King of the hill

By and |  December 10, 2013

A concrete recycler makes a brand new start of it in New York.

Interlinked aggregate processing plants are making demolition concrete recycling more economical in the heart of one of the most competitive markets for recycled concrete aggregate: New York City. There, new tracked primary jaw crusher, tracked secondary cone crusher and tracked mobile screen plants are producing recycled concrete aggregate (RCA) faster, to better gradations, than did existing equipment on the site just months earlier.

Tracked equipment – not often seen at a permanent urban recycling site – also helps the owner expeditiously position equipment and stockpiles for optimum utility.

New York Recycling LLC operates from an existing five-acre site in the Bronx, only blocks from Yankee Stadium.

“We think concrete recycling is an industry of the future,” says Eric Coppola, principal. “We wanted to be close to Manhattan because as building projects continue there, a lot of concrete buildings and foundations are taken down and rebuilt. Sidewalks also are recycled. There is a high structural turnover in New York City, and being this centrally located is ideal for us. Also, trucking is such an issue in New York City because of the tremendous traffic. We are centrally located to Manhattan and the Bronx, but also to Westchester County because we are right off I-87.”

Other boroughs offer less opportunity for New York Recycling.

“Brooklyn is a farther shot for us,” Coppola says. “Bridges, high tolls, traffic congestion and a lot of competition keeps our focus on Manhattan, the Bronx and Westchester.”

An existing operator worked at the site for years, so New York Recycling is a newcomer to the location. New York Recycling was formed Jan. 1, 2012, and five months later took possession of the yard, where two existing plants were located.

Railroad tracks, two bridges and I-87 – the Major Deegan Expressway – bind the site, and all existing permits were transferred over to the new owners. While the site is large for its location in the center of the metro area, the new owners needed to accelerate throughput to serve its customers and stay cost-efficient.

“The old plant was not efficient, but it did have an existing client base,” Coppola says. ”It couldn’t keep up with the production we needed to be cost-efficient, so we looked into expanding the plant to keep up with the pace we wanted.

“We needed to get material in, process it and get it out as fast as we can,” he adds. “For every truck that comes in with a load, we want a truck going out with a load. So we put in a new plan and we reconfigured the entire yard. We made the traffic flow much better and now there’s a circulation plan for big trucks to come in, dump, get loaded quickly and head out of the gate.”

To that end, the interlinked equipment produces four standard sizes of RCA, plus select fill, on a 24/7 schedule if necessary. The equipment – a 350-tph Mobicat MC 120 Z primary jaw crusher, a 44-in.-diameter Mobicone MCO 11 secondary cone crusher and a triple-deck, 500-tph Mobiscreen MS 19 D plant, all from Kleemann – was acquired from the company’s long-time distributor, Edward Ehrbar Inc., and placed into operation in the spring this year.

Location, location, location
The mind-numbing congestion of the nation’s largest metropolis is a fact of life for the drivers who take recycled concrete aggregate in and out of the plant.

“Everyone is accustomed to the congestion,” Coppola says, and it could be much worse elsewhere in the area.

“We are in a great location when it comes to getting into Manhattan,” says Joe Pego, New York Recycling general manager. “We have bridges on either side of us that lead to Manhattan, and we have a major interstate highway right alongside of us.”

Adds Coppola: “That’s one of the key elements about where we are located. “You can get right on and off the Major Deegan [Expressway]. When you’re delivering or picking up, you are not on the city streets for a long period of time. You’re getting right back on the highway – easy-on, easy-off.”

Despite being right on the Harlem River, which flows between the Hudson River and the East River, separating Manhattan from the Bronx, the firm is unable to use the river for shipping or receiving material. “We are not able to use the river to offload barges,” Coppola says. “Everything we do here is trucked in or out.”

The new plant in the existing location fulfilled a long search for Coppola, and his partner and brother, Paul Coppola.

“They had been looking to get into concrete recycling for some time,” says Chris Thompson, sales representative, Edward Ehrbar Inc., Yonkers, N.Y. “To acquire the property and get the permits to put up a new facility is extremely difficult, because nearby property owners will fight. When the opportunity came up for a permitted large yard of this size in New York City, Eric changed his business model, from starting out from scratch – from the ground up – to buying an existing company.”

“We changed the clientele, as well,” Coppola says. “We retained the mom-and-pop smaller customers, but we also expanded into bigger contractors that are supplying a lot of the work in Manhattan.”

Transforming existing site
To transform the site to a new business model, New York Recycling needed new equipment, a new plant layout and a new circulation plan. This all had to be accomplished while maintaining existing workloads using old equipment until it was replaced.

New York Recycling principal Paul Coppola was responsible for that work.

“Paul transformed the yard in its entirety, determining how and where the traffic flow would come in, how the position of the equipment would help with the traffic flow, and how everything should be laid out, with input from the Kleemann and Ehrbar people,” Eric Coppola says. “We met here on many occasions, trying to understand exactly what we needed, and they did a great job in designing the proper plant in synchrony.”

While the new Kleemann equipment impressed the Coppolas, they weren’t sold on the need for tracked crushers and screens, but the advantages of tracks – even in a concrete recycling plant – became evident.

