For Natural Products LLC, a Louisville-based mulch producer, does everything possible to keep from handling material more than necessary. “Every time the guys touch material with a loader, it costs money,” said Craig Arnold, general manager.
Recently, Natural Products purchased a Morbark 1300B Track Tub Grinder from Columbus Equipment Company because it reduces the need to handle wood before mulching. “Our operator, who is typically in an excavator, can operate it remotely and move it around the production facility so we don’t have to double-handle any materials. No stackers, no front-end loaders,” Arnold said. Instead, the operator just walks the track tub grinder up to the material wherever it was dropped and grinds it right there.
“We’ve had some grinders on rubber tires, but you have to have a tractor there to move it to where you need it, or radial stackers to move the material. For us, the tracks work better,” Arnold noted.
Natural Products purchased the tub grinder specifically for use in the mulch facility. Previously, the company used Morbark horizontal grinders borrowed from its parent company. The mulch producer has found the tub grinder produces a more consistent product than horizontal grinders, Arnold said. “We’ve only been using the 1300B Tub Grinder a few weeks, we’ve already noticed that the mulch is much more consistent. Our customers have even commented on it. They liked our mulch before and they like it better now.”
Natural Products produces 60,000 to 65,000 cubic yards of mulch a year, selling much of it to large suppliers who bag it for retailers. The company was started about a decade ago to handle the by-product of its parent company, which runs a large land-clearing business. Natural Products also is a commercially-licensed composter, provides material for biofuel use, and sells landscaping products such as gravel, topsoil and sand at its retail location in LaGrange, Kentucky.
Having the dedicated grinder for mulch will allow Natural Products to produce mulch daily instead of waiting for a grinder to be available, sometimes only once a week. “When you grind wood while it’s green, it comes out with a better texture compared to when you grind older, dried wood,” Arnold said.
The tub grinder also can handle somewhat larger logs than the horizontal grinder, which can grind logs up to 18 inches in diameter. Natural Products gets logs up to 4 or 5 feet in diameter, so the fewer that have to be split, the less double-handling is required.
Natural Products’ parent company owns several Morbarks, and they have been highly durable. “Our mechanics have found that maintenance is less on the Morbarks, and changing out screens and performing maintenance is easier on them than on other brands,” Arnold said. “A few years ago, we looked at different brands of tub grinders, but our owner was happy with Morbark and we decided to go with the Morbark Track Tub Grinder as well.”
Another factor in that decision was the support offered by Columbus Equipment Company. “Columbus Equipment Company has been great for us. They are very responsive and provide service quickly,” Arnold commented. “When a supplier is not located locally, it’s a potential concern, but Columbus Equipment has always given us the service we need. The sales people and technicians have been very good. Sometimes when we need to correct something, Columbus Equipment technicians will walk us through it over the phone. And they can get us parts overnight.”
Limit how much you handle the raw materials: It’s a simple, cost-saving philosophy for Natural Products, and Columbus Equipment Company is happy to supply the equipment necessary to deliver on that commitment.