by Keith Loria
The Greenup family has owned Greenup Enterprises (the former Jon Greenup Logging Inc.) in Estacada, OR for exactly three decades. The company began in 1988 and Jon’s son, Jon, and his wife Jill took over in 2004.
Today, the company has over 40 full-time employees and is one of the largest logging companies in Oregon or southwest Washington. In 2018 it expects to log more than 50 million board feet.
Rian Strong, superintendent of Greenup Enterprises’ grinding division, has been running grinders for 17 years. He began his career with McFarland Bark, where he started the land clearing and grinding division. From there, he went into business for himself (WS Forestry) and first met Jon Greenup.
“Jon purchased my company because he wanted to expand and diversify his logging company,” Strong said. “He felt that the grinder and recycling capabilities of the wood product and shingles would be a benefit for his logging company.”
Over his career, Strong estimates that he has run just about every brand and style of grinder on the market, and the one he utilizes for Greenup is the Morbark 6600 aka the “Wood Hog.”
“Initially, I ran Peterson-specific grinders. In 2006 we were ready to purchase a new grinder and we had a massive ‘grind-off” between Diamond Z, Morbark, Peterson and Vermeer,” Strong said. “We set up this big grinding competition in our yard and we had piles of material and we timed all the grinders and how they could best go through each material. In the end, the Morbark 6600 was the fastest.”
Papé Machinery was the west coast Morbark dealer and brought Strong to Michigan, where the machines are made. Once he went through the factory tour, he knew this was definitely the machine he wanted to work with.
Some of its features include a magnetized end pulley with collecting slide tray for ferrous metal removal, different grate sizes, a hydraulic reversing fan, hydraulic rod puller, air compressor, ESPAR heater and more.
However, to grind shingles, Strong has had to modify the machine several times to get things just right.
“We implemented air nozzle sprayers in specific locations in order to clean out the ducts and small particles of shingles,” Strong continued. “We don’t build up melted foil that could cause damage.”
This was a lesson he learned from trial and error. He admitted the first season Greenup used the machine to grind shingles, in 2010, things were a disaster.
“Until we started modifying the machine, making notes on what was causing issues and fine-tuning it, it took about two months to get things right,” Strong explained. “Another thing we’ve done through the years is we use a protective cloth to keep things out of the radiator.”
The company has gone through three machines over the last dozen years, and Strong is currently running a used 2006 model, which he says runs perfectly.
“The thing that makes grinding asphalt shingles with a wood grinder tricky is a couple of things,” he said. “Number one, you have a very high-speed motor and there’s a lot of abrasion and wear that goes on your tip, rakers, anvil and screen. You have to fine-tune your screen size to get longevity.”
Another major issue of using wood grinders for asphalt, he noted, is the amount of dust.
“These conveyer belts were initially not designed for this tar dust. The friction and heat of the conveyer belt goes along the bedpan and melts the oil and forms what we call “stalagpipe” or hard chunks of tar, which can break loose or roll over your belt, which causes buildup, which can shut down your grinder.”
To keep things running smoothly and reduce downtime, Strong keeps an extensive amount of wear parts on hand, including nuts and bolts for rotor, extra screens, digging teeth for the excavators and filter cloth for radiators.
“Our system is set up now so we can successfully grind shingles and produce a mean average production rate of about 72 tons an hour,” he said.
Strong also said that he has been helping Papé Machinery with one of its new customers Kerr Contractors. They want to follow the same protocol and have just purchased a brand-new Morbark 6600 to grind asphalt roofing shingles to implement in road production.
“I have been a helping part in setting his machine up,” he remarked.
Early in his career, before coming to Greenup, Strong had a bustling business supplying asphalt.
“I supplied asphalt to almost every asphalt plant in Oregon and we ground all of the Knife River, Oldcastle, Baker Rock road and driveway. My operation consisted of two men, a 200-size trackhoe, a Morbank 6600 and we used a 6×16 DEC screen deck and a 624 John Deere loader,” he explained. “I was doing about 30,000 to 35,000 tons a year and our operation was portable, so we could set up at the asphalt plant’s location. They would place the order of what they thought would get them through that season, and we would grind and screen out and produce the finished product for them and then move to the next plant.”
His favorite part of his career is being a part of the team that could successfully figure out how to best continuously grind the asphalt, keep material out of the landfill, and add this new service to the land clearing and wood grinding aspects.
“In my opinion, the top three things to make this work and being successful using a wood grinder is being able to manage your conveyer belt so it does not build up with material, to be able to figure out a way to clean out dust and grit so it doesn’t form into tar-balls,” Strong said. “Number two is managing your wear parts as far as your rotor and your screen. The final thing is figuring out a way to manage your radiators, because of the amount of tar dust and shingle dust floating in the air. That could cost someone a motor.”