British set storage specialist processes unwanted wood with Weima

British set storage specialist processes unwanted wood with Weima

Set-A-Side Storage sends the wood chips to a company for energy recovery.

February 6, 2020

Set-A-Side Storage, a television, theater and film set storage company based Oxfordshire, England, uses a shredder manufactured by Weima, headquartered in Ilsfeld, Germany, to help recycle unwanted sets. (Weima America Inc., the company's U.S. sales and service subsidiary, is based in Fort Mill, South Carolina.)

“For about 25 years, I worked for various TV production companies, such as BBC and ITV, in London as a prop master for films and television series,” says Andy Beales, owner of Set-A-Side Storage. “It was my job to see what could be done with the props before the next series. At that time, there was no place to store the sets. So, I founded Set-A-Side Storage to provide that space.”

For television programs, production companies work cyclically, according to the company. Sets are used for about three months and stored for the remaining nine months of the year. However, the film studios, especially the American ones, work differently. After shooting is completed, the film is edited in the USA. If scenes need to be shot again, they return to the U.K. That’s when they need the original set. After reshooting is finished, the set is then returned to Oxfordshire and stored.

weima shredder
© Weima

Beales says, “Before a new season of 'X-Factor,' the producer comes to us with the set designer and stage manager to go through all of their props. At the end of the series, just before Christmas, they bring everything back. Then in the new year, they come over to sort out and dispose of what they don’t need anymore.”

Unwanted props are made of various materials, but the majority of the backdrops are still made of wood. At first, Set-A-Side started recycling unwanted materials by simply separating them. “Disposing of the wood became more and more expensive and, since this is part of our service, we put quite a lot of money into this process. We tried different options, such as a small mobile shredder that we took to different locations. But in the end, we decided to do the disposal properly,” Beales says.

In 2016, the company decided to invest in a shredder. “We chose a Weima shredder from Fercell because the machine fit our requirements perfectly and because Fercell was always helpful and could answer all our questions.“

Fercell, which is based in Kent, England, provides industrial recycling and size-reduction systems and industrial ventilation equipment. Weima is among the brands the company represents.

The shredder is powered by a three-phase power generator.

The wood chips the unit produces are sent to an energy recovery company.

“In the long run, it’s all about how we grow,” Beales says. “With the Weima shredder, we can expand the company even further. The machine crushes everything we put in. Whether it’s a 12-foot tree, telegraph poles or railway sleepers—it simply shreds everything. The process takes only a few seconds.”

“In minutes, an entire stack of wood can be turned into space-saving wood chips,” says Steve Gardiner, site manager at Set-A-Side.

Weima’s WL 20 single-shaft shredder, the shredder selected by Set-A-Side Storage, features a nearly 79-inch-wide (2,000 millimeter) V-rotor and the WAP gearbox with outputs of up to 110 kilowatts.

The material is fed through a hopper and falls in front of a hydraulically operated ram, which transports the material horizontally to the rotor. The material is then shredded between the rotor and the fixed stationary counter knives, according to Weima. The chips can be conveyed by a screw, an extraction system or a conveyor belt.

Set-A-Side uses a conventional conveyor system with a discharge height of 2.5 meters (98 inches) to transport the shredded wood into the chip bunker.

“We put the shredder to the test a lot, and it has never let us down,” Beales says.