by Jon M. Casey
For Earth’n Wood Products, Inc. owner Wes Snee and his son Charlie, 2015 was a year that found them needing to replace their primary wood grinding machine, a Diamond Z 8000 tub grinder. Due to Earth’n Wood’s success in becoming the largest mulch, topsoil and landscaping materials suppliers in Northeastern Ohio, their DZT 8000 had come to the end of its useful life and it was time for a replacement. With the recent appointment of Ed’s Equipment of Cleveland, Ohio as a Diamond Z dealership for the area, Ed Urbanek worked with the Snees to help find the right replacement for their grinding needs. After considerable research and study, a new Diamond Z DZH 7000 electric powered horizontal grinder was the ideal choice.
Charlie tells WHEN that Earth’n Wood began in 1981 when his father Wes and his uncle Craig started selling bark mulch and screened topsoil from this North Canton location. They had located the business on a site that is rich in natural peat, the perfect foundation for quality topsoil products. Over time, the company has grown, to include four locations. There are three retail locations, one in Akron, one in Hudson and the third in Norton, Ohio with the primary location in North Canton. There, they provide not only retail and wholesale landscaping materials but this site is also home to the company’s wood recycling, mulch and composting, topsoil blending and concrete recycling capabilities. They offer wood, stone and rubber mulch, topsoil and amendments, gravel, sand, limestone, edging materials lawn and grass seed, and weed control products just to name a few.
Wood waste recycling
“For the past 15 years we have been taking in yard waste from the Tri-County Waste District. These include Stark, Wayne and Tuscarawas Counties. The counties set up locations at the township garages for the citizenry to drop off their yard waste and we have boxes there for them. We pick it up and bring it back here to grind into mulch for composting,” says Charlie. “About ten years ago, when the state expanded Interstate 77, we started recycling concrete as well.”
“We started as a wholesale supply company but today we not only offer bulk materials to landscapers but we also offer Do-It-Yourselfers the materials they need to do their own work. We will typically produce about 110,000-cubic-yards of mulch per year and another 40,000-yards of topsoil. We add our composted mulch to the peat to create a number of topsoil products depending on the customer’s needs.”
New grinder adds to the bottom line
Charlie says they shopped for their new grinder with Ed, traveling to see the electric Diamond Z grinder in use at a facility in Spring Grove, PA (See WHEN Vol. 21, No.8 June 2013). “When we saw how effective that unit was performing, we knew immediately a DZH electric grinder was our new grinder. The results have been excellent.”
“Because of this new unit, the way we do our entire production has changed,” he says. “This (electric powered) machine allows us to do things we were not able to do with a diesel powered unit. You can run it harder without it slowing down, because you don’t lose any mill speed on this grinder. The control system keeps the mill speed constant, calling for more power when the need arises. The speed stays the same, so the consistency is there.”
“Now we are able to do one pass grinding. We can put the material in the infeed hopper and grind it all at one time with one screen. It reduces the material to an ideal size.”
“We have a crew of five employees here and we grind throughout the day. Our schedule is four ten hour days with the fifth day used for maintenance and repair. We are servicing the grinder today as a matter of fact.”
“We screen our mulch with a McCloskey 621 to remove fines. We offer four colored mulch products that we process through a Colortrom® 250 using Amerimulch® colorant. We offer black, brown, gold and red mulch. We use freshly ground mulch for our colored products. For our traditional ‘Classic’ mulch, we let it age a little longer.”
Charlie says the wood grinding has become a one person process with the addition of the new grinder. “We used to have two people moving and loading the material into the machine, then one pushing the product to a nearby stockpile. Now, we grind it and convey it directly to a stockpile.”
“There are several benefits to using an electric grinder,” says Charlie. “With the new grinder, we have limited fire potential, no oil changes, no filters to change, no need to shut down to refuel, that sort of thing. Our improved cost of production has been significant.”
Snee says they made a few improvements or modifications to their installation to make the daily operation safer and more productive. They built a large concrete pad on which to place the unit for easier cleaning, safer loading and all around ease of machine access. They also had Ed’s Equipment build a cable holding arm that keeps the electrical cables elevated and out of harm’s way. Additionally, Charlie says they had an electrician install color coded quick disconnects on all of the electrical cables to make moving the grinder safer and easier when doing maintenance or cleaning.
Charlie says they are looking forward to next landscaping season because they are planning to make their equipment layout a little more efficient. Eventually, they would like to have the trommel close to the grinder discharge so that the mulch grinding and screening can truly be a one pass process. For more information about Earth’n Wood, visit their website at earthnwood.com . For information about Diamond Z equipment visit Ed’s Equipment Company’s Facebook page or give Ed a call at 330-620-9993.