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Buckeye Succeeds as ‘Full Service’ Provider of Shipping Products
Company Adds Cresswood Grinder to Extensive Mulch Operations
By Tim Cox, Editor
Date Posted: 11/8/2004
The company, formerly Buckeye Wood Products, has taken a similar approach to dealing with residuals. Buckeye has extensive experience in the mulch business and likewise has positioned itself as a ‘full service’ provider of a wide range of mulch and related horticultural products for this different base of customers.
Buckeye Diamond Logistics and its related businesses operate from three locations in
The company has operations to manufacture new pallets and containers and to recycle used pallets, although in the pallet arena it is predominantly a pallet recycler. About 90% of the company’s pallets are recycled.
Buckeye also supplies a comprehensive range of other shipping supplies, paper and corrugated products, and custom polyethylene products and bags. For example, its inventory of shipping supplies includes everything from bubble shipping bags to strapping equipment, shrinkwrap and stretchwrap and wrapping equipment to shipping labels, twist ties, ratchets and straps, and electric tape dispensers. Its line of corrugated products includes boxes, pads, partitions, bags, pallets and more.
Buckeye, which has pallet heat-treating capability, also provides comprehensive pallet management services, including retrieval, rental, pallet banking, repair programs, on-site pallet sorting, and computerized design with the Pallet Design System software.
The family business is led by Sam McAdow Sr., chairman of the company’s board of directors, and his three sons -- Sam Jr., president; Mike, vice president-administration; and John, vice president-operations. Sam purchased the original business with a partner in 1968, and bought out his partner three years later. It has been 100% family owned and operated since then.
Buckeye also has extensive experience in processing residuals into mulch. “We’ve been making mulch over 15 years,” said Sam. Mulch production operations are conducted at its location in
Earlier this year Buckeye supplanted an aging grinder with a new hopper-fed grinder supplied by Cresswood Recycling Systems. The new Cresswood machine is used for grinding scrap wood material from Buckeye’s recycling operations as well as scrap pallets. The Cresswood grinder is fed a steady diet of broken deck boards and stringers with nails and trim ends as well as whole scrap pallets.
The McAdows visited Cresswood and another supplier to watch their grinders in operation. The machine they chose was exhibited by Cresswood in the spring at the Richmond Expo, a leading pallet and sawmill machinery biennial trade show in
The Cresswood machine appealed to them for several reasons, they explained. One was that the machine was more resistant to tramp metal. This was of critical importance since the machine would be grinding wood containing scrap metal. “We’re always going to have metal in our grinders,” noted Sam Jr. “The question is: how long can (the grinder) survive with metal in it?”
Cresswood installed the machine in July. The grinder “exceeded our expectations” with regard to handling scrap metal, said John. “We’re very happy with the machine.”
Buckeye wanted to produce a finished product without re-grinding, so it retrofitted the machine’s screens with baffles in order to reduce the chip size for one-pass grinding. The retrofitted baffles prevent long, stringy pieces of wood from exiting the grinder; they are trapped and cut to the appropriate size.
The machine supplied by Cresswood is the company’s new HF-70 Mega-Destroyer, the largest in Cresswood’s Destroyer line of low-speed grinders at more than 23,000 pounds. It is designed and built for companies with large volume and-or large scrap to grind, including furniture manufacturers, pallet recycling operations, and other wood processing or recycling businesses. The heavy-duty grinder features a 1-inch steel frame (reinforced with heavy steel channels), a machined metal floor, a 70-inch-long grinding head, a machined 15-inch ram, a 60-inch ram stroke and a 20-inch grinding head diameter. The HF-70 Mega-Destroyer also is equipped with Cresswood’s RamTrack™ guide system. The large hopper size allows for a ‘dump and go’ operation. Power options include 100, 125 or 150 hp electric motors.
The standard hopper is 90 inches by 70 inches and with a capacity of 6 cubic yards; a mid-range hopper is 105 inches by 85 inches with a capacity of 9.5 cubic yards. Custom hoppers also are available.
The HF-70 Mega-Destroyer was designed for companies that want to feed it a stack of scrap pallets at one time. The machine can accommodate as many as 10 pallets dumped into the hopper at one time. Grippers on the ram allow for positive pushing action with minimal displacement of pallets, explained Cresswood president Jack Cress.
The low-speed grinding technology minimizes damage from tramp metals, noted jack. “When it hits metal, the computer tells it to shut down, minimizing damage to the rotor.” The machine is equipped with proximity sensors with targets on the shaft to measure rpm as well as a fluid clutch and a 5-inch cutter head shaft.
