Founded in 1956, German waste management specialist Breitsamer has grown to a 120-strong organisation as a result of 60 successful years in business.
With a fleet of 43 vehicles and a waste processing and storage capacity of 205,000 tonnes per annum, the team is equipped to tackle an array of construction, commercial and industrial applications. It was perhaps therefore unsurprising that the recent commissioning of a separate waste wood line would form part of the company’s recycling facility.
Waste wood was not a new material for Breitsamer to handle. But, as a progressive business with a strong environmental agenda, the hunt for more efficient processing technology was certainly a priority for this dedicated line.
In terms of the technical specification, capacity was important. Breitsamer had an annual wood recycling target of 40,000 tonnes to hit, which meant the shredder would need to achieve throughputs of 35 tonnes of ‘waste’ per hour, plus a homogenous particle size of <120mm. Securing this volume and quality of fraction in a single pass – in other words, with only one machine – would also limit the capital investment required and accelerate the payback period for the line.
But acknowledging the importance that a plant’s net environmental impact has on a company’s true ‘green’ status, Breitsamer did not stop there with its performance criteria. The shredder also had to incorporate an electric-drive. The recycler knew that traditional diesel-driven alternatives consume excessive amounts of fuel and contribute to the pollution generated by the plant. It would therefore prove difficult to profess a commitment to the environment whilst utilising technology that is not as ‘clean’ as it could be.
With a 1.4MW photovoltaic system installed on the Breitsamer site, the business case for an electric-drive shredder was strengthened further. The team knew that using only 60% of the system’s energy generation, they could power the entire waste plant, including the shredder. Avoiding the purchase of additional, unnecessary fuel would therefore make the investment even more economical.
Comprehensive market research therefore began, with managing director Thomas Breitsamer investigating the sector and attending international trade fairs to assess the capabilities of machinery available.
The search brought Thomas to Austrian-headquartered UNTHA and the manufacturer’s XR3000C mobil-e – a flexible, electric-drive shredder supplied on tracks for ease of relocation around a site. With in-built discharge conveyor, ferrous magnet and auxiliary power pack, and the ability to achieve a refined particle size as low as 30mm, the equipment certainly appeared to offer a single-step solution for Breitsamer’s waste wood. But given the ambitious objectives that the shredder would need to achieve, Thomas was keen to evidence the engineering proficiencies for himself.
“It is one thing hearing that a machine could satisfy our shredding goals,” explained Thomas. “But, because the energy efficiency particularly isn’t promised by competitor machines, I wanted to see for myself that the throughputs, low power, flexibility and particle sizing selling points were really achievable within our business.”
UNTHA agreed to let the recycler utilise the XR mobil-e over a rigorous test period. Using their own materials, and working closely with UNTHA’s own engineers, Breitsamer continued to tweak and refine the operation of the shredding system to ensure the best-fit configuration for the job at hand.
Fast forward to the end of the first year in operation and the 40,000 tonne waste wood target has posed no issue. Breitsamer can also change the shredder’s perforated screens in less than 30 minutes, enabling the team to quickly and easily recycle different wood grades to varying grain specifications.
With several diverse customers throughout the thermal and materials recycling industry, this flexibility is essential. Output material is therefore segregated according to waste wood classes 1 to 4, and recovered metals are sold for re-insertion back into the steel industry.
In terms of those all-important economical savings, the electric-drive shredder has proven 70% more cost-effective than a diesel powered alternative and 30% more affordable than the conventional star-delta drive. The quiet operation of this modern electronic technology also minimises the noise emissions generated during the pellet production process, thus protecting operator wellbeing and avoiding disruption to the neighbouring community – a common issue that often leads to the objection of new waste and recycling lines.
Thomas concluded: “Waste management firms are increasingly being pressured to handle more materials, not least in the wood recycling and biomass sector where the market can fluctuate and the need to maintain margins is paramount. However, with technological innovation, it is possible to push for performance improvements, without compromising the quality or environmental impact of the process.”Click here for related articles and news on Waste Wood ShreddersSearch for Wood Shredder manufacturers in our Equipment Guide
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