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Madison Burt | CEO | WEIMA

WEIMA: Fostering Sustainability, Bolstering Lives!

In a world of ever-evolving social behavior, humans have made it to the leaderboard for being the most intelligent species on the planet.

Did this iteration instill pride and sprout a zeal of enthusiasm? Or did it drive you on the memory lane of astounding development that society made after acclimatizing itself to the social setting of the socio-ecological ecosystem?

If the above questions driven by its previous iteration have boggled you to rediscover the intelligent discoveries humans made and incarcerated your mind to think of astonishing capabilities of human innovation, then it is important that you flip the coin and check through the ramification of socio-economic development.

And, you would land on a heap of global environmental crises!

Starting from the degradability of plastic to the black hole in the ozone layer, the contemporary world is encapsulated by breathtaking discrepancies.

So, how do you envision the future of such a contemporary crisis, knowing the problem-solving attitude that humans are gifted with?

Did you also think of Sustainable Businesses? If you did, then we are on the same page!

And knowing this one-tuned mindset, We at Insights Success take immense pride in introducing you to an innovative company that is transforming the recycling industry while trailblazing sustainable business practices, exemplifying technology leadership.

Known to be one of the finest plastic recycling companies, WEIMA Maschinenbau GmbH has set its high standards for manufacturing and customer service for shredders, granulators, grinders, drainage, and briquette presses. With its ever-evolving sustainability solutions, the company is driving a transformational change that truly matters.

Spearheading this transformation in North America is the company CEOMr. Madison Burt. He is a standout leader who facilitates recycling solutions, providing a hassle-free experience to WEIMA’s customers.

Let’s slide into his exclusive interview to learn more about the company’s sustainable solutions that are contributing to this pious objective.

Below are the interview highlights.

Please brief our audience about WEIMA, its USPs, and how it is currently positioned as one of the most reliable companies in the shredding machine manufacturing industry.

WEIMA America, Inc. is the North American subsidiary of WEIMA Maschinenbau GmbH out of Ilsfeld, Germany. We are a size reduction machinery manufacturer specializing in equipping our customers with tools to help their operations be sustainable and profitable. WEIMA specializes in manufacturing single-shaft shredders and four-shaft shredders for various industries, as well as briquette presses and drainage presses. The industries we serve include but are not limited to wood, paper, plastic, metal, food/beverage, corrugate, packaging, textiles, and more. WEIMA machines are manufactured and customized by our sales engineers for each customer to ensure that we are delivering the ideal size reduction solution. One size does NOT fit all at WEIMA.

Please tell us more about your company’s core values, vision, and mission.

WEIMA takes an innovative approach to manufacturing and believes in a “world without waste.” The R&D department recognizes that as the world changes, waste streams change, and WEIMA machines are at the beginning of waste disposal and recycling processes. This allows them to continue developing the technology with a focus on the future. With service technicians worldwide and in-house parts departments, WEIMA knows that customer service does not end with the sale of a machine. Instead, a sale begins the relationship with the customer, and many clients become repeat customers because of this added benefit. WEIMA has also been a family business from the very start. The company has grown significantly in 40 years, but it has always kept that family feel.

Please brief us about your journey in the industry and how you have made the company excel in its competitive market.

I am a graduate of the Engineering program at Mississippi State University. I went on to pursue a sales position for a hammermill company, which led to my interest in size reduction technology. My experience there brought me to the WEIMA sales department in 2002. I have grown into the role of Vice President of Sales & Marketing at WEIMA, where I took on the challenge of leading a sales team that would massively expand the North American customer base. In 2022, I was named Chief Executive Officer of WEIMA America, Inc.

Please tell us about the various specialized machinery manufactured and sold by WEIMA to deliver the ideal scrap size reduction solution to its clients.

Industrial shredders:

WEIMA manufactures shredders of all sizes and specifications. Most of its customers are manufacturers with production scrap that needs to be reintegrated or size reduced prior to disposal or reuse. The size and scope of the shredder are determined by the product that is being shredded, as well as the customer’s goal with the material after it’s been processed. For example, a solid wood furniture manufacturer may shred its wooden skeletons or end cuts using a smaller shredder (WLK 4-8) to recycle the solid wood or send it to be used as animal bedding or ground cover. On the other hand, a very large WEIMA shredder (PreCut) might be used to pre-share municipal solid waste at an MRF so that it can be sorted, washed, and recycled. Shredders play a large role in the recycling of household, production, and municipal waste.

Briquette presses:

WEIMA also manufactures briquette presses, which are used to take loose material and compress it into hockey puck-shaped briquettes. There are many benefits of briquetting, including dust control in messy environments (for example, paper and wood shredding/manufacturing processes tend to create a lot of dangerous, messy dust) as well as space savings. In locations where boilers are used in the heating process of buildings, wood briquettes are burned to supplement the need for energy.

The briquetting process uses hydraulic pressure and no binders, which means the briquettes burn cleanly if the material itself was not treated with chemicals prior to briquetting. In the metals industry, briquetting metal chips and swarf is useful during the recycling process because dense briquettes have less burn-off during smelting than loose material. This increases the price a recycler is willing to pay for briquettes made of metal because it increases the amount of metal that can be reclaimed.

