The evolution of mobile shears according to Bruce Bacon

Published 27/12, 2018 at 10:41

Bruce Bacon, the founder and managing director of US based attachment specialist ShearCore, is a demolition industry icon. Having started his career back in the early 80s, he not only witnessed the evolution of attachment manufacturing techniques but helped shape them. According to him, that was exactly what has happened- an evolution. PDi’s Andrei Bushmarin recorded Bruce’s version of how mobile shears were invented and put in demolition and recycling practice which is featured along with a look at some of the latest developments in mobile shears.

The very first approximation of what we know now as mobile shears was an adaptation on the 3 tine grapple invented by Roy Labounty. A customer of Roy’s once asked for an attachment that could cut and rip apart car and truck tyres, wondering if it would be possible to put blades in the jaws, and use the force of the grapple to cut up the tyres. Roy, being an open minded person, agreed to try that. He took a CAT 225 stick, put a bigger cylinder on it, affixed a lower jaw to the stick with a stiff arm, and made an upper jaw with blades to cut steel. The prototype did work, but with some obvious malfunctions (the stick broke and the upper jaw wandered and jammed). To overcome these challenges, a customised heavy duty stick of a shear, with a slightly larger main shaft, was devised along with the 'puck', aka the auto guide, to help keep the jaw in alignment. The next advancement involved the cylinder container 'inside' the body, then rotation. None of these advancements came easy, says Bruce, trial and error being fundamental foundations of any design evolution. 

When in 1997 Bruce Bacon left LaBounty to create Genesis Equipment, his team continued improving the shears’ design. Regeneration, higher power to weight ratios, faster cycle times, and bolt on replaceable piercing tips all became features that are now industry standards. When the time of ShearCore and the Fortress range came, both the new company and its tools were bound to be a success thanks to decades of accumulated experience. Working alongside Bruce Bacon are lead designer Ross Christenson and production manager Jim Campbell, who have years of industry know how that very few people possess. Ultimately, successful evolution in design occurs when knowledge and experience are combined with a willingness to push the boundaries.


This is exactly what the engineers at ShearCore have been doing over the years. 

The biggest problem  ShearCore is up against now (and it is a good problem to have) is the capacity, or rather the lack of thereof. Even though ShearCore has increased production capability by 200% over the past two years by adding another five axis machining centres, the backlog keeps piling up. The global scrap recycling market is in good shape and is thought to stay that way throughout 2019, so no shortage of orders are expected in the short term. What is really in short supply, though, is skilled labour, and that presents a serious challenge to all industry players. 


Fortress FS95R: toughest kid on the ShearCore block 

The latest and perhaps the most impressive brainchild of Ross Christenson and Jim Campbell is the Fortress FS95R model. Weighing in at 10t, the shear boasts a 1.1m jaw that can easily pierce a 25mm steel plate. It is the toughest kid in the ShearCore product family, of which a UK user said, “It punches above its weight”. The size of pivot assembly was increased by as much as 40%, leading to better cutting stability. Thanks to its advanced milling capabilities, the US based family owned manufacturer is now able to produce mobile shears with a 152mm high tensile steel plate such as the Fortress FS95R. 


Trevi Benne’s ‘Marilyn’ loves old cars  

The ‘Marilyn’ shear from Italian based manufacturer Trevi Benne is not only suitable for heavy duty industrial demolition, but for such delicate tasks as car dismantling. Given the strict rules for end of life vehicles, dismantling of a car is a complex multi stage process. First, there is the need to remove parts and units containing dangerous chemicals such as radiators, coolants, engine and transmission oil. This stage is followed by the disassembling of the engine, axles and transmission, and only after that a special tool like the Marilyn CS 40RS shear can be used on the remaining metal parts. Weighing in at 4t, this model features a jaw specifically designed for smooth and uniform cutting of steel elements.


TSRC multishear: an all-round solution from Okada  

In 2017, Japan based attachment specialist Okada launched the TSRC series of multi-purpose shears.  The new tools, which are equally capable of demolishing reinforced concrete and straight steel structures, are reported to have become very popular with users since their launch. Originally designed for primary demolition tasks, the TSRC shears also feature purpose made blades allowing for easy shearing of thick steel plates. One case study involved a TSRC shear being used to demolish a transmission tower in the United States, where following the primary demolition of the tower, the shear swiftly cut the steel pipes into small transportable pieces. The Japanese supplier believes that the all-round qualities of the TSRC series makes them a good proposition for both demolition contractors and scrap recyclers. 


