You know the saying: One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. We are of the opinion that your trash should not be another man’s treasure. It should be yours! Wood waste processing can be a profitable and an environmentally sound venture, but a certain amount of strategy and planning is involved. Here are four things to consider when choosing the best option for your operation.

Shredder size matters

The shredder that best meets the needs of your operation should take into account the amount of scrap, the time frame in which it’s produced, as well as the size and shape of the wood waste itself. If your operation produces waste like nested-based skeletons or rippings, it is likely that you could benefit from a horizontal shredder. In the event that you produce scrap in the form of drop-offs, cut-offs, end cuts, from a continuous operation or a batch fed operation, a hopper-fed shredder is likely the machine for you.

It’s also important to know how small you’d like your grindings to be. Choosing an appropriate screen size makes all the difference in how finely your wood is shredded. If your goal is to briquette your wood waste or create animal bedding, you could opt for a smaller screen. If you intend to air convey, a 1-inch screen is ideal.

Location, location, location

A shredder is a huge investment for even the largest of operations. But what if we told you that the location alone of a shredder can pay for itself? Locating a shredder near the waste stream can help eliminate labor costs and create a commodity that can put money back in your bank account. If the distance between the waste stream and the shredder is too great, the potential for profitability decreases.

A lumber producer in rural Pennsylvania has assembled a system that feeds directly from their waste stream. A combination of end-cuts and drop-off are conveyed through their operation directly to a Weima WLK6S, where the scrap is shredded continuously throughout the day. This hands-off approach to wood processing is efficient, economical, and environmental.

Set realistic goals

Selecting the shredder that is right for your operation really comes down to this: It is important to have set goals and to know them well.

Ask yourself these important questions:

- Do you handle your waste multiple times before discarding it?

- In the process of waste removal, are you charged by weight or do you pay by the truckload?

- What if you could reduce the number of loads you send out in a month by half? Or maybe more?

- Do you have the capabilities to use your waste for fuel (boiler, furnace, etc)?

- Do you plan on selling your ground wood waste?

- Do you have a buyer that requires a specific size of wood grindings in order for them to purchase from you?

It is important to ensure the company supplying your size reduction machinery knows your goals and is able to help you reach them in the most practical way possible.

A little maintenance goes a long way

Shredders are heavy-duty machines designed to process some of the toughest applications. It would be easy to consider them large and self-sustaining beasts, and this is almost true. Shredders require very little maintenance in the grand scheme of things. But like any machine, they still require a bit of time and attention to keep them performing optimally.

For example, a shredder will still perform with dull knives, but not as well. Rotating and replacing a shredder’s knives will yield more consistent throughput over time, and routinely changing the oil every two thousand hours will help you maintain this long-term investment.

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