District of Columbia crush

By and |  October 23, 2013 0 Comments

Demolition Services Inc. (DSI) and Powerscreen are key players in the demolition and recycling of the historic 1-million-sq.-ft. Navy Annex complex to provide for expansion of Arlington National Cemetery.


Navy Annex demolition will allow expansion of the historic Arlington National Cemetery, at far left. This photo shows the Washington Monument at top left. The three-part Air Force Memorial is just behind the annex buildings, with the Pentagon beyond it.

The 42-acre site consists of a parking area and seven buildings ranging four to five stories high. The Navy Annex was built in 1941 to be a temporary warehouse facility, but was converted to federal office use after the Pearl Harbor bombings. It served as Marine Corps headquarters for more than five decades and provided office space for numerous Navy personnel. It also was used extensively during the renovation of the nearby Pentagon prior to and shortly after the 9/11 attacks.

Demolition Services Inc., headquartered in Manassas, Va., specializes in demolition, abatement and hazardous-materials projects in residential, commercial/industrial and local/state/federal government applications. The company, founded in 2007, offers a total of 45 years of key personnel experience in structural, selective, marine and implosive demolition, as well as field management services, site excavation and renovation, and site development. DSI currently services an area that includes, but is not limited to, Washington, Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, West Virginia, Delaware, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.

“The Navy Annex is not the biggest or most involved project we’ve ever done,” says Ron Feather, DSI owner and president. “But it is indeed a massive job. We have complete responsibility for the total demolition of all the buildings, inside and out, and disposition of all materials. When we’re gone from here, we’ll leave a flat, empty site, ready for cemetery-grounds preparation. That and parking lot demolition will be handled by Corinthian Contractors of Arlington, Va.

“Virtually all annex materials will be recycled,” Feather adds. “Crushed stone, metals, everything. Practically nothing will go to landfills. A tracked Powerscreen XR400S primary jaw plant and a tracked Powerscreen XH320SR horizontal impact crusher plant are the key components of the recycling operation. The crushers are producing 21A road base, also called RC6. We’ll use a little of it ourselves for various backfilling applications on other projects in the area. All the rest is being sold to contractors.”

Maximizing uptime
“We work our crushers hard,” says Justin Stanley, DSI general supervisor. “We run them to the absolute limits of everything Powerscreen claims they can do – and sometimes beyond. But the key to maximum performance of any equipment is the operator. We get maximum tons per hour because we’re putting quality equipment into the hands of expert operators.”

Adds Feather: “The equipment/operator factor is a big part of being able to bid jobs competitively and still be profitable. Another major factor is downtime, especially unplanned downtime. Over the years I’ve had minimum downtime with Powerscreen equipment, and practically no major unplanned downtime. That’s crucial, because unplanned downtime is often the difference between profit and loss.”

DSI has 30 pieces of equipment and 40 employees, including two full-time mechanics. The mechanics are normally very busy, so operating crews are generally the people performing normal maintenance procedures.

“The maintenance [on the Powerscreen equipment] is simple,” Feather says. “We just strictly follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. Well-maintained equipment is dependable, high-production equipment with a long service life.”

Feather adds that the distributor is often as important as the equipment. He has worked with Powerscreen Mid-Atlantic Inc., headquartered in Kernersville, N.C., for about 12 years – including before he started DSI. He says he has found them to be knowledgeable, dependable and will provide excellent service on a timely basis, especially in a pinch.

“What it comes down to with a dealer,” Feather says, “is how good are they and what are they willing to do for you? Will they go the extra mile? Powerscreen Mid-Atlantic certainly will. We can get expert advice on crushers and crushing operations. They’re real experts, especially Ian Williamson, their sales manager, who has been a big help to us. It’s amazing what that man knows about crushers and crushing operations.”

Feather advises that Mid-Atlantic’s rental fleet is another vital factor. He is basically concerned about four things: Have the equipment we need, have it in good working condition, get it to us on time, and get it to us at a fair price. Mid-Atlantic does all that, Feather says.

