Solving 'Significant Problem' Leads to New Business

Komplet America photo
John Coulter and Kyle Conti survey the ¾ in. minus aggregate created from concrete demolition materials.

Thu June 13, 2024

John and Heather Coulter have worked in the construction trades for more than a combined 40 years. Together, they made the observation that processing and disposing of demolition materials in the south Florida (Fort Lauderdale/Miami) market was becoming increasingly challenging.

"There are a lot of factors that we had observed, and they added up to a significant problem, said John Coulter. "South Florida is growing at an unprecedented rate and the demand for demolition processing as new structures are being erected is growing at a tremendous rate."

The method that had been used in south Florida to dispose of demolition debris basically consisted of hauling all of the materials off site and finding someplace or someone who would accommodate the contractor in dumping the debris — typically, a swamp or some other geographic area that needed to be filled, or, if it is within a reasonable commute, taking it to a recycling facility.

The old way just really isn't working any longer, John said.

"The cost of trucking has increased dramatically and increasingly there is a real issue with having a place to take the materials," he said. "The swamps that were traditionally used have been filled, recycling facilities charge a tipping fee and with increased sensitivity to environmental issues in south Florida, finding anyplace that will receive is extremely challenging."

John and Heather were familiar with a solution to this issue, one that has been used in other parts of the country for decades.

Komplet America photo

"My wife and I had done some research and it seemed to us that the market was right to start an onsite crushing service that would process primarily concrete," he said. "A mobile crushing service is an ideal solution in a number of ways. The service provider brings a crusher — typically a mobile jaw crusher — to the construction site. The jaw crusher is used to create a reusable aggregate material, most commonly a ¾-inch minus. The contractor then reuses the material on the job site or, if he has no need for the material, it is sold to local contractors who have a need for the material on their own projects.

"The whole process is a win-win for everyone," he added. "The owner of the mobile crushing service is paid by the contractor and the contractor recoups his cost by using the material on site and not having to use an outside supplier. Or, if he has no need for the material, he generates revenue through the sale of the recycled material.

"The savings in trucking and labor cost are also significant. No more sending out expensive trucks with a driver to haul the material out, and in south Florida, you are always running the risk of the driver and the truck being held up for significant periods of time due to traffic."

It was that thought process that led to the creation of AAA Crushing in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

"My wife and I knew we had a couple of hurdles in front of us, the first of which was purchasing the right portable tracked crusher. Construction has been expanding at a very high rate in south Florida for decades and we are now experiencing the challenge of finding developable property for construction projects. Every inch of property on a site has to be strategically utilized and, in most cases, it involves taking down an existing structure to make room for the new one.

"The property is so valuable, using as much of the site as possible is critical. So, needless to say, many of the project sites that we would need to get into to process demolition have a very small footprint."

John and Heather started their search for a portable tracked jaw crusher with three factors in mind: a small crusher that is extremely mobile is necessary because of the small footprint; a small crusher that is capable of strong production in spite of its size; and perhaps the most important factor is affordability. As a new business, that first purchase is critical; it can't be a budget killer and the business need to find someone who will work with it to arrange the financing.

John started his search using a couple of different resources.

"I receive most of the industry trade publications and they were a great tool, but I needed some in-depth details about the machines before I contacted a manufacturer. I found that there was a tremendous amount of information available on the Web. Everything from testimonials to machine specs, pricing and YouTube gave us a tremendous to actually view the machines at work without traveling to a job site."

After extensive research, the Coulters contacted Komplet America, which focuses on making small, portable concrete crushers, screeners, shredders and conveyors. Its product is manufactured in Italy and imported by Komplet America to its facility in Hillsborough Township in northwestern New Jersey.

Each product category is available in multiple machine sizes to cater to the needs of the typical small-medium size contractor. In the jaw crusher category, there are four different models to choose from:

  • The K-JC 503 (the smallest model) comes equipped with a 25 hp engine, a 19 in. by 12 in. jaw, and a production capacity of up to 34 tons per hour (tph);
  • The K-JC 604 comes equipped with a 55 hp engine, a 23 in. by 16 in. jaw, and a production capacity of up to 55 tph;
  • The K-JC 704 comes equipped with a 74 hp engine, 27 in. by 16 in. jaw, and production capacity of up to 90 tph; and
  • The K-JC 805 comes equipped with 130 hp engine, a 31 in. by 21 in. jaw, and a production capacity of up to 160 tph.

After considering all of the variables, John and Heather selected the K-JC 704 as being the right size and production capacity to meet their needs.

According to John, it wasn't just size and capacity that determined the decision to go with Komplet.

"With a weight of only 26,455 pounds, the Komplet could easily be hauled with a trailer and any one of our trucks. The jaw can be adjusted hydraulically using a remote control. We would be able to, if need be, run the crushing spread with one operator.

"From within the cab of whatever machine we choose to load the crusher, the Komplet remote control can sit on your lap and you can remotely operate every aspect of the crusher. There is a sensor above the jaw inlet that controls the feed of materials from the hopper to the crusher. It senses when there is too much material within the hopper and adjusts the crushing speeds accordingly.

"Another great feature is the jaw is reversible, which is ideal to clear blockages when they occur. The crusher also comes standard with a magnet that sorts out rebar that may have been missed when preparing debris for crushing."

AAA Crushing photo

The next hurdle was financing.

"Even though the K-JC 704 was very reasonably priced, and in the world of construction equipment, not that big of an investment, we had concerns about financing. The finance department at Komplet America really went to work for us, convincing loan institutions that we had a smart business plan and working out interest rates and terms that we could handle. We could not have asked for any better service."

Since the purchase of the Komplet K-JC 704, the Coulters have continued to have a positive ownership experience.

"The staff and the overall support from Komplet have been excellent. They were very good at educating us exactly how to operate the machine, they gave us a great understanding of the many features and assisted us in becoming better operators. Once the machine was operating in the field, they sent a team to pay us a visit and they gave me some very good positive feedback and suggestions on how to improve the machine's efficiency.

"Needless to say, a jaw crusher is a high wear and abuse type of machine. Items are going to wear out. When you do run into an issue, the support team at Komplet America is excellent at helping us identify the source of the problem. Most important, when needed, parts accessibility has never been an issue. They always have in stock the items that we need and can talk us through addressing any issues.

"We now have a supporting dealer in Florida for parts and service, RPM Equipment Sales and Rentals in Lakeland, Florida."

AAA Crushing has experienced tremendous growth since adding the Komplet to its equipment fleet.

"Everything that we envisioned has happened. We were very confident that it would. The math just makes sense. When you can offer to turn a liability [demolition debris] into a profitable item [aggregate] the decision to use our services is easily made. South Florida contractors have embraced our services, and we are working six days a week to keep up with the demand. The Komplet crusher has been very reliable and has given us the production levels that we were expecting." CEG