“One of the big hurdles was that Kleemann’s offerings are tracked, primarily,” Ehrbar’s Thompson says. “In an operation like this, one might think tracked products would not be needed. ‘We will never be moving this equipment and we will never do outside crushing, so why pay extra for tracked equipment?’ they ask. It took us a while to convince them why they should go that route.”

“We did not see Chris’s vision of the necessity of having tracks,” Coppola says. “But with tracks we were able to relocate piles while we stayed open, and there’s no way we would have been able to do that without having tracked equipment. In changing the entire traffic flow of the yard, which helped productivity tremendously, we actually crushed our way around the yard to put ourselves in the optimum positions, which took two months of work.”

New York Recycling was able to stay open during the entire transition.

“To move the piles, we ate into the existing stockpiles, just walking the machines around until we got into final location,” New York Recycling’s Pego says. “Thus, we didn’t have to move the stockpiles around or handle the material. We’d slide equipment out, slide equipment in, and continue making product. We could not make all four products at once. We would build a stockpile before going on to another product.”

Now the stockpiles and equipment are in their final positions, subject to change. “There might be slight changes in the configuration,” Pego says, “but they will generally stay in the same area. If something happens, and we dramatically want to change things, we don’t have to start pouring concrete footings and pads. All we need is a good stable working area for us to get going.”

Producing four sizes
In 2013 – while running six days a week, 12 hours a day – New York Recycling was producing four sizes of RCA, which serves as base material that’s used for diverse applications. The firm makes:
■  No. 4 stone and clean product that is 95 percent concrete-based. No. 4 road base is New York State Item 304B, 3/4-in. stone with 90 percent passing gradation.
“It’s a state-specified material,” Pego says. “It’s the most popular gradation road base material that’s used in this area.”
■  Straight 3/4-in. recycled stone used for bedding and drainage.
■ A 1 1/2-in. to 2-in. RCA material that’s also used for bedding and drainage.
■ A 4-in. to 8-in. material that’s used for tracking pads and for new project stabilization.
■ New York Recycling also makes a select fill, a soil-based product. “It meets state specs and it’s predominantly a soil-based product with 1-in. material that’s used for backfill and stabilization,” Pego says.

The MC 120 Z jaw crusher’s independent, integrated prescreen removes all dirt out of the aggregate flow, keeping it out of the circuit while creating another product to sell. “We have the prescreen set at 1 1/2-in.-minus, which gives us a salable product, a soil-based New York State structural fill for backfill,” Coppola says.

“The prescreen prevents dirt from going through the crusher, therefore keeping our item for road base a cleaner product, with less wear and tear on the crushers throughout the system,” Pego says. “It does a phenomenal job.”

The uniquely large size of its lot in New York City gives New York Recycling the available space to make New York State DOT-approved stockpiles, Coppola says.

“When you have a NYS DOT stockpile, that stockpile can only be sold for that project, and we have the room to do it here,” Coppola says. “The stockpile will be project specific, and, after approval, it can only be used by that contractor on that particular job.”

Excavator feeds jaw
An excavator feeds the primary jaw crusher from an elevated position. Because of the fact that what comes in is from existing roads, existing foundations and utility work, there will be a mix of concrete, rock, dirt and even asphalt. This all must be separated, so the firm has a staff of workers that picks through the material as it goes through the plant.

“Our permit allows us to crush at night, and occasionally we will,” Coppola says. “Our permit allows us to work seven days a week, 24 hours a day. New York City has a lot of night work, so we may be asked to open up at night to support those ongoing projects.”

The permit does not allow stockpiles to exceed a certain size. Therefore, to meet productivity targets, New York Recycling needed equipment that would produce graded product quickly.

“To get its return on investment, New York Recycling has to take in more product, process more product and move more product,” Thompson says. “However, the permit limits how much material can be held in the yard. So their challenge was to process faster to meet return on investment. They needed to get as much in and get as much out as fast as they could.”

The automated, interlinked Kleemann products increase productivity to the point where the owners can meet return on investment.

“The automation helps the whole system talk to each other,” Coppola says. “It keeps it working at a good consistent flow, keeping the jaw full, keeping the cone properly full, and getting the right amount of material onto the screen. If there’s a problem with the cone – a piece of steel gets through and the system has to slow down, so it can be removed – then the whole system slows down. That’s better than the whole system continuing, filling up, stopping and then having to be dug out by hand.”

Kleemann’s optional diesel-electric drives on the MC 120 Z jaw and MCO 11 cone reduce fuel consumption, and New York Recycling has benefited from the interlinked Kleemann plants’ fuel economy. Kleemann crushers are economical thanks to their diesel-electric drive option, in which the crusher is directly diesel-driven, and the conveyor troughs, belts and prescreen are electric-driven. This concept not only reduces diesel fuel consumption, but also results in significantly reduced exhaust emissions and noise levels.

“We never understood the potential magnitude of the savings until we got them going,” Coppola says. “Instead of burning 10 gallons compared to the existing plant or the competition, they’re burning five or four, and doing that every day. It’s a real eye-opener. The equipment does a great job of separating and crushing to the right gradation. We test our gradations consistently, and they are right on the mark.”

Tom Kuennen is a freelance writer specializing in the construction, energy and mining fields. Visit his website at www.expresswaysonline.com.

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