Out Of The Shop And Into The Black
Posted on April 20th, 2018
Green Care Mulching boosts its bottom line by replacing breakdown-prone high-speed grinders with dependable Crambos.
Green Care Mulching is well-known throughout the state of Victoria in Australia. Their trucks are a common sight on the road as they move from one contract grinding site to the next. Where formerly those trucks were transporting high-speed grinders, today they are principally seen carrying Crambo directs from Komptech.
We spent the morning with Russell Norton, co-owner of Green Care Mulching, to learn about why he decided to incorporate the Komptech Crambo shredder into his business.
About two years ago Russell was looking for a solution. He was tired of seeing his grinders parked in the workshop for repairs instead of out grinding. “They were costing me money instead of making me money,” he said. “One metal fencepost could be the difference between a successful job and a costly repair—and I wish it was just fenceposts!”
Russell Norton has been in the tree care and organic waste management industry for about 20 years.
Prior to that he was a policeman. He got into his current line of business from working as a part-time arborist to make some extra money. One thing led to another and today Green Care Mulching employees 36 people and handles about 100,000 tonnes of wood and green waste per year.
Russell’s three sons work in the business, doing everything from maintenance to operating the loaders and excavators. Relationships are important to Russell, which is part of the reason he likes to do business with Komptech Distributor ELB Equipment. “Craig Cosgrove and the team have been very helpful. They are always there to take my calls and help out with technical issues. We feel like we have a partnership with the ELB team. They didn’t just sell us a machine and then walk away. They stuck by us.”
In a mobile office at the Green Care Mulching transfer station in Geelong, Russell showed us a few samples of the contamination that had been through his grinders.
“Radiators, plate steel, part of a differential, an 80-kilogram flywheel, sledgehammer heads. We put a radiator from a big earthmoving machine through once. That made a mess. Because we travel from site to site, we don’t have control over the feedstock. Our clients always assure us that the material is clean, but we still have to proceed very cautiously,” said Russell.
We asked him how he ended up switching to Crambos. He said, “I had heard about low-speed shredders from people in the industry. At first I was put off by the name. ‘Low speed? Why would I want something slow?’ But now the only complaint that I have about the Crambo is the description. It should be called a high torque shredder. It’s anything but slow!”
“I watched videos on YouTube and liked the idea. I wanted to see one in person. I travelled to the other side of the state to see a unit working. I watched it for 10 minutes as it ground through wet, slimy, thick, chunky green waste. It never missed a beat. We saw the contamination going through it. There was no bang. I said to my guys ‘Oh my God! This is what we’ve been looking for!’”
“I had heard good things about Komptech. I was so impressed by what I saw that I didn’t even bother looking at other brands. I called up Craig Cosgrove and we developed a relationship quickly. He explained to me about ELB Equipment’s stock of spare parts and their branches all over the country. Backup is important to me, so that really sealed the deal.”
“With the Crambo our cost to grind has come down so much that we’ve had customers complain that our pricing is too low.”
“The Crambo is anything but slow.”
Russell Norton, Co-Owner of Green Care Mulching
Higher efficiency, lower costs
Contract grinding is at the core of Green Care Mulching’s business, and Crambo shredders have revolutionized that. In addition to the aforementioned maintenance and down time problems, the high-speed grinders would typically consume fuel at a rate of 100 litres per hour and teeth would last only around 40 hours.
“With the Crambo we’re burning around 30 litres per hour and the teeth typically last 400 hours. Our cost to grind has come down so much that we’ve had customers complain about our pricing—it’s too low. They think we’re trying to scam them,” joked Russell.
Russell explained that they’ve won doubly by incorporating the Crambos. They have not only reduced their operating costs and down time, but because they can charge lower rates, they have expanded their customer base and so picked up additional work that they once might not have known about.
In addition to contract grinding, Green Care Mulching operates a transfer station and processing plant in Geelong. They take in around 40,000 tons of wood and organic waste at the facility per year, which they grind and treat to produce a number of products. Animal bedding from ground pallets is their most important product, but mulches and ground covers for landscapers and nurseries is a growing part of the business.
When asked about changes for the future, Russell says “wood chips. The market values wood chips about ten times higher than mulch. I am really keen to take a look at the Axtor as a dual-purpose chipper and grinder. If I can run the Axtor as a grinder when I have to and as a chipper when I get the right opportunities, it’ll suit my operations perfectly.”
Naturally, we’re encouraging this line of thinking.