GlassWRX in Beaufort, South Carolina, turns discarded glass bottles and containers into engineered cellular magmatic (ECM) using two Doosan DL220-5 wheel loaders, also known as front-end loaders. ECM is most commonly used in foam glass, a building material available since the 1930s. However, new uses of ECM are being rapidly discovered, spurred by private and U.S. government research investment.
GlassWRX is projecting increased demand for ECM, and the new company is positioning itself to capture the market.
Two Wheel Loaders (Front-End Loaders) for Product Integrity
GlassWRX processes about 135 tons of glass daily. Trucks dump the glass into piles, and an operator in a DL220-5 loads it into a crusher that also cleans the glass.
The glass is dried, crushed into a fine powder and screened so the particles are a uniform size. It moves into a kiln with a foaming agent that helps it rise from a 1-inch layer to a 4-inch layer, similar to baking a cake. After the process, it is ECM.
A second DL220-5 moves the ECM from the kiln to a shipping area. GlassWRX then uses a separate DL220-5 to ensure a uniform color for its final product. If the same loader was used for both steps, flecks of glass may remain in the bucket from the initial loading and color the final product.
“Our customers are fully aware that our product is made from glass, so if they see a fleck of green, blue, clear or brown in the final product, they are going to call us because they can see glass in it,” says Brad Graham, national director of site implementation. “Using the same machine to handle the finished product that also handles the raw feed stock would cause that contamination.”
This process occurs throughout the day, which means long days in the cab. Brad says the comfort of the DL220-5s makes that seat time bearable.
“These are like driving a Lincoln Continental versus riding on the back of an old tractor,” Brad says. “You can operate one of these machines for several hours and not have your back aching or your knees hurting.”
Light Material Buckets Increase Productivity
A DL220-5 with a light material bucket handles the finished ECM.
Brad says he chose the biggest bucket he could safely attach to the DL220-5 because he knew the weight of the ECM would not be a problem for the machine, and he wanted to maximize his productivity.
“ECM is 15 pounds per cubic foot — incredibly light material,” Brad says. “To give you a comparison, marshmallows are 21 pounds per cubic foot.”
Quick Couplers to Save Time
GlassWRX has a pallet fork attachment that operators frequently swap on and off the loaders. To make the transition quicker, both wheel loaders have quick couplers.
“We’ve given ourselves the extra capacity for what we can use the machines for,” Brad says. “We switch to the forks and use it as a forklift and then turn it right back into a loader. Each time we switch attachments using the quick coupler, it's probably a 30-minute saving compared to changing them manually.”
Rearview Camera for Safety
GlassWRX has a compact facility with expensive machinery and both foot and truck traffic. Each DL220-5 comes with a rearview camera to help prevent accidents.
“Without that camera, you’d probably risk injury to property and person, especially on a site like this where there are people around all the time,” Brad says. “I can minimize the risk of property damage and see when there are people behind the machine. I think it’s probably the best safety feature on the machine.”
Plans To Integrate Telematics
With their new facility, GlassWRX leadership is still refining its processes. Brad says he eventually plans to integrate DoosanCONNECT telematics into a centralized telematics platform with all his facility’s equipment.
“The entire facility is designed for us to monitor everything that's going on through the computer and track maintenance events and maintenance requirements,” Brad says. “Being able to hook these loaders into that same system and keep track of them, in the same way, is one of the things that I did think about when I selected these machines to purchase.”