About Universal Refiner, the Anti-Tub Grinder
Universal Refiner is the answer to expensive, high maintenance tub grinders and shredders. That’s why many customers call them the anti-tub grinder. The only things a tub grinder and a Universal Refiner have in common are the engine, clutch and conveyor belt.
No More Tub Grinding. I like tub grinders. In fact, many of you who have spoken to me over the years have probably heard me say that I’m a “tub grinder guy.” In many cases, they are the best tool for the job. However, no one tool can do everything well.
The heart of the UR is the cutter disc or arbor. Universal Refiner uses a cutter disk that sits low in the pan (“tub”) and spins like a record player. The cutting portion of the disc is called a blade. (Notice, I didn’t call it a hammer.) The blades are positioned on the outside of the arbor, similar to a saw blade. The blades are relatively thin, 3/8” to ½” on the striking surface. There are no blades facing upward. (The Universal Refiner can flip material out of the pan but you don’t have a catapult or geyser like you do with a tub grinder.)
Because the blades are thin, you don’t create the hammer action that you get with a conventional mill; ½” wide blade vs. 2” wide tip. This reduces the fines and creates more “nugget-like” material during the grinding process. The “nugget” size is determined by the screen size and the length of the blade.
Because the arbor turns at one half to one quarter of the rpms of a hammer mill, the Universal Refiner creates a tremendous amount of torque with very low horsepower. For example, a 300 HP Universal can grind stumps that a tub grinder won’t process, even with 650 HP. And, fuel usage is one third.
Depending on the model, you either have a set of floor grates (known as screens) or an opening in the floor that is adjustable. These “screens” are not replaced every 400 hours. They can last for several thousand. Why? Because a very small percentage of the material is ground against the screens. When the screens show wear, just build them back up. The screens can be sized accordingly, similar to any conventional grinder, to get the desired particle size. (There are NO similarities between screen sizes in a Universal Refiner and a conventional grinder!)
Maintenance is another major benefit. The last thing you want to do is work on your grinder. Most components are “off the shelf” and readily available at any good truck supply shop or parts store. On any daily routine, a tub grinder will require about two hours of up-keep. The UR is generally one third or less.
Ok. So, where are the weaknesses? Remember, your buying a tool for the job. They don’t create animal bedding like a hammer mill. They won’t feed long, bushy material or long logs very quickly. In any given hour or two, they don’t necessarily win any production drag race.
The UR can win a lot of races because of the lower maintenance times, durability and simplicity. It is very strong with contaminated materials. Bring on the C&D, railroad ties (with plates and spikes attached), shingles, extremely large chunk wood, large stumps, pallets, etc. If you have a question about an application, give us a call. Someone is probably already doing it with a UR.
Universal Refiner is a small grinder manufacturer that works closely with their customers to solve their problems. It’s a good idea to contact someone who is familiar with a UR before you buy a used one. Often, a novice owner of a UR has a “better” way of doing things. Most likely, they don’t! If a grinder has been modified, many times it will NOT produce like it should.
We can assist you with finding a used Universal Refiner, questions about operation, grinding solutions and new purchases.
Universal Refiner Video Demonstrations
Universal Refiner Wood Waste Grinder – Tree Service
Universal Refiner Waste Grinder – Environmental Application