Success in developing a three-step recycling system that turns scrap concrete, granite, limestone, marble and other mineral materials into sustainable aggregate for various hardscape reusable products such as pavers, construction and retaining wall blocks, earns Top Block of Norfolk the honor of Sustainability Business of the Year.
Top Block President Ryan Collison says Dick Uhing, Procurement Technical Assistance program consultant at the Nebraska Business Development Center (NBDC) office in Wayne, has assisted the company with grant applications and provided information on several beneficial state and federal business development and contracting programs.
“Our goal is to develop relationships with countries overseas to use our MBM500 three-step recycling system,” Collison says. “Dick has been a big help finding those avenues for us and informing us about the government programs that exist and what they can do for us.”
Top Block is the licensing arm for Natural Concrete Products. Since 2002, the company has been developing equipment that would manufacture a decorative landscaping product.
In 2013, the company designed the MBM500, a concrete mixer, material feeder and block machine all rolled into one. Powered by electricity or a fueled power source and requiring little more than a level piece of ground and raw materials, the entire production system can be set up at a jobsite and put to use in minutes.
“Then, we took it to the next level,” Collison says. “We knew a lot of construction materials could be recycled into new products, so we developed a Crusher and a Screener to complement the MBM500.”
Integrating the crusher, screener and MBM500 enables the user to make retaining wall block and pavers from used materials, which might otherwise be disposed of at a landfill.
“With our knowledge and experience, we have created a system that combines these remnants to create professional quality concrete products,” Collison says. “The MBM500’s dual production system allows the manufacturing of both wet and dry cast products.”
The equipment is portable and versatile, making it ideal for use in areas devastated by natural or man-made disasters.
After an earthquake, for example, the MBM500’s recycling system can be placed in the heart of the destruction zone, using rubble to manufacture new blocks and walls. Collison says it is a focus for Top Block in 2017 to aid the rebuilding efforts in Haiti, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq.
Additionally, Top Block is working with inventor Frank Santoro and New Mexico State University to develop a paper pulp-based construction block using the remnants from the paper production process.
Collison says Uhing and the NBDC office provide valuable assistance.
“We were looking for a contractor in the Haiti reconstruction and Dick tracked him down for us,” he says. “We needed an experienced mediator to let us know what is available and Dick has been that for us. He really goes the extra mile and our relationship with NBDC has been a great partnership.”
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