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New Foam-Based System Colors Mulch, More

Equipment from Wizard Technologies attaches to existing grinders, coloring machines, trommels.

By TimberLine Staff
Date Posted: 6/1/2003

A new foam-based coloring technology for mulch and other materials has been developed by a New Jersey company with extensive experience as a landscape material supplier. The new technology uses considerably less water than other colorants and requires less drying time.

The foam technology is also effective on a variety of materials besides wood fiber, such as aggregates, stone, rubber and compost. Finished colored mulch is essentially dry and colorfast, enabling producers immediate to bag and deliver colored mulch for wholesale or retail markets. The company, Wizard Technologies, will distribute its products through licensing agreements world-wide.

The equipment developed by Wizard Technologies attaches to any type of existing grinding machine, trommel or and blower truck, eliminating the need to buy additional equipment. Wizard Technologies indicates that even existing coloring machines may be easily converted to the system.

The Wizard Technologies system was invented by Anthony Hesse, company president. His family owns and operates the only privately owned landfill in New Jersey, a state-of-the art facility comprised of 750 acres of land. Anthony’s other business operations include the removal and supply of materials from construction and demolition sites for major developers. This is in conjunction with wholesale and retail operations that supply a wide range of bulk materials, including fill dirt, crushed concrete, top soil, and mulch.

Anthony has been a supplier of naturally aged and colored mulches since 1988. The company has acted in the role of distributor as it supplies mulch produced by other recycling facilities. As a result, Anthony has developed considerable expertise in working with contractors and other businesses to develop various types of mulches to meet customer specifications and requirements.

His decision to develop an alternate coloring technology was due to dissatisfaction with the coloring processes that were available. "I didn’t like the process or the end product," said Anthony. "It creates a mess and the end product is too wet."

The majority of mulch coloring systems require large amounts of water to operate. As a result, freshly colored mulch is saturated with water and may not dry until the end user applies it and it is exposed to the sun and air.

Wet colored mulch also creates messy run-off and discolors equipment, Anthony noted. A loader that is being used to handle colored mulch may require frequent washing of the tires and bucket when
handling other materials is required. Homeowners also have complained about colored mulch ‘bleeding’ and staining driveways and sidewalks.

Additionally, water based colorant systems may lead to discrepancies over the amount of mulch a producer delivers to a distributor, leading to disagreements. The water adds tremendous weight, and loading to the legal gross vehicle weight may not fill up an entire 80-100 cubic-yard trailer. "It’s not productive or profitable to own a trailer with that capacity and not utilize it," noted Anthony. A trailer only half-full of colored mulch may already be over the legal weight limit, he added.

Perhaps the most important reason for developing the coloring system was the consideration of environmental resources, said Anthony. There was need for a technology that conserves water resources as well as protects watersheds from mixed run-off. Mulch colorant also can leach into water tables, impacting water quality of communities that rely on well water.

"Wasting water was not an option"he said.

His dissatisfaction with the performance of colorants that were available led him to explore foam as a coloring and coating medium. With the aid of leading chemists and scientists, he developed the foam coloring technology. "The decision to focus on foam and develop this system will improve market conditions while protecting the environment," said Anthony.

The Wizard Technologies process ‘cures’ the colored mulch, and the finished products are immediately ready to deliver, bag, handle and spread. There are several benefits to the dry condition of the finished mulch, Anthony observed. Coloring operations can be conducted during the rain without concern that rain water will cause the finished product to bleed and freckle. For those companies with bagging operations, the dry finished product eliminates the need to stockpile mulch and wait for it to dry; mulch colored with the Wizard Technologies system may be bagged immediately. The finished mulch weighs considerably less, which allows more cubic yards to be shipped per load, reducing freight costs and increasing profit margins.

Reducing the amount of water utilized in the coloring process significantly increases production. For example, Anthony described a leading mulch coloring system that consumes 25 to 30 gallons of water per cubic yard while producing colored mulch at the rate of 175 yards per hour. The Wizard Technologies system attached in minutes to the system and increased production to 375 yards per hour while reducing water consumption to approximately three to five gallons per yard, according to Anthony.

A blower truck can be fitted easily with the Wizard system so that the mulch is colored in the blowing and application process, and the color can by changed with ease from one job to another. This enables a company to send out a blower truck with a load of ordinary mulch and apply any number of colored mulches at different job sites.

Wizard Technologies developed specially formulated colorants and coatings for specific materials, such as wood fiber, tropical wood fiber, sand, aggregate, rubber and slag, and compost. The system has been proven effective on all mulches and wood fibers, regardless of cut, size or
moisture content: bark, hardwood, softwood, pine straw, green wood, dark fiber, and more.

Another advantage of the system is that Wizard Technologies colorants do not settle, so they do not require stirring or blending, reducing time and labor.

Wizard Technologies offers 15 colors and also will make custom colors, and it has a line of specialty coatings with special features. Colorants are priced comparably to other colorant products.

Wizard Technologies colors are bright because the foam is concentrated — not diluted with large amounts of water.
"Our colors are brighter," said Anthony. "When we process black, it’s midnight triple black. You can see our reds from a mile away." Wizard Technologies says its colors also are long-lasting and maintain their brightness.

The Wizard Technologies system will be marketed through several avenues. The company will license equipment manufacturers, distributors and individual mulch producers, such as a land clearing contractor, sawmill or pallet company.

"What intrigues me most about this system is the limited amount of water it uses," said Lucky Robison, Morbark’s vice president of product improvement,
research and development. "That’s
especially important when you consider the volume of water it currently takes
to color."

Peterson Pacific and Bandit also are reportedly interested in the Wizard Technologies System. "I would have to say these guys are on the cutting edge,"Stu Gamble of Peterson Pacific told Waste Handling Equipment News.

For more information, contact Wizard Technologies at (732) 730-0800 or visit the Web site at


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