A green twist to da Vinci?s cage

How often do we think we?ve made a significant advancement to find that not only has it been done before but many years ago? That?s almost the case here, but not quite.
In this instance, there?s a mix of old ideas and new technologies that together put the recently built Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources at ease.
Altogether there are three things of note ? an old technology revisited in a new way, a new technology purpose-made for this application and the machinery that made it possible.
The old technology is the gabion stone, which comes from the Italian word gabbione, meaning large cage ? or a cage filled with either rocks or dirt often used in construction. 
The gabion basket has been used in construction since the time of Leonardo da Vinci, who designed one for the foundations of the San Marco Castle in Milan, Italy.
{{image2-a:r-w:200}}The new way to use this old technology is by using large and uniform pieces of reclaimed concrete.
?Traditionally the view has been that recycled materials, particularly recycled concrete, really don?t have applications above a nominal 20mm size, whether as road base or as aggregate,? Dayne Steggles, the recycling business development manager at Boral Recycling, explained.
The Newcastle Institute of Energy and Resources wanted reclaimed concrete material used in place of natural stone in its gabion baskets but of a nominal sizing of 120mm. Steggles said it was all about the relationship between the Institute?s core objectives to minimise energy usage in the resources sector and the construction of its new premises in Newcastle.
?So really, that lies at the heart of the Institute?s work,? Steggles said. 
?As a joint facility supported by federal funding and part of the Newcastle University campus? research facility, which contains support for the resources industry to become cleaner and greener, the design was all about using a lower energy product for these gabion baskets with an external wall and drainage address feature.
?The challenge for us was to source the right concrete material in the first instance but then to have a production capability that would shape and manage the big crushing down of concrete to the required sizing.?
According to Steggles, when you?re looking at recycled materials and design paths you need the ability to work as one with the machine manufacturer, machine supplier and the contractor doing the crushing. You need to have a shared view on how to deliver what the customer wants.
?When you visit the building and you walk through the entrance and down the stairs, the gabion baskets stand out more than you would expect because they are innovative and the material speaks for itself,? he said.
One of the standout features of this treatment, as can be seen in the accompanying photos, is that it produced aesthetically pleasing stone shapes because of the uniformity of the crushing. 
?That surprised us and the net benefit of the end application really enhanced the design objective for those dressed gabion baskets,? Steggles added.
{{image3-a:l-w:200}}PROJECT PARTNERSHIPS
The project was undertaken within an existing contract that Muswellbrook-based Mining & Earthmoving Services (MES) had with Boral Recycling for crushing at its Kooragang facility. Steggles worked closely with MES Crushing?s director Michael Nechakoski and Atlas Copco?s Powercrusher product manager Andy Graham. 
Atlas Copco Powercrusher commissioned the Powercrusher PC6 and PC21 track-mounted crushing and screening units and an HCS5515 mobile double-deck screening unit for the job.
?The [PC6] jaw crusher and a screening unit are used in the production of the gabion [drainage wall] material,? Graham said. 
?When they go onto other products they add the [PC21] cone crusher into a closed circuit, so they can reprocess quite a lot of their rock to get fines and small products. It?s an extremely versatile set-up in terms of the throughput range and the spread of different products they are able to produce.?
MES not only works at the Kooragang facility but it also provides facilities maintenance, environmental engineering, employment, earthmoving and construction services to the resources and building industries in New South Wales. In terms of the project, the finished material was supplied to JA Bradshaw, the company sub-contracted for the project that was managed by Cockram.
?What was the stand out feature was that it marked the first custom project in terms of the product requirements that they undertook at our site under that contract,? Steggles explained. 
?So it was really the first opportunity to demonstrate capability on the back of MES and the Powercrusher gear,? Steggles explained.
?We initially undertook a trial for the application and on the back of that they commissioned 1000 tonnes for the end placement of the materials that went into the baskets and the nominal size that was agreed upon was about 80mm to 100mm.?
This was successfully achieved on a primary crush with the Powercrusher PC6 jaw crusher and everyone involved was very pleased with the end product once it was placed in the baskets.
?We felt that there was a good meeting of minds in Atlas Copco and MES, where the customer needs were placed squarely at the front and we were very impressed with both Atlas Copco and MES in their approach to this innovative project,? Steggles said. 
?There was a real focus in resourcing and tracking the job through to supply. So they were just as interested out the gate as they were in the gate with the manufacturing of this product. The customer-focused approach through this job has given us a lot of confidence going forward as we meet innovative design challenges for the ever-growing use of green products.?
{{image4-a:r-w:200}}FUTURE OPPORTUNITIES
Steggles is confident that the success of this project will provide further opportunities for Boral Recycling to undertake more of this type of work. 
?I would say that the capability realised in this project under the existing contract has opened up new doors for our product development to market and there?s no doubt that we will see more use of this,? he said.
?On that basis, I would recommend [the mobile plant and equipment] for other quarry applications ? whether virgin or recycled or source materials or combinations of both ? because the machinery has really demonstrated its benefits from its innovation derived very much from the European experience and we got the benefit from that through an urban design brief such as this.
?In fact, we have already had a number of inquiries and there is a demonstrated or proven capability through commitment to innovation on the part of both Atlas Copco and MES. It?s really positioned us well to take advantage of those opportunities.?
Steggles was particularly complimentary of the mobile gear employed at Boral Recycling?s Kooragang site.
?It?s always rare to see new technology delivering on the pitch,? he remarked. 
?While the technical presentation delivered by Atlas Copco as part of the initial promotional release of the gear was impressive, particularly the benefits relating to the quattro motion of the jaw crusher, to see the results enshrined in the shape, consistency and quality of our primary crushed concrete for a finished application such as the dress gabion baskets was an eye-opener. In addition, the increased yield in tramp steel removal was a pleasant surprise, with both the jaw and cone crushers.
?Overall, our success and our customers? delight with our product innovation for the concrete gabion basket application was underpinned by Atlas Copco?s aftermarket support to MES Crushing & Recycling. Atlas Copco adopted a very supporting approach. Throughout the trial production run right through to final supply, there were a number of tweaks and improvements along the way to get the product we wanted. No problem was too small and our operational team headed up by Michael Holz were impressed with their attendance to site at the drop of a hat.
?In essence,? Steggles concluded, ?it demonstrated to our customers greater possibilities to their commercial benefit derived from Boral Recycling?s product and market development.
?This has been underpinned by our two key strengths, namely our crushing contractor and their supplier of choice for proven next generation mobile crushing and screening plant.? ?

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