Crushing

Family business ‘aces’ it with upsized scalper

Quarrying runs through the Lewis family’s veins; its involvement in the industry dates back to the early 1980s. The family business started as a small road construction business, winning materials with a dozer and loader.

Brian Lewis, the owner of Lewis Quarry, recalls that crushing rock began with a jaw crusher comprising a feed of 76cm x 38cm (30” x 15”). Since then, the business’ operations have continued to expand and the equipment has been upgraded to meet changing needs.

“When we were starting out we grew slowly and never had any big equipment, but every time we did have to buy something new, it was always the next size up,” Lewis said. “Over a period of a few decades, we’ve got to where we are now.”

For the past 23 years, Lewis Quarry has operated its own site in the Clarence Valley, in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales. It is a hard sandstone quarry, which has to be drilled and blasted, with a footprint of about 15ha to 17ha. Under the current development application, its output per annum is capped at 246,000 tonnes.

“[In 2017], with the equipment we have at the moment, we crushed our quota in six months,” Lewis said.

The quarry services the local community and provides material for everything from riverbank protection rock to roadbases.

In recent years, construction materials demand has increased with the advent of the Pacific Highway project and, as a result, Lewis Quarry has had to upgrade its equipment once again. It formed a relationship with Lincom Equipment “quite a few years back” and has owned and operated various stackers and crushers previously.
“Then they came up with the Powerscreen Warrior 2400, which was exactly what we needed,” Lewis said. The Warrior 2400 has played a major role in enhancing the efficiency of the site’s operations.

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Triple-shaft technology

The Warrior 2400 has been specially designed for large-scale operators in the quarrying and mining sectors, and is capable of handling larger feed sizes and throughputs.

It features a heavy-duty incline screen with a high amplitude triple-shaft drive mechanism, lending it to screening, scalping, two- or three-way splitting and stockpiling materials.

“The Warrior 2400 is different to everything else on the market,” said David McDermott, the area sales manager for Lincom on the east coast of Australia.

“It’s the only scalper with triple-shaft technology, which means we can make it more aggressive. You can also adjust it to fit any application.”

It’s a sentiment shared by Lewis. “There’s no comparison with other equipment. When we had two screens in the system we had to be very careful because we could overload them and we’d have to spend an hour trying to dig them out. But the Warrior won’t really let you do that,” he said.

“Basically, the feed log regulates the flow and once the material gets above a certain weight, it just slows down or stops. In screening that’s crucial. Because it’s such a big screen, I’d hate to have to dig it out. The mere fact that the system can actually control the feed is invaluable.”

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Responsive service

One of the other major selling points for Lewis Quarry was Lincom’s after-market service.

Because of their existing relationship, Lewis knew what to expect, and he hasn’t been let down. “You never have to worry about whether there’ll be back-up if something goes wrong.”

Lincom’s service is personalised, which makes it more responsive to calls for help, according to Lewis. He compares it with previous experiences he’s had with large multinational companies: they were less engaged with his business’ needs and, as a result, it was difficult to get quick resolution when something went wrong.

“If you’re in trouble, Lincom get you out of trouble,” Lewis said. “The back-up is brilliant – we can’t complain at all.

“And they [Lincom] keep a hell of a lot of parts, whereas some other manufacturers want to charge you freight from overseas.”

The Warrior’s capacity has improved productivity, which has led to more efficient crushing capabilities and, ultimately, reduced Lewis Quarry’s costs.

“In the past, we needed two scalpers to keep up with the jaw. Now we have the Warrior, we can manage to do with one screen what used to take two screens to handle. So it’s an efficiency thing with regards to both fuel and wear and tear,” Lewis said.

Lincom worked closely with Lewis Quarry to understand its specific requirements and provide the best solutions.

“Lewis Quarry needed big tonnage for the Pacific Highway project and the Warrior is the biggest scalper on the market,” McDermott said. “It is 6m x 1.8m on both decks, top and bottom.”

Running the bigger equipment has also allowed Lewis Quarry to reduce its number of on-site operators.

“We only have four full-time employees in the quarry and we often utilise our fourth employee on truck driving or some other job,” said Lewis.

As of mid-2018, Lewis Quarry was processing about 7000 tonnes of material per day. Once the Pacific Highway is finished in another two years, “then we’ll revert back to a quiet life,” Lewis said.

“And the Warrior will be able to cope with anything that comes along.”

As for the Lewis family, the plan is to continue quarrying for many years. Brian’s sons already work in the business and, with the quarry still on its original cut, he predicts there’s a lot of life left in the site.

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By Tim Robertson and Damian Christie

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