Rolling lifts

Features - Scrap Handling Equipment Focus

Wheel loaders used in scrap recycling applications are expected to rise to numerous challenges in what often can be extreme and rugged environments.

November 1, 2012
Lisa McKenna
Equipment & Products
One of Kawasaki’s new 90Z7 wheel loaders. Photo: Kawasaki Construction Machinery Corp.

When it comes to wheel loaders, Adam Weitsman, president of Upstate Shredding LLC – Ben Weitsman & Son Inc., headquarted in Owego, N.Y., knows from experience what works best for his scrap recycling company.

The company has grown in recent years, and now describes itself as the largest, privately owned scrap metal company in New York state.

Today Upstate operates 11 scrap metal recycling facilities in New York and Pennsylvania, including a new 18-acre port facility, export terminal and full-service scrap business in Albany, N.Y., that is expected to open in May of 2013.

Upstate also runs a multimillion-dollar, 10,000-horsepower mega shredder in Owego. The company expects to process more than 1 million tons of ferrous scrap and 200 million pounds of nonferrous scrap in 2013.

According to the company’s website, over the last three years Upstate has expanded its operations, doubled its sales and has continued to grow vigorously based on strong customer service, quick turn-around time and promptly paying top prices for scrap metals.

The new Port Albany facility, located two hours away from the company’s headquarters location, provides Upstate Shredding with direct access to the Upper Hudson River. The company has reported that the location is ideal because it will allow it direct access to international markets. The company also will be able to purchase scrap from other scrap yards in the five-state region and to ship material to domestic sources using the two railroad lines that serve the yard.

Upstate Shredding LLC – Ben Weitsman also has announced plans to build a $6 million wire chopping facility in Owego, along with a 100,000-square-foot nonferrous warehouse.

One of the company’s recent business and operations decisions when it comes to moving scrap materials was switching to the use of all Kawasaki wheel loaders, a change that was made within the past few years. Weitsman points to a number of reasons for this business decision, with service and pricing being two key factors.

Equipment basics
Kawasaki Construction Machinery Corp. of America (KCMA), based in Kennesaw, Ga., which manufacturers Kawasaki wheel loaders (, describes itself as one of the oldest ongoing manufacturers of rubber-tire, articulated wheel loaders. The company says it has served the North American market for more than 30 years.

One way KCMA has focused on the scrap recycling industry is by offering a recycling package on its wheel loaders, designed for all types of recyclable materials, the company says. The recycling package includes special guarding, tires and attachments and is available on Kawasaki wheel loaders from the 65Z through the 115Z, says Gary Bell, KCMA vice president and general manager.

Bell says KCMA views the scrap market in two different ways. “There are the small auto salvage yards that use our 65ZV-2 and 70ZV-2 to handle cars,” says Bell. “Then there are the major scrap handlers that require large machines,” he continues, “such as our 90Z7, 92Z7, 95Z7 or even the 115Z7.”

According to KCMA, the basic wheel loader recycling package features include numerous guards, such as the articulation area guard, axle brake piping guards, front and rear chassis belly guards and headlight and taillight guards. Additional available options include an auto-lube system, a hinged cab windshield guard, hydraulic and fuel tank guards and high lift arms.

Bell says components added as part of the recycling package can vary depending on the nature of the site. “Solid tires are very common to avoid tire punctures,” he says. Meanwhile, the guarding varies depending on the customer. “We often use front and rear belly guards to protect the underside of the machine and try to prevent material from being caught in the drivelines,” he says.

Also, with machines with outboard final drives (such as the 95 and 115), wheel seal guards also may be needed, Bell says.

Windshield guards are another common add-on among recyclers.

“Some customers like a flexible guard in the articulation area to keep debris from entering through this open area in the middle of the machine,” notes Bell.

The company also offers guards for lights, tilt cylinder rods, radiator grilles, tanks and brake lines.

“The main purpose of these guards is to protect the machine from damage, so we let the customer decide which ones to select for his specific application and budget,” Bell says.

Even more options for recycling customers include cab pressurizers to keep the dust down inside the cab, special precleaners for air filters and even finer screening in the engine venting area to keep debris out of the engine compartment, according to the company.

Operational factors

Weitsman says Upstate Shredding now runs about a dozen Kawasaki 115ZV-2 wheel loaders across its 10 East Coast locations, and has ordered six more Kawasaki wheel loaders for the company’s newest Albany location.

