Immobile productivity & efficiency gains

Quarry operators can generate a great deal of productivity and efficiency gains through using premium stationary aggregates plants
August 30, 2022
By Roger Murrow
Digitalisation can drive gains across aggregates-producing assets
Digitalisation can drive gains across aggregates-producing assets

Stationary aggregate plants include some of the most advanced crushing and screening equipment available. Many would think that given the development work undertaken by manufacturers of such equipment that product development would have come to a logical conclusion. However, this could not be further from the truth, with some of the leading manufacturers developing new equipment and operating philosophies focused on boosting customer operations.  

Some of the leading names in stationary crushing and screening are continuously refining their offering, listening to their customers to produce the next generation of aggregate plants. In this article, we’ve talked to some of the leading manufacturers and outlined their latest developments, along with touching on their development strategies, which look likely to be continuously refined and developed in the coming years. 

A long history of product development

Metso Outotec has a long history of developing and introducing some of the most advanced and productive crushing and screening equipment in the industry. The company has recently introduced a ‘facelift’ version to its static crusher automation package. The initial release covered the company’s GP cones, with other product lines to be covered later in the year. Alongside this, Metso Outotec has just released its new ‘Metrics’, which provides customers with more data for crushers and screens. With this information, combined with what the company refers to as its expert services, technicians are able to troubleshoot problems and optimise operations, thereby improving performance and availability of quarries.

“The new version [of Metrics] makes it even more user-friendly than before and assists the user to maintain high performance and adapt to changes in feed material and liner wear during the day. With the new Metrics, we can now collect and visualise all data coming from our automation almost in real time,” explains Jason Nelson, global director of marketing, Aftermarket Solutions.

The system further highlights Metso’s commitment to using technology to advance the crushing process, as Nelson explains: “We provide crusher control packages for all types of static crushers. With these you can automate the crusher level operation and protect equipment. Crusher control packages provide data to the remote-monitoring system Metrics, enabling further digital features. Automated feed rate control keeps the crusher choke fed at all times. Wear compensation and automatic contact calibration help to maintain correct closed side setting. These together assist to maximise yield of desired products. Improved availability and performance of a plant and product quality by using data driven methods, automation, and intelligent sensors.”

Maintaining crushing performance

Maintaining equipment availability comes down to combining data with on-site expertise for best results
Maintaining equipment availability comes down to combining data with on-site expertise for best results

Another development from the company is in direct response to variability in ore type and changes in liner materials that can impact the wear rates experienced by the liners used to protect the inner walls of crusher transfer and feed chutes. This variability can lead to increased operational costs due to unplanned maintenance which may be required to replace highly worn liners. Alternatively, high maintenance costs may occur due to the scheduled replacement of plates still in good condition. Regular inspection of the liner condition can reduce these costs but requires the plant to be stopped. This reduces productivity and poses a safety risk for the maintenance personnel who need to enter the chute. In response, Metso Outotec has developed ‘WearSense’ which can safely provide visibility on liner condition with actionable insights to reduce maintenance costs. This is a self-contained wear-management system consisting of proprietary IoT sensors that monitor wear and other key parameters, a gateway that connects to cloud-based storage, processing algorithms and a web-based user interface. It is primarily designed to monitor the wear in chute liners and provides near-real time information on remaining material thickness and the ability to estimate the remaining liner life.

Emphasis on ease of replacement

If Metso Outotec has placed its emphasis on recent cone crusher developments, Sandvik has focused on its ubiquitous jaw crushers. Sandvik has now concentrated on what it terms ‘plug and play’ installation, with its jaw crushers being available as a complete crushing solution ready to start crushing in the shortest possible time. “We deliver our jaw crushers with everything a customer needs for plug-and-play primary crushing operations,” says Mats Dahlberg, vice president Lifecycle Service, Stationary Crushing and Screening. “It’s just to choose what extra components they require. There’s also a wide range of jaw plates that can be mixed and reversed to ensure optimal, versatile crushing.”  

