“The PC210 is a hell of a machine”
Recycling Systems, Inc. and Lakeshore Waste Services were rapidly growing Chicago companies in the early 2000s. They conducted business with each other regularly and decided that teaming up would provide a unique service to the area. In 2013, the two companies merged to form Lakeshore Recycling Systems (LRS), creating a major player in Chicago’s waste management industry.
“It was a move that made a lot of sense,” said Rich Golf, who headed Recycling Systems, Inc., and is now a Managing Partner of LRS. Lakeshore Waste Services wanted to avoid taking waste loads to landfills, and Recycling Systems was looking for a guaranteed stream of material. The companies needed each other to reach those goals.”
Today, LRS has more than 600 employees and several facilities in the Chicago area that control and process approximately 2.2 million tons of waste material annually. The goal of the new company is to recycle as much of the material it handles as possible.
“We don’t own a landfill,” explained Golf. “One of the things that makes us unique is that we have the facilities and ability to sort out the material. Everything – plastic, cardboard, C&D material and garbage – comes through us, and we separate it and sell it back to its original markets.”
To create an efficient operation for managing the large amount of material the merged company was handling, LRS purchased a Machinex single-stream system for its material recovery facility in Forest Park. The system, which was fully operational in early 2016, separates a load of raw material through a series of tracks and checkpoints.
“Conveyor belts and machines do nearly 80 percent of the sorting, and we have employees who monitor and cover the rest,” explained Golf. “We knew what material we wanted to produce on the back end, so we designed a system that would deliver it. Essentially, a load of material goes in one end and comes out sorted and baled on the other end.”
While it sounds like a magic sorting system, it is more sophisticated than that. Magnets, scales and electrical currents work together to identify and separate different types of material. The system has enabled LRS to increase production considerably.
“Before installing this system, we had a conveyor belt and picked out materials by hand; it wasn’t efficient at all,” said General Manager Jon Schroeder. “We have doubled or tripled our production with the single-stream system.”
LRS controls the material coming into the recovery facility by sorting loads at its other locations and by using residential recycling bins to increase the efficiency of the system.
“We run two, nine-hour shifts, and we are processing nearly 15 tons of material an hour,” stated Golf. “We think that total can be closer to 20 tons when we really ramp up production.”
PC210LC continues to impress
Machinex recommended that LRS use a Komatsu WA500 wheel loader to manage the tip floor and keep the system fed, but the WA500 was too big for the facility. LRS turned to a Komatsu PC210LC excavator with a threefinger grapple attachment.
“No one had used an excavator in this application, so there were some concerns,” recalled Facility Manager Mark Sredin. “Everyone was immediately impressed with how well the PC210LC performed. It takes up less space, we keep the system fed, use less fuel and we won’t burn through a set of tires every year. It’s doing the job of a WA500 and doing it more efficiently.”
The idea to use a PC210LC stemmed from the company’s success using it to load trucks and feed its C&D and wood-chipping systems.
“The PC210 is a hell of a machine,” remarked Sredin. “We ask a lot of our machines. Some are running 23 hours a day, and the PC210s hold up. We started buying them in 2000, and we’ve continually been impressed. The cycle times are great, and they have the power to lift anything we need them to.”
The LRS fleet includes 10 Komatsu PC210LC excavators, all purchased from Roland Machinery Company and Territory Manager John Kroger. The excavators are also equipped with waste-handling packages.
“We work in very dirty and dusty environments, and with the wide-fin radiators and reversible fans, we don’t have to stop to blow out the radiator,” explained Sredin. “Normally, we would need to stop five or six times a day to avoid overheating, but the PC210 can go all day without skipping a beat.”
The excavators feature Komatsu CARE, with Roland performing complimentary service for the first 2,000 hours or three years, and KOMTRAX, Komatsu’s machinemonitoring system.
“The services Roland provides are great,” said Sredin. “We get updates in real time with KOMTRAX, and Roland completes all the service through Komatsu CARE. Everything is done for us.”
LRS has experienced a great deal of growth since 2013 and hopes to continue that trend in the future.
“We’re still a young company with new facilities, and I think we are just scratching the surface on what we can be,” said Golf. “We’re always looking to grow, and we’re excited to see how that progresses in the future.
“We are diversified in the services we offer, and that makes us unique in this area,” he added. “Those services, with a dedication to customer service, will help us grow and remain in demand.”