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Bullet-proof workhorses’ impress in the west

WA Limestone is a family-owned Western Australian quarry business that has been operating for more than 40 years. It is one of the west’s largest construction materials suppliers, operating numerous quarries in the Perth metropolitan area and Pilbara region in WA’s north-west.

As per its name, WA Limestone’s products and services include crushed limestone to various sizes and up to 30 more different raw materials products, including armoured rock for marine applications, construction sands, crushed products for drainage, concrete and asphalt applications, metal dust, rail ballast, roadbase and rip rap.

WA Limestone has been involved in infrastructure projects along the western seaboard, supplying to mining, road and rail projects, sub-divisions and marine works.

The company also runs premix concrete operations in Bibra Lake and Mandurah. It has just opened a premix concrete batch plant in Neerabup, 36km north-west of the Perth CBD, and is building a premix plant in the inner Perth suburb of Bayswater.

WA Limestone also offers services in haulage transport, plant and equipment hire and contract crushing and screening.

The last two services utilise mobile crushers and screens, which form an important part of WA Limestone’s business. Its mobile fleet works on its limestone and phosphate operations in the Perth metro area and its three larger quarries in the state’s north-west – in Roebourne, Onslow and Port Hedland, up to 1600km away from Perth. These operations provide armour stone for marine infrastructure, roadbase, rail ballast, and ceiling aggregates, and assist numerous projects throughout the north-west ranges.

“We operate in a radius of 600 to 800km,” Steven Della Bona told Quarry of his company’s Pilbara operations. “That gives us the full coverage in the north-west.”

Metro and north-west operations

For its metropolitan operations, WA Limestone has been utilising Striker HQ and HQR series tracked horizontal impact crushers to turn out 19mm, 14mm and 10mm limestone products.

In the north-west, it has put to work Striker CQ and CQR series cone crushers.

{{quote-A:R-W:250-Q:"Our production performance is equally as good, if not better in certain applications within Australia,"-WHO:Neil McKenna, Business Development Director for Striker Crushing}}“We have them in a hard rock, granite, roadbase, rail ballast and aggregate configuration,” Della Bona said. “We’re talking about a very typical hard rock quarry-type product, from which we’d make concrete.”

WA Limestone’s relationship with Striker Crushing dates back to the formation of the latter in 1998, and Della Bona personally knew Striker’s founder Craig Pedley before that. He said Striker has been WA Limestone’s preferred supplier of its mobile crushers for the past eight years.

“Striker has been our preferred brand basically because of the back-up and the spare parts, and the location of Striker’s main office from ours – they’re based around 5km from us [in Henderson],” he said. “I guess the simplicity of the machines compared to other brands is also a factor. Because we run these machines in the north-west of Australia, they’re a good make, a good workhorse.

“The electrics on them are pretty good, they’re not as sophisticated or as complicated as other brands, so it’s easy to get parts, that’s a big advantage in remote areas.

“Their machines are probably on the leading edge of technology, but they’re not overly cumbersome. They’re all pretty simple machines to operate, and it’s very quick to get them up and running. They are a lot less complicated than some of the other stuff that’s on the market. Maybe it’s just me, I’m a little bit old school. I just like basic machines that can do the job, and especially when you go into different applications, you need a bullet-proof machine.”

‘R’ is for recycling

The latest additions to WA Limestone’s mobile fleet are two HQR1312 impact crushers in Perth and six CQR400 cone crushers in the Pilbara region. There is also an earlier impactor model – the HQ1112 – in the Perth metro area, bringing the number of impactor-type machines to three. Della Bona said the HQR machines have each run uninterrupted for an average duration of 5000 to 10,000 hours, with maintenance conducted at 10,000 to 12,000 hours. The CQR400s have run uninterrupted for averages of between 9000 and 12,000 hours.

The CQR400s and HQR1312s are virtually identical in specs and features to Striker’s CQ400 and HQ1312 crushers. The difference is the ‘R’ in the name – which stands for “recycling screen” and “returns” conveyor.

According to Neil McKenna, the business development and dealer manager for Striker Crushing, the “R kit allows the standard machine to become a closed circuit crushing system that will produce a sized final product”.

{{image3-a:r-w:300}}“These machines are generally used to produce a particular sized roadbase or sub-base coarse material, eg a -40mm roadbase,” McKenna said.

The CQR400 features a 3m x 1.5m single-deck vibrating screen with a 1200mm wide product conveyor fitted beneath. Oversized feed is discharged to a 500mm wide troughed screen to cone returns conveyor. This is in addition to a standard 1200mm wide, troughed belt, forward product conveyor with a fixed tail section and a discharge height of 2166mm.

