Portable plant investment extends production season

By |  December 2, 2016
Photo courtesy of Hammond Farms

Hammond Farms’ Cliff Walkington estimates that the
Multistar L3 produces between 150 and 300 cu. yd. per hour,
depending on the material being fed to the plant.
Photo courtesy of Hammond Farms

The right equipment can make all the difference.

For Hammond Farms Landscape Supply, a landscaping materials supplier based in mid-Michigan, the right equipment includes a Multistar L3 screening plant from Komptech Americas.

Cliff Walkington, a managing partner at Hammond Farms, noticed the Multistar L3 while attending a conference for mulch producers. He watched a video of the L3 there and followed up with Komptech Americas about it.

Komptech Americas visited Hammond Farms and offered a presentation about the plant. The demonstration took place one November at Hammond Farms when a test compost pile was wet.

Walkington was sold on the screening plant after seeing it in action.

“We weren’t even considering this at the time, but the Komptech people said they could process it, and then they did it,” Walkington says. “The L3 has allowed us to extend the seasons and our window of process.”

Extended use

These days, Hammond Farms puts its Multistar L3 to use every day in the spring and four out of five days during the rest of its nine-month season. The company sees a spike in its markets a couple of times a year, Walkington says, so it’s vital to fulfill all customer orders at those times.

The Multistar L3 allows Hammond Farms to fulfill those orders because it can run the machine throughout more of the year and, thus, achieve two to three times the production in both compost and mulch products.

“We’re efficiency nuts,” Walkington says. “It all comes back to efficiency.”

Depending on the feed material, the Multistar L3 produces between 150 and 300 cu. yd. per hour, Walkington says.

Another aspect of the Multistar L3 Walkington appreciates is that particle size can be controlled by varying the rotation speed of the star shafts. The rotation speed can be changed quickly and easily with the press of a button on the control panel.

“The fact that we can adjust for size with the press of a button rather than manually means we can move quicker and get more done,” Walkington says. “In a seasonal business, it’s absolutely huge to make the most of each day. The L3 has allowed us to increase our production and our customer base by having material ready when the spring and fall markets hit.”

The Multistar L3 utilizes hybrid technology. Power for the drives can derive either from grid electric power or from an optional built-in diesel generator. The use of grid power can reduce energy consumption by up to 75 percent compared with diesel-hydraulic power, Walkington says.

“The L3 uses almost no fuel because it runs off an onboard gen set, and this saves us money,” he says.

Available to serve

Photo courtesy of Komptech Americas

According to Komptech Americas, the Multistar L3 offers high
throughput across a range of applications. The screening
plant features a patented cleaning system to achieve a high
degree of separation even with wet materials, the company
says. Photo courtesy of Komptech Americas

Walkington estimates Hammond Farms makes 9,000 deliveries of bulk materials each year. The company works with a number of municipalities, processing yard waste, handling backlogs of compost, grinding up debris from storms and more.

Hammond Farms also works with new developments on land balancing. According to Walkington, the company can go straight to a jobsite with its Multistar L3 and screen dirt there that can be shipped to customers.

So, while Hammond Farms has three store locations within 15 miles of each other, the Multistar L3’s portability, as well as its efficient use of fuel, is a winning factor.

“It’s increased our efficiency and allowed us to offer a better level of service, which has helped us to grow,” Walkington says.

In addition, contaminants are a top composting issue for Hammond Farms. The Multistar L3, however, offers a solution in this area, according to Walkington.

“It lifts flyaway and plastic and gets it out,” he says. “While it does not get 100 percent of trash, it has helped us save time and been a labor saver.”

In addition to the Multistar L3, Hammond Farms relies on other equipment to operate its business. The company also operates a horizontal grinder from Diamond Z, a screening plant from Tesab and a trommel from Powerscreen. Hammond Farms relies on eight wheel loaders, as well.
But the Multistar L3 is now established as one the company’s key pieces of equipment.

“Aside from the very low operating costs it offers, we’re able to process multiple products with one piece of equipment, which helps us to justify a purchase of this size,” Walkington says. “There’s an intangible value to having your operators working on other things rather than feeding a screening plant constantly.

“Adding Komptech to our product line has been the single best equipment purchase we’ve made to date,” he adds.

About Hammond Farms

Lee Hammond, a produce farmer, opened his first landscape materials supply store in 1982 in Dimondale, Mich. In the years that followed, two more Hammond Farms stores opened in and around Lansing, Mich., although the original store remains the primary location with the corporate headquarters situated there.

“Composting is a part of our core business,” says Cliff Walkington, a managing partner who started with Hammond Farms shortly after college.

Walkington is confident Hammond Farms’ compost business will continue to grow.

“People are pushing for zero waste when it comes to food, and anything that can be diverted and used for compost will be used,” he says.

Larry Bernstein is a freelance writer based in north Jersey. He can be reached at lardavbern@gmail.com.

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