The Shelter Island Recycling Center on Long Island, N.Y. had just acquired a horizontal grinder and needed to downsize vegetative waste before processing it. The Black Splitter Model SB Hydraulic Cone Splitter made the facility self-sufficient and saved the taxpayers money.

Jay Card, Superintendent of Highways and Commissioner of Public Works for the Town of Shelter Island, said using the Black Splitter in conjunction with its new Diamond Z TK4000 Horizontal Grinder is expected to save the town’s residents up to $3 million over 20 years.

“The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is going to give us 50% toward the grinder,” Card said. “So we're ultimately going to pay $350,000 for a $700,000 machine. In about three-and-a-half years that machine will technically be paid for.”

The transfer station had been paying a subcontractor to haul in the largest horizontal grinder on the market to process waste. Despite the size and power of the machine, it was unable to handle stumps of up to 7 feet in diameter, which resulted in wasted trips transporting them to the subcontractor’s facility.

Card had an epiphany. “The cost (for the subcontractor) was about $100,000 a year, and that's exactly what my payment is to own the Diamond Z TK4000, so we translated the rental into a purchase,” he explained. “It's a smaller machine than his, but it's the perfect size for our operation.”

Card never heard of a cone splitter until a colleague mentioned it. He simply knew that the recycling center needed a tool to downsize logs and stumps to extend the life of its new grinder. Card discovered New Jersey-based Ransome Attachments and its Black Splitter product line during an internet search in late 2017.

“They were very receptive,” he recalled of the first outreach. “We scheduled a demo, and I wouldn't let them leave with it.”

Ransome mounted the unit on the recycling center’s Gehl 5640 Skid Steer Loader. “We put it on the skid steer and it was unbelievable,” Card recalled. Counterparts he had invited from neighboring municipalities were also impressed. “We had a log that was probably three feet in diameter and 10-12 feet long,” Card said. “The Model SB split it almost instantly. I was shocked.”

By February 2018, the recycling center had taken delivery of the Model SB. “This tool is a perfect complement to the grinder,” said Card. “It takes a three-foot-wide log that the grinder would have a hard time trying to process and splits it into four or five pieces, and it just whistles right through the machine.”

Made by a German company and sold in the U.S. by New Jersey-based Ransome Attachments, Black Splitter cone splitters cost roughly $15,000 to $20,000.
Ransome Attachments Made by a German company and sold in the U.S. by New Jersey-based Ransome Attachments, Black Splitter cone splitters cost roughly $15,000 to $20,000.

Shelter Island is a roughly 12-mile island resort town between the north and south forks of eastern Long Island. Once an agricultural community covered by grasslands, it is now a densely wooded region that produces a steady flow of waste for the recycling center.

About 3,000 residents call Shelter Island home year-round, but second-home owners and visitors can drive the population up to 20,000 during peak vacation season.

Roughly 75% of inbound waste is vegetative with the remainder being construction debris, recyclables, and garbage. The recycling center sells all processed material in the form of mulch, compost, ground/shredded leaves, top soil, Recycled Concrete Aggregate (RCA), and salt/sand mix. The constant flow of inbound and outbound products combined with the center’s small footprint leave no room for inefficiency when it comes to turning around material.

The recycling center has the Model SB mounted on a Cat 430 Backhoe with a quick attach plate. The pair is stationery for now, but Card will not hesitate to haul the 595-pound chromium steel cone splitter to a jobsite if a log is too large to transport. While the Black Splitter is often used to move logs and load processing machinery, the recycling center uses it strictly as a splitting workhorse. The main objective is to reduce oversized logs to roughly 12 inches so another machine can feed them to the grinder.

Like any fiscally responsible government agency, Shelter Island shopped around before acquiring the Model SB. Card found the competing cone splitter to be oversized for his needs and twice the cost with no obvious difference in productivity. It also required a three-hose system. And the two-hose system allowed by the Model SB was a key selling point for Card. It eliminates additional time to switch between attachments and other headaches that come with a third hose, also known as a case drain line.

The Model SB has been a game changer for the recycling center. Card doesn’t have specific numbers on productivity increases yet, but he thinks the case is clear. “We used to have material that you could not feed through the grinder and we process everything now,” he recalled. “There's nothing you can bring us that we can't process.”