Showing off: CONEXPO offered attendees latest in biomass processing
April 20, 2023
By Andrew Snook
While the CONEXPO-CON/AGG show is known as North America’s largest construction trade show, companies active in the forestry and biomass sectors had plenty to see at the triennial event in mid-March.
This year’s edition drew a record 139,000 attendees to the Las Vegas Convention Centre to check out the latest technologies on display. The outdoor Diamond Lot showcased a variety of grinder and chipper options.
While a rainy Tuesday kept the crowds a little thinner in the outdoor lots to kick off the show, the rest of the week was buzzing with potential buyers.
“Tuesday’s weather was obviously a hinderance, but Wednesday and Thursday went really well. We were busy all day,” says Jason Morey, marketing manager for Bandit Industries. “A lot of people we talked to we didn’t know, and were interested in our products. Based on that, it’s definitely worth being there. We got some good leads, and we’ll probably do some demos. It was good.”
Bandit Industries displayed its 2290 Track Whole Tree Chipper at the massive trade show, along with their smaller Bandit 20XP Track Whole Tree Chipper.
While the latest version of the 2290 has been available for many years, it is one of the company’s most popular units. The 2290 is a 20-inch (in.) capacity chipper capable of high production chipping. This unit is built for land clearing and right-of-way clearing applications. The 2290 on display had a 525-hp John Deere engine.
The unit’s key features include:
- 37-in. diameter x 24-in. wide drum with four knives
- 27-in. diameter x 32-in. wide-top feed wheel (driven via (2) 63.9 CID motors/chain)
- 10-5/8 in. diameter x 32-in. wide bottom feed wheel (driven via 14.5 CID motor/gearbox)
- 270-degree hydraulic swivel or forestry style discharge
- Optional 5.5-foot (ft.) infeed conveyor
- Optional cab and loader
- Standard radio remote control (not included with cab and loader)
“There are three main configurations the model 2290 track can be ordered with depending on each end user’s application. A standard unit without cab or loader, a loader only unit controlled by the radio remote, and then a cab and loader unit where the operator can operate all track and loader functions from a roomy operator’s cab,” Morey says.
The 20XP offers the same capacity as the 2290, but in a more compact platform with smaller engine options. The unit on display at the show was equipped with a Cummings 350-hp engine.
“Those two models on display got a lot of attention and are great for land clearing operations and logging applications that want a tracked unit instead of a tow-behind machine,” Morey says. “We were glad we had those two units there. It was nice to be able to show both units at the show.”
Both chippers featured Bandit’s patented slide box feed system, originally created by the company’s founder.
“The slide box feed system provides a substantial amount of pulling and compression power making the units easier to feed, reducing repositioning, and making the operator’s life easier,” Morey says.
All tracked units offered by Bandit are built using Caterpillar manufactured tracks.
“Another unique feature on all Bandit whole tree chippers is we have a five-year ‘GUTS’ warranty covering the Bandit fabricated components on the drum, disc, or feed system,” Morey adds.
Rotochopper had a new prototype version of its B-66 L-Series Horizontal Grinder on display at the show.
“We’ve made this one for orchards and land clearing,” says David Wood, sales manager for Western and Central Canada. “It has a shorter infeed table. It has the chain infeed instead of our slatted floor, and we’ve dropped the floor, so it has more exposed rotor. It’s increased our grinding time and capacity to the point we had to double the speed of the discharge belt to get rid of the product.”
Wood says the company is very excited about this latest version of the grinder, especially the traction it offers to help push product in past the infeed roller and into the rotor.
Other features of the prototype are identical to the current B-66 L-Series Horizontal Grinder on the market. The unit has dimensions of 41 ft.-11 in. (length) by 11 ft.-1 in. (width) by 14 ft. (height) and has a weight ranging from 80,000 pounds (lb.) to 101,000 lb. It is powered by a diesel engine with horsepower ranging from 950 hp to 1,200 hp with a fuel capacity of 340 gallons and a microprocessor engaged HPTO clutch.