Rotar to launch its biggest model so far 

Having first entered the scrap shear segment over ten years ago, Netherlands based Rotar keeps expanding its range with new models. In 2019, the current five model line ranging in weight from 2.5t to 8.5t will be complemented with addition of the RSS 150 – Rotar’s biggest shear so far. Weighing in at 12.5t, the RSS 150 bears all trademark features of a Rotar shear: a fully encased replaceable piercing tip, a robust rotating headpiece and outsized double rowed slewing ring allowing for the shear to be positioned in any desired way. A specially designed hydraulic cylinder speeds up the jaw’s work cycle and permits the tool to switch quickly from speed to power mode. A double hose connection and large diameter of hoses, bores and pipes contribute to optimisation of the oil flow. All parts of the attachment are made from wear resistant high grade materials.


Recycler from ‘Down Under’ chooses Hydraram 

In October 2018, Hydraram’s Finnish partner Minimum Oy delivered two units of the HSS-70RV scrap shears to C.D. Dodd Scrap Metal Recyclers which is located in Perth, Australia. One of the continent’s leading scrap metal recycling companies, owned and managed by Chris Dodd, it has been using Hydraram attachments for over three years now. Courtesy of Liebherr Australia, the shears were presented to the customer already fitted on to the main booms of two Liebherr 936 excavators. With an operating weight of 36t, the Liebherr crawlers have no problem handling the 7t shears. The excavators’ hydraulic system, which provides an oil flow of 490l/m and a working pressure of 380bar, matches perfectly the shears’ operational parameters. With a jaw opening of 845mm and a maximum cutting force of 815t, the HSS-70RV is designed for most challenging recycling tasks.


Green Attachments introduces tilt rotator mounted model  

Specialist contractor Honkalan Paja is using a Yellow S06 scrap shear from Green Attachments on one of its projects in Finland. What makes this particular model special is the fact that it is adapted for a tilt rotator. Capable of not only rotating but also tilting, the shear provides users with another operational dimension. Weighing in at 640kg, the Yellow SH 06 is a compact sized model fitting 7t-12t excavators. It is the first shear of this kind in the Finnish supplier’s catalogue, which at the moment offers a grand total of 11 models designed for 7t to 130t carriers.


Prodem launches next generation of dedicated scrap shear

Suitable for 3.5t to 310t carriers, the new generation of dedicated scrap shear from UK based supplier Prodem now offers 20% more cutting force thanks to its powerful cylinders. The shear’s other highlights include a speed valve, a bolt on piercing tip and reversible blades. An innovative design reduces stress and wear to the upper jaw, with the blades being able to be turned up to four times before replacement. The shear’s cylinder is accessed via bolt on access panels, making it easy to service and maintain. On top of that, a weld on upper jaw protection system reduces maintenance and build up on the upper jaw, thus minimising tool downtime. 


Wimmer shears bite hard 

Designed to withstand the harshest working environments, the Top Cut 700 shear from Austrian company Wimmer comes in four sizes to fit 16t to 75t excavators. The attachment is supplied with five types of exchangeable jaws, which allows it to tackle a wide range of demolition and recycling tasks. Another flagship model in the Wimmer range is the universal ‘Quick-Cut’ shear. Thanks to its simple no frills design featuring only one cylinder, maintenance is fast and simple with wear parts being easily  exchanged. Unveiled earlier this year at the MAWEV trade show in Austria, the ‘Quick-Cut’ has already proved itself on various demolition sites.


Indeco features the ISS range  

The scrap shear portfolio of Italy based Indeco currently counts six models that fit 8t to 90t machines. Made from Hardox steel, the ISS shears feature reversible blades, a regeneration valve and an integrated dual guiding system. The interchangeable ‘quick-change’ wear bushings ensure that the blades are optimally aligned at all times. A heavy duty pivot group provides sustainable cutting efficiency, keeps jaws aligned and prevents buckling. The hydraulic cylinder, with seals being designed to withstand the pressure of up to 700bar, generates enough force to deal with any shearing task. All models in the range boast a 360° hydraulic rotation option. The mounting bracket for the second member configuration is used to mount the shear straight onto the excavator boom. In this configuration, ideal for recycling of ferrous material, a larger attachment can be mounted on a relatively small carrier. The universal baseplate for the second member mounting brackets is compatible with all carriers. The third member mounting bracket is used to mount the ISS on the carrier stick for heavy duty demolition applications. 

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