Demolition & Recycling sector starts recovery after global recession

By Lindsay Gale10 May 2011

The latest addition to Atlas Copco’s Combi Cutter range is the CC 4700 for 45 to 65 tonne carriers.

The latest addition to Atlas Copco’s Combi Cutter range is the CC 4700 for 45 to 65 tonne carriers.

The demolition and recycling industry may have suffered during the recession, but now the price of steel is heading back up, there is something to be cheerful about in the scrap sector at least.

The global recession has taken its toll on the demolition industry, with several prominent regional contractors going bankrupt. Other evidence of the industry's woes has been the apparent slowdown of new product introductions - particularly large (expensive) long-reach demolition excavators.

However, there are still one or two interesting developments in this sector, which constantly pushes the boundaries of what's possible.

Even though the market is challenging, there is still demand for special custom-made demolition excavators. And there is no question that the envelopes are being pushed.

One of the leaders in the field is Ipswich, UK-based Kocurek Excavators and its latest machine illustrates this point.

Based on a Hitachi EX1200, Kocurek is producing, for UK customer Heavy Decom International (HDI), a unit weighing just over 200 tonnes that will be able to carry a 25 tonne shear to 20 m and a 15 tonne shear to 30 m, based on a three section articulating boom.

Kocurek is also providing a fly dipper to take the final height to 35 m with an 8 tonne attachment.

HDI is initially planning to target two major sectors, North Sea oil & gas decommissioning and marine applications anywhere in the world, although it would also be happy to deploy the machine on any major general heavy duty demolition contracts in the UK.

Use in marine applications is made possible by the fact that the machine, as well as functioning as a high reach, also has the capability of working underwater below the level of the carrier itself.


The ability to carry larger and larger shears is a clear demand from the industry, driven by the rising price of steel and other commodities, which is making the scrap recycling aspect of demolition more and more interesting.

Stanley Hydraulic Tools is one company that takes this view, with spokesman Lou Maggio saying, "Europe is rebounding, with stronger growth to be seen in the UK and Germany, although in Spain conditions are still challenging.

"In the US, it is the scrap sector that is fuelling demand, with the demolition sector still slow. Scrap prices are strong following their sharp dip last year, driven by a lack of supply. Providing oil prices do not get out of hand, we are positive about the potential for sales in 2011."

Stanley has introduced a number of new products in recent months including the 1.96 tonne LaBounty MDP20R demolition processor, which is designed for use on 18 to 25 tonne carriers.

According to the company, this is a mid-sized processor that can separate concrete from rebar in just seven seconds and weighs less than competitive models. It will be followed by a larger model later this year.

Meanwhile Allied Construction Products, the long-standing exclusive dealer for Sandvik breakers in North America, has marked its return to the demolition shear sector. The AMS-40 shear is the middle sized unit of what will be a three model range that will be complete by the end of 2011.

Designed for use on excavators weighing from 20 to 35 tonnes, the fully rotating AMS-40 weighs in at 4.55 tonnes, has a maximum jaw opening of 762 mm and delivers a cutting force of 145 tonnes at the tip. It features four-way indexable (guided) cutting blades, fully protected pocket nose blades and a bolt-on bracket.

Atlas Copco meanwhile has introduced the 4.75 tonne CC 4700 combi cutter for 45 to 65 tonne carriers, which is designed to fill the gap between the CC 3300 and CC 6000. It is available with either a universal jaw set or a steel cutting jaw, and follows the design of the company's other CC attachments.

According to Wofgang Hohn, product line manager silent demolition tools, "With the CC 4700 we are responding to the trend towards larger demolition equipment. And we are closing the gap that existed between our CC 3300 and the CC 6000."

One of the key design criteria that Atlas Copco has tried to address is low operating cost. According to Mr Hohn, "We found that about two thirds of the operating costs of an attachment arise from factors such as energy, operator costs, service and maintenance, and only one third from the investment cost. With the CC 4700 we are focusing on these consequential costs."

Crusher arms are mounted on a central main pin, reducing changeover times by as much as 75% compared to separate mountings. Both arms can be fitted and removed as a unit through the use of Atlas Copco's Coupling and Positioning System (CAPS) on site, and crusher teeth and cutting blades can also be quickly and easily changed on site.

Rotar International has added two new models to its RSS line of scrap shears to complement the 4.4 tonne RSS 40 for excavators from 25 to 38 tonnes that received its formal launch at Bauma last year. The new attachments are the 3.65 tonne RSS 30 for 20 to 32 tonne carriers and the 6.35 tonne RSS 50 for 30 to 50 tonne machines.

According to the company, the new tools feature a powerful cylinder that, in conjunction with an integrated speed valve, provides powerful cutting force and rapid cycle times. They also feature 360° rotation, indexable cutting edges, pocket nose blades and a bolt on adapter, and are easy to service.

VTN Europe is yet another adding to its shear line, with the introduction of the CI series of attachments. It has now introduced a further two models in the line, the CI 040 and CI 070.

The former is a 450 kg tool intended for use on 5 to 8 tonne carriers as an attachment. It can also be used on 2.5 tonne mini-excavators where it replaces the dipper stick.

The CI 070 is a 770 kg shear for 8 to 13 tonne excavators as an attachment. It can also be fitted to 5 tonne machines on the end of the boom in place of the stick.

Indeco has added a new shear to its range in the form of the 4.5 tonne ISS 25-40 intended for use on carriers from 25 to 40 tonnes. It features full 360° rotation, a dual profile piercing tip system, with differentiated upper and lower tips for a clean gradual cut, four cutting blades that are the same length, reversible and interchangeable.

Meanwhile Genesis has introduced a weld-on protective jaw system for its GXP shears, Shear Jaw Armour, designed to fit both a shear's lower and upper jaws as well as the chin.

It is a modular system fabricated from abrasion resistant, proprietary GenGuard steel that once in place virtually eliminates the need for build-up and hardsurfacing of the shear's wear areas.

According to the company, the system should last up to a year in typical recycling applications, saving annual welding, labour and material costs and increasing up-time and productivity.

Caterpillar has updated its four-model multi processor line (MP15, MP20, MP30 and MP40) with a new shear jaw design and with modifications to the housing to make the tools easier to service and maintain.

Crushing & screening

Meanwhile, equipment for recycling demolition waste is undergoing changes due to the new Stage IIIB and Interim Tier 4 engine emission laws in Europe and North America. These require all but the smallest diesel-powered mobile crushing and screening machines sold in these regions to be fitted with new low emission engines.

Elsewhere however, the lack of availability of ultra low sulphur diesel, which is essential to run these new engines, means product ranges have not been affected by the new laws.

Many of the latest machines in the sector were on display at March's ConExpo exhibition in Las Vegas. These included new models from Telsmith, Powerscreen, Terex, Kleemann, Tesab and Metso. For more information, see our ConExpo previews in the January-February and March editions of iC.iC

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