At General Kinematics, it’s all about engineered-to-order products. We are focused on our customers and what they need to accomplish. This matters in all industries; but, for resource recovery, it has a heightened focus. It is imperative that our customers maximize their recovery rates and dial in on specific fractions of material. Providing equipment that is up to the task requires listening to our customers and understanding how they intend to process material from inbound to outbound. After that initial discovery, we strive to be a trusted partner, not just another vendor.
There really isn’t a secret sauce to our success. We believe it’s being the best at the details that matter to our customers. We hire top talent, develop and train them to be industry experts, then back our homegrown talent with the R&D support necessary to drive new advancements in the industry. Being the best drives our innovation.
Within resource recovery, we have made specific advancements. Material recovery facility (MRF) operators are well-versed in the major original equipment suppliers’ (OEMs’) systems. Those systems come with the usual rotary, ballistic or star screens. It is far less typical to place a state-of-the-art, vibratory screen at the front of a system. The benefits are many for those who focus on uptime and monitor the total cost of ownership. Operators may not be aware of what obstacles they face with prepackaged equipment solutions. While effective with the right waste stream, too often, contaminants such as a chunk of cement or even an engine block will make it into the process. A ballistic or star screen is not designed to handle the impact. Downtime and the high cost of reactive maintenance follow.
Placing a General Kinematics Primary FINGER- SCREEN™ 2.0 as the lead blocker for a system does more than one might think. The GK screens are designed to handle mass impacts and not miss a stroke. Born out of the C&D industry, these screens and the improvements that have evolved over time transition flawlessly to municipal solid waste (MSW) or commercial and industrial (C&I) facilities. Understanding that the GK FINGER-SCREEN™ 2.0 is a beast is only understanding half the equation. MRF operators should boldly challenge past paradigms for more tangible reasons.
Blocking and tackling
Beyond being an amazing lead blocker and protecting the capex investment in a major system, the FINGER-SCREEN™ 2.0 tackles major job-critical functions through best-in-class design. Its vibratory action has been optimized to have the longest stroke in the industry, coming in at 2 inches. Longer strokes in vibratory conveyance are a huge differentiator. Having a stroke of 2 inches allows more energy to handle challenging materials, creating enough energy to separate more effectively. Lower stroking screens simply don’t produce enough movement to lift the light, wet, challenging materials.
What comes next is an often-overlooked advantage of placing a screen at the start of the process. Allowing the screen to do its job, handling the impact of unwanted contaminants, yet still screening the challenging materials, creates a consistent and desirable stream for the rest of the system. With the material stream consistent and large variables removed, everything else just runs better. The OEM’s system can deliver its highest possible output. Higher output totals are achieved because the inbound material stream is stabilized. The total cost of the ownership for the whole system is decreased because costly downtime events are avoided.
Little details, big results
I mentioned our people and the equipment they produce are backed by significant R&D efforts. You may be wondering what detail is that important in mechanical separation. Those familiar with vibratory screens are aware of our springs. The spring is the lifeblood of the unit. Differing spring rates produce a corresponding stroke. The connection points for the spring are the primary maintenance focus. We wondered what would happen if we reimagined how that connection could function. It took the R&D lab hundreds of hours, but GK recently rolled out its newly designed spring connection. By placing the mounting bolt in shear instead of tension, the bolting power is greatly increased. This seemingly little detail ultimately has a big effect because it increases the time between preventive maintenance (PM) on springs. Ease of maintenance and simplicity of design are the hallmarks of machines GK is proud to have in the field.
Ending the cycle of downtime
One of the biggest contributors to downtime is letting PM slip. Recognizing this constant struggle, GK’s team of experts turned toward technology. We launched VERTEX™ approximately 18 months ago. Its real-time data collection can be used on any vibratory piece of equipment monitoring the X, Y and Z axis. Having real-time data is critical because we can program alarms to signal if the stroke is off. Operators need to know if a machine is understroking because that will lead to less effective screening efficiency and likely less throughput, while an overstroking machine can develop issues from running out of tolerance. We take it a step further by programming our OEM-recommended PM into the control box. Operators can easily see if a machine is past-due on a scheduled PM simply by walking past the VERTEX™ box.
When it comes to monitoring the data, we really focused on what our customers were saying. Clearly, they wanted flexibility. For some, the right solution is to have GK monitor the vibratory data at our corporate office. We have different support packages that will even tie to field advisory services, ensuring our equipment is meeting expectations. Other customers wanted their data hard-wired into the master control center. To end downtime, it takes real-time data that are easily put into the hands of maintenance so effective decisions can be made, leading to fewer reactive events, fewer work orders and better results.
We don’t plan to slow down; being a high-performance company requires more innovation. Our customers will find new challenges, and our people will work toward solutions that address these challenges.