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Recycling the historic navy annex

The 42-acre site consists of a parking area and buildings ranging four to five stories high.  The Navy Annex was built in 1941 to be a temporary warehouse facility, but was converted to federal office use after Pearl Harbor.  It served as Marine Corps headquarters for more than five decades, as well as providing office space for numerous Navy personnel.  It also was used extensively during the renovation of the nearby Pentagon prior to and shortly after the 9/11 attacks. 

Demolition Services Inc., headquartered in Manassas, VA, specializes in demolition, abatement and hazardous materials projects in residential, commercial/industrial and local/state/federal government applications.  The company, founded in 2007, offers a total of 45 years of combined key personnel experience in structural, selective, marine and implosive demolition, as well as field management services, site excavation and renovation, and site development.  DSI currently services an area that includes, but is not limited to, Virginia, North Carolina, Washington DC, Maryland, West Virginia, Delaware, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.

“The Navy Annex is not the biggest or most involved project we’ve ever done,” said DSI Owner and President Ron “Boots” Feather.  “But it is indeed a massive job.  We have complete responsibility for the total demolition of all the buildings, inside and out, and disposition of all materials.  When we’re gone from here, we’ll leave a flat, empty site, ready for cemetery grounds preparation.  That and parking lot demolition will be handled by Corinthian Contractors of Arlington, VA.

“Virtually all annex materials will be recycled,” Feather stressed: “crushed stone, metals, everything.  Practically nothing will go to landfills.  A tracked Powerscreen XR400S primary jaw plant and a tracked Powerscreen XH320SR horizontal impact crusher plant are the key components of the recycling operation.  The crushers are producing 21A road base, also called RC6.  We’ll use a little of it ourselves for various backfilling applications on other projects in the area.  All the rest is being sold to contractors.”

“We work our crushers hard,” said DSI General Supervisor Justin “Bulldog” Stanley.  “We run them to the absolute limits of everything Powerscreen claims they can do—and sometimes beyond.  This is tough, dependable, high-performance equipment.  But the key to maximum performance of any equipment is the operators.  We get maximum tons-per-hour because we’re putting quality equipment into the hands of expert operators.” 

“The equipment/operator factor is a big part of being able to bid jobs competitively and still be profitable,” Feather claimed.  “Another major factor is downtime, especially unplanned downtime.  Over the years I’ve had minimum downtime with Powerscreen equipment, and practically no major unplanned downtime.  That’s crucial, because unplanned downtime is often the difference between profit and loss. 

“Before I started DSI, I worked for other companies and had very good experiences with Powerscreen equipment.  Based on that, I purchased a Powerscreen XH250 impactor plant for DSI several years ago, and we’ve had no issues with it whatsoever.  It’s currently at work at our demolition project in Hampton, VA.”

DSI has 30 pieces of equipment and 40 employees, including two full time mechanics.  The mechanics are normally very busy.  So equipment operating crews are generally the people performing normal maintenance procedures.  “This is one of the areas where our Powerscreen equipment shines,” Feather said.  “The maintenance is simple—we just strictly follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.  Well maintained equipment is dependable, high-production equipment with a long service life.  Our crews love this Powerscreen equipment, and they treat it like they own it.  You can imagine how important that is.”

Feather also says that the distributor is often as important as the equipment.  He has worked with Powerscreen Mid-Atlantic, Inc., headquartered in Kernersville, NC, for about 12 years—including before he started DSI—and has found them to be knowledgeable, dependable, and will provide excellent service on a timely basis, especially in a pinch.  “What it comes down to with a dealer,” he says, “is how good are they and what are they willing to do for you.  Will they go the extra mile?  Powerscreen Mid-Atlantic certainly will.  Actually we’ve never had a lot of need for emergency service, because we’ve not had problems of that type with our Powerscreen crushers.  But Mid-Atlantic is always at the ready.  And we can get expert advice on crushers and crushing operations.  They’re real experts, especially Ian Williamson, their sales manager, who has been a big help to us.  It’s amazing what that man knows about crushers and crushing operations.”

