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Tracked crusher suits tough Top End conditions

Top End

 

A ferocious track-mounted crusher has been helping to build key infrastructure across the Northern Territory and Western Australia, thanks to the expertise of Precisionscreen. 

Since early 2000, Top End company Allan King & Sons Construction has provided various sizes of sand, gravel and aggregates through its own quarries and gravel leases.

It also specialises in bulk earthworks, drainage and flood mitigation works, concrete works, maintenance works, mine works and road construction. Allan King & Sons originated in Katherine, Northern Territory before it expanded its operations to Darwin, where its head office is now based.

Johnny Park, workshop and service manager for Allan King & Sons, has been capably serving the crushing and screening industry for about 15 years and has grown an intimate knowledge of Precisionscreen’s benefit to Australian businesses. 

Since getting its hands on Precisionscreen’s Trackcrush PV380 VSI, Allan King & Sons has added even more productivity to its impressive fleet than was advertised by Precisionscreen, according to Park. 

“We have comfortably – and I mean comfortably – put 400 tonnes per hour through it,” he said. “It’s given us the ability to produce more aggregates with less headaches, making our whole job easier.”

With many Precisionscreen units in its mobile fleet, Allan King & Sons sees the manufacturer as a first port of call. 

“We’re always growing,” Park said. “We’ve got three jaws, three cones, a VSI, 12 screens, a few track stacks and many multiple diggers and loaders. So, we will always talk to Precisionscreen about units.” 

KEY TO CUSTOMER SERVICE 

From the original inquiry with Precisionscreen through to having the VSI on its way to Allan King & Sons’ site near Darwin, the process took no more than three days. 

Precisionscreen general manager Paul Kerr says the key to the company’s effective customer service has been its transparency. 

“When people are under the pump, we know how important it is that they, at least, get information back,” Kerr said. “We keep information and communication flowing which allows people to make more comprehensive decisions. We have an automated system where, if we have a delay with a supplier, our client immediately gets an email or an SMS.”

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Park had to commission his own VSI once it arrived on-site. This wouldn’t be the norm but considering the restrictions and Park’s extensive history working with Precisionscreen, he was willing and able. 

This wasn’t a one-off either. Kerr said a major advantage of Precisionscreen’s service is the network of capable operators across Australia who know the brand and work together to maintain its reputation. 

“We have such a strong network because we buy, make and employ locally, which has given us a pretty good network of people who can support our machines in difficult times,” Kerr said.

“Because we’ve manufactured in Australia over the years, we’ve put a lot of people through our own factory, so we have an ad hoc support network of people who’ve been associated with the company.”

THE POWER OF THE PV380

Using a Caterpillar C15 engine, the PV380 boasts up to 447kW (or 600 horsepower).

Kerr said this was by design, not just for the sake of producing a powerful product. 

“Part of the reason for the engine selection is to maximise fuel efficiency. By giving it more power, we can run the crusher at the correct speed to manage its output and consumption of fuel,” Kerr said.

“A lot of our design ethos comes from knowing what it’s like working in very remote areas and trying to design machines and systems that allow for that. So, the fuel burn isn’t just an environmental constraint, it’s about cost of operation, particularly in remote areas.”

Park said his team were naturally apprehensive of any change to their routine but it didn’t take long for them to realise the benefit of an extra unit. 

“They were a little bit off to start with,” Park said. “They didn’t understand why we needed it and saw it as just another headache, another machine that they had to look after.

“We’ve been making fine crushed rock, sealing aggregates and concrete aggregates for the past 10 years at least and we hadn’t needed one. But we were always on the limit. 

“So, we decided to go ahead and try this VSI, and now that they’ve been running it for 700 to 800 hours – as long as they do the basic maintenance and start it up in the morning – they’re very happy with it.”

The maintenance is certainly basic, Park added. With the touch of a lever, an operator has access to the inside of the crusher and can carry out any maintenance necessary. 

“Obviously with any crusher, with a conveyor going in and out, you’ve got maintenance with skirts and so on. That’s all quite easy with this machine,” Park said. 

“We’re having a good run. We’re getting 400 to 500 hours out of a set of tips before we need to change them.”

Kerr said the experience of owning Precisionscreen products is highly considered throughout the design process. As an Australian manufacturer, Precisionscreen understands what works for its customers. 

“It’s designed to be easily serviceable. We think, ‘If I was the guy with the spanner, how do we make it easy enough that it gets done regularly to allow the machine’s effectiveness to be maximised for the client?’” Kerr said. 

“Our ethos is: ‘If we make it too hard for someone to do something, they won’t do it’. That comes back to our motto ‘Simplicity without compromise’.

“When we build machines at Precisionscreen, we’re not building them to be consumed in five to seven years, we’re building them for a lifetime. We had a guy ring up this week for a part we built in 1991, and that’s the kind of longevity we’re after.”

HOMEWORK AND HORSEPOWER

With any key piece of materials handling equipment, everyone should do their homework first, to ensure a machine suits an application. Park said he did the very same and advises anyone to ask around about the true effectiveness of the PV380.

“Talk to people who’ve had one, talk to people who’ve trialled one, talk to people who own one, and I don’t think you’ll find a bad report,” Park said. “They provide – as [Precisionscreen founder] Harold Kerr would say – simplicity without compromise.”

Homework and horsepower were all it took to convince Park that this was the machine for him. 

“Horsepower, personal knowledge of the machine and speaking to the person who had it on hire before us who gave it a great write-up. He had absolutely no problems at all,” he said. 

“As a bit of an insurance policy, we took it on a hire to buy policy but we were very happy with it from day one and we had every intention of buying it, which we did.”

 

This article appears in the August edition of Quarry Magazine

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