Contractor Leaves Fiercely Competitive Market, Becomes a Material Supplier
Lloyd Palm Construction Company used to be a general contractor serving the state of Washington and the eastern edge of a huge chain of national forests. Today, Lloyd Palm Construction is a key supplier to its former competitors, providing them with recycled material and virgin aggregate for their projects.
The Wenatchee, Washington-based company has gone from battling in the highly competitive contractor market to becoming a major supplier of crushed material for a variety of applications, gaining some very big competitive advantages in the process. Lloyd Palm Construction is the only local operation that crushes construction and demolition debris both within the city limits and on-site. The company operates the only recycle crushing and grinding stations and sand & gravel pits in the area, and it is now looking to expand into more virgin aggregate production.
Company owner Lloyd Palm has proven his entrepreneurial spirit in many ways. He has creatively employed a single, highly portable crushing and screening plant to produce a wide range of saleable products both on the job site and at his two sand & gravel pits. His people move this one crushing and screening plant constantly — from his local demolition site to his Wenatchee pit to a second pit (located in Winthrop , about two hours north) and back. Since Lloyd Palm Construction purchased its Eagle Crusher UltraMax® 1000-15CC portable crushing and screening plant in 1998, it has moved the plant eight to 10 times — about once every three months. This constant moving requires incredible planning, logistics, and a highly portable plant that can crush and screen both harsh recycle materials and virgin aggregate into numerous in-spec products.
New Opportunities Continue to Open Up
Venturing into these new opportunities was an important step for Lloyd Palm Construction, and the process involved some key decisions about equipment selection and product supply. The company's recycling experience began with the Wenatchee operation: the demolition of an old meat packing plant located within the city limits. The building had been destroyed by fire and left as an abandoned eyesore.
Lloyd Palm Construction obtained a temporary permit for the demolition and on-site crushing of the building debris, other C&D material, and river rock. The goal was to prepare the location for future industrial development. The company recycled the building with its UM1000-15CC portable closed-circuit crushing and screening plant. By incorporating a separate triple-deck screen into the circuit, the company was able to make five differently sized spec products, including state-spec sand, pea gravel, 2" drain rock, 1.25" ballast, and 5/8" top course for asphalt. The ability to handle a demolition job of this size and to produce this many products at one site had now proven its necessity and value to many of Lloyd Palm's competitors and to the public officials who had been watching the company.
The Right Equipment Played Critical Role
The production difficulties and high wear costs experienced by Lloyd Palm Construction's first impactor (not an Eagle Crusher impactor) limited the size and type of jobs the company could bid. Lloyd Palm says, “Our old impactor would eat itself up.” He explained that the rotor would never run properly balanced and the locking pins, designed to secure the impact anvils in place, would frequently work themselves loose. “The anvils would fall into the crushing chamber and either break a blow bar or fall through the discharge area and create other damage,” comments Palm. Rotor problems created rotor wear costs as high as $0.20 per ton, which severely limited the company's production capabilities.
The company's search for an alternative ended after owner Lloyd Palm visited a Marysville, Washington crushing operation with Sean Crotty of Capitol Equipment, the Eagle Crusher's West Coast dealer. Palm said he was looking for a crusher with a rotor that would withstand the abuse of crushing both aggregate and recycle material. After observing the production capabilities of the Marysville UltraMax plant, Palm took a closer look at the impactor's crushing chamber. “In looking at the UltraMax rotor, I immediately said to Sean, ‘Now that's a crusher! That is what we need,'” recalls Palm.
Lloyd Palm Construction now uses its closed-circuit UM 1000-15CC plant as the heart of its crushing operation. Combinations of recycle material and granite and basalt river rock are fed into the plant's 11 cubic-yard feed hopper with a Cat 200B excavator. “You have to keep the excavator swinging to keep up with the UltraMax. If you hesitate at all, the crusher is waiting for more,” says Palm.