The HF-70 Mega-Destroyer uses indexable cutting teeth, and Cresswood has developed new teeth with even longer life. The teeth may be used from 350 to 500 hours before being turned over, and they may be ‘flipped’ four times.
Cresswood engineers also can custom design and build a grinder for an application. The company can supply equipment with custom grinding head speeds (between 50-150 rpm) and cutterhead geometry -- including type of cutter and cutter placement – in order to maximize grinding output.
Buckeye equipped the grinder with an overhead magnet and a magnetized head pulley on the outfeed conveyor to remove nail fragments and other metal from the grindings. A small volume of grindings are sold to a market for animal bedding, and it is critical that the wood fiber be free of metal. Buckeye cooperated in a number of tests to ensure its grindings were metal-free in order to serve the animal bedding market. In the peak of winter, some grindings also are sold to large industrial plants for boiler fuel.
Most of the company’s mulch is colored and bagged for sale. Buckeye recently invested in a new Becker-Underwood Second Harvester Sahara mulch coloring system that was expected to be operating by mid-October. Becker-Underwood developed the
Buckeye produces mainly two shades of colored mulch, red and black. Red mulch is marketed under the name Look of Cypress while the black mulch is sold as Black Tie. The two brands also have an environmental appeal to customers and customers, Sam noted, because they are made from recycled wood material.
In addition to the grinding and coloring operations, Buckeye is equipped to package its mulch products in plastic bags; about 90%-95% of the company’s mulch is sold bagged.
Buckeye also makes a wood fiber product that is certified by the International Playground Equipment Manufacturers Association for use as a surface for playgrounds. The association is changing its requirements for the certified material, moving to specify that it be made only from virgin wood, and Buckeye will comply by grinding offal material from its new pallet manufacturing operations. About 5%-10% of the company’s mulch is sold with the playground surface certification.
Just as the company has chosen to take a comprehensive approach to supplying pallets as well as pallet management services and other products for shipping, Buckeye has positioned itself strategically as a ‘one-stop’ supplier of mulch products. The company sells a variety of other mulch products in addition to those that it manufactures, brokering
Customers for mulch – lawn and garden retailers as well as grocers – wanted other mulches and related products, such as pine mulch, cypress mulch, and horticultural materials, such as top soil and compost. By brokering
The McAdow family also organized a separate business entity to produce and market mulch, Buckeye Resources, since that aspect of the business deals with an entirely different customer base. The company sells mulch products to markets in
The mulch business requires a considerable investment in grinding and coloring equipment, material handling equipment and storage. However, it more than offsets the significant landfill tipping fees, noted Jack.
Although the company grinds year-round, coloring operations are carried out seasonally. Coloring operations begin in the fall but cease between Thanksgiving and Christmas, when freezing temperatures set in. Coloring operations resume when the weather warms in late February or March. During the peak season, the mulch coloring and bagging operations employ about 10 workers. For bagging operations, the company uses a combination of equipment provided by a supplier and equipment developed by Buckeye.
Sam is excited about an unexpected development in another market for wood grindings – industrial plants that buy wood grindings for boiler fuel. Prices for boiler fuel traditionally have been about $6 per ton, but one of the company’s outlets for this product recently has been paying as much as $25 per ton. The price increase has occurred in less than a year.
The demand for wood fiber for fuel applications is growing although it remains in an embryonic stage, according to Sam. “And prices are starting to increase substantially. There’s going to be a real opportunity as a profit center to not only grind up your scrap pallets, but to go out and get other wood material, get it out of the waste stream, grind it and sell it for boiler fuel and make a profit.” That type of business has “huge potential,” he added, and Buckeye is exploring the opportunity.
Other wood recycling companies in the West also are enjoying significantly higher prices in markets for boiler fuel, according to Jack. “Now they are getting $34 a ton,” he reported, up from about $7 per ton.
“There is more demand for consistent quality wood fiber for various uses than there is good quality product,” said Jack. A key factor in wood fiber markets, he added, is producing a consistent wood fiber product that meets the specifications for a particular market or industry. Mulch markets, for example, generally do not allow long pieces of wood fiber.
Increased demand for ground wood fiber is going to continue growing not only the mulch market but also animal bedding, boiler fuel, wood carpet and other markets, Jack believes. In fact, the demand for good quality ground material is greater than the industry can currently produce. Customers are going to rely on large manufacturers and recyclers like Buckeye that produce consistent quantities of wood fiber.
With innovative technical advantages in the Mega-Destroyer design and performance, owners of Cresswood grinders, such as Buckeye, can look forward to a promising rise in after-market product