Adding On

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Today's demolition contractor differs greatly from his counterpart of as little as 25 years ago. Once solely dedicated to the demolition facet of a job, today's professional - in order to survive, let alone maintain a competitive edge - often must augment his operation with a solid material-processing and recycling effort. So when Fresno, California demolition professionals Kroeker Demolition and Environmental Contractors were called upon to help process material from a wood-waste stockpile that had caught fire and burned for 26 days, not only were they able to do so, they excelled at the task. The result was a dramatically reduced risk of the troubled site catching fire again and further reinforcement that Jeff Kroeker and company had made the right decision to move into the processing and recycling arena.

Some Growing Pains
For 23 years, Kroeker Demolition & Environmental Contractors has provided California's central valley and surrounding areas with a solid list of services, including concrete cutting and core drilling, interior selective demolition, site clearing, and more. According to Jeff Kroeker, the firm's general manager and son of its founder, as the company grew, so did its costs and headaches for disposal of the materials it generated.

'For most of our existence, disposal of wood waste from our landclearing jobs and larger demolition projects has been subcontracted to a local grinding company,' says Kroeker. 'However, we eventually reached a point where it made more sense for use to look at doing that facet of the operation ourselves. Not only were the costs getting prohibitive, the subcontractors were often so busy that we were unable to coordinate our needs with their schedules.'

Taking on the Fort
After extensive research, Kroeker purchased a tub grinder, a Morbark Model 1300. Since making the purchase, Kroeker has handled some demanding, high-profile projects.

'We recently won the bid to take down 352 houses on 150 acres of Fort Ord, California, an area that is being cleared for commercial development,' says Kroeker. 'Our portion of the project lasted five months. Though the houses themselves were concrete, the interiors were largely wood, which generated huge amounts of recyclable material. At the same time, we also handled the landclearing aspect of the job, so we had wood waste from there as well.'

Because they were able to take the tub grinder to the site, transportation costs for the debris were essentially eliminated. Kroeker adds that the grinder's self-loading capability helped by freeing up equipment such as loaders or excavators that otherwise would have to feed the grinder.

'Simply put, there was nothing at that site - in terms of trees and wood waste - that we couldn't handle,' says Kroeker. 'Steve Johnson, Morbark's northern California representative, set us up with a Morbark 737 trommel screen. Once at the site, it was put to work screening out the dirt, leaving us with wood that could be recycled as mulch and dirt was used for grading on site. It was just an excellent project.'

Adding Shear Power
Because so much of Kroeker's grinding operation is mobile, the firm continually is challenged by different types of materials that, without being pre-processed, would challenge the grinders. To alleviate such situations, Kroeker added a wood shear Morbark Model 60 Talon Shear to its processing arsenal. The result, says Kroeker, has been impressive.

'We have the wood shear mounted third-member on a Cat 330 excavator,' says Kroeker. 'Our primary reason for getting the shear was to address a problem we have here in the valley: eucalyptus trees.'

Kroeker recently completed a job for the city of Fresno that called for the removal of a number of huge eucalyptus trees. Some of the trees dated back to the 1800s and measured larger than 15 feet around. Kroeker's chain saws had a maximum cut of only 48 inches, so they put the Talon Shear to work on the project.

'The shear was excellent both for processing trees that were already toppled and, with the extra reach afforded by the third-member mount, for cutting branches from the top down,' says Kroeker. 'That tool made a potentially troublesome project go smoothly. And, because we are one of the only few companies on the West Coast to have a hear like this, it afford us another advantage over the competition.'

Concrete Solutions, Too
In addition to the wood waste, Kroeker Demolition processes and recycles a broad range of material, including concrete and asphalt. An Eagle Model 1400 crushing plant handles concrete debris, turning it into a 3/4-inch Class 2 base rock and, like its Morbark counterpart, played a huge role in the Fort Ord job.

'The portable plant processed more than 108,000 tons of material at the Fort Ord site,' says Kroeker. 'It's a well-built, solid performer - a benchmark of all our equipment. We feel we've become the company we are today largely through the efforts of our people and the performance of the tools we've chosen.'

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