Transfer stations: t-harmony for transfer stations—finding your “perfect match”transfer stations: t-harmony for transfer stations—finding your “perfect match”

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Courtesy of Waste Advantage Magazine

Transfer St ation “Right Sizing” (design, location and aesthetics) is a similar comparison to a dating service. Sounds strange right? Well, think about it; you need to know what is right for you, what individual needs you have, what your long term goals are, what you are willing to invest and what you are looking to get out of it.

The “Right Sizing”
What is “Right Sizing” when it comes to transfer station design? This is a loaded question. First, we need to start by thinking about this—to whom are we asking that question? Is our client a municipality, a large private company, or a smaller start up? What is their goal—a show place or statement about their community? Is the facility simply a “tool” to allow them to best manage and process their materials? Often the answer is based not on what they need, but what they want or can afford. Municipalities are often looking to make a statement. Cost is not the driving consideration, and therefore, cost is not a prime factor in the design; so often in the past these facilities would be, well, all you can say is “ginormous” and very costly. Now, will this change with the severe downturn in the economy? Only time will tell.

Normally, most questions that come to mind when you think about right sizing relate to the size of the building. Think about this from a slightly different perspective. Shouldn’t right sizing really be about creating the total design and layout that is most cost effective? Think about the term “cost effective” and what we are really saying is “What is going to be the cost per ton to process material through the building?”

There is an old adage that says the shortest distance between two points (Point “A” and Point “C”) is a straight line. The point of this saying is to get us thinking efficiency—the least amount of effort to achieve our end, getting from point “A” to point “C”. Let’s think about the route truck and call it point “A” and the landfill or MRF as Point “C”. In most circumstances with material handling and manufacturing processes, you add a point “B” into the equation to improve the material along the way, which creates a value-added condition. (The only reason to deviate from the straight line is to make some type of improvement—to add value to the process).

Looking at it in its simplest form, a transfer station is simply meant to provide the lowest cost, most effective and environmentally responsible means of getting the material from point “A” to point “C”. The “value-added” is achieved from cost savings in reduced transportation by the consolidation of multiple route vehicles into one large trailer, with the ancillary benefits of reducing the number of trucks on the road and lowering total emissions. It is a true example of addition by subtraction.

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