721G Wheel Loader Drives Uptime, Savings for Recycler
Northeast Cartage relies on the CASE 721G wheel loader as the first point of contact for every single piece of recycled material that comes into its Pennsylvania plant — the machine has helped the company achieve greater uptime, while saving between 25-40 gallons of diesel per week - a great benefit for a company focused on sustainability.
No diesel particulate filter (DPF), excellent fuel efficiency and waste-specific guarding headline waste handler in single-stream recycling center.
At Northeast Cartage LLC, a single stream recycling operation in northeast Pennsylvania, the core goal is to run a clean operation with minimal environmental impact. Every truckload of recyclable waste arrives as a jumbled mass of cardboard, paper, various types of cans and metals, and plastic and glass containers.
The job of Northeast Cartage is to take those collected materials, separate them and convert them into a saleable product. The first piece of equipment to handle the material that comes into the facility is the CASE 721G waste handler, a specially outfitted and guarded wheel loader designed for use in waste and recycling applications.
“The 721G handles every single pound of material that comes through our doors,” says Al Gulitus, director of operations at Northeast Cartage. “Its job is to pick up material in three- or four-yard increments – as much as the bucket can handle – and haul it to our drum feeder, which starts the recycling process.”
Gulitus describes the process as “a forklift carrying a glass of water” when you compare the size and power of the machine with the actual weight of the material. The 721G not only came guarded to stand up to the varied materials that work their way into every nook and cranny of the machine, but it’s also sized perfectly to navigate through an otherwise tight facility that most full-sized loaders would struggle in.
“We have a reach concern because our hopper is over 9 feet in the air,” says Gulitus. “There is also a U-turn within the path of the machine for every bucket. The 721G was a perfect fit for our application because it made the tightest turn that we could handle without getting into a machine that was so small that it wasn’t going to be efficient for us.”
The loader also supports the company’s quest for efficiency, sustainability and profitability in a variety of different ways, from improved uptime to keep material moving through the plant, to lower fuel costs and improved dealer/OEM support that simplifies much of the machine’s service and makes operating costs entirely predictable for the first three years ownership.
Standing Up to a Caustic, Debris-Filled Environment
At the core of the 721G waste handler is the specialty guarding package that includes metal-wrapped hoses, cylinder guards, a windshield guard and light protection, guarding built to shed material from collecting in critical articulation and operational points, and solid brawler tires to protect against flats.
“The brawler tires are the best thing that you could possibly run in a recycling operation,” says Gulitus. “Pneumatic tires are very, very expensive and you can puncture one or more per day in an operation like this. I don’t think there’s any reason to run anything but a solid rubber tire on a loader in a recycling operation.”
“The windshield guard is a great feature. Champagne bottles, a hot water heater that wasn’t supposed to be in the mix — things come rolling back as you curl a bucket, and whatever is coming at you inevitably has a chance to impact your windshield. It has saved us more than once [from replacing a windshield], and the operator feels a lot more confident from a safety perspective.”
The guarding that protects the articulation points and other critical components is also very important to machine uptime and performance, as it prevents long-term wear and abrasion that can lead to equipment failure.
“The guarding of the articulation and under the cab is great,” says Gulitus. “And there are metal wraps that go around the hydraulic hoses on the bell crank and the dog bone on the bucket arms. Material seems to build there and it’s constantly rubbing on those hoses, doing damage to the rubber [on other machines]. The fact that they’re wrapped in metal tells me that I’m going to be safe for a long time in this application.”
Keeping Cool and Improving Uptime
Recycling centers deal heavily in flammable materials such as paper and cardboard. CASE has built its G Series wheel loaders specifically to keep engine compartment temperatures down, and it accomplishes this in a few ways. The first is the CASE-exclusive mid-mounted cooling module, which features coolers positioned in a cube design that ensures access to clean and cool ambient air, while also limiting debris buildup and providing easy access for routine cleaning. The machine also comes with a variable-speed reversing fan that further minimizes the need for manual cleaning.
“We’re in a very dusty environment here,” says Gulitus. “As we agitate the pile, we make dust. The machine needs clean air to breathe, so at the end of the day, having the auto reversing fan, and having the ability to set the frequency higher is a critical piece for us.”
