Rotobec Grabs –  the perfect choice for MDJ Light Bros

Despite substantial expansion, MDJ Light Brothers’ profits were being undercut by the cost of maintaining its grabs. It turned to McIntyre for a more robust and reliable solution – the solution was Rotobec

Meet MDJ Light Brothers

With 40 years’ experience in the recycling industry, Sussex-based MDJ Light Brothers has not only gained major scrap metal contracts across the South East but a reputation as a pioneer. It has developed ground-breaking treatments for resources such as Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE), scrap cable and low-grade steel from both treated household waste and Energy from Waste plants. 

Grappling the problem

Grabs are business-critical for the company, helping it to handle around 20,000 tonnes of material per month efficiently through its sites. However, the company’s existing systems were not keeping up with the heavy workload. Repairs were required too frequently, and the resulting downtime, maintenance charges and replacement parts were costing the company dearly. 

Jonathan Light, Company Director of MDJ Light Brothers, said, ‘Pins were breaking regularly, we were repairing or replacing cracked rams at least once a week, and the thin teeth required quite a bit of downtime to flame-cut and weld. What’s more, because the cylinders and rods were not well protected, we had had to commission our own at additional cost. Even with an intensive maintenance regime, each grab required a complete overhaul or replacement after two or three years.

‘Across a fleet of 16 material handlers, this was mounting up to an unacceptable degree of downtime, with a hefty maintenance bill. This undermined our ability to invest for growth, for example in operational innovations or in customer service initiatives.

‘Also, any break in service dents our reputation, which really matters to us as we’re a family firm that has worked hard to build a name for reliability, consistency and performance.’

McIntyre grabs attention

Having previously sourced shears, balers and cable granulators from McIntyre, a JMC Recycling Systems Ltd company, MDJ Light Brothers again turned to the recycling systems experts for a solution. Mr Light said, ‘We’ve come to trust McIntyre’s opinion completely. As highly experienced recyclers themselves, they understand the extraordinary demands we put on our machinery, and they’ve already thoroughly tested the systems they offer, which is a huge reassurance.’

 On McIntyre’s recommendation, the company purchased two Rotobec orange peel grapples.

Rotobec designs and manufactures almost every component of its products, applying advanced technologies and techniques as well as rigorous tests throughout the process. As a result, its grabs are the toughest available.

All of its grabs are available in 4 and 5 tine configurations and are fitted with patented integrated cylinder guards.  All models are also available with closed, semi-closed and open tine configurations. 

McIntyre adds up to a great deal                                  

The new grabs did not disappoint.

Mr Light said, ‘It’s amazing what you get used to with underperforming systems: it took us a while to accept that our new Rotobecs just don’t break down. And when we do wear them out, we know McIntyre will quickly provide affordable spare parts, minimising our downtime.’

This is because the Rotobec grabs are engineered specifically to withstand the rigours of a busy scrap yard. In some places, their pins are 50% larger than in rival machines, and the teeth do not wear out nearly so fast.

On average, Rotobec grabs will require a full service half as often as MDJ Light Brothers’ old machines did – and then each service will cost around 70% less, due to the superior resilience of the Rotobec components.

Further, MDJ Light Brothers no longer has to manufacture its own cylinders: Rotobec’s are approximately a quarter of the price yet last far longer.

All this adds up to an estimated saving of around £5k a year per unit.

‘That is not only great news for our bottom line, but for our ability to invest – both for our customers and for our future,’ said Mr Light.