H&H Land Clearing
A Model Of Material Handling Efficiency
When H&H Land Clearing started in 1995, the housing market was booming and developers needed someone to come in and clear the land. “There was plenty of land to be cleared,” said Mike Heiss, owner. “We never advertised. Word of mouth got out, and things were busy.”
The housing market has changed, of course. But while the land clearing business has slowed down, H&H now supplements that business by processing the trees its fells and turning them into mulch. “We make mulch products for mulch suppliers in Northeastern Ohio, primarily Kurtz Bros. Inc.,” Heiss said.
The Middlefield-based company started processing mulch in 2003 and switched to a horizontal grinder in 2005. However, when the company purchased a Morbark 3800 Wood Hog in 2009, H&H really began firing on all cylinders. “Our time to process 100 yards of mulch went from 45 minutes to about 20 minutes when we got the Morbark,” Heiss said. “With that savings in time, we can get more rounds in a day.”
While the load times “went down drastically,” in Heiss’s words, the company saw other efficiencies improve as well, most notably fuel consumption. “The Morbark is way more fuel efficient because the load times are so much shorter. That saves fuel in the grinder, and in the excavators we load with and the trucks waiting to be loaded.”
“The final product is better, too. Kurtz Bros. were pleased when we switched to the Morbark, because they like the product better than what we made with our old grinder,” Heiss said. The Morbark makes a more consistent product with fewer fines.
The company, which has seven employees, also uses a Komatsu Forest 430FX tracked feller buncher when clearing land. “It has a powerful undercarriage and gets around well in the woods. That helps make us more productive because we can get around quicker,” he noted.
H&H has been a Columbus Equipment Company customer since 2003, when the company purchased its first Komatsu PC228 excavator. H&H purchased a second PC228 in 2004, and its third unit this year. “The PC228 is ideal for our application because of the zero tail swing. When we are in a tight area, we don’t have to worry about hitting the grinder when we are loading it or hitting other trees. It makes it more efficient for us to work in tighter spaces. In land clearing you’re always up against something, and the Komatsu makes it easier to work,” Heiss said.
The company uses the excavators in a variety of applications. “We also run several attachments—stump grinder, mower, etc.—off the excavator, for our various projects,” he said. “The excavators have proved durable, too. One has 11,000 hours and the other 7,000 hours, and we haven’t had any problem or downtime with them.”
Heiss has been happy with the service he has received from both the Construction Equipment and Environmental Divisions. “Columbus Equipment assesses the problem, handles warranty concerns and goes above and beyond to make sure issues are taken care of. They really stand behind the equipment. I also like that it’s a local dealership and that I don’t have to worry about getting equipment fixed if it breaks down,” he said.
“My sales reps—Todd Hornak from the Richfield branch, and Bob Stewart and Tim Smith from Environmental—are quick to return calls. They are knowledgeable about what they are selling and can answer technical questions.
“Tim was really helpful in getting the right settings on the Morbark 3800,” Heiss recalled. “He spent a lot of time getting the machine set up the way we wanted it; he didn’t just drop it off with the factory settings.”