What is a low speed wood grinder and why would I need one?

What is a low speed wood grinder and why would I need one?

By Dan Macdonald

 A wise man once said, “nothing is a problem, it just costs money; and money is everybody’s problem.”  As confusing as that statement seems, it does make sense.  Handling wood scrap can be a very expensive, unnecessary problem to have in your business.  Wood scrap often leads to high material handling costs, hauling costs, dumping costs, lost real estate, interruption of work/material flow, EPA or insurance issues, and the list goes on and on.  As business owners we tend to look at our margins and profitability, but often miss the “slow leaks” in our businesses.  Wood scrap handling, hauling, storing, and dumping are all slow leaks than can and will negatively impact your bottom line.  If the previous few sentences made you a little uncomfortable, you probably have a wood scrap problem (and it is definitely costing you money). Well now that we know there is a problem, what should we do about it?

 Grinding your wood waste is a great solution to mitigate the costs associated with handling wood scrap, and can even turn your waste material into a value-added saleable product (i.e. mulch, boiler fuel, and bedding).  However, the grinder market can be confusing and many get lost in the different technologies and choices available on the marketplace.  We would like to help break it down a bit and help everyone understand what a low-speed wood grinder is and how it fits (or why it wouldn’t fit) into your business. 

 There are three basic types of wood grinders on the market: low-speed grinders, high-speed grinders, and chippers.  The simplest measuring stick to use to see if a low-speed wood grinder is right for you is volume.  If you are looking to process 100-15,000 pounds per hour (per grinder) a low-speed grinder is a great option to research.  If the volumes mentioned above meet your needs, read on; if not, you’re probably better suited to research a high-speed wood grinder.

 Low-speed wood grinders offer many benefits that include: very consistent processed chip sizes (less fines than high-speed wood grinders), lower noise output, can be installed inside facilities in close proximity to your workforce, (can be located outside as well), less mess than high-speed grinders by producing less dust, low operating cost due to using lower HP electric motors (motors typically range from 25HP to 200HP), and can handle varieties of wood scrap.  This leads us your next question: “what type of low-speed wood grinder would I need?”

Deciding that you may need a low-speed wood grinder is the first step, now we need to help you figure out what type best suits your needs.  There are two types of low-speed wood grinders available on the market: a horizontally fed (end-fed) or a vertically fed (hopper-fed) wood grinder.  Please read our next article to find out more about which type of grinder best suits your needs or for more information visit Cresswood or call 800-962-7302.