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98 INDUSTRY TODAY
PROFILE • BANDIT INDUSTRIES
HE HOUSING MARKET DECLINE HADA RIPPLE
effect throughout the American economy. For instance,
it impacted companies attached to construction activi-
ties, such as Bandit Industries.
Headquartered in Remus, Mich., Bandit Industries is
a market-leading manufacturer of more than 35 unique chippers,
stumpers and waste-reduction units designed to clear land. But
if houses aren’t being built, land isn’t being cleared. The defi-
nite decline in construction business over the past two years
directly affected Bandit Industries, notes Jason Morey, the com-
pany’s marketing manager. But there was a silver lining in this
dark economic cloud: a growing bio-energy market. What does
this mean for Bandit? “We’ve dedicated our resources full-time
to address emerging opportunities,” Morey says.
How? “We provide machines that convert biomass into a form
usable for energy conversion,” answers Morey.
Take wood, for example – when properly burned, it’s a clean
fuel that emits almost no sulphur and little CO2, making it a car-
bon-neutral energy source. Also, its cost is about a third of nat-
ural gas, propane or oil. Further, it represents an alternative to
starch-based food crops, such as the corn typically used to make
ethanol. Conversion of woody biomass into ethanol doesn’t
compete with food sources, nor does it need to be sustained by
soil-nutrient depletion. The implication is clear: Existing wood
waste from municipalities, storm damage and housing demoli-
tion could be easily used to produce alcohol-based fuel at virtu-
ally no cost.
UNLEASHING A “BEAST”
That’s why Bandit set loose a “Beast” upon the marketplace. Its
fame Beast Recycler – introduced in 1997 to process bulk mate-
rials such as whole trees, telephone poles, wet leaves, asphalt,
shingles and whole refrigerators – is ideal for bio-energy appli-
cations. It grinds unwanted pallets or other bulk waste wood for
use in fuel production.
Traditionally, chipping has been the most economical way of
converting wood waste into fuel products. With recent advance-
ments, Bandit’s patented Beast cuttermill technology converts
the company’s horizontal grinder into a high-capacity whole tree
chipper. As long as the material is relatively clean, users are
assured that chipping with the Beast will produce a ton of wood
fuel at a much lower cost than a typical grinder. This new sys-
tem was developed to cater to the exponentially growing
European fuel markets.
Such growth is also fueled by the increasing use of cellulose
other than wood for biomass conversion. That means that both
WHEN SOME
MANUFACTURERS
WERE STUMPED BY
THE DECLINING ECONOMY,
MICHIGAN-BASED
BANDIT INDUSTRIES
DIVERSIFIED ITS ACTIVITIES
AND, IN TURN, ITS CUSTOMER
BASE. DAVID SOYKA
REPORTS ON HOW THIS
MARKET-LEADING
LAND-CLEARING
EQUIPMENT PRODUCER
STAYS CHIPPER.