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Need input on building a pneumatic mulch blower

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earthwrks
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3853 Home Office in Flat Rock, Michigan
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2008-02-07          151161


I will be installing municipal or private playground safety mulch in the spring--each site could have as much as 250 yards of mulch.

The mulch is either made of cedar wood that is fairly small and light, or recycled/virgin rubber either in small chip form, or, about the size of pea gravel. In most cases the playgrounds will be inaccessible to a machine such as a loader or even a wheel barrow. I need a way to get the mulch either from the back of my dump truck or trailer, or to be able suck it from an on-site pile (like in a parking lot) and to the site. I've seen truck-mounted pneumatic mulch blowers from afar at Home Depot but have no clue on how they work or if I could scale-down the model. The distance to run may be 100-300 ft on level ground.

I have an 8-HP direct-drive walk-behind blower (for blowing off parking lots). I think I could make a venturi out of PVC fittings perhaps--but don't know what the design/engineering should be for optimal use. I considered using regular 4" black corrugated polyethylene ("drain" pipe)--but I'm concerned that the ribs inside may cause problems. I also have a 12v post digger with a 9" auger that I could mount sideways and use as an auger to supply the mulch from the tailgate of the dunp truck (like a salt or sand spreader) to the blower through or at the venturi.

Any body seen or done this or have some good ieas?

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Need input on building a pneumatic mulch blower

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7141 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2008-02-07          151164


EW, we looked at doing sort of the same thing, but as a franchise that wholesales mulches of various kinds, delivered and installed, mostly to other landscapers.

They had very carefully looked at the various means for delivering and installing the product and had settled on a large bulk truck with a PTO-powered blower system.

It was not cheap.

I know from experience, 250 yards of mulch is a lot to move. The trucks we were looking at held 60 yards and took quite a while to unload even with monstrous blowers, the discharge hose is only 4" in diameter, bigger than that you can't push it far enough. I'm not even sure how well it would push it 300' in the first place. The blower was getting about 200hp off the transmission too.

I would think for what you want, vacuuming it from a pile, and blowing it, you are going to need a lot more than 8hp, several hundred at the minimum.

Personally, I would be talking to someone who has a sawdust delivery truck.

Best of luck. ....

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____________________________________________________________________________________
Need input on building a pneumatic mulch blower

View my Photos
earthwrks
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3853 Home Office in Flat Rock, Michigan
TractorPoint Premium Member -- 5 Tractors = Very Frequent Poster  View my Photos  Pics

2008-02-07          151166


Sawdust truck? Never seen one of those. We have what are chuters or shooters but only go about 40 feet and are $100 an hour.

Hmmm. Okay how about a conveyor with a hopper? What type or kind of farm equipment would have a light duty conveyor? Or maybe some other sort of cheap and readily available equipment?

The other isue will be that the existing mulch which may be unapproved for use or moldy will have to be removed also.
....

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Need input on building a pneumatic mulch blower

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
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2008-02-07          151167


EW; There is a firm here that specializes in cleaning up train wrecks, grain truck overturns etc, that can move grain a long ways, I'm guessing maybe 500ft.
These are big truck mounted units with probably a 2-300hp. emgine. Somewhere in your aeria there is such a service offered. I would think they could handle chips or rubber pellets just as easily as shelled corn. Maybe, maybe not? Franki. ....

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Need input on building a pneumatic mulch blower

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jbjpam
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 39 Mid Michigan
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2008-02-07          151168


I'm not exactly sure how they work but maybe one of those
concrete conveyor chutes that can reach the backyard of
a house from the street? I think they have a hopper to fill
but not sure how it goes from there.
....

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Need input on building a pneumatic mulch blower

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7141 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2008-02-08          151180


EW, any places that has horses (and a lot of cattle operations like dairy farms), race track, pleasure riding, competition, etc., will have a need for a great amount of sawdust as bedding material.

It is delivered by truck, usually a large straight truck, equipped with a high velocity PTO-powered sucker/blower unit.

It can load light stuff like sawdust at the rate of several yards a minute depending on the distance and height involved. The sawdust bins are usually elevated so it can be gravity loaded into wheelbarrows or carts below.

In theory you could build a trailer mounted stand-alone unit but it wouldn't be a cheap experiment. Mulch is heavy dense stuff to move around by air.

In your first post you said most sites would be inaccessible by even a wheelbarrow, so what good would a conveyor be? It would be so heavy you would need a loader to move into place. If you could get a loader in there in the first place why would you need a conveyor?

