Selecting the right concrete processing attachments depends on an in-depth understanding of what is available and the latest technologies. There is a trade-off between the optimized performance of a dedicated tool vs. the versatility of a multi-process or universal tool.
"To make the right purchasing decision, the contractor should make sure he has a clear understanding of the performance specifications provided by the tool vendors," says Poul Rosengaard, sales & marketing consultant, Industrial & Work Tools Solutions, Caterpillar. "All too often the specifications are incomplete and vague."
One factor that has a direct impact on productivity is the ability to maintain processor teeth. "Regardless of what you do, the teeth are going to round down and become less effective," says Mark Ramun, director of the Demolition Tools Division at Genesis.
Northwest Demolition and Dismantling has experience with both pin-on and welded-on teeth. The company performs heavy industrial demolition and dismantling work in the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii. Four of its Stanley LaBounty Universal Processors have pin-on teeth segments, while the older half of its Universal Processor fleet has welded-on teeth. "I can't imagine why anybody today would go to a welded-on segment vs. one that can be knocked off in a matter of seconds and a new segment put on," says Brian Smith, president.
The units with welded-on teeth require more maintenance time. "If you are running 40-hour weeks, every Friday afternoon you should build up those wear surfaces, then hard-surface them," says Smith. "That can be four hours of welding time."
The concern with bolt-on teeth segments is that they may fall off. "If you do not train your operators and have a good maintenance program, nothing is going to stay together," says Smith. "Replace them before they are worn out and you minimize that risk. We have lost them because they were excessively worn."
Uwe Kausch, Stanley LaBounty, says his company's Swift Lock (pin-on) teeth can be un-pinned, built up and hardfaced, if the contractor so chooses. "In fact, many contractors will buy two sets of teeth and rotate them out for maintenance on a regular schedule. The advantage of pin-on teeth is that you only lose a small amount of production time since it only takes a half hour to change them out," he explains.
Without preventive maintenance, there is a possibility that pin-on teeth can fall off. "All of the bolt-on teeth systems I have seen use a cast bed and a cast tooth," says Ramun. "There is no machining work done between the two parts, which means there is inherent slop between them. Because they are bolt on, there are inherent issues with them falling out prematurely or breaking."
For this reason, Genesis has chosen a different tooth system. Instead of having sets of bolt-in teeth, it offers products where the whole bed of teeth is bolted in from the protected backside of the pulverizing and crushing jaws. "It is not individual teeth, it is the actual bed," says Ramun. You have a lot more bolts and you have a lot more surface area, so you stand a very low chance of actually losing the whole bed."
Versatility vs. performance
When it come to choosing between dedicated attachments and universal tools, you must weigh versatility against performance.
Smith reports that a Universal Processor for a 100,000-lb. excavator costs approximately $125,000, depending upon how Northwest Demolition has it equipped. "If you have a dedicated shear and a dedicated processor, you just doubled the cost of that investment to do the same thing. You have a shear that sits idle while you use the processor, or you have another machine to hang it on," he explains. "I can send one machine to a job and cut all of the steel out of a building. I drop that attachment and put on a bucket to pull the footings. Then I put the attachment back on, pull out the jaws and put in pulverizer jaws. Next, I reduce the footings down to gravel and take the reinforcing steel out.