Star Screen Lowers Mulch Producer’s Costs Significantly
Lowe Products is one of the largest mulch and topsoil producers in West Virginia. The company’s convenient location, 50 miles west of Washington DC, allows them to service Maryland, Northern Virginia, DC and eastern West Virginia markets.
Founded in 1972 by John D. Lowe Jr. and his wife Betty, the company was built on experience in the lumber industry, using by-products such as slab wood, wood chips and bark material. Through the years the transition was made into processing these lumber by-products into a high-grade bark mulch. Today, Lowe Products produces 27 products ranging from shredded hardwood mulches to a variety of soil products. Feedstock is mainly from forestry waste and “white wood” (construction industry wood waste).
According to Lowe, the company has always been forward-thinking, aspiring to be at the cutting edge of the mulch industry, and has been bagging its products since it was founded. Lowe’s facility currently has four automated bag lines that can produce 32,000 units of bagged products per shift. All bags are palletized, fully shrink-wrapped and capped for maximum sale ability.
Cost reduction through innovative machines
Scott Lowe, vice president of Lowe Products, inherited his father’s innovative nature and was all ears when he heard how he could reduce his mulch production costs significantly by adding a Neuenhauser Star Screen into his operation. The unit’s proven ability to reduce regrind by as much as 70 percent was the first thing that caught his attention. He adds that considering the fact that their grinders were burning $200 worth of fuel per hour, the ability to reduce operating hours by two thirds with a machine that burns $10 of fuel per hour sounded like a “no-brainer” on paper.
A demonstration of Neuenhuaser’s 2F Star Screen was arranged through the local Neuenhauser dealer, Emerald Equipment Systems. For Lowe, the screener would be required to keep pace with the company’s 1,100-hp grinders, which are capable of producing up to 650 cubic yards per hour, and also ensure that screened product was of the same quality as their double-ground mulch. According to Neuenhauser, the demonstration proved the 2F Star Screen was up to the task and the unit has now been in operation for months, much of that time running through the height of mulch season.
“We have seen significant cost savings – other than the grinder fuel usage – that we did not initially consider,” says Lowe. “We have eliminated a loader out of our operation, as we now do not have to double-handle as much as 70 percent of our mulch. And grinder wear costs have been reduced dramatically because we are not feeding fines back through the mill.”
The Neuenhauser 2F Screen Lowe purchased is a 2-way split-wheel unit featuring a 22-foot by 6-inch variable speed star deck with low-wear polyurethane stars. The low maintenance, use rfriendly design features a diesel hydraulic powerpack, a modular star deck that can be removed in 15 minutes and a simple control system that can be programmed to make different-sized products.
“Our experience with Neuenhauser screens has been very positive,” says Lowe. “Their innovative technology and the 2F Star Screen’s ability to produce a high-quality product definitely meets the high standards of excellence that our company requires.”
“This screen is set apart from others because of its high production rates, its simplicity to operate and maintain and its low fuel consumption. It also allows us to cut production costs and has an extremely low maintenance cost overall.”
Emerald Equipment Systems is the northeast U.S. dealer for the complete line of Neuenhauser screening technologies – comprised of star screens, trommels and flipflow screens. Star screen units are available in wheel, track and static configurations