I believe the units Frank is talking about are basically big septic pumpers, like the ones so popular now for excavating by vacuum, Badger is a big franchise for that stuff now.

Best of luck. ....

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Need input on building a pneumatic mulch blower

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SMARTSLLC
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 3 Nashville
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2011-08-22          179962


We have a dump truck with a bulk salt spreader insert in the back. I would like to use the conveying system and the existing hydrolic system to add a blower capable of blowing mulch up to 200'. Any ideas? ....

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____________________________________________________________________________________
Need input on building a pneumatic mulch blower

View my Photos
Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7141 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2011-08-22          179963


Do you mean fire it 200' out of a hose, or blow it through a 200' long hose?

There's a big difference between the two.

As mentioned above, either way it's going to take a lot of horsepower, likely more than the entire output of the dump truck's engine.


Best of luck. ....

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Need input on building a pneumatic mulch blower

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SMARTSLLC
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 3 Nashville
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2011-08-22          179964


Blow it through 200' of hose. ....

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Need input on building a pneumatic mulch blower

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auerbach
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2168 West of Toronto
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2011-08-22          179971


Look at renting a V-shaped belt-conveyer system. Once set up all you need is a loading team at one end (deliver the mulch to the ground by dump truck and a small loader or two can fill the belt) and a couple of offload guys at the other. Reverse the motors for removal.

(No direct experience; just a guess.) ....

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____________________________________________________________________________________
Need input on building a pneumatic mulch blower

View my Photos
Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7141 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2011-08-23          179985


Quote:
Originally Posted by SMARTSLLC | view 179964
Blow it through 200' of hose.


If you do the math, a 4" hose (about the smallest you could push material that size through) 200' long has a volume of (4" x 4" X 3.1415926) 50.26" x 2,400"(200' x 12") or 120,624 cubic inches. A cubic yard (36"x36"x36") is 46,656 cubic inches, so the hose could hold (120,624 / 46,656) 2.58 cubic yards. When using an air propulsion system you only want about a 35% material 65% air blend to prevent blockages.

So, 35% of 2.58 cubic yards means the hose would be carrying just under a cubic yard (0.903) of mulch at any one time. Typical mulch weighs about 750 pound / cubic yard. So the system would have to be able to keep about (0.903 x 750) 677.25 pounds of mulch in motion.

That would require some serious horsepower, and a serious blower hooked to it.

All in all, you could probably hire a large team of people with wheelbarrows and pay them well for quite some time before you got anywhere near the cost of such a blower system.

The truck we were looking at buying in the above posts was a 10 year old unit, but still in very good shape, they were asking (and got) $160,000 for it.

You can buy used trailer mounted units for under $20k. but they're very slow.


Best of luck. ....

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Need input on building a pneumatic mulch blower

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grassgod
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 566 ct
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2011-08-23          179998


Whoa...750 lbs is the weight of 1 yard of mulch!?! That sounds a little high to me. ....

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Need input on building a pneumatic mulch blower

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 5219 South Carolina
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2011-08-23          180002


Quote:
Originally Posted by grassgod | view 179998
Whoa...750 lbs is the weight of 1 yard of mulch!?!That sounds a little high to me.


As there is wide variance here in mulch think any such number can be wide open but here is one source that agrees with Murf the Man and Mulch More. :)


But this will depend on the mulch itself. After a heavy rain mulch can weigh in at about 1000 lbs per yard however in better conditions, the range of 600-800 lbs is a fairly accepted value in the landscape industry.

Read more: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_much_does_one_cubic_yard_of_mulch_weigh#ixzz1Vsv5snLl
....

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Need input on building a pneumatic mulch blower

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grassgod
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 566 ct
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2011-08-23          180003


That makes sence :) thanks! ....

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Need input on building a pneumatic mulch blower

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auerbach
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2168 West of Toronto
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2011-08-24          180014


The site, he said, is inaccessible to wheelbarrows. Besides, manually filling that many loads would be inefficient. Hence, the conveyer suggestion. ....

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Need input on building a pneumatic mulch blower

View my Photos
Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7141 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
TractorPoint Premium Member -- 5 Tractors = Very Frequent Poster  View my Photos  Pics

2011-08-24          180015


Quote:
Originally Posted by grassgod | view 179998
Whoa...750 lbs is the weight of 1 yard of mulch!?!That sounds a little high to me.


It also depends on the material the mulch is made from. Cedar versus pine, etc., Cedar is often down around 550 pounds a yard.

Some of the newer stuff, made from recycled car tires is a bunch heavier than the natural sourced stuff.

Good to see you're still around Steve.


Best of luck. ....

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