“I’m not naïve; I know what we are doing is difficult,” says Brian Arkwood, chief technical officer at IntegriCo Composites, Sarepta, Louisiana. But the company found size-reduction equipment that was up to the task from Weima America Inc., Fort Mill, South Carolina.
IntegriCo, founded in 2005, processes Nos. 3-7 plastics and mixed rigid plastics (MRP) bales to produce its composite railroad ties. Its patented technology enables the company to mix various recycled plastics together to create composite railroad ties and other related products that offer consistency and structural integrity.
Arkwood says IntegriCo processes 3.5 million pounds to 5 million pounds per month of Nos. 3-7 plastics and MRP bales, as well as postindustrial plastics, purge and regrind and internally generated scrap.
“It’s hard to find a one-size-fits-all unit for size reduction,” he says. “If a shredder is great for Nos. 3-7, its inhibitive for MRP.”
The company’s first Weima unit was a WPC 2000 PreCut single-shaft shredder that it installed in May 2017. The shredder was placed in front of an existing shredder to liberate Nos. 3-7 and MRP bales, exposing metals and enabling their removal before they reached the downstream shredder.
Arkwood says the PreCut did not initially perform to IntegriCo’s expectations, but the Weima team was “very quick to be back on-site and observe the operation” with the intention of addressing the company’s concerns. The U.S. team worked with Weima’s engineering team in Germany to design a modification to the PreCut’s ram assembly to make it better suited to handling the wide range of material IntegriCo is processing with it, he adds.
As a result of that experience with Weima, Arkwood says the company earned its future business, which involved installing a WLK 30 Super Jumbo Hydro shredder in parallel to IntegriCo’s existing downstream shredder in October 2018. This single-shaft shredder is designed for extreme applications.
At IntegriCo, the Super Jumbo processes 70 percent of the company’s material, producing a 4-inch particle size.
“I liked the power behind the hydraulic ram and rotor,” Arkwood says, adding that he felt that power was important given the materials the company is processing, particularly its internal scrap, which is “as hard as concrete.”
Arkwood also appreciates the ease of maintenance. He describes access doors that open hydraulically as “very appealing” because no screens need to be unbolted first.
The auxiliary equipment Weima supplied also was “high quality and robust” in addition to being “very competitively priced,” he says.
“I’m not a low-bidder-wins kind of guy,” Arkwood says. “I’m a qualifications-based purchaser. What I paid for the Weima equipment was more cost competitive for the same or better system” from other suppliers.
Arkwood says he and IntergriCo are so pleased with the performance of the Weima equipment and the company’s “responsive” customer service that they have plans to install the company’s size-reduction equipment at its future facilities.