Richard Adamo and his team still feel a little irked they did not bring purpose-built material handlers into their demolition business sooner than they did.
Adamo is the third-generation president of the Detroit-based Adamo Group. The company has been in the demolition industry for more than 50 years, taking on large decommissioning projects throughout the United States and Canada.
However, he still shakes his head ruefully at the days before he began building his fleet of Sennebogen purpose-built material handlers to extract scrap metal from demolition debris and to load the material into trucks and barges.
With the new equipment, Adamo has created a valuable new revenue stream, increased loading and logistics efficiency and improved relations with landfill operators.
Like many demolition contractors, Adamo was accustomed to using long-reach excavators to tear down structures, and then machines with a grapple picked through the debris. It was in 2004 that the firm first experimented with attaching a magnet to an excavator to pull out rebar and other ferrous scrap from the piles of rubble.
“We were floored by the amount of scrap we were recovering,” Adamo said.
At the time, he had a team working on an automotive factory project, with a large volume of metal in the structures. In one job, metal recovery added significant revenue to Adamo’s bottom line.
“Look at the recovery we can get – all this material we’ve been sending to the landfill, picked as clean as you can get it,” he said.
A new method for maging
A short time later, Adamo purchased a used material handler and decided to “give it a shot at maging the site.”
Maintaining that machine proved to be problematic. However, it demonstrated the advantages of replacing excavators with purpose-built material handlers. It was just a question of finding the right material handler for the application.
This is when Alta Equipment connected Adamo to its Sennebogen line-up of material handlers.
“I attended an open house at Alta and I saw an 821 M on their lot. I thought ‘That’s really cool. I’m really interested in that machine. It’s a good little unit; very mobile; it could suit a specific need,” he said.
Adamo had two priorities in mind when he saw the 821: mobility and dealer support. The ability to transport equipment efficiently is a key point in planning.
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Larger sites also call for machines that travel quickly between work zones under their own power. As well, as in any major project, reliability through long operating shifts is essential to meet deadlines.
“Sennebogen made a great decision when they partnered up with Alta,” Adamo said. “The dealer support is through the roof. We have had no issues with downtime or parts availability.
“We rely on factory-certified technicians for all our equipment service. Alta works well with our dealers in other regions to give us a strong support network. We used to have our own certified mechanics on our staff, but they could only take it so far before they had to call the dealer. Now Alta supplies the techs as we need them through an onsite labour agreement.”
Night and day
Adamo is just as pleased with the other purpose-built machines that Alta has supplied. He purchased an 825 M soon after seeing his first 821, then larger 830 M models were added for new projects.
“I’m pretty critical of equipment,” he said. “Our excavators were challenging at times to move. The 825 is night and day better.”
Each of these models, up to the 830, can drive themselves on and off a lowboy to transport with greater ease.
Bigger job, bigger machine
The fleet was expanded recently to include even larger purpose-built material handlers. A Sennebogen 840 M was acquired for a power plant project in Ohio, where barge loading operations required a heavier machine with longer reach.
The laydown area is located near the barge facility, a considerable distance from the demolished structures on the site. Using a 1.7 metre lifting magnet, the 840 loads off-road trucks with the recovered material, which delivers the scrap to the laydown area. Once enough material is accumulated, the 840 is driven to the river to fill the barge.
When it’s not loading trucks, the 840 continues maging out the debris piles. According to Adamo, thanks to Sennebogen’s elevating Maxcab, his operators also appreciate the visibility they get, looking into the barges.
“I always get good feedback from the operators; they just raise the cab and go to work. The machine doesn’t stop,” he said.
The maging application gets unexpected kudos from landfill operators as well. As Adamo explains, the concrete material from their projects is commonly used as “hard fill” to cover the service roads in landfill sites. However, scrap metals mixed into the waste frequently takes its toll in flat tires for trucks. Since Adamo began cleaning metals from the debris it ships out, complaints about flats have been reduced significantly.
“Our biggest accomplishment, really, is segregating the metal to recycle,” Adamo said. “We were among the first to use the magnets for sweeping and cleaning the piles. We are now getting paid for material that otherwise would have been a cost for tipping fees at the dump.
“We have been engaged with Sennebogen and Alta now, for eight years and the experience has been great. (Sennebogen President) Constantino Lannes came to town a while ago and I was happy to tell him that Sennebogen is hands-down the best material handler in the market. They are all outstanding units: durable, reliable; the dealer support is remarkable. As we grow our business and our fleet, we won’t go anywhere else.”