Regulation News

Mobile crushers at the Japanese frontline

Metso?s mobile crushing and screening units are in the frontline in the demanding reconstruction efforts in Japan, after the nation was ravaged by the biggest earthquake and tsunami in its recorded history. Tracked, mobile Lokotracks are the quickest way to boost aggregate production ? an estimated 200 million tonnes will be required over the next decade.

?In the Tohoku district, demand for aggregates is now clearly exceeding production capacity. Even old quarries are being reopened to quickly meet the demand,? says Isamu Yamamoto, the chief secretary of the Japanese Crushed Stone Association.

?In the present economic situation, Japanese contractors cannot afford nor have the time to invest in stationary applications. Therefore, in terms of economy and time, mobile units are the only way to quickly pick up the production,? he adds.

A severe, 8.9 magnitude earthquake hit the Pacific coast of Japan, 400 kilometres northeast of Tokyo, in the early afternoon of 11 March, 2011. Buildings, ships and cars were swept away by a tsunami wall of water higher than 20 metres. More than 20,000 people died, many of whom are still missing.

In the first year, work to repair basic infrastructure, including the road network, was carried out. The actual reconstruction of coastal residential areas is about to begin. The tsunami also left behind huge masses of concrete debris and wooden structures that are now being recycled.


The Goto-Saikosyo company operates a quarry in the Ohzuchi town area, about a kilometre from the Pacific coast where the tsunami hit hardest.

Before the earthquake, the main end product of the company was silica for the local steel mill, produced in a stationary quarry. After the tsunami, demand for road base aggregates grew very fast.

?We normally produced some 90,000 tonnes of aggregates per year, and now, the same amount is required in a month. The only way to meet the demand was to invest in mobile equipment,? says Goto Rikizou, President of Goto-Saikosyo.

The first two Lokotracks, an LT96 jaw plant and an ST3.5 mobile screen, sold by Metso?s distributor UBE Techno Eng Co Ltd, arrived at the site in July 2011. They will be followed in 2012 by the LT200HP cone plant and LT7150 vertical shaft impactor plant.

Today, 70 per cent of the production is generated by the stationary plant, and 30 per cent using the Lokotrack mobile process.

?We chose Metso because of our close relationship with our local distributor,? Goto Rikizou says.

Imai Noriyuki, plant manager of Goto-Saikosyo, explains the rapid change of end product needs:
?In the nine months after the tsunami, we concentrated on producing road base materials needed to rebuild the local infrastructure. From now on, the focus will be more on end products for concrete, as the reconstruction of buildings is being started.?

According to Noriyuki, the two coming Lokotracks will guarantee the high cubicity and quality of the end products.

?We are happy with the first two Lokotracks. Our feed material, with its high silica content, has been a challenge for the jaw wear parts. By changing the wear profile we hope to extend the lifetime,? he adds.


The coastal city of Rikuzen Takada was among the areas hardest hit by the tsunami. Most of the coastal, residential area was wiped away by the masses of water. Today, the beach line next to the Pacific Ocean is a huge recycling area, packed with material stocks and recycling equipment.

In September 2011, Nishio Rentol launched a three-year project aimed at recycling all the concrete blocks collected from the destroyed housing nearby. The rented equipment includes a Lokotrack LT105 jaw plant, equipped with a magnetic separator, and a Lokotrack LT1100 cone plant.

?The feed we process can include anything from steel reinforcement to glass and wood, because it?s collected from destroyed houses. Therefore, some manual sorting is required. We have no problems processing it, because Lokotracks can well be rated as the number one machines in the world,? says Mori Teruka from Yamazaki Machinery, which is in charge of the mechanical support of machinery on-site.

?Therefore, I recommend Metso?s Loko-tracks to everybody.?

The only challenge Nishio Rentol has relates to the height of the feed pile. If it exceeds five metres, some natural burning of concrete may happen.

?The purity of the end product after the twin process with the Lokotrack is so good that it can be recirculated at a nearby cement factory,? Ishii Koujiro, operator of Nishio Rentol highlights.

Tohoku Sekizai Kogyo runs a quarry in Tome, 50km inland from the tsunami area, refining slate and sandstone into high quality aggregates for roads and concrete. The company?s fleet includes stationary crushers and three Metso Lokotracks.

?Mobile units provide Japanese customers with a safe and economical solution. If the high aggregates demand caused by the tsunami comes to an end, we can easily sell the mobile plants. In Japan, we also pay less tax on mobile units, thus adding business economy,? notes president Miura Masaaki.

?With Metso machinery, we can secure both high performance and excellent end-product quality ? even when processing difficult feed like slate. A good distributor guarantees quick service and spares availability, which is a big plus for us,? adds director Miura Masataka.
The next addition to Tohoku Sekizai?s Lokotrack fleet will be the ST272 mobile screen.

Source: Metso

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