Tarmac able to increase productivity and decrease operational hours with ultra-large excavator
TARMAC’s Swinden Quarry in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales National Park is one of the largest quarries in the north of England, and among the latest investments at the site is a Hitachi EX1900-6 ultra-large excavator. Delivered by Hitachi Construction Machinery (UK), the machine was built on site in November 2015.
As the quarry’s prime mover, the EX1900-6 is used to load up to 1,200 tonnes/h of Carboniferous limestone directly into a 200-tonne mobile crusher, playing a key role in maintaining the site’s current production levels and annual output of 2.3 million tonnes.
Quarry manager Jez West explained: ‘During the tender process, we looked at productivity and fuel consumption. We wanted to reduce operational hours by increasing productivity.’
HCM (UK) mines & quarries manager Mark Turnham took Tarmac representatives to see another EX1900-6 at work in a chalk quarry in Belgium. This machine had contributed to higher levels of productivity than expected at Ciment Belge Reuni’s Romont site and helped to convince Tarmac of its suitability for their requirements.
The EX1900-6 at Swinden Quarry was supplied with a longer boom and arm, and a smaller 8.0 cubic metre bucket than is customary on a machine of this size. ‘This is because it needs a larger working range to reach the material and load the crusher,’ said Mr Turnham. ‘It means the primary crusher isn’t moved as frequently – this can take 45 minutes – so it also enhances the efficiency of the process.’
The excavator was also supplied with genuine Hitachi ground-engaging tools (GET), which further enhance productivity by improving penetration and overall digging power. Made from high-grade steel and tested to the same standards as all Hitachi construction equipment, the GET range is specifically engineered for hard rock mining and quarrying applications.
‘We supplied Hitachi-branded edge shrouds for the bucket and long penetration teeth. These are one of three types of reversible teeth designed to suit the particular operation of the EX1900-6. The material is very soft, so the teeth can last up to two years,’ said Mr Turnham.
The EX1900-6 is the first Hitachi model to be used by operator George Metcalf, who has worked at Swinden Quarry for 31 years. He has been impressed by the speed and productivity of the new machine.
‘It’s faster than other machines I’ve used and has good all-round visibility,’ he explained. ‘The cab feels more open and spacious, the seat is comfortable, and the controls are easy to use. I don’t have arm ache at the end of the day.’
Health, safety and the environment are key concerns in everyday operations at Swinden Quarry, and the EX1900-6 is contributing to these factors by providing a safe and comfortable working environment for operators, while helping to produce the same tonnage in less time, thereby reducing the environmental impact of Tarmac’s quarrying activities.