Sandvik jaw crushers can now be delivered with a complete infrastructure including feed hopper, feed hopper interface, drive and subframe with v-belt guard and motor bracket, a unique guarding retraction arrangement and toggle plate stop. “We now include everything our customers need for a fast start-up and reliable operations. Together with easy and safe maintenance, our jaw crushers increase productivity, offer true reliability and excellent availability,” adds Martin Johansson, product manager Jaw Crushers.

This introduction is part of a focus on ‘circularity’ for the company, which has stressed its commitment to reusing and recycling to offset the use of raw materials and reduce waste. Several initiatives are ongoing to contribute to the Sandvik target of more than 90% circularity by 2030. Material- and resource-efficiency focus within product development and the company’s operations are examples of how Sandvik is driving the shift to more circular business models and use of resources, finding ways to close loops and generate new revenue streams from the processes and materials it uses.

Digitalisation for efficiency

The Terex Materials Processing (Terex MP) business division of the Terex Corporation has grown rapidly in recent years, adapting and adopting high tech and state-of-the-art systems. Terex MP president Kieran Hegarty explains what the company believes are the big issues affecting the industry: “The big trend in our industry is electrification and hybrid power plant. It is accelerating for environmental reasons and for more immediate real-world stuff. I was in India recently, and I was astounded how the electrification of plant there in the last two years is ahead of Europe. China is another major market that is embracing electrification.”

Terex CEO and president John Garrison adds to Hegarty’s comments: “Digitalisation is another huge industry trend: connecting the end-use customer with their dealer and us through telematics platforms. If we are not working via iPads, iPhones, or other digital means, we are also not going to attract young people to our industry.” Terex MP has continued to develop its pioneering work in the industry, recently forming a Digital Solutions Group within Terex MP about six months ago to actively look at digital innovation to help end users and dealers as aggregate crushing and screening plant operators need quality actionable data to improve their operating efficiency. In effect, Terex wishes to help its customers increase their uptime and productivity, producing more tonnes per hour. 

Updated cone crusher range

In line with these strategic decisions, Paul Lilley, sales director, Terex MPS ERA, states: “The basic principles of crushing and screening are still the same, but today’s crushing and screening equipment is designed and built to be more efficient, easier to use, perform consistently, and produce high-quality aggregates at the lowest cost per tonne possible. Terex MPS has renewed the proven Cedarapids MVPX cone crusher range to be more efficient, less costly and to consistently produce quality aggregates.” Lilley adds: “The skills shortage within the quarry industry across the world has meant that skilled operators are in short supply, so Terex has developed the ACE8 control system to ensure quarry operators can easily see how the crusher is performing and that data can be used to make decisions on the crusher operating parameters.”

The Cedarapids MVP450X’s new ACE8 control system includes a bowl float monitor to ensure users can know the performance limits of their application. It has improved design features, such as stronger head design, without any weight increase, simplified upper assembly and base-frame design. It features a hydraulic clearing function using dual direction ‘Tramp Iron Relief’ (TIR) cylinders, which facilitates faster manganese changes and reduced downtime. The hydraulic anti-spin stops unnecessary wear of manganese. 

The new control system helps ensures customers have accurate data immediately, and, importantly, makes it easier for end users to utilize that data and have more control over the final product.

The company states that all MPS equipment is now fully electric, with the most efficient way to power a crushing and screening plant being by mains electricity supply.

A holistic solution to aggregate operations

Another global, US-headquartered giant, Astec, provides a holistic solution to aggregate operations. The company believes that as the global market consolidates, it expects its customers will take on more construction responsibilities. Astec Industries CEO & president Barry Ruffalo states: “We can help them do it. When you can also give those customers enhanced data and digital analytics, it is an even better offer.”

