Lamma 2012 Preview

Lamma 2012: A tidy profit from rubble crushing

An Essex farmer is turning concrete and rubble into useful hardcore, having invested in a compact crusher to repair farm tracks and help avoid costly material disposal.

Looking for an opportunity to supplement income from the 120ha (300 acre) family farm at Dunmow, Essex, Josh Askew turned his attention to unwanted concrete and rubble.

“I saw a mini crushing machine at a show, and it was one of those eureka moments,” he says.

“I know a lot of farms where there are piles of concrete and rubble where a machine of this type could be used to turn unwanted material into a hardcore product for relatively little money, to repair farm tracks for example.

“It makes sense to recycle rather than spend money on skips and send rubble to landfill,” he says.

What started as an opportunity to hire out the crusher to farmers back in 2006, has developed into an established compact equipment hire business, complemented by mini digger hire and ground care equipment, which he operates from Neville’s Farm, alongside the family farming business George Askew Farms.

Around half his business comes from hiring to farmers, with the remainder going to builders and demolition contractors looking for a low-cost way to recycle demolition waste.

Complementary

“Like farming, construction machinery hire can be seasonal, and I have found there are slack times and peak times, which often seem to complement what we do on the farm,” he explains.

“I can go with the machine and do the complete job for customers, or hire the crusher on its own for £200/day.”

The £40,000 machine has a hydraulically adjustable pair of jaws beneath the crusher box, allowing concrete, kerbstones, granite setts, bricks, tiles and blocks to be handled.

The infinitely adjustable nature of the jaws means the finished product can be tweaked from 10-100mm – the smaller the hardcore required, the slower the output.

The ease with which it could be moved was one of Red Rhino’s key advantages

Josh Askew

“Most of what we do gives customers a 70mm size that can be used for farm tracks and sub-bases beneath concrete floors,” he says.

“Daily output – using 25-30 litres/day – can be up to 100 tonnes, meaning you really need to load it with a mini digger to keep the machine busy.”

Mr Askew says his first 5000 model weighed 2.75 tonnes, so it would fit on a plant trailer and be just below the 3,500kg towing limit.

“The ease with which it could be moved was one of Red Rhino’s key advantages and was one of those criteria that drew me to it,” he says. “But the early machine was under-engineered to save weight.

“We made lots of modifications and beefed up many areas of the crusher, just so it would stand up to regular daily use,” he says.

“We replaced the 3mm thick loading hopper with a much tougher, 8mm item. And with mud, stones and soil often stuck on the machine, its weight could easily get you very, very close to the legal limit.”

After only 18 months of towing with a Land Rover and trailer, he stepped up to a lorry.

Weight

“It was just too much weight to pull around safely,” he says. “An 18-tonne lorry was going to be a much safer way to transport my kit, and perhaps more importantly, it allowed the crusher to be hired out simultaneously with a digger.”

Over the last five years, his Red Rhino 5000 model has clocked up 3,500 hours, and with an output of around 10-12 tonnes/hour, is estimated to have crushed over 35,000 tonnes of waste rubble into useful hardcore.

“Aside from an engine failure, our biggest expense has been conveyor belts,” he says. “At £500-a-go and lasting anything from three to 300 hours, it’s not a cheap machine to keep working.”

“It only needs a piece of steel reinforcing to go through the crusher box with some concrete and as it drops out onto the conveyor belt below, it will simply slice and shred the belt,” he says.

“The crusher is easy enough to work on,” he says. “There are few parts that can fail, but you have to be prepared to accept that when hired out, it’s going to get a hard time and you will need to reach for the welder. Regular lubrication and filter changes are essential.”

After five years use, his original 5000 model has just been replaced for 2012 with the latest specification and incorporates several new design features aimed at making the machine much more durable.

“There is now a Deutz engine, instead of Yanmar, and the conveyor belt has a chevron pattern to help move material from the crusher without quite so much roll-back,” he says. “If it matches the last one for crushing efficiency, I will be very pleased.”

  • Lamma 2012 features a new construction area.

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