Drainage presses:

WEIMA recently debuted its newest line of size reduction machinery: drainage presses. These machines specialize in simultaneously draining contents while compressing the surrounding packaging. The industries that benefit from this technology specifically include canning and beverage, cosmetics, automotive, food packaging, and more. For example, these compact machines can be set up next to beverage canning lines. When the filling machinery detects out-of-spec cans (under-filled or improperly sealed cans), it can automatically eject them into the drainage press. The press will drain the liquid that’s already inside the can into a catch basin or drain and then compress the aluminum into 200mm discs. This all happens in one easy step, and there are many benefits to this process: aluminum reclaims more valuable to metal recyclers in this compressed form, the canning line eliminates defective products going to market, and the space in the warehouse is maximized. Often, beverage companies pay an employee to open and empty out-of-spec cans manually. This technology frees those employees up to do more lucrative, beneficial tasks. This also works with things like plastic shampoo bottles, paper milk cartons, tetra-paks, and more.

Expand on how WEIMA’s machines are helping businesses further their sustainability efforts.

Often businesses think that sustainability will cost a fortune. True, investing in the environment can be pricy, but WEIMA believes that with some forethought and creativity, the process can be profitable and environmentally beneficial. Finding ways to reuse your own scrap, or to use reclaimed scrap in the initial production process, is part of clever recycling practices. WEIMA believes that a world without waste is possible. This process begins with manufacturers thinking strategically about the products they produce and how they can maximize pre-existing waste streams in those processes.

Please share your opinion on how the adoption of technology has benefited your industry and how your company is adapting to the change.

Size reduction machinery was once a novel concept in manufacturing sectors, but with the advancement of material streams, size reduction machinery has answered those changes. Evolving alongside new waste streams is the primary goal, and WEIMA has accepted the challenge to remain vigilant and never stop innovating. The developments of other types of machinery have gone hand-in-hand with shredding and compressing. We want to show companies the value of scrap recycling and reintegration through machinery—where there is production machinery, so too should there be recycling machinery. In this way, the industry moves forward together.

In your opinion, what limitations do businesses face in better using their waste materials? And how is your company planning to help such businesses deal with these challenges?

Frequently people ask us what they can do with the scrap material after it has been shredded or compressed. This is the largest challenge for companies—to think about what comes next.

We encourage businesses to be aware of the other types of manufacturing and production that are nearby and to collaborate with those operations. For example, wood shredding can benefit the agriculture industry in the form of animal bedding or ground cover. A nearby agricultural process would be ideal because of the decreased need for transportation/shipping. Manufacturers of composite plastic products have been known to use reclaimed plastic bottles and packaging in the production of decking, outdoor chairs, etc. It’s important to think creatively and, if possible, to think local.

WEIMA is committed to telling the stories of these customers who have done just that, and we hope to inspire businesses to follow in those footsteps and then forge their own paths.

What would your advice be to the budding entrepreneurs and enthusiasts aspiring to venture into the shredding industry?

WEIMA encourages prospects to first consider the waste they are already creating in their manufacturing process. How is it shaped? What is it made of? What industries could use this product, and where? After these questions are answered, the WEIMA engineering team can work together with a prospect to meet the needs of that secondary process during shredding.

How small does the throughput need to be to be useful in the next process? Is it possible to reintegrate your own scrap into your own manufacturing process?

These questions and more can help the WEIMA engineers customize a shredding or compressing solution that is tailored to the prospect’s goals.

How do you envision scaling your WEIMA’s operations and outreach in 2022 and beyond?

The COVID-19 pandemic, among other things, has produced many supply chain issues worldwide. This has made manufacturers think more critically about what they’re creating and how they’re sourcing their raw materials. Creativity and flexibility have become vital to a company’s survival in this market. WEIMA’s extensive knowledge prior to the pandemic allowed us to help customers respond to the ever-present need for raw materials. WEIMA is prepared to continue the process of empowering operations to look to the future in 2022 and beyond.

Please give us a few testimonials from your clients/customers and a list of awards/recognitions that accurately highlight your organization’s position in the market.

A complete list of customer stories can be found here. The following illustrates the forward-thinking nature of current customers:

Fiberon Decking Co. is creating composite decking from a proprietary blend of reclaimed plastic scrap and wood fiber. This process is both environmental and highly profitable.

Drainage presses:
Fiddlehead Brewing Co. uses a drainage press from WEIMA to reclaim out-of-spec products. They drain the beer and compress the aluminum cans for effective recycling.

Emmi is a dairy processor in Switzerland that uses a WEIMA drainage press to drain milk cartons of their contents, compress the packaging, and reclaim dairy products for hygienic ReWork.

Briquette presses:

Classic Graphics is a paper printing company that connected a WEIMA briquette press into its air system using a rotary airlock. The air system collects dust created during the cutting process (a natural by-product) and transports it out back to be briquetted—much safer and more efficient.