MB Wilkes, a family-owned sand and gravel quarry in Dorset, South West England, is using two 28-tonne capacity Terex Trucks articulated haulers to move material around its longstanding facility in Corfe Mullen
Family-owned sand and gravel quarry, MB Wilkes, is using two 28-tonne capacity Terex Trucks articulated haulers to move material around its longstanding facility in Corfe Mullen, Dorset, South West England.
Originally purchased in the 1950s for timber production, the story of MB Wilkes’ Henbury Quarry in Dorset is one of an accidental find. “Our grandfather Harold Wilkes bought this land in the early fifties to take lumber off of it and one day, one falling tree hit another tree exposing its roots,” says Paul Wilkes, director at MB Wilkes. “At the time of the incident, he was with his friend Harry J Palmers, a local builder, who said ‘That looks good’, and after sieving out a small quantity of sand he made a little wall with it and everything basically went from there.”
Following further exploration of the area, quarrying on the site began in 1958 and MB Wilkes was officially established in 1964. It wasn’t long before Harold’s son, Michael, joined the company to help continue to build on its solid foundations. In turn, Michael then passed ownership to his two sons, David and Paul, in the early 90s. With more than half a century in the industry, the family-run business is now a leading supplier of aggregates and building materials throughout Dorset and the surrounding counties, from its Corfe Mullen head office.
Known for its high-quality products offered at competitive prices, MB Wilkes manufactures and distributes a wide range of topsoil, sand, gravel, and decorative stone. As a progressive business built on expert knowledge, the company also operates a facility for recycling waste aggregates such as brick rubble, concrete, and soil. To this effect, MB Wilkes owns an extensive fleet of machinery to service the needs of the site and has equipment such as articulated haulers, tippers, grab trucks, loading shovels, dozers, and excavators.
As a longstanding Terex Trucks’ customer, MB Wilkes bought its first articulated dump truck in 1999 after the TA30 impressed over competitor brands. The company then looked to Terex Trucks again in 2008 when it made the decision to add a machine to its fleet to increase productivity and opted for another TA30, which was supplied by TDL Equipment.
Paul says: “When we bought the first articulated truck we were looking at other brands, but Terex Trucks’ products were the best – the fuel efficiency was good, it was reliable and simple to drive.”
“It had cross diff-locks as well which a lot of others didn't have at the time,” adds David Wilkes, director at MB Wilkes.
Well suited to the application, Terex Trucks’ 28-tonne capacity haulers have proved to be a perfect match for the Henbury Quarry. “Customer satisfaction is at the top of our list and we’re proud of the material we produce at Henbury Quarry,” explains David. Renowned for its premium products, MB Wilkes’ highest quality building sand is Corfe 1 and it’s favoured by customers due to its versatility as it’s suitable for all applications. The extraction process for Corfe 1 requires machinery at Henbury Quarry to descend close to 80 feet below the surface.
The geology of the quarry is made up of various layers of material with grey gravel at the very top. The gravel fades into ginger hogging, which then transitions to sand, sandstone and then a soft ginger sand. Finally, there's a vast amount of overburden and it is beneath this that bright yellow sand, known as Corfe 1, is found deep in the earth.
David explains: “We are using dozers, excavators, and Terex Trucks’ articulated haulers to remove the overburden and dig deeper to be able to get access to Corfe 1 sand, which we then sell on to the brick manufacturers.”
Expertly designed to take on a variety of terrains and move the harshest materials, sand has shown itself to be the trucks’ biggest challenge at the Henbury Quarry, particularly when wet. Nonetheless, the machines built in Motherwell, Scotland, have stood the test of time working nine hours a day, in all weather conditions.
David says: “In the past, we always had one dump truck on standby, but now we are working to capacity and so we use both most of the time. Following the installation of a new wash plant last year, the dump trucks are now moving material to and from the quarry as part of the production process.”
The trucks, which are also used to dump material in the customer loading areas, have also found favour with MB Wilkes’ operators. Designed with the driver in mind, the articulated haulers feature front suspension and a spacious ergonomic cabin offering maximum operator comfort. David adds: “We’ve found that the tyres wear very well and our operators frequently comment on how smooth the drive is in the dump truck – one even said it was better than his road car!”