Upstate Shredding LLC – Ben Weitsman & Son uses about one dozen Kawasaki 115ZV-2 wheel loaders.

Weitsman says the wheel loaders are used for generally the same purpose across all of the company’s locations: pushing scrap to the shredder and for loading rail cars and the company’s downstream systems with scrap metal.

As would be expected, Upstate’s wheel loaders are equipped with the Kawasaki recycling package, which includes solid rubber tires, to prevent flat tires, and extensive protective guarding.

“The guarding makes it very safe for the operator, and that’s the most important thing,” notes Weitsman.

Upstate’s wheel loaders also are equipped with bucket scales to weigh material as it’s being loaded into rail cars and trucks, Weitsman says.

The company selected Kawasaki wheel loaders, Weitsman says, based on their competitive pricing, the favorable lead time when ordering and the fact that the loaders are serviced locally. Upstate is served by Kawasaki dealer Tracey Road Equipment in East Syracuse, N.Y.

Weitsman says in addition to the pricing and service benefits, the company’s operators like the ease of use that is typical of the loaders. “They just think they’re comfortable, they’re easy to use,” says Weitsman. And, he adds, the loaders have a comfortable ride.

The company switched to Kawasaki wheel loaders about three years ago, Weitsman says, for a few reasons, with a main factor being the service availability of the local dealer. “The support of the local dealer is very important to us, because our facilities here run 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” says Weitsman, who adds that downtime is tracked carefully at Upstate’s yards.

Weitsman says Tracey Road Equipment has been responsive to service calls from the company. “If we need them, they’re out here fast,” he continues. “They’re out here on weekends, they’re out here at night.”

With the company continuing on its growth curve and adding additional locations, fast response time is a priority for Upstate Shredding. “We felt they took our business seriously,” Weitsman says of Tracey Road Equipment.

Next generation
Upstate Shredding’s newest wheel loaders, which are on order currently, are six additional loaders from Kawasaki’s new Z7 Tier 4i wheel loader series.

KCMA Corp. had introduced the first models of its new Kawasaki Z7 line of wheel loaders earlier this year. The redesign included styling changes designed to be functional as well as attractive, Kawasaki reports, and are targeted at improving both visibility and serviceability.

The first two models Kawasaki introduced were the 85Z7 and the 90Z7, offering 221 and 280 net horsepower respectively. The 85Z7 features a 4.8-cubic-yard general-purpose bucket, while the 90Z7 can accommodate a 5.5-cubic-yard general-purpose bucket or a 6.1-cubic-yard material-handling bucket.

The company has reported that it designed the new machines to meet EPA Tier 4i emission standards, with the inclusion of diesel particulate filters, exhaust gas recirculation systems, variable geometry turbochargers and high pressure common rail fuel systems.

“We totally redesigned the Z7s from the ground up,” says Bell. “Our machines have always been very reliable and productive, but now we have added a lot more operator features and operating cost lowering capacity.”

According to KCMA, the features built into its new wheel loader models are designed to reduce operating costs and increase production. For example, HN bushings used in the linkage system extend grease intervals to 500 hours, the company says.

The models also feature KCMA’s IntelliTech operating system, designed to improve operating efficiency with custom operating power modes.

However, the company says operators will first notice improvements with regard to the operator station on the new Z7 wheel loaders. Changes were made to improve visibility, controls, sound and ventilation. A rear camera, included as standard on Z7 models, helps prevent blind spots, and the heated air ride seat also is designed to improve operator comfort. According to KCMA, the IntelliTech system captures aspects of working conditions and operating demands to adjust the power train and hydraulics for best application requirements.

Also included as standard is the wide fin radiator with an automatic reversible fan. And the company says the line’s sophisticated dashboard monitor provides a wide range of operating data along with the ability to adjust systems. The new Z7 operator compartment features a low-profile dash, full length glass doors, panoramic front window and standard rearview camera.

Guarding options are similar to previous models and include the articulation area guard, front and rear chassis belly guards, wheel seal guards, light housing guards and steel radiator grill.

Meanwhile, Upstate’s Weitsman says he looks forward to receiving his company’s new Kawaskai wheel loaders in the coming months. “I’m just looking to up my production,” he adds.

The author is managing editor of Recycling Today Global Edition and can be reached at