The Quarry & Aggregates (Q&A) Forum (Part 2)

Rock Products Presents The Second Part Of Its Annual Q&A Forum. Manufacturers Talk About Equipment And Technology.

By Mark S. Kuhar and Josephine Patterson

Each year, Rock Products reaches out to industry thought leaders to get their take on the aggregates industry. In this, the second of a two-part series, manufacturers comment on equipment and technology and how it is impacting aggregates producers. – Ed.

Russ Burns, sales director, Terex MPS
Tod Eberle, director of aggregate sales, Polydeck
John Garrison, vice president of sales, Superior Industries
Jason Hurdis, global market professional, Caterpillar
Mark Krause, managing director – North America, McLanahan Corp.
Alex Kanaris, president, VDG
Toni Laaksonen, senior vice president, McCloskey International
Kris Leming, product manager, NTN Bearing 
Trey Rollins, director of marketing, Polydeck
Joseph Teahl, business development manager, CDE

What are the big problems you are solving for aggregates producers? Give an example of how your equipment has made or can make a difference at an aggregates operation.

MARK KRAUSE: We have seen real growth and interest in two different areas of the markets we serve. First is water management. In some areas the cost of water has increased significantly and in some areas it is very difficult to find. Couple that with the environmental concerns and hence the interest and capital expenditures for fines recovery units and water recycling units. The financial justification has made these expenditures pay for themselves in a year or less.

Second area of interest and increased business levels is that of monitoring and sensors. Plants need to maximize the utilization and optimization of the equipment they have. They are also planning on less downtime than in previous years. In the past, a plant would plan for 80% uptime that has now changed and plants are budgeting for 92% to 94% uptime. In the course of a year that means that for a 2,000 hour a year site their allowed downtime has gone from 400 hours down to 160 hours. That is about three hours a week of downtime.

So what are our customers asking for more of these days:

  • Better planning.
  • Planned maintenance-intervals, timing of shutdowns.
  • Consistent and better performance.
  • Extended life of wear components.
  • Sensors to monitor wear and performance rather than just consumption models.

And as I always say the answer is Now. Information now. Parts now. Equipment now. If it isn’t Now, the perception is you don’t care or have the urgency they expect.

JOHN GARRISON: One of our newest and most unique solutions is a set of application-specific bearing seals for conveyor idlers. Consider that idler bearings may fail due to load, or due to premature fugitive material contamination, or due to a combination of both. That’s why seal design is so important – and it’s a game-changer when operations can target specific seals to specific applications – either extremely abrasive, wet, or dry applications; or long-distance overland conveying. Reno, Nev.-based Rilite Aggregate was facing a water management challenge. The company had been washing its concrete sand with a 54-in. twin screw that required 2,200-gal.-per-min. “Compared to the previous use of twin sand screws at 2,200- gal.-per-min., we now vary my flow rate to Superior’s Alliance Low Water Washer between 200- to 400- gal.-per-min. This has dramatically lowered our washing costs. We can conserve water and manage its use without jeopardizing our need for water trucks for dust control,” said Michael Rudolph, who has worked with Rilite for nearly 20 years.

JOSEPH TEAHL: We help reclaim ponds that are inundated with fines from wash plants. Inefficiencies from plants producing concrete or mason sands will have large amounts of commercial product that ends up in the pond. Our Ultra fines recovery will capture and classify as much of a spec products as possible, resulting in only sending the minimum amount back to through the pond system. 

Other solutions include our circular economy technology whereby our wash plants may include our AquaCycle, which supports a plant to recycle water, avoiding any shut down in operations. Additionally, we have designed plants that allow quarries to take crusher fines and produce it into a high-spec product – C33 concrete sand is the primary product we are asked to recover. A stockpile of unclassified crusher fines may sell for $3/ton. 

With a wash plant, we can wash and meet the C33 spec, turning the pile of crusher fines into a product that will sell for $13/ton. Certain areas do not have natural sand deposits and have to rely on our products to sell to a growing market. We call these products – where we turn crusher fines into sand – manufactured sand or man-sand. Our equipment removes water so the end product is ready to for sale straight from the belt.

ALEX KANARIS: Our new generation of drum motors designed for aggregates producers have focused primarily on reliability, reducing downtime, increasing worker safety and reducing energy costs. Open-pit aggregates and underground mines operate in dusty and abrasive environments, which impacts belt conveyor drives, and is a main issue for aggregates producers. The performance of the conveyor drive motor and gear reducer is subject to the environment and is a maintenance challenge. 

