River sand is a depleting resource across the globe and mining from the riverbed has been banned in many places. As an important raw material used in construction, there has been a dire need for an alternative to this ever-growing demand.
As a result, Vijay Kosaraju, the managing director of Robo Silicon Pvt Ltd (RSPL), started producing manufactured sand in 2001 to feed the growing demand for sand and aggregates in Hyderabad, in the southwest of India.
RSPL’s pilot project initially produced 55 tonnes per hour (tph) of manufactured sand, as the acceptability was still an issue. The company’s focus was to sell sand to readymix concrete manufacturers in the region.
“I am thankful for the Cement & Building Materials Laboratory, which certified the results showing that manufactured sand is much stronger than river sand,” Kosaraju said.
“Other reports on manufactured sand and published by different bodies promoted its use, as it had good particle shape, perfect gradation, enhanced the performance of high strength concrete, and was readily available, compared to natural sand. The industry players ultimately moved to manufactured sand, and RSPL started selling manufactured sand to some of its prime customers.
“Our end customers were the big infrastructure and readymix concrete (RMC) companies,” Kosaraju said. “Initially, they were hesitant, but eventually accepted the product after witnessing the benefits – like a reduction in the overall cost of operations, cubical shape, high compressive strength, eco- friendliness, and availability at half the cost of river sand.”
After gaining industry acceptance, RSPL opened another 200 tph Metso plant, comprising jaw, cone and Barmac VSI crushers, at Bangalore to meet the demand of the RMC companies.
RSPL quickly expanded and today has 14 operational plants across India, all supplied by Metso. Moreover, RSPL received large-scale orders for the supply of aggregates from Reliance refinery at Jam Nagar and GMR for airport work at Hyderabad and Delhi. At this time, the company was producing 300,000 tonnes of aggregates commercially with Metso equipment.
Possibilities with niche products
“Metso is a reputable brand that has been delivering quality equipment and services to us since the very beginning,” Kosaraju said. “We have been buying equipment from Metso for the past 17 years. The first crusher we bought in 2001 is still in operation.
“A Metso plant may be costly initially, but ultimately one saves more, as production is higher and maintenance costs are low. The sale of a local plant may save some money initially, but given the overall production, maintenance and breakdown analysis, Metso is superior and that is why our 14 sites run Metso plants. Also, we only use Metso original spare parts. This offers better availability.”
RSPL continues to create a niche for itself in the region with its Robo Sand, Rotek Sand, Rotek Aggregates and Rotek Plaster Sand – all produced with Metso equipment. Rotek Plaster Sand is the latest offering from Robotek, the flagship company of RSPL.
“Rotek Plaster Sand (minus 2.36mm) is produced with Metso’s triple-slope screen, which filters the desired product, and Metso’s air classifier, which helps derive plaster sand after the removal of micro-fines from the fines using gravitational, inertial, centrifugal and aerodynamic forces, to efficiently classify materials at cut points ranging from 300 to 75 microns,” Kosaraju said.
“At one of our sites, we installed our first four-stage plant comprising Metso’s jaw, cone, Barmac VSI, Premier TS screen and air classifier to produce 10 different products to accommodate the varied demands of our customers.
“Our target with this plant is to produce 25,000 tonnes of plaster sand per month; the plant currently is not running at full capacity, and we are producing 10,000 tonnes of plaster sand and 40,000 to 45,000 tonnes of aggregates (0–20mm) per month.”
Kosaraju said an increasing push on infrastructure is paving the way for cutting edge technology and trailblazing innovation. By investing in technologically advanced equipment and finding unique ways to fulfil rising demand, RSPL has been able to make a unique selling proposition for itself.
“Investing in the latest technology is a cost-effective and futuristic way of moving infrastructure forward for the nation,” Kosaraju said.