"We feel that by fabricating our own we can build them to our own specifications," he adds. "Experience tells us what we need most. Our operators are invaluable resources for finding better ways to use demolition attachments. Plus, we can beef them up and make them as strong as possible. Downtime is money for us. We have to keep equipment running as much as possible."
Ryan believes the increasing demand for such specialized tools is what's driving the attachment market. "As the years have progressed, so have the demolition tools," he asserts. "There have been many contractors who have designed their own processing tools. But now the industry has seen the need for more mass production of demolition attachments."
Brandenburg Industrial Service Co.
Processors with up to 800 tons of force work like pulverizing jaws to crush concrete exteriors, columns and foundations. Hydraulic hammers ranging from 1,200- to 20,000-ft. lbs. of impact energy are mounted on excavators, small wheel loaders and skid-steer loaders to demolish floor slabs and foundations. "Instead of having to do that job by hand with a jackhammer, we can use a hydraulic hammer to make the job go a lot faster and smoother with less labor and less risk for injury," says John O'Keefe.
As far as steel structures are concerned, shears have reduced the need for personnel with torches. Models with up to 15,000 tons of shear force can cut through steel up to 1-in. thick. "Although we still do some hand cutting for precision work, shears can cut through I-beams and fairly large steel," says O'Keefe. "They're precise and accurate. You can pick up a pop can, yet cut through an I-beam."
All of these attachments are currently being used on the Pabst Brewery Project in Milwaukee, WI. "We're tearing down multiple structures at the old Pabst Brewery facility," O'Keefe explains. "We're also salvaging some of the properties and doing some renovations. In the end, there will be 'work and live' places with shops on the bottom floor and condos on top."
Another recent project was the demolition of the Chicago Sun Times building to make way for the Trump International Towers. Brandenburg was also involved in the demolition of Veteran's Stadium in Philadelphia, PA, and demolition and environmental remediation at Soldier Field in Chicago, IL
Carl Bolander & Sons
According to Mark Ryan, the 360° multi-purpose processing attachment has been instrumental in changing both the demolition industry and the way he handles many demolition jobs. "It's a multi-jaw attachment where you can change the jaws to handle everything from shearing to pulverizing," he says. "It gives contractors a lot more versatility without having to use multiple carriers. One hydraulic machine can do all those jobs by just changing the jaws."
For Bolander, attachments are a way to control the demolition process in tight confines. One recent job included demolishing a grain elevator that stood in very close proximity to existing structures. "One end of the elevator sat adjacent to an alley with residential garages," recalls Evan Mackey, demolition division manager, Bolander. "We had to bring down that 130-ft.-tall structure in less than 8 ft. of space." In the end, crews processed an estimated 8,000 to 10,000 tons of concrete. While work up high was accomplished with a wrecking ball and crane, concrete pulverizers and hydraulic hammers mounted on excavators were used to break up the footings and thicker concrete.
Attachments also assisted Bolander in the demolition of Stroh's Brewery, which sat just 5 ft. away from Minnehaha Ave., a major road through the Minneapolis area.
Jerry Carlson notes that the Genesis shears included in the company's fleet have made a very positive impact on demolition projects.
"For us, shears increase productivity by reducing hand labor activities involved in taking down a structure," Carlson says. "We used to have to go in with a standard excavator and just start pulling it apart. What you couldn't pull apart, you'd have to torch by hand. Now with shears, we can go in and efficiently cut the building apart."
Shears were recently used for demolition of a 74,000-sq.-ft. parking deck located above a river.
They also came in handy during demolition of a five-story hospital and its four-story parking ramp. The parking ramp was surrounded on three sides by existing structures. To the north, sat the emergency room, which could have its entrance closed for just five days. The neonatal care unit, intensive care unit, cardiac catheterization labs and an active loading dock were located to the east. To the west, active construction of a new hospital building was taking place. Shears enabled Veit to carefully control the demolition process and maneuver in and around the tight work site as needed.
King Wrecking Co.
Drew Lammers indicates the majority of demolition is performed by machines. However, one current project - taking down a cooling tower in the middle of a lagoon - requires crews to resort to hand demolition, since there is no way to get equipment to the site.
But for most projects - like the recent demolition of a high school - the use of specialized demolition attachments, such as shears, grapple buckets and hammers, make demolition easier and safer. Attachments also give the contractor the ability to recycle more material.
"Before attachments, we had to do a lot more hand labor," Lammers says. "But now we can take an attachment such as a shear and cut through steel like butter.
"Also, one of our biggest challenges in demolition is controlling debris - both where it falls and how it's collected efficiently," he states. "Attachments have really helped us manage these areas."