The unit’s control system features a digital operator interface, RotoLink remote monitoring system, StopWatch monitoring system and is remote control operated.
Astec exhibited its new Peterson 5710E Horizontal Grinder at CONEXPO-CONAGG. Many of the features on the company’s latest grinder stemmed from a customer advisory group event that Astec hosted to get important input into their latest machine.
“We listened to the feedback of the customers in the field and what they wanted on the machine in the next generation. We had a group of Peterson customers, non-Peterson customers, 5710 owners, to give us that feedback,” says Derek Izworski, technical sales manager for Astec. “We raised the machine up quite a bit. The stance is better for the approach angles of the track going up and down slopes. The rotor diameter and screen area has been increased by eight per cent. The door to access the grate area has been increased by 20 per cent to allow serviceability.”
This machine offers a simplified and safer grate change while retaining Peterson’s unique Impact Release System for horizontal grinders.
“We pride ourselves on ground-level maintenance with the screen change, safety lockout points, maintenance with engine oils, batteries, we really pride ourselves on that safety aspect and not having to climb on the machine,” Izworski says, adding that another new safety feature of the 5710E is a fast-fill fuel system for ground-level fuelling.
This unit offers a large diameter rotor with 22 bits for efficient material fracturing and reliable processing power. It offers a large screening area for more throughput with four customizable grates to make a variety of products for customers.
“The discharge belts have been raised to 16 ft. 10 in., so there’s a lot higher discharge to load trucks, higher stockpiles on the backside of the machine. And overall travel height has not changed from the previous model,” Izworski says.
The 5710E is built with a new fast coupling transportation dolly for ease of transport between jobs and has an overall lighter transportation wight of 88,000 lb. (machine only).
“This dolly is transferable between the 2710 E and the 5710 E. It’s hydraulically pinned. It can hook up in less than five minutes and go down the road,” Izworski says.
Additional features include increased approach and departure angels for land clearing operations on drought terrain; a larger grinding chamber access door for improved access to the centre of the machine; an improved discharge conveyor for better material flow; and a new remote control with machine feedback screen.
“We’ve gone to more of an icon display, rather than words, that’s more easily translatable,” Izworski says. “We sell a lot of machines overseas, so with the icons this will be our new platform moving forward rather than words that describe what the machines doing. That’s a big update.”
At Vermeer’s booth, versatility was a key feature on display for biomass professionals on the company’s HG4000 and HG6800 horizontal grinders.
“From a biomass industry standpoint, with these chip drums, an operator is going to have a lot of different wiggle room to play with on sizing,” says Vermeer product specialist Jeremy Shannon. “All of our blades on our chip drums can be spaced and sized at different levels. We also have an adjustable anvil on our HG4000, as well as our HG6800, where we can move that as close as an eighth of an inch to those blades. That way, we can either have a small bite or work all the way up to a big bite.”
Vermeer’s units also offer operators a wide range of screens.
“You can have anywhere from rounds, squares, hexes, elongated, diamonds,” Shannon says.
The second generation of the HG4000 also has offers new features for operators.
“We moved from an FPT Fiat engine to a CAT C13B,” Shannon says. “This engine is going to produce at 536 horsepower for 50 per cent of its torque curve life. So, from a longevity standpoint, and from a warranty standpoint, this engine really performs very well.”
He adds that Vermeer has set up the HG4000 to be a productive machine with the company’s new droop feature.
“With the traditional grinder you set your droop setting, or your RPM setting, how aggressive you want the machine to be. And as materials coming through, those RPMs are bogging down depending on how hard the material is coming through. And a lot of times those old machines, when that RPM drops down below that droop level, it’s taken a lot for that engine to kick back into groove and get back above that droop,” Shannon explains.
With Vermeer’s new droop feature, it is constantly tracking the RPM level.
