First publishedin Aggregates Business Europe
Investment in new equipment is taken very seriously at the UK's moons hills quarry but safety has the top priority when it comes to specification
's Moons Hill Quarry, in Somerset, UK, produces around 750,000tonnes of material each year, including 500,000tonnes of roadstone and surface dressing chippings.
Wainwright invested more than £4.5million, including £2million in a Benninghoven
asphalt plant, in 2006 and has continued to build up its coated stone production since that time.
However, while productivity is important, health and safety plays as big a role for the company when it comes to machine choice. Finding an excavator that provides the safest working environment for the operator and the quarry as a whole was a key part of the specification.
Wainwright has been an independent aggregate supplier to the construction industry since 1891, providing a basalt (andesite) stone that is one of the only hardstone deposits in the Mendips. With a minimum PSV of 57, this material is one of the only sources of surface course quality aggregate in the region.
The firm's Moons Hill Quarry, in Stoke St Michael, sits on two sides of the main road through the village. The faces are worked simultaneously within the two quarry areas, with the excavated stone being mixed and blended to produce a consistently high quality finished material.
In the past Wainwright has used a Liebherr
R954 and a number of wheeled loaders to work the faces. However when the time came for a machine replacement, quarry manager Kevin Sargant was keen to be at the forefront of changing regulation and health and safety best practise. In terms of mechanical intervention, he wanted to have a machine that was large enough to reach the top of the quarry's benches, gradually bringing face height across the site down to a maximum of 12m.
This meant a larger machine than previously used, with the company settling on a 70tonne Caterpillar
However where many quarry operators would automatically opt for a short mass excavation boom and dipper, to maximise bucket size, Wainwright has opted instead for a construction set-up, with a slightly smaller 3.2m3 rock bucket, but a longer 13.1m reach.
This allows the operator to sit safely back from the face, yet still reach the top of the bench to pull blasted material down into the digging area. The long boom is not the only unusual thing about Wainwright's 365 though. Working with Cat dealer Finning
's Customer Solutions department, the company has specified a hydraulically-operated set of access steps at the rear of the machine, increased width walkways, additional guardrails and a full set of heated mirrors and cameras to improve all-round visibility.
Flashing lights and an audible warning accompany the use of the steps, which will not raise if someone is standing on them. Likewise if anything is beneath when they are being lowered, they will stop to prevent injury.
All of the walkways are 50% wider, at 600mm, to allow service doors to be opened and the operator and fitters to move safely around. Each section of the walkway can also be unbolted and swung away from the machine for increased access to service components when necessary.
A full fire suppression system completes the upgraded specification, while visibility specialist Spillard Safety Systems has ensured that the operator has the best possible view around the machine.
"The company has made a substantial investment to comply with the regulations," said Sargant. "But Wainwright has always been prepared to invest to compete with larger companies, both in productivity and on environmental and safety issues." Though the company has its own workshops it has broken with tradition with a preventative maintenance package from Finning for the new excavator. The deal includes all parts, labour and travel for a fixed price per machine hour worked.
In addition Wainwright has specified Cat's Product Link telematic system, to help to improve operating efficiency.
"This is the first time that we've entered into an R&M contract with anyone," said Sargant. "But we want to improve our operating efficiency and reduce our fuel consumption and this seemed like a way to achieve that." The addition of the larger excavator to the quarry fleet provides Wainwright with a prime mover capable of keeping pace with increasing demand, now and in the future. More than that though, the modifications that Finning has provided ensure that Wainwright remains at the forefront of quarry safety.