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How Pallets Become Wood Chips

How Pallets Become Wood Chips
11 Aug 2023  |
Efficiently shred large and bulky components such as pallets and crates? This can usually only be done with an appropriately sized machine. Vecoplan AG has a different approach to this problem – the VPC. This primary crusher combined with the compact VHZ shredder provides customers with an economical solution that can increase throughput by up to 50 percent. And the demand is rising.

“The inquiries came mainly from the USA,” reports Dirk Müller, Head of Business Unit Wood | Biomass at Vecoplan. “American material & distribution centres and DIY supermarkets often use disposable pallets.” These bulky wooden components must be reliably shredded in continuous operation, a process that’s usually only possible with large shredders – and they have a large footprint. In addition, if components such as pallets are fed directly to the shredder, the throughput rate is relatively low due to their light and airy construction – and shredding them takes time.

LIGNA visitors in Hanover will see Vecoplan present the VPC (short for Vecoplan Pallet Crusher), which the company first marketed in 2020. This will be the first time the VPC has been demonstrated live at a trade fair. “The VPC can easily solve the space problem,” says Müller. “We combine the primary crusher with the compact VHZ shredder series.” The VHZ is a robust single-shaft shredder equipped with energy-efficient drive technology. The collected materials can be input directly, without additional feeding systems and intermediate buffers. With a working width of 1,600 millimetres, the 800-millimetre-high VPC 1600 fits precisely on top of the VHZ, enabling companies to save considerable space. The VPC is permanently fixed during operation. For example, if the machine operator has to change the counter knives in the shredder, he can quickly move the 5.5-tonne VPC over a frame that connects the two machines.

Crushing instead of cutting

“We carried out various tests in our Technical Centre,” says Dirk Müller. “Without the Pallet Crusher, the VHZ achieves a throughput of just under 2,500 kilogrammes per hour when shredding – in combination with the VPC, the two units achieve 3,700 kilogrammes.” The primary crusher operates on a special principle: The innovative rotor in the VPC 1600 pre-crushes the wooden material before the cutting crowns of the VHZ rotor shred it. “As our tests have shown, this can significantly increase throughput compared to single-stage shredding – by as much as 50 per cent, depending on the component,” says Müller.

The filler port of the new primary crusher measures 1,605 x 1,605 millimetres; the drive power is 2 x 9.2 kilowatts. Sixteen counter-crushers and two independently running rotors, each with a speed of ten revolutions per minute, have been integrated into the machine. If an over-torque occurs briefly during operation, the two rotors can reverse independently. In this way, Vecoplan ensures an efficient and continuous process flow. Operators also benefit from a robust design. “We designed the rotors to eliminate beater head replacement,” explains the Vecoplan expert. “We can just hardface them.” Added to these advantages is the relatively low proportion of wear parts.

Powerful digitalisation

At LIGNA in Hanover, the VPC will be connected to the Vecoplan Smart Center (VSC) via the cloud. This powerful digitalisation concept offers a modern communication interface between Vecoplan and the customer – the VSC.connect system. Users can access online commissioning, remote service, key performance indicators and a media database. The integrated, intuitive VSC.control operating panel serves as a communication medium for the machine’s control system and a live link to the machine manufacturer in Germany’s Westerwald region.

“This powerful combination of VPC and VHC gives operators a highly efficient unit that can continuously process wooden pallets and crates,” says Müller. “We were able to fulfil the requests from the United States. We’ve already delivered 25 Pallet Crushers since we launched the machine – but interest is continuing to grow in Europe too.”

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Vecoplan AG is a leading manufacturer of machines and systems for the resources and recycling industry for shredding, conveying and reprocessing wood, biomass, plastics, paper and other recyclable materials such as domestic and industrial waste....

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