Peterson 5710C horizontal grinder reduces downtime and speeds production of mulch.
By Diane M. Calabrese
WINDSOR MILL, Maryland – Driving through the densely populated I-95 corridor that stretches between the cities of Washington and Baltimore it’s easy to overlook the forest that was and could be. Wherever residents in the region stop mowing, pruning and trimming, ecological succession quickly results in woody vegetation and the start of a vigorous oak-hickory forest.
In such an urban area, there’s a lot of trimming – and sometimes felling – that must be done on a regular basis to safeguard power transmission lines, homes and people. Capturing the wood from the trees for useful products ensures that fiber is never wasted.
Edrich Lumber, Inc. is licensed by Maryland as a wood waste recycler. And it makes full use of wood fiber, explained its president Doug Wolinski.
Among the products of Edrich Lumber are mulch, chips, sawdust and hardwood lumber. Specialty products from the company include kiln-dried lumber, industrial stones, survey stakes, fence boards, and stake trees; top soil and architectural stone are also on the roster.
In December 2014, Edrich Lumber purchased a Peterson 5710C horizontal grinder. It’s the first piece of Peterson equipment that the company has purchased.
When we spoke to Doug in mid-March, he was very pleased with the first three months of service by the Peterson grinder. There had been “some tremendous savings in manpower,” he said.
With a team of 56 employees, Edrich Lumber is always aiming to deploy people in the most efficient way. The Peterson 5710C allows that to be done because it has so little downtime and it is so fast. “It’s doing such a great job for us,” said Doug, that there is actually some idle time for the grinder – or hours when it’s not needed.
As the Peterson 5710C gets fully integrated into the operation at Edrich Lumber, Doug expects to bump up its use. (Doug continues to rely on some older grinders as he works on overall logistics.)
“We grind about 200,000 yards per year here,” said Doug. The Peterson 5710C will make it possible to increase that volume.
Peterson (an Astec Industries Co.) is headquartered in Eugene, Ore. The company specializes in processing equipment that can convert low-grade raw material into valuable products.
Doug purchased the Peterson 5710C from Alban CAT in Baltimore, Md. He worked closely with Noah Gertsmyer, a member of the Alban CAT team who specializes in sales of forestry equipment.
“The local Caterpillar dealer, Alban, has always been tremendous friends of Edrich,” said Doug. At the suggestion of Noah, he started looking at Peterson. He said he’s glad he did.
When we spoke with Doug, he was just testing a mulch dying system to be modified to work with the Peterson. Right now, though, the Peterson 5710C is being used just for primary grinds and natural product.
“We grind 365 days a year,” said Doug. There’s a great deal of wood to be recycled and there’s quite a demand for mulch in the region.
Edrich makes many of its own deliveries – with four walking trailers and two large dump trucks – and many of its customers pick up. All mulch is sold bulk. Purchasers are wholesalers, landscapers and garden centers. There is no bagging.
The Peterson 5710C had 300 hours on it when Doug talked with us. It has “more than” met expectations, he said.
Doug particularly appreciates the positive response his employees have to the Peterson 5710C. “When your employees are happy,” everything goes more smoothly, he said. “The guys love to be productive. Edrich is producing mulch at the rate of “400 yards per hour” with the Peterson horizontal grinder.
“I will say that the grinder has been more than we ever anticipated,” said Doug. “It has done what has been printed – what folks at Peterson said and more. We have been very pleased.”
Edrich is a family-operated business that extends back three generations. There are representatives of three generations at work every day.
“We have strong roots in the community,” said Doug. “We have loyalty to our employees. We have dedicated employees.”
Finding the best equipment is one key to employee satisfaction, said Doug. “The equipment has to be top notch. I truly believe people like to be productive. My job is to provide the tools.”
Employee satisfaction translates into employee longevity. “We have one guy who has been here since 1962, [the year the company was established],” said Doug. “I’ve got three brothers with 110 combined years here. We want to make the best of their time here.”
“I’ve been here since 1980,” said Doug. “It was my father-in-law’s company. I had a landscape operation and garden center with my mother.” In 1987, the two companies joined forces. “We sold the garden center off in 2006.”
Before the companies combined, Doug worked at the mill in winter (and the garden center in season). “I did everything from stacking boards to splitting firewood,” he said. There is no longer a firewood component.
Edrich Lumber operates out of a portion of a 500-acre site it owns. It is located in Windsor Mill, Md., which is a town in Baltimore County with approximately 38,000 residents.
The Peterson 5710C is a track-mounted, horizontal grinder. It could be moved. Yet Edrich Lumber uses the grinder only on its acreage.