“It’s more of a predictive setting. It’s constantly keeping that RPM level and its torque curve to stay upon that droop low. That way, that engine is not having to take those huge dips in RPM and stay more efficient. And ultimately, it’s going to create better production,” Shannon says.
Morbark debuted its Next Gen 6400XT Wood Hog horizontal grinder with transport system at the show. The Morbak Transport Dolly designed for the Net Gen 6400XT was designed for simple transportation. It features an independent air‐ride suspension and remote‐controlled front and rear hydraulic locks. A single operator is able to attach the transport dolly in a quick and efficient manner. This unit is designed to eliminate the need for a specialized Low‐Boy trailer.
“The 6400XT is the best in its class for processing wood and organic waste with power and reliability,” stated Michael Stanton, vice-president of sales and marketing at Morbark. “The new Next Gen 6400XT, scheduled for fourth quarter 2023 release, builds on that legacy.”
The latest version of the Next Gen 6400XT is built with an enhanced frame design, which allows for the Transport Dolly attachment while keeping machine width to three metres.
Additional features include an automatic hammermill drive‐belt tension system; and a PT Tech Hydraulic Torque Limiter, which provides driveline protection and ease of setting adjustments based on grinding application.
CBI displayed the third iteration of its 6800 horizontal grinder, the 6800CT, at the show. The 6800CT has the option of a CAT C27 1,050-hp engine or a CAT C32 1,125 hp or 1,200 hp engine.
“It’s the first of our 6800 series grinders to be able to accept 1,200 horsepower. We’ve upgraded a lot of the components to handle the extra horsepower. We’ve got bigger bearings, we’ve got a larger diameter shaft, and that’s what allows us to put the extra horsepower on the same chassis,” explains Jonathan Gilmour, regional sales manager for CBI.
The 6800CT version had the hog box opened up with a split hog box design, which allows for easier access to the rotor, the mill and for the changing of wear parts. Gilmour says the design also allows for easy screen changes.
“They come right out of the top; you lift them out pretty easily. Your screen change is done within 15 minutes without a lot of manual lifting,” he says.
Another popular feature of the machine is the ability to stand up at full height in the machine when changing tips.
“The tips are held on by a single bolt, you can stand up full height in there while you’re changing tips. It’s a pretty comfortable job,” Gilmour says.
The 6800CT is 60 in. wide, right from the infeed right to the discharge, so there are no choke points. “That allows material to feed nice and easy the whole way through until it gets off the discharge belt,” Gilmour says.
This unit features high-strength rotors for enhanced protection. The 40-in. diameter by 60-in. wide upturn rotor has a forged, thick, high-strength core with 24 weld-on hammers. The offset helix pattern fits the full width of the rotor, distributing material across the hammers for enhanced efficiency.
The 6800CT also features a metal detection system (MDS) that is designed to engage within milliseconds whenever the grinder’s rotor makes contact with tramp metal. The rotor is monitored by an adjustable electronic sensor to alert the control system when tramp metal is detected. The MDS automatically lowers the engine RPM, raises the top feed roller and reverses the indeed to allow the operator to find the tramp metal. The MDS system’s sensitivity can be adjusted depending on the application.
The unit is remote controlled and has transport dimensions of 11 ft.-1in. (width) by 12 ft. (height) by 43 ft.-2 in. (length) and weighs approximately 86,500 lb.
CBI was also busy showcasing its digital set of solutions for its grinders.
One of the digital features offered by CBI is an app where the user can take a picture on their smartphone of a part and have that part number recognized, which can be a valuable resource for both dealers and customers, says Marco Piovano, director of Terex MP Digital Solutions.
Piovano discussed the MyTerex Customer Fleet App, a telematics solution accessed through the user’s smartphone. MyTerex gives the user remote access to machine information, notifications and performance dashboards. The MyTerex.com dealer and customer portal also allows the user to access documents, reports and digital solutions such as technical information, videos and business reports.
“They can do almost everything under MyTerex,” Piovano says.
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