Mjolnir Construction, a Glastonbury, Conn., company that handles commercial and residential demolition, utility, water and sewer work, was finding more and more of its jobs required it to recycle construction materials. This presented owner Thor Norgaard with two options: either paying to have the materials hauled off site or paying a portable crushing firm to come in and process the materials on site. Either way, it involved an outlay of cash that equated to a missed opportunity.
So, in 2019, Norgaard turned to a third option and made the decision to expand his business into portable crushing. To start the process, Norgaard needed to determine what type of crusher he needed: jaw versus impact.
"If I had purchased a portable jaw plant for our type of application, in order to create a consistent size material, I would have also had to purchase a portable screening plant to work alongside the jaw crusher," he said. "A jaw crusher would have made an initial break of the processed material into roughly the size of 6-inch minus, much of which would not have been a usable material for many applications. So, the oversized material would have to be separated or screened out and then fed back into the crusher for additional passes until it was broken down to the size material that I could use."
After considering his choices, Norgaard purchased a Rockster R1100 closed circuit portable impact crusher and has set up two recycling sites to receive materials, one in Portland, Conn., and the other in Tolland, Conn. In addition to receiving materials at his designated recycling sites, Mjolnir also will be making his Rockster available for onsite recycling projects.
"By purchasing an impact crusher, I am skipping the purchase of a screening plant and several reprocessing steps. An impact crusher is going to create a material that has a more uniform shape and is thus more sellable; and it's making a product that does not need to be reprocessed and screened to achieve the specification that we are looking for. Thus, accomplishing two things — lowering our initial investment cost and increasing production over any given period of time."
Norgaard's Rockster was purchased from Equip Sales and Leasing Corp., in North Haven, Conn.
"An impact crusher is the ideal situation for this particular customer," said Joe Collazo, Equip Sales and Leasing sales manager. "He is able to make a very usable material in a single pass through the plant and have a very high quality, uniform product."
The quality of the product was evident to Norgaard, but the way that Equip Sales and Leasing sells crushers is really what attracted him.
"Coming into this expansion of my business I did not know a thing about operating a crusher and these are very expensive pieces of equipment with all kinds of easy ways to break them. Equip Sales and Leasing has a program that allows you to rent the crusher with a trained operator. That rental gives you an opportunity to see a skilled operator put the machine through its paces and lets you experience what the machine is capable of.
"During the rental period, we watched this machine operate for over 100 hours with a production rate of 900 to 1,200 tons per day and it never once faltered. Even during the period that we were paying rent on the machine it was making a profit for us.
"In our case, we decided that we wanted to purchase the machine, but we wanted to have an opportunity to be properly trained on the operation of the machine over a prolonged period of time, so we extended the rental for another month with a portion of the rental being applied to the purchase cost. The operator changed hats to trainer and taught our people how to properly start up, operate, service and maintain the machine."
According to Collazo, his company is the only aggregate equipment dealership in the area that sends rentals out with an operator.
"We do that for two very important reasons," Collazo said. "One, it protects us. Crushing is a very aggressive business and you never know what foreign material is going to end up inside the crusher inflicting a lot of damage. More importantly, it protects the customer. Nobody factors into a bid destroying a piece of rented equipment, yet it's so easy to do with a crusher. This takes that risk out of the equation. If a customer is buying one of our crushers, this turns into a great training opportunity. One of our operators has over 4,000 hours of experience. He has seen it all."
Rockster's hydrostatic crusher drive also allows customers to maintain consistent fuel consumption and removes clutches commonly found on other machines which can wear over time.
"One of the ways that you can adjust the coarseness of aggregate being produced is by slowing down the rotor speed of impact crusher or speeding it up," Collazo said. "If the entire crusher is directly coupled to the engine via generator or clutch when you change engine speed to affect rotor speed you are potentially slowing down your production rate. With the Rockster, the impactor is not connected to the power plant; it runs independently hydrostatically, so you can make changes to the impactor operation without changing the idle speeds of the crusher's power plant,"
"During the entire process, Equip Sales and Leasing was great to work with," Norgaard said. "They carefully taught all of our employees everything they needed to know. Since the purchase, they have exceeded our expectations in servicing the equipment. Response time has been great, and parts availability has never been an issue. Most importantly as expected the Rockster has done nothing but add to our bottom line."
About Mjolnir Construction
Founded in 2011, Mjolnir Construction has grown from an owner/operator doing primarily residential and septic installation and repair work to having five full-time employees, an office manager and as many as 10 seasonal operators.
"I have really focused on building my business through relationships, and the most important relationship is the relationship I build with the customer I am working for," Norgaard said. "I am personally on the site of every job that we take. I have a personal interest in every project, and I work closely with the owner of every project, making suggestions as we go along in the hopes of improving the efficiency or overall productivity of the project.
"That level of interest has given me the opportunity to create personal relationships with the people I work for and ultimately leads them to recommending my company to their associates and giving me the first look at any projects that they have in the future."
Along the way, there were some key projects that contributed to the company's growth, the first a Dunkin Donuts in East Hartford, Conn., and a CVS in Meriden, Conn.
"At the CVS we learned that on any given project virtually everything can go wrong, but most importantly, we found out that we could handle it, and that experience gave us the confidence to move on to even bigger and better things," Norgaard said.