Concrete rubble
So what are the crushing procedures on the Navy Annex job? Feather explains.

“We use the XR400S jaw as the primary crusher feeding directly to the XH320SR impactor,” he says. “Some recyclers will use an impactor as the primary or even the only crusher, depending on the project and materials. We’ve found on this job that using a primary jaw greatly increases our overall crushing efficiency and doubles the life of our impactor blow bars.

In addition, DSI is working with a lot of very large pieces of concrete rubble, Feather says. Much of it is loaded with steel. The jaw crusher breaks down the large rubble to 5-in.-minus and frees up much of the steel before feeding the impact crusher, which then finishes the process. The impact crusher shatters the rubble to road-base size and leaves the metals clean and ready for sale to metals recyclers.

“We use medium chrome blow bars,” Stanley says. “We’ve found them to be better for metals and rubble on this job than manganese or ceramic.”

One of the great things about the Powerscreen XH320SR impactor, he adds, is that it is a self-contained combination of crusher, screener, return conveyor and stacker. The return conveyor sends oversize material back to the crusher inlet, helping to minimize the number of machines needed for DSI’s crushing operation.

“A prime feature of the XR400S jaw plant is the hydraulic release, which provides overload protection,” Feather says. “It prevents damage to the crusher by objects such as metal and unduly large rubble. The crusher simply pops open; we remove the obstruction; and we get on with production instead of shutting down for crusher repairs.”

Other Powerscreen crusher features Feathers values have to do with dust control, safety shutdowns and Scania engines for prompt response, high performance and fuel economy.
“Powerscreen fast setup is good, too,” he adds. “For example, the XH320SR impactor came to our Navy Annex site directly from a ship in Baltimore harbor and was set up and running in a half hour after it arrived.”

‘Lean and mean’
When DSI bids jobs, they’re often bidding against much larger companies. Feather believes DSI’s size is actually one of its advantages.

“We run lean and mean,” he says. “We’re very flexible; we can react quickly to the unexpected; we have no bureaucracy; we all work and we all share the load. In fact, sometimes you’ll find Justin and me out running equipment or whatever is needed in a specific situation. We have no ‘feet-on-the-desk’ people at DSI.

“I grew up in a West Virginia coal mining family, and we all knew the value of hard work,” he adds. “I had my first paying job at age 15 and learned recycling and aggregates operations by working my way up.”

Feather’s wife, Melissa, runs the office, and he runs the rest.

“Our family name and reputation are on the line with every job,” he says. “So we pull out all the stops and do our level best all the time. We always make good on what we promise. And we’re ‘above’ on every job, with regard to making spec, being on or ahead of schedule, and within budget. Our contract for the Navy Annex job requires completion in 330 days. We’re well ahead of that so far.”

The Powerscreen XR400S primary jaw plant is designed for medium-scale operators in quarrying, demolition, recycling and mining. Basic features include a production capacity of up to 440 tph, a hydraulic-folding feed hopper with a boltless fixing system, a hydraulic-tilting conveyor system, efficient direct-drive, a high-swing jaw, a height-adjustable product conveyor, and a hydraulic-folding extended hopper. Many options are available, as well.

The Powerscreen XH320SR is a mid-sized horizontal impact crusher designed for high consistency of product shape for recycling, demolition and quarry applications. Standard features include efficient direct drive, up to 350 tph, bolt-in cartridge grizzly with 42-mm nominal spacing, a load-management system to control feeder speed, hydraulic overload protection and adjustment, four-bar rotor and a twin-apron design, PLC control of crusher speed, independent under-crusher vibrating pan feeder, and a double-deck 11-ft. x 5-ft. post screen. Numerous options are available with this unit, as well. PP&E

Carl Emigh of CME Creative Services Inc., Marion, Ohio, is a freelance writer and marketing communications specialist serving the aggregates, recycling and construction industries.

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