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CDE plant upgrade boosts productivity at Campbell Contracts

Overview of Campbell Contracts’ Letterbailey Quarry with the CDE AquaCycle thickener
Overview of Campbell Contracts’ Letterbailey Quarry with the CDE AquaCycle thickener

AquaCycle water-management solution delivers six-figure boost in savings and new revenue

FOR nearly 40 years, family-owned Campbell Contracts have been extracting sand and gravel from their Letterbailey Quarry in Co. Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. More recently, in response to market demand, the company commenced blasting to increase the supply of its sand, gravel, decorative gravel, crushed rock, rock fill, and screened topsoil.

In 2019, the Campbell family partnered with CDE to help them to grow the business and diversify their portfolio of high-quality quarried aggregates. The final solution allowed the company to process three new materials it previously categorized as waste from its quarrying operations: clay-bound sand and gravel, primary scalpings, and crushed rock fines.


Increased tonnage, however, and subsequent pond maintenance resulting from Campbell Contracts expanding their operations put additional pressure on the availability of labour on site. In pursuit of a solution, a detailed site audit conducted by CDE engineers revealed pond cleaning was consuming up to 15% of total operational hours and that improved water-management practices would help to alleviate labour pressures.

Following a competitive tender process, CDE proposed their AquaCycle thickener for primary stage water management to efficiently manage silt content and address the shortcomings typically associated with settling ponds.

Delivering competitive advantage to their customers, CDE’s AquaCycle accelerates return on investment by maximizing production efficiency, improving output product quality, and reducing water and energy costs.

Traditional wash plants use a series of ponds to recycle water and for the natural settlement of suspended solids and silts. As wash plant technology has advanced and tonnages have increased, the area needed for settlement ponds has dramatically increased and these are often a source of significant operational and logistical challenges.

Accounting for the increase in material throughput alongside fuel and labour costs, ongoing pond management costs £5 per tonne on average.

CDE’s technical pre-sales manager, William Melanophy, said: ‘We consistently invest in research and development with the aim of enhancing the capabilities of our water-management and recycling equipment, and the AquaCycle – a single, compact and user-friendly unit that can be applied to high and low tonnages across many markets – is at the forefront of this effort.’

An alternative to water extraction and the costly process of pumping water to the plant, CDE’s AquaCycle minimizes water consumption by ensuring up to 90% of process water is recycled for immediate recirculation.

After feed material has been washed and classified, waste is sent to the AquaCycle thickener tank. Here, a small amount of polyelectrolyte flocculant is added to the water via an automatic dosing station which forces fine particles to settle on the bottom of the thickener tank. It helps to maximize the settlement of solids in the smallest possible space as waste sludge is thickened and discharged to the holding pond, resulting in a lower total volume of material being sent to the pond, which drives down maintenance costs and manual labour requirements.

CDE business development manager Fergal Campbell said: ‘Our AquaCycle solution pumps directly to final remediation areas, meaning sludge does not have to be handled or transported. As well as increasing operational efficiency, it has helped to reduce labour and silt-management costs while also extending pond life. This allows the Campbell Contracts quarrying division to better manage its labour resource by redirecting its team to high-priority and value-adding tasks.’

Within the first year of operation, the reduced maintenance requirements and increased productivity enabled by CDE’s AquaCycle has contributed significantly to the company’s bottom line, driving down costs and supporting revenue generation.

‘We are extremely happy with the results of our latest partnership with CDE,’ said Grainne Quinn, director of Campbell Contracts. 

‘CDE’s AquaCycle has greatly improved operational efficiency on site which has allowed us to focus on generating new business and better serving our customers. The impact is unquestionable. We’re estimating the combined cost savings and new revenue brought about by the solution to be worth six figures to the business.’


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