As the winter season approaches, Putnamville Correctional Facility staff has labored through the summer months to install state of-the-art machinery that will offset heating costs during the cold weather season.
A 480-volt, 125-horsepower Cresswood Grinder is up and running and is said to be capable of saving the facility $1 million during its first year of operation.
The new grinder has the capability of grinding up to four tons of pallets per hour, compared to the old grinder that averaged only 60 or 70 pallets per day.
The new equipment can grind an entire pallet of wood at one time, PCF officials said.
With the purchase of the new grinder, the facility's heating system is now totally self-sufficient, which means there is no longer a need to supplement wood supplies using outside vendor purchases.
"The grinder will pay for itself within a period of two months this coming winter," the facility's Physical Plant Director Michael Callahan said. "It's already producing more product than needed for this weather, so we'll go into winter with a surplus of wood, and it's only been operational for about a month."
The prison also recently installed a "seeder," making the Putnamville facility the only regional location that separates seeds from harvested flowers.
The seeds are used to sustain the Hoosier Heritage Wild Flower Program -- a collaboration between the Indiana Department of Transportation and the Putnamville Correctional Facility. The seed is used to beautify Indiana roadsides, correctional facilities and state property such as the Indiana War Memorial.
"We are cognizant of today's economic climate and receptive to ideas that will improve the efficiency and cost effectiveness of our operations," PCF Superintendent Stanley Knight said. "Fortunately, we have leaders at our helm who support innovation and encourage staff to 'think outside the box' for solutions to minimize costs and to provide services that benefit not only correctional facilities, but other state agencies as well."
The Putnamville Correctional Facility, located along U.S. 40 in Warren Township of Putnam County, houses a maximum population of 2,604 offenders and encompasses approximately 2,583 acres.