• Gerken Companies: Building success for over 60 years

    Gerken Companies: Building success for over 60 years

    by RockRoadRecycle staff writer

    For more than six decades the Gerken group of companies has worked successfully to build and improve infrastructure throughout the northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan regions. A major reason for the group’s success has been its adaptability in using new technologies to reflect societal and industry changes as well as enhance its business performance. This has enabled the Gerken Companies to continue to grow and improve, investing in new solutions such as an IROCK crushing plant for its asphalt recycling operation.

    With its company headquarters located in Napoleon, Ohio, Gerken Companies operates in locations throughout Ohio and Michigan. A dedicated workforce of more than 350 men and women are all committed to construction quality, anticipating industry trends and adapting to meet the needs of its customers. This means that working with Gerken enables customers to have access to a variety of support companies that make projects more efficient and cost effective, often leading to lasting partnerships.

    Aggregates – the building blocks of construction

    In order to create in construction, you need materials, and Gerken has access to ample resources. Limestone, sand and gravel products are all available through a network of quarries as well as sand and gravel production facilities conveniently located throughout northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan. This enables the company to have the stock, selection and locations to give its customers a cost effective and simplified aggregate material buying solution.

    Its many quarries and plants include the Custar Stone Co., which produces high quality limestone products of all sizes and gradation ranges, along with other aggregate products, as does the West Millgrove Stone Quarry. Bluffton Stone produces a multitude of limestone products and carries numerous non-limestone products, as well as producing a flagstone with a unique color and composition suitable for various landscaping projects. All products are ODOT (Ohio Department of Transport) certified and approved.

    For sand and gravel, the Hillsdale Sand & Gravel Quarry’s prime location is easily accessible to both southeast Michigan and northwest Ohio. It produces material from either dredging or running dry bank through the plant. The Hillsdale Pit also has a range of materials that are natural, washed, crushed and processed. The Glacial Sand and Gravel Pit, the Tecumseh Pit and the Round Lake Pit all produce material from either dredging or running dry bank through the plant. Their products are also natural, washed, crushed and processed, with all materials being high quality and MDOT (Michigan Department of Transport) certified and approved.

    In addition to these quarries and sand pits, Gerken Materials Inc. has developed its Clinton, MI, sand pit as a distribution center to locations throughout southeast Michigan and northwest Ohio.

    Road and highway solutions

    At the very heart and foundation of Gerken’s operations  are its solutions for highways, roads and infrastructure, delivered by Gerken Paving Inc. This company provides asphalt paving services for customers in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan, with the paving and milling crews having nearly 50 years of experience. This experience and expertise has been recognized many times, with the company receiving multiple Quality in Construction Awards from NAPA.

    The company is proud of the fact that when its customers work with Gerken they’ll have confidence and peace of mind knowing all materials meet the guidelines and specifications set forth by the NAPA, ODOT and other regulators.

    Thanks to experienced MDOT- and ODOT-certified lab and field technicians and advanced equipment, Gerken is able to monitor and control the material laydown process to ensure excellent quality from its central laboratory located in Napoleon, Ohio. This is supported by 14 conveniently located production sites throughout northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan, all designed to help customers save time and money on their projects.

    Meeting environmental concerns

    Through its aggregates quarries and sand and gravel operations, Gerken has access to primary virgin materials of the highest quality. That is just part of the Gerken story. Asphalt is one of the most commonly recycled materials in the world, and Gerken Paving proudly speaks green, recycling most grindings as part of its hot mix asphalt production process. This is accomplished as the company, along with its local, dedicated and hardworking crews, maintains a fleet of advanced DOT-certified paving equipment and machinery to successfully meet each project’s individual specifications.

    In order to continually recycle asphalt grindings for reuse on its many highway and road projects, Gerken recently acquired a new crushing plant – an IROCK RDS-20 with an M-10036 conveyor. This particular piece of equipment is now used at different Gerken asphalt plants to recycle its “junk pile,” which includes chunks from driveways, parking lots or road grindings. The IROCK RDS-20 processes this material and is moved every two to three weeks to a new location to ensure that supplies to areas are continually maintained.

