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Much change in European quarrying since ABE launch 10 years’ ago

First publishedin Aggregates Business Europe
January February 2017
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Guy Woodford, Editor
Guy Woodford, Editor
Much change in European quarrying since ABE launch 10 years ago.

This is the 10th anniversary year of Aggregates Business Europe magazine. The European quarrying sector, like the wider international sector, looks so very different from how it appeared in 2007. The global financial crisis that struck in 2008 has been hard to withstand. Many major and high volume smaller construction and transport infrastructure projects that stimulate aggregates demand have been scrapped or put on hold. Only now are quarrying and construction equipment sales starting to recover in some key regional markets, including Europe, while remaining some way off the number of units purchased pre-2008.

Despite the tougher economic environment within the European quarrying industry, key national market growth opportunities remain. Compared to 2007, quarry operators and contractors are now largely better equipped to grasp these opportunities thanks to the adoption of greater production efficiency. A key factor behind increased fleet uptime has been OEMs’ heavy investment in customer parts replacement capability and servicing. Efficiency gains are also being realised through the wider use of plant automation, and fuel costs are being cut by the greater prevalence of duel-fuel powered crushing and screening fleets.

There has also been a notable rise in the last decade in demand for larger tonnage/hour throughput mobile crushing and screening models, as aggregate materials processing firms look for greater fleet flexibility to meet increasingly bespoke customer demand. Aggregate washing solutions have also become more desirable over the past 10 years – partly due to the improvement in final product quality they can supply. Aggregates recycling and manufactured sand production are other growing quarrying sub-sectors, particularly in mature markets due to the higher cost of processing dwindling reserves of virgin rock.

I’ve enjoyed the last two-and-a-half years as editor of Aggregates Business Europe and have benefited enormously from the great work and knowledge of my predecessors as editor, Patrick Smith and Claire Symes. Patrick remains with ABE as executive editor, and we’re both looking forward to reporting on the next chapter for quarrying in Europe and on the wider international stage, the latter via our sister magazine, Aggregates Business International – Asia, Africa & Middle East.

Given the exhibition’s ‘Imagine what’s next’ theme, it’s apt that the next chapter for the European quarrying sector includes a strong Europe-based quarrying and construction equipment manufacturers’ presence at CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2017 in Las Vegas, USA (7-11 March). Quarrying equipment heavyweights from the continent including Sandvik, Metso, Powerscreen, Terex Finlay and Kleemann will be joined by the likes of US giant Caterpillar, and Asian big hitters such as SANY and LiuGong, in staging global and North American market product launches over the course of the five-day industry showpiece event. This issue of ABE includes an extensive preview of the state-of-the-art quarrying models you can expect to see in Las Vegas.

A Metso-led primary gyratory crusher rebuild at HeidelbergCement’s Norstone Tau quarry near Stavanger in Norway is said to have reduced the model’s power usage by an eye-catching 30%. Management at what is Norstone’s largest Norwegian site – which processes 2.1 million tonnes/year of hard rock aggregates – is now looking at further plant fleet optimisation projects with the Finnish crushing and screening giant. You can read all about the crusher rebuild in this edition’s Quarry Profile.

Illustrating what I highlighted earlier in my Comment piece about the changing face of the European quarrying sector, you’ll also hear in this issue, how Hitachi Construction Machinery (Europe) is prioritising replacement parts availability and servicing as it looks to grow its market share. It’s one of the topics covered during a wide-ranging interview with HCME president and chairman of the management board, Makoto Yamazawa.
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