Maximizing its potential

Features - Scrap Handler Equipment Focus

An investment in scrap handlers has helped Action Metals in Texas make the most of its space.

June 2, 2022

From left: The 821 and 825 R-HDs at work in Action Metals’ yard.
Photos courtesy of Boris Grinstein

Boris Grinstein reflects on the growing fleet of equipment working in his Action Metals recycling yard, just off Interstate 45 near downtown Dallas. “Five or 10 years ago, my dad would have said there’s no way we can have all this machinery in this space. But we’re doing it, and we’re moving more tonnage than ever. Every yard has its limits, and we have ours, but Sennebogen has helped us make the most of our space and maximize our potential.”

Action Metals Recyclers has been serving the Dallas-Fort Worth area since 1994. In 2018, Grinstein took over the business from his father. He knew the business needed an update, including the addition of new customers and new equipment to stay competitive. The company quickly met that first objective with hard work, but the second goal proved more of a challenge. After purchasing a new converted excavator as Action Metals’ scrap handler, Grinstein found it was far from the solution he had hoped for. “It was an awful experience,” he recalls. “Everything was vibrating. The cab was swinging like a pendulum. It wore out real fast.”

Built for the purpose

Replacing the excavator with Action Metals’ first 821 R-HD purpose-built scrap handler from Stanley, North Carolina- based Sennebogen LLC, Grinstein’s plan started to come together. Another old excavator was refitted with a mobile shear, and the shear and material handler worked together to make the most of the yard’s small acreage. Recently, Grinstein added a second purpose-built material handler, moving up to the larger 825 R-HD outfitted with a grapple.

“We were ready for a bigger unit; we do get some industrial scrap, which can be a bit heavier; we wanted more lifting capacity and a bit more reach,” Grinstein says. “About 75 percent of our trade is retail, and we have 300 to 400 peddlers coming through here every day. So, we need a machine that’s going to be a real workhorse.

“We had it running 48 hours a week for 52 weeks a year,” he continues. “We start up at 4 or 5 in the morning and go until at least 7 p.m., or even 10 at night. We’re open to the public from 8 [a.m.] to 6 [p.m.], but we have to process and load out our material to keep space open in the yard. The 821 has 8,000 operating hours on it—it’s had the life of almost a 5-year-old machine in two years,” he says of the machine’s status in late 2021.

The right fit

Grinstein says he decided it was time to let the 821 “cool down a little,” with the new 825 ready to do the heavy lifting. Now equipped with a lifting magnet, the 821 is assigned to work alongside the shear, clearing and stacking for just a few hours a day. “Over time, we’ll start to bring the hours down on it so, in a year or two, it will be comparable to the other material handlers its age in total hours.”

The 825 is piling on the hours, loading trucks with its scrap grapple. “The operators here love it,” Grinstein says. “The 825 is a big bad boy, with a 46-foot reach. The cab goes up a little higher than [the] 821. It stacks higher and has more lifting capacity.”

He tells the story of how Action Metals had an industrial load of metal come in, describing it as “all plate and structural steel from the oil and gas industry.” Grinstein says, “This truck had eight pallets loaded on it, each almost 5,000 pounds. The 825 didn’t even need to move—it just picked them up: boom-boom-boom, no problem.”

Flexible leasing

With the cab raised, the operator has a clear view and can work the top of the pile.

In addition to finding the right machine for his business, Grinstein discovered the manufacturer’s program designed to simplify financing costs.

Sennebogen’s Lease by the Hour program offers a flexible package that automatically adjusts the lease terms and costs according to actual usage. With this package, a customer has greater certainty of its machine’s end-of-lease value, with no “surprise” long-term costs for being over or under hours, according to the manufacturer.

“We found, with the way we use the machines, this works better for me,” Grinstein says. “Because we’ll be needing a new machine every few years, I won’t have to worry about parts because it’s leased and it’s covered. They know we’ll put on 3,000 to 4,000 hours every year, and they’re ready with all the parts in stock. And, now, it’s just a fixed cost for my quoting and business planning.”

He continues, “I know what it’s going to cost me to keep this machine running. I know how much steel I’m buying and how much it costs to run my machine, and I don’t have the big headache down the road of having a 3-year-old machine with a lot of hours on it.”

While Grinstein says he’s “not upset that I didn’t go with [lease by the hour] for the first machine” because it provides Action Metals with a backup machine, he adds, “But I wouldn’t buy another machine outright.”

More than a machine

The scrap handler manufacturer has launched a program called “Beyond the Machine” that represents what the company says is its commitment to machine uptime and customer satisfaction. Grinstein says he has seen that commitment in action. “I’m very impressed. The customer service is unbelievable,” he says, noting that the multinational company worked with him individually. “The one-on-one attention was awesome,” he adds.

When Action Metals received the 825, it was equipped with a half-yard grapple, which Grinstein says he used for two months before getting a three-quarter-yard grapple. “They were like, ‘We want to get you up and running; we’ll send you a grapple for now and then your grapple will come and don’t worry about it, we’ll look after the cost,’” he says of the manufacturer.

“Back when I had problems with my 821, they stepped up and got me the parts at a wholesale price to get me up and running,” Grinstein adds. “I won’t buy another material handler from anyone else.”

This story was submitted by Marketing Strategies and Solutions, London, Ontario, on behalf of Sennebogen LLC, headquartered in Stanley, North Carolina.