit in the throat. If you can get it started in there, it’s gone.”
And then there are pulp and paper mills who’ve long relied on a steady flow of precisely sized chips for paper production. Big disc-style chippers remain the machines of choice for many mills and loggers looking to produce chips specifically for pulp and paper mills. That’s because they generally offer a smoother cut, and they tend to have an easier time making thin, uniform chips that work well for pulp.
Bandit offers two whole tree disc-style chippers. The Model 1850 has been a mainstay machine for over 10 years thanks to its size and cost-effective performance. Operations requiring more production have turned to the 24-inch capacity Model 2400, and recent enhancements have led to a revamped version now known as the Model 2400XP. It’s the same solid, well-established design known throughout the logging industry, only made better with a few enhancements and an aggressive feed system to produce an improved chip for pulp and paper markets.
The big news with the 2400XP is a revised chipping angle for the disc, along with longer knives. With these changes, the Model 2400XP produces a specifically sized chip, but more importantly, the chip maintains a consistent narrow or thin thickness. The feed system is positioned close to the chipper opening to increase chip uniformity, and it’s synchronized to the feed rate of the chipper. In other words, material flows at the rate the chipper wants it. This prevents overfeeding which causes a braking action—slowing production while increasing machine wear and decreasing fuel efficiency. On the other side of the coin, material isn’t held away from the disc which can create fines and odd-sized chips that mills don’t want.
The Model 2400XP is also equipped with a dirt separator that helps clear dirt, bark and other debris from the chips. It uses an end-discharge and cupped chip throwers to throw chips aggressively. Equipped with a 765-horsepower diesel engine, the Model 2400XP can fill a 50-foot chip trailer in about 15 minutes, packing 35 tons of chips per load.
“From the earliest days we built a reputation for listening to our customers and building the machines they asked for,” said Bandit Industries president Jerry Morey. “The Model 2400XP is the latest step in our commitment to honor that promise.”
As with the enhanced drum-style whole tree chippers with micro chip drums, the 2400XP is capable of serving multiple markets. With the dirt separator closed off it can provide excellent chips for biomass operations and other fuel wood needs. It can also produce chips well-suited for regrinding into mulch, not to mention chips for particle board production.
The Model 2400XP can be equipped with a standard infeed conveyor to produce whole tree chips for paper mills. Without the conveyor, it’s a perfect chipper for taking trees directly from a stand-alone flail for debarked chips.
Coping with markets that seem to be constantly changing can be stressful. Having equipment that is reliable, productive, efficient and versatile is key to staying a step ahead of trends. When considering a chipper, keeping these attributes in mind can help ensure you find the right machine for your company today, as well as for tomorrow and years to come.
Bandit Demo Showcases Grinder Versatility and Power, Strong Service Commitment
By Chaille Brindley
One of the best things about working with the forest products industry is the heavy machinery that makes this business possible. And when you can see an impressive line of equipment up close, it is a sight to behold. The 2016 Bandit Dealer Meeting included demonstrations of new products being developed and its existing line of grinders and chippers. Tons of horse power and efficient wood processing.
The event started with a tour of Bandit’s production factory. All of the machinery is built in mid-Michigan in the company’s 280,000 sq. feet facility by a workforce of over 400. The facility includes state-of-the-art technology. The focus of the event is educating dealers and Bandit personnel as well as special guests.
A key initiative that Bandit is rolling out is its Bandit Backbone™ parts and services support designed to take Bandit’s strong reputation for customer service to the next level. A key focus is faster turnaround for parts requests, an expanding dealer network to establish more local representatives in more areas and a dedicated support team that can offer technical support for all of Bandit’s products regardless of age, hours and warranty status.
During the demo, I spoke with Ron Cranouski of C&C Logging. He raved about the support and ease of maintenance of his Bandit machinery. Cranouski commented, “The service from Bandit is incredible. They will help you over the phone right away with their experts and within 10-15 minutes troubleshoot the problem and ship out the right part.”
C&C Logging runs a Bandit Beast® 3680 grinder on a track mount. One of the things that Cranouski loves about the machine is its versatility. He stated, “Bandit makes an incredible machine, offering so many different patterns – you can make so many different products with it from mulch to playground chips. It can grind stumps, green waste and whole trees. Our Bandit model 3680 is very versatile.”
Cranouski added, “I like the Bandit because the mill turns down toward the floor, and the floor and the mill are not working against each other. You don’t have one going one way and the other going the opposite way as in some other machinery designs. When they are both turning the same way, you have a lot more turning in power. The feed wheel and the chain are working in the exact same direction. It has more pulling in power.”
This aspect of the design makes the Bandit grinder easier to operate according to Cranouski.
During the demo, Bandit showcased its hand-fed chippers, whole tree chippers, stump grinders and its Beast® line of grinders. For more information, visit www.banditchippers.com or call 800-952-0178.
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