Features, Industry News

Water solutions with an eye on safety are CDE’s speciality


Daniel Webber, Regional Manager of CDE for Australasia, shares some of his experience on efficient and safe management of sand washing plants in quarries.

How did 2022 look for CDE?

This year was very successful for CDE, it couldn’t have gone any better with new and existing projects that we are involved in. Like the rest of the industry, we had some challenges with inflationary pressures such as increased raw material costs, and we worked diligently to reduce the impact on our valued customers. As a business we decided to focus on what we could do to minimise the effect on them whilst still offering innovative solutions. In 2022, internally we focused on operational efficiencies. So, while it’s been a challenging year with some of the economic situation, it’s been another successful year for us and the processes we’re delivering to our projects in the region. We have five new CDE plants across the country in the construction and demolition sector and in natural materials sector we delivered a solution for Walker Quarries in New South Wales.

What were some highlights for the team?

The growth and development of our local team. We have doubled our boots on the ground this year and we’ve also invested in over half a million worth of new spare parts stock in the region. It’s a significant investment for our business and the right one for our customers, and we’re proud to be delivering that. We’ve also signed a deal with Rino Recycling for a highly integrated and automated waste processing plant in Pinkenba in Brisbane. This will be commissioned in late 2023. We’re really excited about that as well.

CDE has been very active in the sand washing and waste recycling space. But do you have any other areas of focus in the quarry industry?
We’re always going to be strong in sand washing – wet processing is our sole focus. It’s the core and the backbone of our business. So that’s the first thing when people think about CDE in the quarrying space and we’re going to continue to be at the forefront of that. What’s emerging now is a lot more focus on tailings management downstream, and the responsible use of water. There is opportunity in tailings thickening, dewatering and maximising water recovery. We expect that trend to continue in 2023.

Based on your experience, how can quarry operators extend the life of their equipment and parts?

I think one of the big things is not to stress their assets. There’s always a temptation to push equipment beyond its limits. And processing equipment will generally run outside of its design capacity. But it will generally come at the cost of uptime and maintenance. This comes right back to that purchasing decision and selecting equipment with an eye to operate in its optimal zone. You shouldn’t buy a 100 tonnes-an-hour sand plant and run it above capacity and expect it to run flawlessly. It should be operated below its design capacity, and you are going to get a lot better life out of the asset.

There’s always a temptation once a capital decision has been made to rush out and buy something that is available right now but sometimes the quickest solution isn’t the right solution. I think people need to get past that temptation and think about the lifecycle of the asset. Maybe waiting for the right equipment takes a couple of months, but it will mean a lot less downtime and optimal performance in the long run.

In addition to your core products line, do you provide additional services to the industry?

Yes. What a lot of people probably don’t know is that we can facilitate a lot of washing and scrubbing testing. That can involve testing
a particular grade of sand to see if it’s good enough quality to produce specialist products as glass filter, frac sand and the likes. Or it can be just the production of larger quantity of marketing samples to drum up off-take. So, if people are trying to add value to their resources, they can pick up the phone and we can certainly help with sample processing and determining what products can be made from their resources.

From a safety perspective, are there dangerous practices in the industry that you think can be avoided? Please explain.

For me, it always comes back to the basics. With electrical equipment, tests and tags, as well as strong lock/out isolation procedure are essential. Also, with wash plants, there will be times when you must work from heights. I think people these days are very good with discipline when it comes to working from heights, but the one thing that is sometimes overlooked is dropping from heights and the risk of falling objects pose for below the work front – securing tools and establishing. An exclusion zone below should become second nature just like the use of a safe elevated work platform and harness. Everyone should get home safe, every day.

Do you have any other advice for quarry operators?

Ongoing training of operators and managers is vital, and so is staying up to date with technology. I also think that engaging experts is vital. Social media has infiltrated not only our personal lives but our working lives as well. There’s a lot of content online. Some of it is good, but some of it is only skin deep and people can get led astray if they are only referencing that data, which might not even be practical to our local market. There are a lot of excellent, independent consultants in the quarrying industry across Australia, and from what I’ve seen, we have some of the best professionals in the world. So, get good advice and you’re on the right way to making good decisions for your business.

For more information about CDE’s services, visit: www.cdegroup.com

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