With over one hundred years of experience in the design, engineering, and manufacturing of heavy-duty crushing, shredding, and grinding equipment, American Pulverizer Company is a leader in its field. The company provides crushing, shredding, and grinding machines for recycling organizations, scrap yards, steel mills, foundries, and quarries. Its products are capable of working with all types of material including concrete, chemicals, coal, aluminum, ash, glass, construction and demolition debris, ferrous and non-ferrous scraps, tires, wood, resins, medical waste, limestone, plastics, powders, and more.
In 1908, American Pulverizer Company incorporated in Illinois. “We got started in the mines in Illinois, using the rolling ring principle in crushing,” says President Chris Griesedieck. The rolling ring principle method uses linear motion to ensure quality, and the company adjusted this principle for crushing applications to increase efficiency in a range of assembly and finishing applications. “Over the years, the firm moved over to the other side of the river into St. Louis, and we established ourselves in machine shops and automotive plants for reducing stampings and machine shop turnings.”
By the 1950s, the company started making equipment to process heavier steel scrap for scrapyards, and these machines could even reduce very heavy items such as parts of automobiles, whole automobiles, and large appliances. In the 1960s, American Pulverizer Company’s expertise saw it expand into municipality work where it began to provide equipment for solid waste shredding.
In 1979, American Pulverizer Company acquired Iron Hustler Conveyor in Peoria, Illinois, which enabled it to offer full systems for recyclers and scrap processors and give customers one reliable point of supply and contact. In 1980, Iron Hustler was relocated to St. Louis, Missouri and renamed Hustler Conveyor Company. After operating in St. Louis for over 15 years, Hustler needed more land and larger facilities and relocated to O’Fallon, Missouri where the plant currently occupies a forty-acre site.
Although it primarily serves the manufacturing industry in St. Louis, American Pulverizer Company sells its products internationally, offering a comprehensive product line of pulverizing equipment and accessories. These include ring mills, crushers, grinders, low-speed/high-torque shredders, granulators, wood hogs, knife-choppers, hammermills, trommel screens, horizontal and vertical shaft impactors, frozen crackers, lump breakers, and portable systems. A portable system that has a diesel engine, removable conveyor, and hydraulic power pack on a transportable flatbed trailer has gained popularity recently.
A few years ago, American Pulverizer Company was proud to be recognized with the Missouri ‘Exporter of the Year’ award, but the quiet company rarely seeks out attention. The majority of its advertising is done through word of mouth and references from repeat customers. One initiative the company regularly takes is to invite customers to tour the plants in St. Louis to observe the scale and capacity of its reduction systems.
In 2007, the company purchased land in Springfield, Missouri for the purpose of establishing a recycling facility incorporating American Pulverizer and Hustler Conveyor products to demonstrate them to potential customers. The shredding system incorporates a 4,000 horsepower shredder with in-feed and takeaway conveyors provided by Hustler.
“We’re not just some small entity; we have about eleven acres here and forty acres out in O’Fallon, Missouri where the conveyor company is located,” says Griesedieck. When a customer chooses to visit the operation, they are able to see the level of investment put into its machine tools and technology firsthand. They can examine the equipment that is used to make the reduction and conveyor machines and take a look at how much inventory is kept in stock. “Once they see that we’re going to be around to support them, I think that they have a lot more confidence in our firm.”
The company has an in-house testing facility where it thoroughly examines the equipment to ensure it meets all standards. This facility is to currently undergoing a significant expansion which will grow to 25,000 square feet. The site will not only demonstrate the use of its reduction equipment, but it will also include conveying equipment and separation technologies including magnets, a dust system, and metal separators and sensors. The testing facility will clearly show customers what can be expected as far as the separation and non-ferrous recovery returns.
“We have had fragments of that test facility here but not the whole system. We would have to run the test and then take it to another location for separation, but soon we will have it all under one roof, and we will be able to show the customers – in one visit – not only our test facility but the entire plant including the engineering department with the latest CAD/CAM software, R&D department, our commitment to inventory, as well as our modern fabrication and machine shops,” explains Griesedieck.
Reducing material efficiently is very positive for the environment. A vehicle weighing thousands of pounds can be reduced to its components in less than a minute. These constituents, including glass, plastic, foam, rubber, steel, stainless steel and aluminum are separated and recycled.
“We see so much more aluminum in a car now, so it’s interesting to see how the composition of an automobile has changed over the years. And it’s interesting to observe a 2,000-pound vehicle being reduced very quickly and to see the recovery of everything there,” says Griesedieck. Many people do not consider the positive effects of a recycling facility, but in reality, shredding and crushing are essential services focused directly on sustainability.
Tires are another product that would cause problems if they were not shredded. When tires are buried whole, their buoyancy causes them to rise and float back up to the surface after a few years. Once tires are shredded, they can be recycled for a variety of purposes including playground surfaces, asphalt, garden mulch, and more. Glass processing is beneficial for the environment because it is a material that can be recycled indefinitely without a loss in quality.
The 115 hardworking employees travel from as far as Troy and Imperial, Missouri to work in this thriving business. This dedicated workforce demonstrates American Pulverizer Company’s positive workplace culture that appreciates the value of its staff members. Recruiting new talent to replace retiring employees can be challenging. Another concern is the tariffs on overseas commodities that are not available domestically.
One of the company values is to do the right thing every time, no matter who benefits. This philosophy applies to interactions with customers, suppliers, and the community. The company supports its community, and it has worked with police departments to provide services such as firearm shredding to help remove dangerous, confiscated weapons from the street.
The company has developed a complete line of recycling equipment for processing electronic scrap including cell phones, computers, hard drives and printers.
Safety is a big concern. Based on guidelines laid out by its insurance firm, the employees are properly trained on how to operate cranes and forklifts safely. The safety of customer’s machine operators is equally as important. They are protected by guards on the machines, and under OSHA approved guidelines, ‘Lock Out, Tag Out’ (LOTO) is always specified on the equipment. This safety feature prevents dangerous machinery from operating unexpectedly.
American Pulverizer Company is excited about the purchase and incorporation of additional machine tools in its plant. It recently bought a floor-mounted CNC bar, a Giddings and Lewis, its fifth Okuma machine, to go along with its three Mazak CNC machine tools (lathes and vertical boring mill) that are integral to maintaining stringent OEM requirements. The company continually invests in the tools and resources required to deliver the highest quality service and products, and it performs as much of the work in-house as possible to have superior control.
“We don’t like to depend on outside sources for any of our work. We like to do as much in-house because we have the [quality assurance] standards,” says Griesedieck. “As always, we are built to a standard and not to a price.” The only services that are subcontracted are occasional fabricating as well as casting and heat treating services. This machinery is field-proven because American Pulverizer Company does not cut any corners with quality assurance programs.