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A Closer Look E-mail the author

Badger Shredding Products
Bob Lamer • 920-863-1626

The basic product line at Badger Shredding Products has been manufactured since 2000, according to Bob Lamer, the vice president and general manager. Lamer and his father purchased that company in 2005 after being in the boat lift business for many years.

Lamer said that although the industries seem completely unrelated, the machines have similar components, like engines and hydraulics. “From that standpoint,” he said, “we have that knowledge and the manufacturing knowledge. We thought it would be a good venture to embark on.”

Although there were similarities between the two businesses, Lamer also said that there was a lot to learn since it was a completely new industry. “That’s been exhilarating.”

When the Lamers bought Badger, the machines being manufactured were designed to process concrete and rebar. But Lamer said, “We felt that the machine was very versatile – it had so many applications.” Those additional applications included shredding tires, wood, and C&D materials. Now, they’re beginning to do more business with companies working in the waste-to-energy field.

In the beginning, Lamer said that continued to concentrate on the concrete with rebar shredding equipment, but as they got more inquiries for shredders for other applications, they started looking into additional industries that could use the machinery.

“The tire industry has been difficult to break into,” Lamer said. “It’s very competitive.” But he said that having American-made equipment is an important selling point, and that compared to similar equipment made in China, “it will last a lot longer than other machines.”

As an example, he said that a local company bought a machine from China, “and now they’re having us come over and fix it.” The ability to repair machines – and the willingness to do so – is another thing that Lamer said is different about his business. “Others sell it and they walk away,” he said. “There’s no support after the sale.”

In comparison, Badger has a support network through serving dealers across the country, and they can – and do – ship machines anywhere in the world. To build a custom machine for a customer, it might take anywhere from four to eight months, depending on the size of the machine. But it doesn’t stop with the sale. “We stand behind the product 100 percent,” Lamer said.

There are six employees at Badger. Lamer said, “Since we’re small, all of us wear several hats. It’s never boring.”

The company doesn’t sell the same machine to everyone, but modifies the machines based on what the customer needs for the material they’re processing and the required output needed from the machine. To accommodate that, machines might have different a horsepower or different torque, or there might be different blade or tooth configurations.

The scrap industry is a developing market for slow-speed machines like the ones Badger builds. The slow-speed machines are smaller, more mobile, and less costly to buy and operate than the typical high-speed shredders that are more common in the scrap industry. He also said that while waste-to-energy has already taken off in Europe, it’s just starting to take off here.

Making those custom machines for new industries can be a challenge, but Lamer said the reward is “seeing a machine do what we designed it to do.”

“We’re always talking to prospects about machinery for new markets, bigger machines,” Lamer said, “That’s almost a weekly thing.” He expects that the company will continue to expand into new markets.

Lamer said that besides growing his business, he enjoys seeing his customers grow their businesses through the use of his machines. That includes building more mobile machines for customers, either on tracks or mounted on a trailer. He explained that the mobile equipment reduces customers’ costs, since they can move the machine to the material, which reduces the material handling costs and makes processing more efficient.

Machines can also be built to run on diesel or electric power for inside applications. Lamer said that indoor machines are popular in the waste-to-energy market since the material needs to be kept dry.

Besides building machines, Badger also builds conveyors, which are also customized to the customers’ specifications, and it’s that complete customization that Lamer finds most satisfying, and “bringing new products from concept to market.”