Smash and grab in Essex

Written by: Geraldine Faulkner | Published:

Webster Grab Hire, a small reclamation yard dealing mainly with demolition and construction waste from building sites, is very pleased with its MB BF90 crushing bucket supplied by Worsley Plant. Geraldine Faulkner visits the materials recycler to find out why

Who else other than a material reprocessor can come up with the clever wheeze of being paid to take away someone else’s unwanted materials (which in the past would have ended up in landfill), putting it through a ‘tidying up’ process and then selling it on; sometimes to the same people it was purchased from?

Indeed, only a material reprocessor such as Tony Webster who runs Webster Grab Hire, a reclamation site near Rayleigh in Essex.

“Webster Grab Hire is a family-run business with just me and my nephew Tony. It has been going for 10 years. I started off doing block paving and laying drives, then I got a grab lorry and acquired a partner and we built the business up until we were running eight lorries. As we got busier, we bought more vehicles and the block paving took a backseat,” recalls Webster, who has since parted company with his partner and now focuses on the reclamation side of the business with his nephew, Tony James. “Business is picking up though and I’ve put another lorry on the road. Even though there’s a lot of competition out there, you’ve got to speculate to accumulate.”

And investing in the right piece of kit which meets clients’ requirements, assists your required turnover and accommodates the size of your yard (which is not large) is essential.

This is why Webster has bought an MB BF90 crushing bucket – purchased from Worsley Plant – which can demolish, crush, recycle and load material.

Owner testimonial

While clearly not a man who indulges in hyperbole, Webster waxes lyrical about his crushing bucket. “With teeth on it, it goes through the product like a knife through butter,” he says, referring to being able to penetrate a pile of waste, before adding: “Also, there is no downtime, it simply never breaks down.” Webster’s yard takes demolition and construction waste from building sites, transports it back to base before running it through the crushing bucket and turning it into hardcore for builders to use, for example when laying drives.

“It can be concrete from a demolition site or skip which we bring in with our own grab. We then crush and recycle it,” explains James.

Graham Imms, area sales manager with Worsley Plant, sets out the overall picture for small yards such as Webster Grab Hire and the important role they play in recycling waste materials.

“Operators like Tony are literally able to turn waste material into cash. You’ve got a material that is doing nothing and suddenly it becomes worth something. In the past, sites would have it taken off site to go to landfill; instead, they pay guys like Webster Grab Hire to take it away for recycling.

“Not only is it environmentally advantageous, it also saves building and demolition contractors a lot of money. What was a product that was next to nothing in value is now worth £10-15 a tonne for businesses like Websters. It’s money that you didn’t have,” says Imms. He goes on to add: “A static crusher could have three men operating it, whereas with a crushing bucket, it’s all done with one operator and one machine. A lot of labour and time is saved as well as the environment.

“One person would be needed to operate the static crusher, feeding it properly with materials and running it correctly, while another runs round keeping an eye on clearing blockages, such as plastic getting stuck in the system. Then you need a man in a wheeled loader doing the loading. All in all, it can be a three-man operation.”

From the operator’s perspective

What’s it like to use the crushing bucket?

James again. “It’s a fast bit of machinery that is lovely and quiet to operate. Not only that, but it does exactly what it has to.” He also points to the fact that compared to a static crusher, the bucket only needs a small bit of space in which to operate.

“You keep it low to the ground to reduce dust levels and if you want to put sprinklers around it, you can do that as well. It’s also easier to empty it as you don’t have to go in and drag bits out as you would in a static crusher.” James pauses before adding: “On a noise level, the buckets are actually quieter than the engine of the crawler excavator it’s attached to.” Another bonus.

What about downtime?

“We really don’t have to touch the buckets,” states the area sales manager firmly. “They are a bullet-proof bit of kit which is self-contained and holds all the basic technology of a static crusher. The only thing we have to do is supply parts for servicing and maybe a set of jaws once a year.”

Aimed at the excavation, demolition, recycling, road works, piping and quarry sectors, the MB crushing bucket is ideal for smaller companies, emphasises Imms.

“It’s aimed at your man in a yard who takes in skip waste. Whether that is from demolition or civils works. It’s about being able to crush and do the work on the site and turn around what is fairly small quantities, namely up to 1,000 tonnes. It’s not designed for big operations to replace static crushers. But by all means they are there to complement them.

“For operations with a main crusher, you’ll get small tips coming in and you can adjust the buckets between sizes of materials,” continues the area sales manager. “Jaw size can be adjusted from 20mm to 120mm, so if your main crusher is set for 80mm, you can bring

in the bucket and do what you need to do.” Changing the jaw size only takes around 10 minutes. “Just slip in the shims or take

them away,” says Imms. “The jaw size determines what the product is coming out of the other end.”

The crushing bucket is not fussy about the machine it is attached to either. “It can be picked up by a standard machine and mounted on anything,” explains Worsley’s manager. “We’ve got them mounted on excavators, telehandlers, tractors and wheeled loaders.

As long as we can get hydraulics down to the bucket, we can run it,” he adds with a smile.

What made Webster first think about getting a crushing bucket?

“I was toying with the idea of buying a crusher and looked on YouTube. Everyone raved about MB so I rang up Worsley Plant and did the deal over the phone. Originally, I was going to hire one for a week, but then I thought I would just buy it and be done with it.

“For the size of our yard, one is enough for the time being,” he states firmly before adding: “Another advantage is that its second-hand retail value is very high. Basically, I could sell it on for a little bit less than what I bought it for. The residual value is phenomenal.”

And if that is not enough ticks for all the right boxes, Webster adds: “The bloke across the road bought a £230,000 crusher for his business, but unlike my crushing bucket he needs a licence to operate it.”

Yup, there is no doubt that Webster is one happy man who knows he has made the right decision for his type of business and, for the time being, his crushing bucket is not going anywhere.

Fact File: Worsley Plant

Worsley Plant is a plant sales and hire company that supplies the construction, demolition, waste management and recycling industries with specialist products for a variety of applications across the UK. It supplies Lehnhoff fully automatic quick-coupler systems, REMU screening buckets, Rotar demolition attachments, Waste Systems’ density separation technology and MB crushing and screening buckets.

According to Worsley Plant, MB crushing buckets offer enhanced operator safety, reduced transport costs and quick installation and changeover. Only one bucket is required to demolish, crush, recycle and load material. Thanks to clever design, noise and dust are kept to a minimum, and blockages are made a thing of the past.

MB crushing buckets are used in the on-site crushing of any inert material and are available in 12 models working with excavators, skid loaders and backhoe loaders from 3.5 to 70 tonnes. MB screening buckets are designed for selecting natural materials, in both pre and post crushing phases.


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