Gulitus’ waste handler also features selective catalytic reduction (SCR) as its emissions solution, which further helps reduce operating temperatures in the engine compartment, and ultimately results in greater uptime and lower lifetime equipment costs in a recycling application.
Unlike machines with a diesel particulate filter (DPF), the SCR system is an aftertreatment solution that treats the exhaust after it has left the engine, whereas a DPF requires considerable spikes in operating temperature to burn off collected particulate. Those higher temperatures increase opportunity for combustion in waste/recycling operations, place added stress on surrounding engine components, and represent an inefficient use of fuel being burned for non-productive efforts.
“There is no diesel particulate filter on this machine,” says Gulitus. “That’s a big deal for us. Downtime for having a DPF filter, DPF system worked on, it has cost us thousands.”
It got so bad with the regeneration-related downtime and other machine issues that the company previously kept two loaders on hand to ensure there was enough uptime to perform the work of a single machine. That means double the carrying costs for an application that should take a single machine.
“We continued to stock two loaders because we could not afford to have the process stop every time we had to address a DPF problem. I’m not a fan of the DPF.”
The CASE SCR system also contribute to greater fuel efficiency in production environments. Fuel efficiency is further aided by the presence of numerous operating modes that allow the operator to work at a fuel-efficient setting that is still more than enough power to get the job done.
As Gulitus described the art of “a forklift carrying a glass of water” as it relates to the size of the machine and the weight of the payload, that analogy highlights the importance of economy modes that allow operators to get greater fuel efficiency out of larger machines that don’t need to be running wide open at all times — or at all, in the case of a recycling center — to perform its tasks.
“Cubic yardage is critical to us, which is why we need the large machine,” says Gulitus. “Having the economy mode, saving a little bit of diesel fuel, is a tremendous advantage. In an eight-hour shift, fairly consistently, we’re seeing a five- to seven-gallon-per-day savings in the same size machine.”
“We are a recycling business, associated with green efforts, clean air efforts, and environmental sustainability. The fact that we can use 25-40 less gallons of diesel fuel every week is lowering the environmental impact as a company.”
The Importance of Visibility in Recycling Operations
Gulitus notes that the large, spacious cab with great visibility to all sides of the machine — supported by a large single-pane windshield with a backup camera integrated into the machine’s 8-inch LCD screen — is important in plant awareness given that there are many moving trucks that come in and out of the facility each day.
“I need my operator to see everybody, and that’s the biggest benefit that I can see so far with this machine — the fact that the cab is so large. You’re elevated in comparison to other machinery that we’ve used of the same size. Your visibility is just tremendous.”
Serviceability and Dealer Support Drive Success
The 721G waste handler features simple, toolless groundline serviceability, making it easy to check on a daily basis — ensuring optimal uptime and making it easier on the operator.
“It’s a very simple check, if you make it easier, people will do it,” says Gulitus. “That’s a recycling theology from single stream. If you let them put it in one container and make it simple, they’ll participate more. The same thing goes with maintenance.”
The waste handler is supported expertly by local CASE dealer Medico Industries. It is also covered under CASE ProCare, which provides heavy equipment owners with product assurance and predictable owning and operating costs via a standard factory warranty, planned maintenance contract and SiteWatch telematics subscription straight from the factory.
“ProCare has allowed us to budget for things we normally would be responding to on the fly,” says Gulitus. “The fact that we have mostly canned maintenance costs for the first three years allows us to put together a proper return on investment budget and understand how quickly we can pay for this machine.”
With the SiteWatch telematics, Gulitus has given Medico Industries access to the data coming off his machine, which allows them to be ahead of planned maintenance, and largely remove the planning and concern over that from his day-to-day responsibilities.
“The experts from Medico Industries, and CASE, they lift that from my mind. They are constantly watching. They’re monitoring the hours on the machine. I got a text message from a service manager right before the first service was due. So we love ProCare. It’s awesome.”
“You buy a very expensive machine to feed an operation like this,” says Gulitus in closing. “It’s a featured machine, [but] it only handles the material that goes into our plant. Without that machine, I am absolutely out of business.”