Ruffalo further explains how the company’s ethos and outlook is further helping customers: “In our ‘OneASTEC’ business model, sustainability is identified as a key driver of our success. When I joined Astec and met with customers, I did not get many questions on sustainable solutions. Today, eight out of ten customers ask how we can help them with their sustainability goals. Moving forward, all new products will have a sustainable component to them. We’ve used electric generators for over fifty years, so we will continue to roll sustainable power solutions into our product lines.”

Astec’s new screen has externally mounted vibrators at the end of the tappets for a more aggressive screening action
Astec’s new screen has externally mounted vibrators at the end of the tappets for a more aggressive screening action

Continuing the development of products that fit in with its avowed Rock to Road value chain, Astec has recently launched what the company says is the industry’s first 8ft-wide high-frequency screen. Specifically developed for the processing of fine material, the screen has externally mounted vibrators at the end of the tappets for a more aggressive screening action. This unique design creates a higher G-force and reduces heat load from material to motors when compared to single, centre-mounted vibrators. The design also allows for easier access for maintenance and adjustments and minimizes product contamination in case of leaks.  As with other products, the new screen is powered electrically, either as part of a complete electric system or hybrid line power technology. 

Another development sees Astec expand its TRAC10 cone control system, used on Titan bushing cone crushers, to its Kodiak roller-bearing cone line. The software expansion provides a new, easy-to-use interface for cone crusher customers, with the stand-alone system monitoring crusher operations, providing automated calibration and setting controls and protecting crushers from overload events. TRAC10 also allows producers to run and control multiple crushers at once, can connect to a laptop or smartphone and can be integrated into existing systems. 

Of direct interest to the industry, Astec has recently consolidated its multi-brand offering under the Astec banner. This includes such industry-renowned names as Kolberg-Pioneer, Osborn Engineering, Telsmith, Johnson Crushers International, Astec Mobile Screens and Telestack. 

Astec Industries is also embarking on a major global expansion of its comprehensive product- and linked-services offering across the crushing and screening, material handling, washing and classifying, rock breaker technology, asphalt and concrete sectors.

New modular system provides transferable solution

McLanahan recently added the CMB Cone Crusher to its existing line of crushers. The machine was added as part of McLanahan’s acquisition of CMB International Limited, a manufacturer of crushers, horizontal screens, inclined screens, feeders and conveyors based in Leicestershire, United Kingdom. The CMB Cone Crusher is mounted on a modular chassis as part of McLanahan’s ‘UltraCRUSH’ range to provide a quick setup and an easily transferable solution. 

The UltraCRUSh arrives on site in an almost fully assembled state. Once removed from the shipping container it can be set into place, connected to electrical power and is able to start production. Its modular assembly makes it ideal for moving around one site, or to other sites, to fit an operation’s changing needs. As part of an UltraCRUSH system, the CMB Cone Crusher provides producers with a heavy-duty crushing system that requires minimal maintenance, while producing high outputs. The CMB Cone Crusher features a hydraulic adjustment system that enables the operator to rapidly change the discharge setting with little interruption to production. In addition to the adjustment system, the crusher also features hydraulics for a tramp metal release, automatic reset and an unblocking feature that can clear the crushing chamber in a matter of minutes.

Larger units of the CMB Cone Crusher feature a hydraulically tensioned wedge that provides the correct constant crushing pressure for enhanced performance and productivity. Longer, strong rams allow for larger setting and thicker manganese, providing more crushing hours and production, while limiting unwanted downtime. These larger sizes also feature an increased internal clearance for ease of material discharge, which minimises material build up and reduces potential for damage.

More to come soon?

Given that trade shows are once again happening, with the UK’s Hillhead exhibition held in late June, it could be expected that these would be the main developments in stationary crushing and screening in 2022.However, the bauma exhibition in Munich will soon be held, and as the traditional launch pad for new products in the construction industry, it is highly probable that many new products and solutions will be introduced at this behemoth.

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