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processing. Because of the long infeed bed, bales can continu-
ously be set into the machine, which ensures steady production.
The end product provides the ideal size for boiler fuel.
Foreign interest in Bandit chippers for biomass conversion is
strong. Indeed, it proved a major contributing factor in the com-
pany’s 200-percent growth in international sales volume during
2009. The achievement compelled theWest MichiganWorld Trade
Association to name Bandit the 2010 World Trader of the Year.
But Europe has always been way ahead of the United States
when it comes to adapting biomass as an alternative energy
source, reveals Morey. “But we are starting to catch up,” he adds.
“We expect the U.S. market for bio-energy applications to grow.
As biomass assumes greater significance in meeting worldwide
energy needs, Beast Recyclers will play an increasingly large
role in processing grassy materials into a burnable fuel.”
Founded in 1983 by Mike Morey Sr. and Dave Forquer, the com-
pany started out in a 6,000-square-foot converted repair shop
staffed by six employees. (A picture of a raccoon – an animal
always considered nature’s bandit, thanks to the natural black
mask that extends across its eyes – inspired the company name.
Morey liked the imagery.) Now, almost 30 years later, with the
increase of business from the bio-energy industry, the company
has substantially increased its physical dimensions. Bandit
recently added an 80,000-square-foot facility to complement 11
buildings on the Remus site, which now totals 240,000 square
feet. The company employs 275 people directly, and sells prod-
uct through a global network of 180 dealers.
While the chipper industry in general produces commodity
products, Bandit customizes machines. “We are known in the
industry for making machines per customer request and specifi-
cations, to meet their demands and needs,” Morey notes. “A
majority of the machines we build are customized. We do not
make cookie-cutter machines.”
And even though many machines are custom built, most
orders are delivered within 60 days.
Much of the manufacturing process is automated, but two-per-
son teams conduct the final assembly. “Our approach ensures
that customer specifications are satisfied at the highest possible
quality levels,” Morey says.
Case in point is a new line of forestry mowers and stump
grinders developed in response to customer requests. “These
feature fully-enclosed air-conditioned and heated cabs with joy-
stick controlled operation,” Morey explains. “What really sets
these machines apart are the extremely powerful high-capacity
hydrostatic hydraulic systems featuring large pumps and
hydraulic motors to power the forestry mower or stump grinder
attachments. These combinations allow for greater torque and
power for clearing and grinding larger diameter material.”
He adds: “The forestry mower attachment can mow over trees
up eight inches in diameter. If both attachments are used, each
can be changed over in around 10 minutes.”
The machines are ideal for clearing right of ways for the util-
ity industry, as well as general forest maintenance. There are two
models. The 3500 carrier is offered with a Caterpillar C6.6, 250
horsepower engine, while the model 4000 is offered with engine
horsepower options ranging from 325 to 600. Each features car-
bide splitter type teeth that are ideal for grinding both brush and
trees and are extremely tolerant against rock and dirt.
Another new product line is the Model 990XP, a 12-inch
capacity drum-style chipper with a 24-inch diameter drum and
dual horizontal feed system. “It’s ideal for tree services that need
a high-quality chipper for situations where maneuverability and
ease-of-use – without sacrificing power and output – is a pri-
mary consideration,” Morey says.
By listening to customers and coming up with such innova-
tions, Bandit has been able to “steal” success over the course of
its history. While its whimsical corporate symbol is a raccoon,
which in folk tales is often portrayed as a trickster, the company
outsmarts its competition not with gimmicks, but solid products
that meet unique customer needs.
Pictured: Export sales and the expansion of the bioenergy market is fueling
Bandit’s growth.