Archive for April, 2018

Straw Making Machinery

Another recent assignment had us talking about straw-making machines. We tend to take for granted the availability of straws in just about any type of restaurant, convenience store, theme park or sporting event. But where do all these straws come from? Typical straw-making lines consist of an extruder, vacuum cooling tank, puller/cutter and packer along with a wrapping machine. Korea and Taiwan are the leading exporters of straw-making machinery.  Warm weather and low labor cost markets such as S.E. Asia, the Middle East and N. Africa are seeing the highest demand growth for such machines though they tend to purchase lower cost equipment from China and India. North America and Europe rely on either imported straws or automated, high volume machinery, which minimizes labor costs but also come with hefty price tags. There are only about 6-10 N. American straw-making companies left and they face challenges that off-shore straw suppliers don’t – i.e. safety and environmental issues, which makes it tough to compete against cheaper imports.

Street Sweepers – an Industry Really Cleaning Up

We recently completed an appraisal for street sweepers – an industry that is really cleaning up.  There are two main types of sweepers – regenerative air and mechanical broom.  Each has advantages depending on application, for example, the type of debris that is being collected, the shape of the street or parking lot (i.e. crowned, flat), dumping preferences (i.e. remote, ground level or higher). These variables will dictate which type of sweeper is more suited for a particular application.  Elgin is the largest street sweeper equipment supplier in North America, accounting for over 50% of all new sales. Tymco is another popular brand and has had success with several longstanding model designs over the past 20 years. Cleaner, “greener” street sweepers powered by CNG are witnessing growing adoption and leading sweeper manufacturers now offer alternative fuel powered vehicles. Sweeper manufacturers mount their systems on truck body chassis sourced from major manufacturers. Most units are mounted on medium or heavy-duty chassis. Commonly used chassis include International 4300, Freightliner M2 and Isuzu NPR Series. Systems are mounted on both conventional and cab-over style chassis.

Airplanes Everywhere…

Had the unique opportunity to visit the famous airplane storage yard / grave yard in California’s Mojave Desert.  Amazing to see the vast array of planes – from huge 747 relics from the 1970’s to model DC10’s, L1011’s and Boeing 73X series.  Nothing goes to waste on these planes as whatever can be salvaged is picked clean off.