Feather advises that Mid-Atlantic’s rental fleet is another vital factor.  He is basically concerned about four things: Have the equipment we need, in good working condition, get it to us on time, and at a fair price.  Mid-Atlantic does all that, he says.

Regarding crushing procedures on the Navy Annex job, Feather explained: “We use the XR400S jaw as the primary crusher feeding directly to the XH320SR impactor.  Some recyclers will use an impactor as the primary or even the only crusher, depending on the project and materials.  We’ve found on this job that using a primary jaw greatly increases our overall crushing efficiency and doubles the life of our impactor blow bars.  We’re working with a lot of very large pieces of concrete rubble, and much of it is loaded with steel.  The jaw crusher breaks down the large rubble to 5-inch minus and frees up much of the steel before feeding the impact crusher, which then finishes the process: shattering the rubble to road-base size and leaving the metals clean and ready for sale to metals recyclers.”

“We use medium chrome blow bars,” Stanley added.  “We’ve found it to be better for metals and rubble on this job than manganese or ceramic.  And one of the really great things about the Powerscreen XH320SR impactor is that it is actually a self-contained combination of crusher, screener, return conveyor, and stacker.  The return conveyor sends oversize material back to the crusher inlet. This helps minimize the number of machines we need for our crushing operation.”

“A prime feature of the XR400S jaw plant is the hydraulic release,” Feather said, “which provides overload protection.  It prevents damage to the crusher by uncrushable objects such as metal and unduly large rubble.  The crusher simply pops open, we remove the obstruction, and we get on with production instead of shutting down for crusher repairs.  Some other features of Powerscreen crushers that I really value have to do with dust control, safety shut-downs, and Scania engines for prompt response, high performance and fuel economy.

“Powerscreen fast setup is good, too,” Feather added.  “For example, the XH320SR impactor came to our Navy Annex site directly from a ship in Baltimore harbor and was set up and running in a half hour after it arrived.”

When DSI bids jobs they’re often bidding against much larger companies.  Feather believes that is actually one of DSI’s advantages.  “We run lean and mean.  We’re very flexible; we can react quickly to the unexpected; we have no bureaucracy; we all work and we all share the load.  In fact, sometimes you’ll find Justin and me out running equipment or whatever is needed in a specific situation.  We have no ‘feet on the desk’ people at DSI.

“I grew up in a West Virginia coal mining family, and we all knew the value of hard work,” Feather stressed.  “I had my first paying job at age 15 and learned recycling and aggregates operations by working my way up.

“You’re always dealing with the top people when you do business with us.  My wife, Melissa, runs the office, and I run the rest.  Our family name and reputation are on the line with every job; so we pull out all the stops and do our level best all the time.  We always make good on what we promise.  And we’re ‘above’ on every job, with regard to making spec, being on or ahead of schedule, and within budget.  Our contract for the Navy Annex job requires completion in 330 days.  We’re well ahead of that so far.”

The Powerscreen XR400S primary jaw plant is designed for medium scale operators in quarrying, demolition, recycling and mining.  Basic features include up to 440 US tph, hydraulic folding feed hopper with boltless fixing system, hydraulic tilting conveyor system, efficient direct drive, high-swing jaw, height-adjustable product conveyor, and hydraulic folding extended hopper.  Numerous options are available.

The Powerscreen XH320SR is a mid-sized horizontal impact crusher designed for excellent reduction and high consistency of product shape for recycling, demolition and quarry applications.  Standard features include efficient direct drive, up to 350 US tph, bolt-in cartridge grizzly with 42mm nominal spacing, load management system to control feeder speed, hydraulic overload protection and adjustment, 4-bar rotor and twin apron design, PLC control of crusher speed, independent under-crusher vibrating pan feeder, and double-deck 11′ x 5′ post screen.  Numerous options are available.

“When you buy equipment,” Feather advised, “you’re buying two things: a manufacturer and a dealer.  With Powerscreen, we’re very happy with both.”