Similarly, the HQR1312 is equipped with a 4.3m x 1.5m single-deck vibrating screen, aided by a 1200mm wide conveyor that also discharges to a 500mm screen oversize transfer conveyor. This is on top of a standard 1200mm wide, troughed belt conveyor with a fixed tail section and a discharge height of 2126mm, and a hydraulic folding 600mm wide side conveyor with a discharge height of 2100mm.

McKenna said a quarry producer would use the CQR400 over the CQ400 to “avoid having two separate machines do the same job.

According to Striker specs, the CQ400 and the CQR400 tracked plants, both fitted with a Striker CS 300 cone crusher, have outputs of 400 tonnes per hour (tph). The HQ1312 and the HQR1312 plants, equipped with a HD1312 impact crusher, have outputs of up to 500 tph. The HQ1112 that Della Bona alluded to – and also its counterpart in the HQR1112 – have production rates of up to 350 tph.

The CQR and HQR plants’ ETRAC powerpacks are also designed to reduce capital costs and save energy. The CQR400 is equipped with a 315kW Caterpillar C13 Acert Tier 3-rated diesel engine. It also features load- sensing hydraulic pumps to maximise fuel efficiency. Development is under way at Striker to eventually include the option of a Tier 4-type engine on the CQR400.

Electric/hydraulic option

The HQR1312 has the option of a Tier 4-type engine and is also available in diesel/hydraulic or electric/hydraulic configurations.

“The diesel option uses a Cat C13 engine,” McKenna said, “while the electric option takes power from the existing electrical power source on the client’s site and uses this to direct-drive the crusher and hydraulic powerpack, which generates energy for things like the feeder, conveyor and set-up operation.

{{image4-a:r-w:300}}“The electric unit still has a small diesel/ hydraulic powerpack fitted to the machine which is only utilised to power the undercarriage when moving the machine around the site.”

Steven Della Bona said he was happy with the fuel efficiency of the CQRs and HQRs across WA Limestone’s operations. The company’s HQRs are diesel/hydraulic, while the CQRs are hydraulic/electric.

“Being electric, we’re pleased with the fuel economy,” he said of the CQR400s. “We have the CQRs in a big crushing circuit, and they’re just one big gen-set, there’s no individual engines, and they’re all controlled electronically.

“The CQRs are all fully interlocked, which is a huge advantage. The best way to say it is that Striker has developed a tailor-made machine to the application.”

WA Limestone’s CQR400s are not fitted with ‘R’ kits but its HQRs are. Della Bona said the kits gave the company’s operations “a lot more flexibility. Instead of mounting a screen, you use the recycling kit for impact crushing. It’s only a small screen at the end of the day but it does the job”.

He added the kit was “definitely a factor” in the company’s purchase. “Just the application of what you can do on that machine,” Della Bona said, “it takes the place of two machines – of a screen and an impact crusher.”

He said having robust machines, particularly in the north-west, that could endure the heat and the dust was also an important consideration.

“Dust is a huge part of the application – our crushers need an electrical system that can handle the heat and the dust. Heat and dust really kill electrical systems. The Striker machines probably have the best electrical dust management systems.”

Dust suppression on the CQRs and HQRs is concentrated in two places: a crusher discharge chute and at the top of the product conveyor.

Longstanding relations

Della Bona said the CQR400s and HQR1312s were a worthy option for quarry operators or mobile service contractors on the lookout for tracked crushing plant. “It depends on the market that you’re in,” he said. “If you own a quarry, or a remote quarry operation, and you want a good, straightforward, honest machine, I would recommend both machines. The CQR400 and HQR1312 are quality machines, there’s no doubt about it.”

{{image5-a:r-w:300}}Neil McKenna said there had been positive feedback from WA Limestone about the CQR400s and the HQR1312s. “Striker and WA Limestone have had a very close business and personal relationship for 20 years,” McKenna said. “This comes from the success they have had with the Striker mobile crushers and the modular quarry plant we built for them in Onslow.”

McKenna estimated that there are 50 CQR units operating in Australia. “We would have around 150 to 180 CQ machines operating in Australia – from iron ore mining to recycling applications, including the quarry industry.

“The HQs and HQRs are certainly our most popular product range and there would be in excess of 200 machines currently operating in Australia, mainly used for crushing limestone, basalt, sandstone and concrete demolition materials.”

McKenna said producers should consider equipment from Striker Crushing, a home-grown company with a manufacturing base in Malaysia, over American, European and international brands of mobile crushing and screening plant. The company prides itself on its record of reliability, the simplicity and maintenance of its products, its compliance with Australian standards and its after market support within Australia.

“Our production performance is equally as good, if not better in certain applications within Australia, compared to brands that may struggle in some of our harsher environments,” McKenna said. “Our designs have also been created from the requirements of the Australian industries that we work in.”

Striker Crushing products are distributed in Australia by the Onetrak group. Onetrak has recently reopened for business in Bunbury, in southwest WA, and its other equipment and parts facilities are in New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania.

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