Buyers of the Peterson 5710C have the option of a Cat® C27 or Cat C32 engine. The infeed opening is 60 inches by 40 inches. In addition to sizeable grates, Peterson offers the grinder with grate configurations that can be customized, an option that allows producers of ground product to meet requests of customers.
Landscaping is a high volume business, but also a competitive business in urban areas. Some landscapers have specific requests for the refinement of ground product, as well as the color, and with the Peterson, it is easy for Edrich Lumber to respond to them.
The Peterson 5710C is a powerful match for tough wood, including stumps. It does have built-in protections, though, to protect parts from non-wood-fiber material that contaminates the infeed. For example, if an impact occurs, the shaft is protected from damage. The protection derives from shear pins and an intuitive sensing circuit.
The saw mill that launched Edrich Lumber was originally owned by Ed and Richard (hence Edrich) Stanfield, two brothers who had dairy farmed in the 1930s. (Richard, now passed on, is Doug’s father-in-law.) There is still a farming operation that grows corn for a major supermarket chain. That enterprise is run by Ed and his son, Edward.
Ed and Richard took over the saw mill when the owner was getting rid of it. They depended on the mill for sawdust for their dairy operation.
Today, the mill for grade lumber is quite an amalgamation of the best available. “We’ve run a head rig and a circle mill,” said Doug. It has components “from about 50 manufacturers – from HMC to Cornell.”
A Nyle Systems kiln with a capacity of 60,000 board feet has been operating since the 1990s, said Doug. It is powered by a direct link to the electric grid.
As part of its strong commitment to recycling wood fiber in the way that allows it to see the most value long-term, Edrich Lumber added a scragg mill in 2014. The scragg mill is “predominantly Pendu built,” said Doug.
The scragg mill advances the goal to keep moving forward, explained Doug. With the new scragg mill, Edrich Lumber can now take in low grade and short logs – as short as seven feet and as long as 22 feet in the range of eight to 18-inch diameter.
Edrich Lumber participates in and supports the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI®). In the case of all environmental regulations, however, the goal of the company is to not just meet the minimum requirements but to find ways to do as much as possible to advance reforestation, reduce erosion, protect water quality and protect wildlife. The foresters at the company are always seeking ways to do more than the minimum standard requires.
Currently, the output at Edrich Lumber is approximately 40 percent mulch and 60 percent lumber (mixed hardwood). Tree-trimming companies and the like haul their wood debris to Edrich Lumber, which charges a tipping fee.
Although Doug did not quite see early on the path that would lead him to be president of a saw mill and wood waste recycling company, he is very happy with the course. “The ability to be in and out of the office and the outdoor aspects of the company” are particularly enjoyable dimensions of the job, he said.
Free-time for Doug has always been spent with his wife and children (now young adults). “All through my children’s early days, on the weekends, we’ve just picked up,” he explained. “We would do a lot of hiking in state parks, [attend] festivals.” It has long been and still is a good way to get a real break from the business. Today, even though they are quite busy, his children ask about what’s planned for the weekend.
Noah Gerstmyer, forest products specialist and Caterpillar certified demo instructor, first met Doug Wolinski at the Alban CAT’s Citation Parts Facility. “Doug was walking out the door with a parts box in hand and I noticed Edrich Lumber Inc. on his jacket,” said Noah, who at the time was new to Alban.
Doug was very busy that day, but he chatted long enough to extend an invitation to Noah to visit his mill. “The first time that I visited Edrich Lumber, I was amazed at the size of the mill – especially in Baltimore County in Maryland – a state which has very few saw mills left,” said Noah.
Impressed by the “amount of activity” going on at Edrich, Noah quickly envisioned how a larger grinder could speed up existing operations and “would allow for future growth in the operation if needed.” He recommended Doug take a close look at the Peterson horizontal grinder line. The men talked – and talked more.
Doug takes a very methodical approach to buying equipment, said Noah. He believes that – in addition to the performance of the Peterson 5710C horizontal grinder – a key selling point was the team at Alban that stands behind every machine. The team includes Jeremiah Herbst, service technician, Jared Miller, Peterson product support – service, and Charlie Bagnall, northeast territory sales manager (to name a few).
Charlie commented, “We are delighted to welcome Doug and Edrich Lumber to the family of Peterson customers. He certainly did his homework before making the purchase, so we feel honored to be a partner in his business moving forward.”
For his part, Noah could not be happier working in forest products sales and serving customers in Maryland, Delaware and Northern Virginia. “Since I started my career, I have always enjoyed calling on saw mills, loggers and mulch manufacturers,” he said. The individuals in the wood products industry are “hard working and loyal” and the machinery that serves the industry is both high-tech and heavy duty.
“If you like the outdoors and heavy equipment, what a great place to be,” said Noah.