The head conveyor drum bearings need to be greased regularly. Because of the extreme dusty environment, the life of exposed conveyor drive components is relatively short. The VDG conveyor drive solution addresses and eliminates the shortcomings that exist with standard exposed motor and gear box conveyor drives. In a VDG drum motor, all vital components like the electric motor, gear reducer, and all bearings operate in an oil bath inside the head drive drum and are protected from the environment. 

There are no chains and sprockets or V belts to cause bodily harm to the maintenance personnel, and there are no external bearings to be greased. The benefits to aggregates producers by using the VDG drum motor are increased efficiency, safety and a longer lasting conveyor drive with no maintenance requirements.

RUSS BURNS: Our range of modular, portable and static equipment enables us to be flexible and provide the best platform for our customer’s needs. We have a wide range of reliable, proven and highly productive equipment to help increase production, expand into new and alternative markets or utilize waste material and transform it into something sellable. 

Additionally, we’ve designed options into our products to support the different needs of our customers. We offer configurations to optimize portability or improve production while focusing on ease of operation and safety features. Our modular range allows us to integrate jaws, cones and screens into our customer’s existing plants, saving time, permitting, engineering and additional expenses. We can also customize our Simplicity screens to fit into existing envelopes to reduce modifications, lowering installation time and costs.

Our applications team, alongside our distribution network, have years of valuable crushing and screening experience and can offer customers expert guidance in choosing the right equipment to put together an efficient, cost effective system for nearly any application, so customers have confidence that it’s the right tool for the job. 

TOD EBERLE: We are at our best when we combine our application expertise with our customized product solutions to help our customers maximize the throughput of their plant while giving them superior wear life. We are currently pushing the boundaries of material science and industry norms for screening media to find solutions to the challenges our customers are experiencing. Our customers are looking for a reliable partner who can consistently supply them with the products they need in short order, and we strive to give them what they need, when they need it. 

JASON HURDIS: I think the “COVID pause” was a good thing for many producers. It allowed them to catch their breath and re-focus or provide a dedicated focus on operator training, supervisor training as well as efficiency improvements. Caterpillar has been helping with the training requests and using new telematic solutions such as Cat Productivity to help benchmark fleet/site efficiencies, identify problem areas and propose solutions to these areas to make operations, fleets and operators more efficient.

KRIS LEMING: Uptime, keep their equipment running. Keeping contamination, fine particulate and water out of a mounted roller bearing on conveying equipment.

TONI LAAKSONEN: Mobility, ease of operation and productivity rank high in importance, going hand in hand for our producers whether they are crushing along a rock face or moving between sites on a regular basis. At the same time, we also have producers with tracked equipment working in the same spot for long periods of time. Equipment needs to be versatile to adapt to the operation, rather than the other way around. Performance measurements and operation enhancements such as fuel efficiency and reduced complexity are also key to ensuring smooth operations. 

One of the greatest areas where we make an impact is the safe operation of the machines. We build safety features into our designs that create safer operating environments. The risk of incidents during operation and maintenance can be minimized with attention to standard operating procedures but designing equipment that has a rich roster of safety features has an important role as well.

The I4C impact crusher is a good example of this, with low voltage controls, allowing technicians to service the equipment with reduced risk of serious harm from electric shock. The crusher also has a tagout capability on the isolator for enhanced safety when servicing or maintaining the equipment, a chamber door safety sensor, built in safety shutdown functions, and chamber open safety arm for secure access to the impact chamber. Blow bar changes are also more secure, with a flywheel cog to turn to rotor safely, a blow bar extraction tool, and an innovative platform for stability and access contributing to the safe operation and maintenance of the equipment. A rotor locking pin is also key, holding the rotor in place while preparing to remove or install a new blow bar.

The safety of our equipment is a core element of our design engineering across all product lines. We brought the I4C to market to respond to the demand for a heavy duty, high production impact crusher with high mobility, and designed it to incorporate industry-leading enriched safety features. 

Take a minute to plug your products and services. What products manufactured by your company are you focusing on these days?

GARRISON: Rock Face to Load Out is the vision that has produced so many new, American-made products at Superior. And, it’s the reason – along with our dealers – that we’re able to supply a total processing and material handling package to producers. It means there’s one phone call to make, one email to send or – as we like to joke – one neck to wring.

  • Fusion Modular Platforms – All the time it took to engineer and erect your new processing plant postponed income generation. What if we told you we’ve got a library of pre-engineered plants that are ready to build, install rapidly and accelerate profit production?
  • Portable Plants – When one manufacturer supplies the components and the other builds the chassis, modifications are limited. Here, we do both and eagerly modify gear and chassis. Now that’s customization!
  • Construction Management – Our scope of capabilities is unmatched in the aggregates industry. Inside one company, we engineer, manufacture, install and service new or expanded aggregate processing plants. It’s you and us all the way.

