Airlift Separator

October 28, 2014

By: Jimmy Smith, Manufacturers Representative – Hawker Corporation-Airlift Separator

In the world of compost and mulch there is one common hurdle operators face — contamination and what to do about it.

There are many ways to approach a solution to this. I am going to focus on one – how to deal with contamination on the front end.

The easiest approach is of course to ignore it. Many operators have gone this route only to deal with it later. We all know contamination will merely accumulate and occupy valuable site space. You might have the space to store this material, but it still has an associated cost. Down the road, that material may be hauled to the landfill or screened and even re-screened for further separation, sometimes with rock/glass separators and or plastic separators. By the time you get the material cleaned and marketable, you’ll find that you have moved it several times only to increase you’re processing costs. Remember – every time you move your material, it costs you money. I don’t know about you, but I think fuel prices will continue to increase only to chip away at your bottom line. So did you save any money not dealing with it? Probably not.

Another way to look at this hurdle is to deal with it as part of your established process and create a product to sell. As my dad used to say, “Make your steps count.” Process the material and clean it at the same time.

Hawker Corporation has been working on ways to remove the contamination not only from the screening process, but also on the front end which yields additional benefits. A common practice in the industry is to employ people at a pick station. Pickers may remove everything from an engine block to a manhole cover from green waste. It can be that extreme. How much would it cost you to find those items in your grinder? I have heard of a maul head going into a grinder and causing $10,000 in damage. So a clear cost savings is to reduce metal from your green waste stream.

Now we all know that plastics, from film plastic to higher density plastics, are a plague of the business. Grinding plastics will take a large piece and break it down into many smaller pieces. As the material is re-ground, the pieces become even smaller and contaminate your finished product. Not the end of the world, but you will find it is much easier to reduce your plastic content by getting it out while the pieces are larger.

Now let’s add safety into this because if you’re an operator, your insurance costs just continue to increase. Recordable claims are even preventing some contractors from working on certain projects. A pick station will also provide a safer environment for workers that are moving around piles and loaders removing plastic and other contaminants. By putting the picker into a “safe zone,” loaders have designated lanes in which to move about more efficiently. With production, the loaders shouldn’t be idle waiting for pickers to leave the area.

So the bottom line is a pick station can reduce damage to grinders, almost eliminate contamination, and provide a safer work area for the crews.

Now I know what you’re thinking pick stations are expensive to operate. Yes, they are, but Hawker Corporation can help. In several case studies, the Airlift Separator was used to assist pickers by allowing them to keep their hands in front and over the belt moving the material to a suction nozzle and allowing the Airlift Separator to move the materials to containers. With the help of the Airlift Separator, we have consistently proven increased efficiency by at least 50% and as much as 70%. This means if you employ 8 pickers you will drop that number to 4! All for a one-time investment of one picker’s salary.

To close, the pick station partnered with an Airlift Separator is an ideal solution to reduce costs while high grading your product.

For more information about the Airlift Separator visit or call Jimmy Smith at 888-345-9085.

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