Bellingham, Wash.-based Krause Manufacturing builds bulletproof systems that stand up to the toughest applications
One look at a mixed stream of construction and demolition (C&D) debris says a lot about the kind of equipment needed to process it. C&D sorting equipment takes a constant pummeling from some of the toughest, most abrasive material around, from heavy chunks of concrete to jagged scrap metal to coarse dirt and fines. Krause Manufacturing of Bellingham, Wash., has built its reputation on manufacturing the kind of products that can stand up to the challenge.
Krause Manufacturing Inc. is part of a group of privately held companies that include CP Manufacturing, MSS, IPS Baler Corp., Material Sales, IMS Recycling and IMS Electronics Recycling divisions.
The company was established in 1963 as a manufacturer of custom agricultural equipment where it first built its reputation for manufacturing products that are built to last and will stand the test of time. “We came out of the farming industry, and (company founder) Herb Krause’s philosophy was if you could build a machine that a farmer couldn’t tear apart, you did well,” says Krause Design Manager Jay Edmonds. The company expanded its portfolio to serve the recycling industry in 1985 and entered the C&D market in the mid- 1990s. The company’s history in farming equipment made the transition easy, says Krause’s Wade Koning. “The industry demands tough standards of its equipment, and Krause was there to serve the need,” he says. Now, some 25 years later, much of the equipment produced is still up and running today, Koning says.
That kind of durability means a lot in such a demanding application, says Rutger Zweers, lead sales engineer for Krause. “I can take potential customers to any facility, and all the systems are going to be good—whether they are one year old or 10 years old,” he says. Often seeing the equipment in action is all the proof potential customers need, according to Zweers. “When people are willing to come out and see the equipment, they get a first-hand look themselves at proof that the systems out there have been operating for multiple years under harsh conditions and are still doing well,” he says.
Krause’s reputation for providing strong, lasting sorting solutions for the C&D recycling industry got the CP Group’s attention. Krause merged with CP in 2004 as a way for the CP Group to offer a more complete solution to its customers and better serve the needs of the growing C&D market. By joining the team, Krause can augment its own decades of experience in equipment design and engineering by drawing on the experience and prowess of CP, which has been regarded as a leader in separation technology in the recycling industry since its incorporation in 1977. “We are multiple companies, all involved in recycling,” says Zweers. “We are a turnkey supplier than can help out customers on any front in the recycling industry. It’s a great combined team.”
Krause holds two separate and distinct target markets. The first includes entry-level participants to C&D recycling. These are typically C&D haulers who supply roll-off containers at construction or demolition job sites and recycle the valuable commodities gleaned from collection. Krause’s entry-level customers also include owners of smaller transfer stations. These customers typically start recovering what material they can by hand. “Typically, they pay their laborers to sort through piles of C&D material and hand-pick the valuable commodities,” says Koning. “They typically know there is a better way to automate their processes, yet need to be educated on detailed aspects of equipment layout and process flow.”
Doug Button, president of South San Francisco Scavengers, turned to Krause to help automate the company’s processing. South San Francisco Scavengers, which serves as a collection company and transfer station for three cities in the Bay Area, used Krause equipment in its first transfer station in the late 1980s and added Krause’s Super Portable C&D System in 2006 to handle the incoming mixed C&D debris. Impressed with the results, Button added more Krause equipment to its other lines.
The company also upgraded its commercial belt with Krause, creating a more automated system that allowed it to capture more material more efficiently by sorting out contaminants and garbage instead of attempting a positive sort of desired commodities. “All we did was pull off what we could, which was pretty good,” says Button. But “pretty good” wasn’t good enough. “It really has helped us become more efficient,” he says of the Krause equipment. “Now we’re able to increase recovery and throughput.”
Krause also counts established conglomerates among its customers. These companies have multi-regional or national reaches and many facilities that can benefit from Krause equipment. Many are often expanding and begin taking in C&D material in addition to materials they already recycle. Larger companies’ needs may differ from those of start-up organizations, but Krause has the engineering know-how and deep market knowledge to offer high-level consultation to customers in each target market.
Krause is known throughout the recycling industry as the manufacturer of bulletproof equipment. “We build heavy duty,” says Edmonds. “If we’re going to err, we’d rather err on the side of being over-built rather than under build and suffer failure.” Button says his facility processes a wide variety of material from C&D to MSW and all of it puts his equipment to the test.
“Krause builds equipment that’s bulletproof— it lasts,” he says. “You’re running some really nasty stuff—abrasive C&D or juicy, wet MSW going across with food waste. It all starts becoming corrosive.” But Button says his Krause equipment—from his portable C&D recycling system to the commercial sort line—has always met the demands of challenging material. “Krause builds tanks,” he says. The heavy-duty build of Krause equipment also stood out to Geno Evans, owner of Florida-based GEL Corp. “I can’t emphasize enough how well it’s built,” he says of the two-story C&D sorting system at GEL Corp.’s Orange City, Fla., plant. “Construction debris is just a tough industry, and tough equipment is the best thing for it.”
In addition to providing some of the strongest and sturdiest equipment on the market, Krause also strives to incorporate the newest and most innovative technology to improve both internal and external processes. The company continues to design more efficient equipment and to improve customized design layout with 3-D computer- aided design software. Krause also takes pride in using the most advanced communications tools available to maintain strong customer relationships and to manage projects with speed and efficiency, regardless of location. Constant communication is key since Krause custom designs its solutions to meet individual customers’ needs. “Every market is different, and every requirement is different,” says Zweers.
The team at Krause spends a great deal of time up front getting to know each customer—including the scope of his business, local markets and future plans— to make sure Krause is providing the ideal solution. This collaborative approach to systems design made a lasting impression on Evans at GEL Corp. “One thing about Krause and CP is that they would listen to me,” he says. “The engineers listen to you and understand that you know the material you want to run and they know the equipment. So they try to match the right equipment to the right person.”
It’s that kind of attention to individualized service that sets the company apart in the field of its competitors, Zweers says. “Krause has grown in the industry because of its service,” he says. “If the customer needs a solution, Krause from day one has been out there working with the customer, helping with the design and building what that particular customer wants.”