TEAHL: CDE is a turnkey solution provider. CDE designs, engineers and manufacturers wash plants helping the industry create in-demand high-spec products. The products we create end up in roads, bridges, precast, curbs, subbase and sidewalks. It may be a one piece of equipment solution such as an EvoWash or a fully integrated CDE plant which would combine an EvoWash, CFCU, PlatePress, AggMax, M4500, R4500 and AquaCycle, all designed to optimize output and ultimately operate more profitably.

KANARIS: VDG specializes exclusively in the design and manufacture of drum motors for belt conveyors used in many other industries besides aggregates, including food processing, airport baggage systems, warehousing, postal/parcel, and others. VDG manufactures drum motors from 4-in. diameter to 42-in. diameter, and 0.25 hp to 500 hp. VDG manufactures solely drum motor products and contiguously invests in design improvements through in-house research and development to solve current industry challenges. The latest design improvement VDG introduced is our patented IronGrip lagging available on VDG drum motors. The IronGrip provides a much higher belt pulling force, improves belt tracking, and four times longer lagging life over the standard rubber lagging.

BURNS: The CRH1113R portable closed-circuit impactor/screen plant features the TI4250 impact crusher and a 6 x 16 double-deck inclined screen. The crusher is hydraulic clutch driven direct from a 450-hp Scania diesel. All other components are electric driven from the 150-kw generator. The brand-new crusher, large screen and feeder, and low maintenance electric driven components make this one piece towable machine a great value for processing shot rock as well as concrete and asphalt recycle materials.

Designed around our proven, high-performance Cedarapids JW55 jaw crusher, the MJ55 modular jaw crusher is designed for large quarries or contractors that want a stationary type design without the complexity of a normal stick-built plant. The modular structure can be transported in standard shipping containers plus a flat rack for the crusher and can be bolted together quickly on site with basic tools. The three configurations offered for the feed hopper allow for the optimum size to match up to the equipment that is being used to load the machine.

The new Simplicity TXS720H screen plant features the popular 7- x 20-ft. (2,134- x 6,096-mm) ES Series screen, along with a flex shaft screen drive and roll-away blending chutes, make this a leader in the screen plant market. The wide conveyor belts handle peak load conditions easily. The plant is designed to get the most out of the screen so there is plenty of capacity to make the crushers the bottleneck in the circuit, not the screen.

The Canica CRV Series VSI portable plants bring the most versatile crusher into the portable crushing fleet. These crushers can handle the widest range of applications and materials while producing at high production. The Canica brand offers a full range of open shoe table, enclosed rotor and rock self, and rotor and rock box combinations to match production and operational needs.

EBERLE: We are pushing the boundaries with open area for modular media, in polyurethane, rubber and modular wire products. We are also working on new materials that will be more cost effective than traditional offerings. 

TREY ROLLINS: As the originators of synthetic modular media, we have always touted the wear life advantages of our products over wire. Over the last couple of years, we have been expanding the traditional norms of what is possible with open area in synthetic modular media. Next year we’re excited to continue to push the boundaries with several new products that will offer open area that compares to that of wire cloth. We believe our new technological advances will be revolutionary for the industry and provide the best opportunities for producers to maximize production efficiencies and cost savings. 

HURDIS: 2022 products from Caterpillar like our Next Generation mid-size wheel loaders have a dedicated focus on solving our customers #1 pain point of recruiting and retaining skilled labor. 

The Next Generation wheel loaders have additional operator ease of use features such auto set tires, bucket tip off assist for improve payload management and accuracy and auto dig systems that automate many of the repetitive but critical operations. These ease-of-use features will decrease the training time for new operators and improve the efficiency of intermediate and experienced operators

LEMING: SPAW product line which is a direct interchange to SAF style bearing units. The SPAW product line offers superior protection against contamination with a unitized bearing insert and optional end caps. Our Bower Type E unit with a spherical roller bearing insert that allows for +/- 2 degrees of misalignment and a robust double lip contact seal. The perfect bearing for applications that do not have perfect installations.

LAAKSONEN: We are focusing on several products that have relevance in and beyond the quarry. They contribute directly to the success of the bottom line, but also to issues that are important to our customers globally. The responsible handling and processing of our natural resources leads us to use environmentally friendly technologies throughout the product development cycle, for example, electric, dual power/hybrid, and eco-mode on our crushers. 

We are continually looking at ways to produce more output with less input. For example, our high-powered direct-drive C-Series cones have a large stroke to enhance multilayer or rock on rock crushing with increased throughput, along with better reduction and end product shape. Production, efficiency and reliability are still the cornerstones of our business and we have designed all our product lines to maximize these. We have also recently introduced an extended warranty program, which provides long-term life-cycle support and secures maximum performance for our end-customers.

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