When an ageing crusher began to fail, construction materials supplier Hanson faced the prospect of a long, expensive plant closure to remedy the problem. But by opting for an OEM’s “reborn” solution, the operation was up and running in just two days – and more efficient than ever.
Located 175 kilometres south of Perth, the Bunbury quarry and processing plant has been supplying aggregates to Western Australia’s south-west region since 2000.
One of more than 60 Australian quarries operated by the building and construction materials company Hanson, the plant’s products for concrete, asphalt, road sealing and drainage are in demand among both public and private sector clients.
“Our target market is anyone in the south-west who is utilising rock,” says site manager Durand Bembridge. “Because there are only two basalt quarries in the region, the products that we extract are in demand, and we supply an area stretching from Perth right through to Albany [about 340 kilometres to the south-east].”
Hanson is a part of the global HeidelbergCement Group and the Bunbury quarry is one of the cornerstones of its operations in the region. With Western Australia’s economy increasingly buoyant due to a resurgence in mining, the demand for Hanson’s products is expected to remain strong in coming years.
So, when problems were detected with the plant’s main cone crusher unit, it was crucial for Hanson to find a cost- and time-effective solution.
Kyle North, who was site manager at the time, said the situation unfolded when a maintenance team was working on the 19-year-old Sandvik H4000 cone crusher.
While replacing the step bearing assembly, the team noticed scoring on the main shaft. On closer inspection, it was discovered the shaft had significant stress fractures.
North was eager to maintain productivity and so made the decision to order a replacement main shaft from Europe and use the fractured main shaft for the 12 weeks it would take for the replacement to arrive.
However, during reinstallation, significant cracking was also discovered in the bottom shell of the crusher, suggesting problems with the entire unit.
Hanson then had several less than favourable options to choose from: shut the plant for a time-consuming crusher rebuild; completely replace the crushing plant with a new crusher; or wait for a new main shaft and hope a catastrophic failure did not occur.
A ‘reborn’ solution
It was then that the local Sandvik team proposed another alternative – trying a Sandvik “reborn” crusher solution.
Doug Turnbull, the business line manager for Sandvik’s crushing and screening products in the Asia and Pacific region, says the concept involves swapping an old Sandvik crusher for a new replacement that perfectly fits the existing plant infrastructure.
“With a reborn solution, we take the five main components of the crusher and change old for new,” Turnbull said. “Provided it is in good condition, all the plant infrastructure stays in place, including the lube tank, the motor, the foundations and the electrics.”
Unlike rebuild and new build options, which require long stoppages, the reborn solution is a plug-in option that requires only a relatively short stoppage.
North said he was sceptical when he initially heard about the solution. Sandvik had a reborn CH440 crusher unit in Australia that it could provide Hanson and the price was far lower than the cost of rebuilding
“The two biggest drawcards for us were that it made commercial sense and reduced downtime within the operation,” North said. “That and the fact Sandvik had something available that could be utilised at short notice.”
After sourcing capital for the solution, Hanson gave the green light for the reborn solution to be installed in mid-2018 – becoming the first Sandvik reborn crusher recipient in Australia.
“It was a painless process, to be honest,” North said. “We had a crane on-site and we pulled the old crusher out in the morning and had the new crusher in by the afternoon. Two days later we were up and running. It was certainly well co-ordinated by both sides.”
A year on, Hanson is delighted with the solution and the resultant rise in productivity.
“Because the old crusher was getting tired, we were having to de-rate the tonnes per hour through it at the very end,” North said. “With the reborn, we can run the crusher at full capacity for the full available hours of the day. The crushing chamber is also slightly bigger and so there’s been quite a significant uplift on tonnes per hour.”
Hanson was also impressed with the solution at a corporate level, and asked Sandvik to further explain the reborn solution to a meeting of Australian executives in Sydney. North credited the success of the experience to the commitment of the Sandvik sales team.
“The local team in Tawnie Herrington and her colleague Jaimie McGlen were exceptional in the way that they treated us,” he said.
Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology is a business area within the Sandvik Group and a global leading supplier of equipment and tools, service and technical solutions for the mining and construction industries. Its application areas include rock drilling, rock cutting, crushing and screening, loading and hauling, tunnelling, quarrying, and breaking and demolition.
Source: Sandvik Mining & Rock Technology