Material passing through the hopper's 5-foot tapered-step grizzly section is carried to a separate 5' x 16' triple-deck screen. At this point, the company separates the maintenance sand, pea gravel, and 2" drain rock saleable product. The overs from the top deck are carried back to the UM 1000-15CC and fed directly into the plant's crushing chamber.
The UltraMax 1000-15CC plant utilizes a UM15 impactor crusher with a solid-steel, 3-bar rotor design that absorbs the shock of huge, slabby feed material such as shot rock, sand & gravel, heavily reinforced concrete, C&D rubble, and asphalt. Its 3-stage crushing action delivers reduction ratios in excess of 24:1 at production capacities in excess of 150 TPH. Manually adjustable primary and hydraulically adjustable secondary crushing curtains allow for precise product gradation control.
After passing through the crushing chamber, the material is carried to the 5' x 14' double-deck screen. This is where Lloyd Palm Construction separates its 1.25" ballast and 5/8" top course product. The UltraMax 1000-15CC consistently produces 150 TPH spec product when run by itself. However, according to Palm, “By sending material over to the scalping screen, we can get 250 TPH through the UltraMax plant. And if you count the pea gravel, sand, and 2" drain rock, we are producing 300 TPH at the Wenatchee site.”
Durability and Low Wear Costs Solidify Decision
In addition to being satisfied with the 1000-15CC's productivity, Lloyd Palm is impressed with the impactor's versatility. After running the river rock and concrete recycle material through the impactor at both locations, Palm says “You can run just about anything you can fit through its opening.” But more than this, he is pleased with the rotor's durability. “Our UltraMax rotor has lasted about 3,000 hours, and it will probably last about 30,000 more,” he says. “Who knows? As long as you keep it maintained, it will never break or wear out.”
More importantly, Lloyd Palm Construction is realizing significant blow bar wear life. The company crushes about 28,000 tons of recycle and aggregate material per set of bars, or 14,000 tons per side. The company's blow bar wear costs now range from $0.08 to $0.10 per ton while making its 1.25" minus and 5/81 minus products. When asked to comment about how low these wear costs are, Palm responds “Yeah, it surprised me. I was almost shocked! You can't get any better than that. Especially since our wear costs ran about $0.18 to $0.20 per ton with our old crusher.”
UltraMax Influences Lloyd Palm Construction's Future
Now that its temporary crushing permit at the Wenatchee site has expired, Lloyd Palm Construction is proposing the development of recycling stations at both its Wenatchee and Winthrop locations. There are no stations currently accepting C&D debris, reinforced concrete, asphalt, and wood in the Douglass, Chelan, and Okanogan County areas.
A key factor in the company's decision to start the recycle stations is its positive experience operating the UltraMax 1000-15CC at the Wenatchee location. “We have been operating close to a main thoroughfare (Wenatchee Avenue) within city limits for the past two years and have not had any complaints from residents,” states Palm. Neither has the company had any problems with noise issues or dust suppression. In fact, according to Palm, having the UltraMax at this location has helped generate some positive interest from public officials regarding the company's activities.
Another factor that influenced the company's decision to operate recycling facilities in two separate locations is the UltraMax 1000-15CC's portability. When enough material is collected at one of the locations, Lloyd Palm Construction will simply move the UltraMax 1000-15CC to that location.
The reason for the UltraMax 1000-15CC's easy portability is its standard on-board, gas-powered hydraulic lift/leveling system. This system allows for plant transport and leveling on-site without the use of a crane. The plant's design and weight allow it to be moved without disassembly in most states. The UltraMax 1000-15CC can be prepared, moved, and set up at another location within a day.
In addition to starting its two recycling stations, Lloyd Palm Construction is close to signing a significant quarry deal. According to Palm, “It will be a 1.5 million-ton hard rock quarry, and the company will produce about 200,000 tons per year.” Again, Lloyd Palm Construction's management will be looking at an Eagle Crusher UltraMax portable plant to be at the heart of its crushing circuit. “We may start out using the UltraMax 1000-15CC, but since it will be busy with the recycling stations we will more than likely add a larger UltraMax 1200 or 1400 for the [quarry] site,” Palm concludes.