Friday, September 4, 2020

Recent Order of Australia recipient Peter Wadewitz discusses the benefits of his relationship with Komptech and CEA and the upside of international knowledge and experience.

Earlier this year, Peats Soil & Garden Supplies entered into a 12-month trial with the University of Queensland. By adding targeted microbes to create a new formulation of green organics compost, the trial seeks to examine how ‘smart compost’ can improve long-term soil quality.

Peter Wadewitz, Peats Group Managing Director, believes the new formula will lead to a longer shelf life and increase the nutrient density of the compost.

If the approach is adopted across industry, he estimates the amount of food and organic waste turned into compost could grow by 200,000 tonnes each year.

The trial is one in a long line of innovations from Wadewitz, who in June this year, was named in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list – receiving a Medal of the Order of Australia for service to the organic recycling industry.

Wadewitz, who in addition to his role at Peats Soil was the Australian Organics Recycling Association’s founding director in 2012, has been leading the way in organics recycling for decades.

He explains that composting is the circular economy in action.

“There is nothing more rewarding than being part of an industry that sees plants and organic materials as a resource rather than waste,” Wadewitz says.

“We’re transforming this resource into composted products that feed the soil, which in turn grows more plants and nutrient rich food. And so, the cycle continues.”

Through its four sites – Willunga, Brinkley, Dublin and Whyalla, Peats Soil has developed an array of broad-acre products, collaborating closely with scientists and the broader organics recycling industry to ensure products are certified to Australian standards.

To help maintain a steady supply of nutrient rich materials, Peats Soil and CEA – formerly ELB Equipment – have forged a decade long partnership.

“We’ve been working with CEA for years and always rely on them to supply high-quality equipment, backup and support,” Wadewitz says.

Peats Soil, which receives and processes much of metropolitan Adelaide’s green organics, currently operate three Komptech Crambo Shredders, a Topturn X55 windrow compost turner, a Cribus 5000 mobile drum screen and two Multistar star screens, all purchased through CEA.

In regard to his ongoing relationship with CEA and Komptech, Wadewitz highlights the role of international expertise.

“Komptech is widely used in the organics industry world-wide,” he says.

“When you’re operating that equipment, not only are you getting a quality machine, but also access to what is happening across the world and how different processes are working in different markets, which is very important.”

Wadewitz adds that while Komptech equipment and componentry is manufactured in Austria, CEA holds a large quantity of spare parts in Australia.

“One of the biggest things when buying any piece of machinery is the back-up,” he says.

“It’s not just about the specific shredder, screen or turner itself – it’s very important to have consistent and streamlined access to spare parts.”

Peats Soil’s Komptech Cribus Mobile Drum Screen is used to process many of the company’s products, ranging from industrial scale agricultural solutions to consumer facing compost, mulch and potting mixes.

“We make a lot of product that goes through the Cribus, and it does an excellent job,” Wadewitz says.

“The production rate is very good, and the brains within the equipment are very clever in the way it can adjust the flow depending on throughput and output requirements.”

All Cribus’ components, from the hopper to the discharge belt, are electrically driven.

This works to minimise the energy, wear and servicing costs of the machine, backed up by a newly developed direct drum drive.

With large access flaps and doors and simple screen drum and conveyor belt replacement, the Cribus offers significant servicing and operational safety.

“We’ve had the Cribus for around 12 months, but as with any new piece of equipment, it takes a while to fully integrate it into the process flow,” Wadewitz says.

“It’s been working full time for the last six months and is operating exceptionally well.”

Peats Soil’s Komptech Multistar screens, L2 and L3, play a similarly important role in the company’s process.

Highlighting the fundamental role of screening in the treatment process of waste, recyclables and biomass, Simon Humphris, CEA, says star screen technology is playing an increasing role in the organics sector.

“The waste and resource recovery business are growth industries and Komptech’s star screen technology occupies a unique position in that sector,” he says.

Humphris adds that one machine and one pass are sufficient to divide the material into two or three fractions.

“Through a patented cleaning system, throughput and selectivity are high, even with high moisture material,” he explains.

To change the particle size, Humphris says operators simply press a button.

“The machine does the rest. The electrical drive gives quiet, efficient and economical operation, with magnetic separation, wind sifting and separation of the rolling fraction making star screens multi-functional workhorses,” he says.

Wadewitz’s two Multiscreens currently work independently of each other.

However, he says the company is looking at looping the two screens together for further trials.

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