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Automated cone boosts efficiency, uptime


A 145ha limestone operation has raised its output and reduced maintenance costs after installing an automated cone in its secondary crushing circuit.

Tulsa Rock Quarry has boosted plant uptime and crushing efficiency. The 145ha limestone operation is one of six locations owned by the Anchor Stone Company, which has long provided high quality construction aggregates to the Tulsa region in Oklahoma, USA.

Tulsa Rock replaced its older impact crusher with an automated cone crusher in its secondary crushing circuit, leading to major gains in daily output at lower costs per tonne.

“We needed to get away from impact crushing and reduce our maintenance costs and power consumption,” Anchor Stone’s processing engineer Mike Neal said. He added one of the problems with impact crushers is keeping an eye on the primary, constantly monitoring the feed that is sent to the secondary circuit.

“An impactor can easily plug, causing hours of downtime and potential damage to crusher components. We had to open the impactor up every night and inspect it,” he said. 

Neal added that with the new cone, that maintenance downtime is eliminated.  “Quite simply – figuring out what operating costs were before and what they are now – it makes sense to upgrade to an automated cone. We’ve lowered our operating costs and improving our plant uptime,” he said.

Anchor Stone installed a P500 Patriot cone crusher, manufactured by Superior Industries, a single-source, global provider of bulk material processing and handling systems. Neal said the cone was chosen for its innovative design, heavy-duty construction, ease of maintenance, and a versatile and simple automation system.

Superior’s product engineering and in-house automation teams worked closely with Anchor Stone on-site to ensure the the crushing circuit would perform to exact specifications.


“With the latest cone designs, it’s such a benefit to have a new cone crusher in our plant,” Neal said of the P500 Patriot. He added that the operation had always avoided cones as older-style units did not offer tramp relief. “A piece of metal stuck within the cone demanded the dangerous task of cutting it out with a torch,” he said.

Superior Industries’ crushing product champion Mike Schultz said that the Patriot cone’s design and automation ensures daily reliability, and prevents costly damage.

He said the cone’s tramp relief system is designed with fewer accumulators for minimised maintenance. He pointed out that even if “an accumulator fails, the secondary relief valve will provide immediate pressure relief, allowing the crusher to open”.

The inverted design of the tramp release cylinders means the hydraulic cylinder rod seal is not exposed during operation, greatly reducing potential contamination and failure.

Schultz added the cone’s automation package acts as a warning system, alerting operators to conditions such as bowl float, excessive amperage or temperatures, and lubrication or low-flow oil issues.

He said the unit is more robust than the typical cone. “Superior’s engineers have beefed up the strength of the machine with a heavier-duty adjustment ring, base frame, eccentric, and clamp ring.”

The recently installed Patriot P500 cone crusher at the Anchor Stone Company’s Tulsa Rock Quarry.


The Patriot cone is equipped with Superior’s Vantage Automation system. Anchor Stone plant operator/electrician Joey Doolittle described the automation system as user-friendly. “The touchscreen is simple to operate, and we can train a new person on it quickly,” he said. 

Doolittle said one of the Vantage Automation system’s best features is its sensor communication network that accesses a standard four-wire cable system from the cone crusher to all auxiliary systems. “This streamlines set-up, diagnostics, and troubleshooting. All the sensors wire back to a junction box on the cone, and we had to run one cable from that junction box to the PLC, which cut our wiring time and allows ease of maintenance over time,” he explained.

Doolittle said other systems are more complicated and run dozens of conductor wires from the PLC to each component.

Neal said the biggest benefit of the new crushing circuit was making setting adjustments on the fly. “This gives us flexibility when we have changes in material feed and allows us to easily tweak material processing within all circuits of the plant,” he said.

The auto-feed function, Neal said, is another advantage. “It takes the worries out of cone operation. Regardless of changes in the feed, the system will always maintain the desired levels within the cone – and it will maintain the desired amperage on the motor to ensure it’s operating at highest efficiency.”

As a veteran processing engineer, Neal said that by maintaining the level and amperage, you achieve the desired throughput. “This cone runs all day, every day, in and out – and that’s a big benefit right there.” •

For more about Superior Industries equipment, visit or the Tricon Equipment website:

This article appears in the October issue of Quarry Magazine.

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