    Although the IROCK RDS-20 is capable and designed to process many different materials, Gerken uses the machine to primarily process asphalt, producing 250 – 300 tons per hour, averaging ½-inch minus. The end product(s) consist of reclaimed asphalt aggregates, crushed and recycled concrete aggregates and crushed limestone aggregates, all used for asphalt paving, granular fill material and road base material. Although a valuable resource to many other contractors, as a vertically integrated organization, the Gerken Companies consumes the majority of the products produced for its own asphalt operations.

    Ideal for Gerken’s unique requirements

    IROCK’s RDS-20 primary crushing plant is a highly portable, easy to operate mobile unit. It combines a closed circuit design, a high performance four-bar impactor and heavy duty components for reliability, increased efficiency and the precision to produce a uniform, cubical product. It also is versatile enough for use across multiple industries and can process a variety of materials, including quarry rock, demolition debris, recyclable materials and base rock for oil fields. The machine features a 5-by-16-foot double deck screen, giving it the ability to crush, screen and separate up to three different sizes of materials, two sized and one crusher run, at a rate of up to 500 tons/hour. The crusher is fed by a 52-inch wide by 17-foot long grizzly feeder, while the crusher feed opening is 56-by-39.5 inches. The crusher is powered by a 440 hp Caterpillar C-13 ACERT Tier 3 engine, but can be equipped with a Tier 4 engine if so required. The IROCK 100-foot electric conveyor is powered by the onboard generator of the RDS20 and delivers high levels of productivity even when faced by challenging ground conditions.

    All of these features and more make the highly versatile IROCK machines an invaluable component of Gerken’s operation. “This plant is easily taken down, placed on a low boy, moved over the highway and set up at the next plant, making it highly portable and very consistent when moving it from location to location. It’s the easiest piece to move, meaning that we are faced with the least amount of time to prep to move and crush – half a day to get ready and move onto the next location to start crushing,” said Ryan Sager of Gerken Asphalt Paving.

    Although Gerken was impressed by the IROCK plant and the solution it provides, IROCK was also open to tailoring the plant to suit Gerken’s specific requirements. Gerken requested the conveyor to sit lower due to the plant moving every two to three weeks. The accessibility of the conveyor sitting lower to the ground provides efficiency and convenience when tearing down and shipping the plant.

    “The Gerken Companies and Ohio CAT have a very collaborative relationship which makes this partnership so beneficial. Gerken encourages their employees to be part of the process when selecting equipment and this solutions-based approach allows IROCK to provide the operator exactly what they need to do their job efficiently and safely. You couldn’t ask for a better way to do business,” said Eric Dombrowski, product support and equipment application specialist, IROCK Crushers, of the changes requested and made to the plant. This meant that IROCK didn’t hesitate to modify the plant to fit Gerken’s needs. 

    “IROCK was able to take the crusher drawings and reengineer to provide a low profile model,” added Sager. Dave Keifer, construction safety manager for Gerken Companies, further explained, “Safety is always our first priority – this equipment allows the producer to remain safe day in and day out.”

    Along with its transportability, the features found on the RDS-20 means that the IROCK crusher can handle larger material, more variety of material and screen better for different sizes. “It’s impressive how much versatility this plant has. It’s small and fast to produce the one product I run through it. It produces 250 to 300 tons per hour, averaging half-inch minus, which is very impressive for only running one type of product through this size plant. The IROCK plant is two to three times faster than our old machine from another company. I also like that it has all of the hydraulics right on it. You don’t have to have a separate crane come in to do work. You can do everything you need and with control systems on the ground you can see and watch everything that you are doing,” Sager said.

    The IROCK crusher and stockpiler were supplied to Gerken by Ohio CAT, IROCK’s local dealer. “Gerken Companies could not be happier with the sales people from Ohio CAT and especially the technicians who offer support on the IROCK equipment,” explained 25-year Gerken veteran Keifer.

    “The Gerken Companies have been a great partner with Ohio CAT. My interactions within the organization for the past 20-plus years have always been collaborative, with a solution-based approach to products and services. They are industry professionals, leading the markets they serve in quality, safety and innovation,” concluded Jeff Dress, account manager Ohio CAT.


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