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The Ground Rules for Buying a Grinder

6400XT Wood Hog

Driven by state and local mandates such as green waste diversion rules and no-burn regulations, private contractors and government entities from coast to coast are joining the growing ranks of those who chip, grind, compost, and otherwise process green waste. Some do it for profit, some do it as a public service, but one thing they all have in common is the need for special equipment to tackle this demanding job.

Initial Q & A

Researching and selecting the appropriate equipment is the first, and perhaps the most important, step in establishing a successful – and profitable – wood and green waste processing business. Manufacturers, like Morbark, offer a wide array of grinders, screens, and other material handling equipment, and equipment needs will vary from one operation to another. Consequently, the time spent on planning and research can be a wise investment.

Begin by determining:

  • Your goals
  • What type and volume of material you will be processing?
  • Are interested in simple volume reduction or total recycling?
  • What are the potential markets for your end-products?
  • Where will you be operating?
  • Do you need a mobile or stationary operation?

Questions will crop up as you go along, but a few basic answers will steer you in the right direction. For example, to reduce whole trees and big limbs, a whole tree chipper probably is best because it can quickly handle tree-length material. Throw stumps, root balls, brush, pallets, and yard waste into the mix, however, and a grinder – not a chipper – may be necessary.

Whole tree chips can be marketed in some areas, but if you want to manufacture today’s popular shredded landscape mulch, a hammermill grinder may be the better choice; and to further enhance the value and marketability of the end-product, you may want to consider a mulch coloring unit.

Ultimately, your equipment purchases will be determined by what you want to do. And knowing your goals up front will bring you closer to making a wise purchasing decision.

1300 Tub Grinder

Tub or Horizontal Grinder?

If you determine you need a grinder, you will immediately face two important questions: 1) How big? 2) What style? The size of your grinder will, of course, be determined by the volume of your incoming waste stream as well as your projected growth over the next two to five years.

There are two grinder style choices – tub or horizontal. Morbark introduced the first industrial tub grinders for use in wood waste recycling and land-clearing operations in 1990 and has led the industry ever since. We offer the most complete line of tub grinders available, in a range of sizes and several configurations – with or without cab and loader, on tracks or tires, diesel or electric powered. Add to these choices a wide variety of available options, and you’ve got the flexibility to customize the perfect Morbark Tub Grinder for your particular needs. Tub grinders are popular because they are productive and easy to work on and maintain. If you can position your grinding operation in a remote, controlled area where bystanders are kept back at least 200 feet, a tub is a good choice. However, because of the tendency for tub grinders to occasionally propel debris up into the air, you may want to consider a horizontal grinder.

Able to operate in closer quarters, near streets and residential areas, horizontal grinders are better at containing flying debris and have the added advantage of being able to process longer material with less shearing or chain saw work. Morbark offers a full line of Wood Hog horizontal grinders in a range of sizes, on tracks or tires, diesel or electric powered.

Leave No Stone Unturned

All manufacturers have websites with information on their products offerings. Additionally, trade magazines often carry advertisements as well as directory listings with contact names, numbers, and website addresses. Trade shows are another excellent way to gather a large amount of information in a short time. Compile literature, specifications, and videos on the type of equipment you are considering, and talk to people who already are involved in wood and green waste processing.

When speaking with equipment salespeople, remember this: the good ones will ask many questions and will be more interested in your needs and goals than they are in simply selling you a piece of equipment.

Equipment manufacturers also can provide you with references. Most people are willing to talk about their operations and often can save you from making the same mistakes they did.