Fieldmans future growth now in Focus

Fieldmans Waste Management has contracted Focus Enviro to design, construct and commission a new waste recycling facility.

This bespoke solution was custom-designed for the site, increasing the opportunities for Fieldmans Waste Management to recover more recyclable materials than it has in the past.

Jake and Dylan Mansfield head up the team at Fieldmans, an Australian family-owned business started by their father, Mick. 

The Dandenong-based waste management company has grown from its original excavation business to become a supplier of environmental services to Melbourne’s construction and demolition sector. 

With 20 years of experience, Fieldmans is invested in supporting a circular economy and helping clients satisfy sustainability ratings for new construction projects.

“Since leaving school, I worked in building the excavation business side of our company,” said Dylan. “We mostly focused on small to medium construction and demolition contracts using a fleet of bobcats. We were always filling bins, so we talked about the potential in that industry. First, we invested in 10 bins and a truck, which complemented our excavation work. There’s been significant organic growth, adding a truck or two every year. Things have picked up dramatically in the last couple of years, which drove our decision to invest in these new facilities and new ways of better processing.”

According to Dylan, building a new facility on a busy operating site is very challenging. Working with Ryan McParland from Focus Enviro, Fieldmans Waste was guided through the host of available technologies and plant options that relate to its individual waste streams. 

At each stage, there was a discussion of the merits of every part of the plant – the advantages, things to look out for, and the recovery rates to expect from each component in the plant. 

The point of difference that Focus Enviro brought to the table was its team’s experience. 

Building a complete solution
“We built a fully incorporated static recycling solution on site,” said McParland. “As a result, Fieldmans Waste has increased their recycling capacity by over 80 per cent.”

Dylan Mansfield agreed that its recovery rates have increased beyond its initial expectations and budgeted numbers since the solution was installed.

“We can process 10 times more than what we are doing now,” he said. We can now process much more material per day than we currently receive. 

“It has allowed us to regain valuable space and increase the safety of our whole operation, machinery, and truck movements. 

“All this has resulted in a new opportunity to go to the local market, attract more materials for recycling and gain new customers.

Based on the numbers so far, the company has had an increase in timber recovery of about 45 per cent, and non-ferrous metals are up about 40 per cent. It is averaging about 84 per cent recovery and diversion from landfill. Now, it doesn’t matter if it’s the trucks or other waste management businesses tipping. It has no waiting time due to the processing ability of the new plant.

Dealing with the challenges
The compact nature of the site was challenging, with little to no room for facilities. However, McParland and his team had no major issues developing a solution for Fieldmans Waste.

“The site had some space constraints, which meant we had to think very carefully about the design impacts and flow of materials, machinery and trucks around the plant,” he said. “There was also a lot of discussion around the challenges Fieldmans Waste were looking at when it came to increasing future waste streams, as well as building a plant that will allow them to grow into the future.”

Dylan agreed that the smaller site created some unique challenges. However, he pointed out that the build quality and engineering from the plant manufacturer M&K Recycling Systems was absolute precision. 

“Everything fitted together like a giant Meccano set, and no fabrication on site was a testament to the plant builder’s ability and experience,” he said. “All we had to provide was the concrete pad. The rest, including even the concrete bays, was supplied from FOCUS. We were able to continue our daily operation right through the installation of the plant, which was imperative to keeping our business going and our customers happy. 

“Using 3D animation and drawings,
the team at Focus Enviro mapped out the site to show how they could put together a processing line that would be fit for purpose.”

Meeting requirements
Jake’s key focus was having a processing plant that matched Fieldmans Waste’s exact requirements. There was also a big focus on maximising the plant’s return on investment. The FOCUS Enviro team, through consultation with representatives from Fieldmans, created a fully customised processing plant that maximised the site’s efficiency and delivered a plant that satisfies current demands with a built-in capability to provide for changes in future waste streams. 

“There’s nothing on the machine that doesn’t need to be there,” Jake said. “Everything that has been installed has a purpose. It’s a basic set-up here, but well built and well designed. It all comes from one manufacturer, so it works well as an integrated unit. The plant builder designed and supplied the electrical control system in-house. This was important to us and something no other supplier could offer.”

One of the benefits of the new facility is how it supports health and safety in the workplace. It’s a shift away from workers having to be bent over on the floor, picking items up and sorting them, according to Dylan.

“Our staff are positioned in a purpose-built sorting cabin, comfortably standing up and sorting the waste as it comes by on a conveyor belt,” he said. “It’s a much better working environment for them and has helped improve recovery rates. 

“With the team at FOCUS, we created a standardised training program for all our existing and new operators for the different areas and tasks around the plant.”

Future of relationship
McParland believes that Focus Enviro and Fieldmans Waste have a strong relationship that will continue.

“Introducing this recycling system is only the start for Fieldmans Waste,” said McParland. 

“Over the past 20 years, we have seen many companies of similar size progress to multiple sites and facilities in a short space of time. 

“This has come from the investment in the initial plant and the efficiencies gained in the recycling and recovery of materials. 

“Fieldmans Waste is now witnessing first-hand a plant that can process more, build profits, and create opportunities to increase market share.” 

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