Optimus prime

Written by: Geraldine Faulkner | Published:

An impressive Terex Finlay J-1170AS jaw crusher is among the machines turning demolition and construction waste into aggregate and hard core at J O’Doherty Haulage in north London. Geraldine Faulkner visits the site and meets the team

A devotee of the Transformers franchise would feel thoroughly at home on J O’Doherty Haulage’s site in north London where the Terex Finlay J-1170AS jaw crusher is busy at work.

Squatting among piles of aggregate, the big red machine munches demolition and construction waste before spitting it out as Type 1 aggregate and hard core ready to be reused on construction sites. However, instead of looking to overthrow western civilisation as we know it, the jaw crusher ensures that 100% of C&D waste brought onto the five-acre site of the London-based independent family-run business is recycled; a gentle giant indeed, and one that has proved its worth since it was installed on-site a year ago.

“The J-1170AS jaw crusher provides the flexibility of a crushing and screening plant on one machine,” explains Leon Sheehy, managing director of Finlay Plant South East, part of the Finlay Group of companies.

The supplier of the machine to Jim O’Doherty, owner of J O’Doherty Haulage, Finlay Plant South East has been working with the haulage specialist for 12 years.

Along with a detachable on-board sizing screen, the heartbeat of the J-1170AS jaw crusher is said to be a robust hydrostatically driven Terex jaw chamber which provides high capacity with large reduction ratios.

“The jaw chamber configuration can be set up specifically for quarrying applications or processing construction demolition debris using the hydraulic release chamber option,” adds Sheehy.

The J-1170AS also features a heavy-duty variable speed vibrating grizzly feeder (VGF) and integrated prescreen, which according to Sheehy gives excellent production throughput in quarrying, mining, demolition and recycling applications; not forgetting less dust, noise and better fuel consumption.

Matching the machine

All of which makes the jaw crusher a perfect fit for the J O’Doherty team who are specialists in waste management, muck-away, excavations, plant hire, transport and aggregates.

Formed in 1987 by Jim O’Doherty who saw a gap in the market to provide a service to the construction industry, the company recycles all waste arriving on its site in Edmonton, whether it originates from domestic clear-ups to multi-million-pound long-term contracts. “We provide high-quality materials from all of the waste that is handled. All soils, stone, timber, plastic, paper, cardboard, metals or domestic waste we generate 100% into re-usable products,” states J O’Doherty’s general manager, John Rochester, proudly. “Our recycling plant is licensed to handle all construction, demolition and municipal waste including treatment of contaminated soils 24/7.

“This is backed up by monthly waste stream reports and a waste management plan which enables waste management operators to endorse a full duty of care for all their clients.”

J O’Doherty’s has come a long way since its humble beginnings.

“We started as a sole trader and slowly and surely we have built up the company,” recalls Rochester. “Every day we have 160-odd lorries come to our recycling centre. These are a mixture of skip lorries and tippers. We’ve also improved the transfer station and invested millions of pounds in new machines.”

Licensed to handle 360,000 tonnes of material a year (“We are not operating to full capacity yet,” interjects O’Doherty, “but it’s all part of our expansion plan”), the general manager says they operate a zero-waste-to-landfill policy.

“Nothing from this site goes to landfill. Everything is sorted and an outlet is found for all the materials that come in,” explains Rochester. “Everything that we can’t find a use for is shredded and goes to RDF.”

While business at J O’Doherty’s is obviously booming, Rochester can’t resist letting off steam about the constraints haulage companies operate under.

“To achieve high levels of recycling, you have to have a framework in place to transport materials and there is nothing in place for the cyclist to be on the road. I think it’s gone too far in favour of cyclists. I’m not against cycling, it’s good, but it’s gone beyond the things we have to do and yet it still doesn’t stop them disregarding the rules and some poor unfortunate cyclists being killed.”

With J O’Doherty’s spending £2,500 on camera systems on each lorry to ensure road safety for all road users, the general manager voices his exasperation over the lack of legislation to accommodate the increase in cyclists on the capital’s roads. “Our drivers are permanently being trained and retrained and yet on the other side of the coin, what are the cyclists doing? The authorities can nail us, but not the individual cyclist,” laments Rochester.

Regulatory burdens

O’Doherty echoes the frustration expressed by his general manager over excessive regulations as well as increased costs.

“If someone were to start a business today, it would be near on impossible. What with the cost of setting up business it wouldn’t be feasible from where I came from; I was a lorry driver and 25 years ago it was easy to get a lorry as they weren’t as expensive as they are today.”

With his two sons, Kieran and James, joining him in the family business, O’Doherty is looking at a future with a very different business environment from the one he started off in. “There are lots of possibilities if you have the right facilities and machinery and it’s only getting busier with more of an emphasis on recycling. In 10 years’ time, I reckon landfill will be a thing of the past.”

Turning the spotlight onto the company’s structure, the J O’Doherty Group comprises two companies; Embassy Demolition and J O’Doherty Haulage.

“Having the waste side complements the demolition operation and helps us meet the standards required for our demolition clients,” explains Rochester. “We know what we’re collecting and bringing back to recycle so we can sell the products back to the clients.”

Following commodity prices

An example of changing economic conditions and the company’s versatility in adapting to the times is Kieran O’Doherty’s main function as the company’s centres manager, in which control of the waste streams by monitoring of commodity prices is a must, while James O’Doherty, Kieran’s brother, has taken on the role of site compliance.

“Prices change every day of the week. Plus there’s a new twist to the market with new technologies and different materials. It is a challenge to outsource commodities,” says Kieran before adding: “In the summer

you have commodities fly out the gate along with crushed concrete and aggregate in the summer. But in the winter, demand for aggregates is low because sites are suffering from the bad weather.”

Which brings us neatly to the next constraint for UK haulage companies: the British weather.

“We are not like other industries when their vehicles go out in all weathers, bad weather can virtually stop the job,” states Rochester.

There is not much that can be done about that, but thankfully for J O’Doherty’s, its J-1170AS jaw crusher just keeps going.

“It’s as good as gold,” states the company owner. “It has worked two 11-hour shifts for two to three months to keep up with the demand for sized aggregate.”

To ensure the jaw crusher maintains its ceaseless munching, Sheehy, or a member of the Finlay Group team, is on J O’Doherty’s site once a week, to cast an eye over the machine to ensure it is working smoothly.

O’Doherty says: “Leon is also heavily involved in the discussion to get the right machine to suit the job.” Purchased outright, the J-1170AS jaw crusher is not the only machine provided by Finlay Plant South East on J O’Doherty’s Edmonton site. There are also three Terex Finlay 883+ heavy-duty screens, and one 694+ inclined screen, plus two other standard J-1170 jaw crushers.

“Operators are looking at more efficient machines and they want to get a value-added product instead of making Type 1 aggregates; they’re now trying to get into more value-added products like 10mm and 20mm recycled aggregate,” says Sheehy.

O’Doherty senior encapsulates the reason for choosing the J-1170AS jaw crusher: “It’s bringing a range of benefits that support the business. The main positive is the fact that one machine is doing the work of two.”

Fact file: Features of the J-1170AS jaw crusher

• On-board after-screen delivers a single sized product removing the need for a second machine

• After-screen system can be removed quickly allowing the operator to use as a standard unit

• An automatic variable speed vibrating grizzly feeder (VGF) ensures continuous choke feeding of the crushing chamber for optimal productivity

• High powered hydrostatic drive ensures precise chamber control and reverse functionality for clearing blockages.

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