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Central Queensland Quarries Select Sandvik Crushers

First published in the September 2015 issue of Quarry Management as ’Making a Difference’

Service excellence helps Central Queensland Quarries decide on new Sandvik crushers

An excellent working relationship with Sandvik Construction’s technical sales and support personnel has seen Central Queensland Quarries benefit from enhanced service. This has resulted in the quarrying and crushing operator recently making a repeat purchase of a second Sandvik crusher to upgrade its aggregate plant.

In 2009 Central Queensland Quarries upgraded their main Fairview Quarry fixed crushing plant, adding a Sandvik CH 430 secondary cone crusher to their existing primary crusher. In late 2014 the company also added a Sandvik CV 216 VSI (vertical-shaft impactor) tertiary crusher. The three-stage plant is now capable of operating at an output of 150 tons/h, producing a wide range of general aggregates and roadbase.

The company, which operates throughout central Queensland, primarily around the Banana, Rockhampton and Central Highlands council regions, provides a range of quality sand and aggregate products from its four quarries. Its customers include local councils in the region, civil contractors and mining companies who process materials for use on main roads and infrastructure projects, which account for around 70% of its work, as well as mining, oil and gas project works.

While most of Central Queensland Quarries’ operations are based around mobile crushing and screening units, their Fairview plant uses the two fixed Sandvik crushing units to deliver high-specification products to meet the increasing demand for higher-quality aggregates. Managing director Ian Robinson explained that the Fairview plant was inherited from another operation and was experiencing a number of production and efficiency issues: ‘Back in 2009, we had some real issues with working out whether to scrap this plant and start again, or revamp it and change some of the operation so we could be more efficient.

‘The problem with the older gear is not so much the fact that it breaks down, because sometimes you can fix that, but is more to do with inefficiencies and the cost of labour. Often by using inefficient machines you’re just not really getting anywhere.’ 

Aging equipment

At the time of acquisition the plant was based around a still productive primary jaw crusher and an aging secondary crusher. ‘We started working with Frank Grech from Sandvik to see what the upgrade options for our plant were, particularly considering we were working to a fairly tight budget,’ said Mr Robinson. ‘Together with Frank, we worked on where the main bottleneck areas were and then looked to Sandvik to help us come up with solutions for replacing certain plant items with more reliable units.

‘Frank took a very practical approach, and suggested I visit a very similar sized plant in Nyngan. Operationally, it was very similar to what we were doing, and they’d been faced with many of the same issues in innovating and upgrading their plant. From what we saw there, we knew the end result would work; it was a very practical way of looking at the problem.’

As a result of this, in 2009 Central Queensland Quarries purchased a Sandvik CH 430 cone crusher as their secondary crushing unit, at the same time upgrading the plant’s belt sizes, surge bins and other items to handle the new unit’s output. ‘Initially, we thought we might have a problem with the shape of the product coming out of the CH 430 – because, with the bulk of our sales being for roadbase product, shape was a critical factor,’ said Mr Robinson. ‘However, we had no dramas at all in that regard when we first put it in. We’ve been very happy with that crusher over the past six years; on a scale of one to 10, I’d put it up at nine. It’s a new, modern machine with some innovative controls on it, but it still operates just like a lot of the older crushers in that once you’ve got it set up correctly, it just keeps going.’ 

More recently however, the local construction industry has begun to upgrade its standards, such that while the CH 430 still produces material that is within spec, it is at the bottom end of the required specifications.

Very competitive market

‘We started to see that our products weren’t as good as we needed them to be; it’s a very competitive market and people will use any small areas where you may not be as good as you should be against you,’ said Mr Robinson. ‘We realized we had to do something about this and decided we needed to bring in a VSI unit, and Sandvik were the obvious choice because we’d worked with them before.’

Late last year Central Queensland Quarries purchased a Sandvik CV 216 VSI as their tertiary crusher and, according to Mr Robinson, his relationship with Sandvik and Frank Grech was instrumental in making this decision. ‘It comes back to positive feedback, and being open and honest with each other. When we started talking to Frank and the Sandvik people about putting in a VSI crusher, they identified the right-sized machine to go in there, whereas their competitors had recommended a much bigger machine. The Sandvik team was spot on.’

Of the close working relationship he enjoys with Sandvik, Mr Robinson commented: ‘Frank really knows his business and doesn’t feed you with stories. We’ve worked together for long enough now that I know when he gives you his opinion, it’s the right thing. Not everyone’s correct 100% of the time, but I’ve never had an issue with Frank; there’s a high level of trust there.’

Mr Robinson has also seen a significant improvement in Sandvik’s service and support in the past couple of years. ‘About two years ago they brought in Ben Willcox as their new sales support person. He backs up the product, and you could not wish for a more attentive person if you have problems, whether over the phone or coming out here to investigate if he’s not sure. And if we want something from them, it’s just a phone call way – and an honest answer. If they haven’t got something in stock, they’ll tell us where it is and how long it’ll take – and will look at other options if our needs are very urgent.’ 

Central Queensland Quarries’ Fairview plant is now set up to produce a wide range of products through any combination of its crusher units, depending on industry needs and specific projects at any particular time. ‘Sometimes we’ll produce roadbase, then we’ll go on to screening. At other times we need to produce some ballast. There are many different demands depending on what projects are going on in the area, which dictate our production runs and stock levels,’ said Mr Robinson.

‘The two Sandvik crushers work together as a complete unit very well; they do the hard yards and we are very happy with them. They both mesh together very well, and Sandvik have some innovative programs that allow options to be plotted, to see the potential results in achieving different crush sizes or the product you’re trying to make. We can put in our major product line requirements, and these programs give us the real story on equipment selection and how it all works together.’

The next step

Mr Robinson is looking forward to the next step in the evolution of the Fairview plant and says this will be to upgrade the primary crusher. ‘It’s probably the weak point in the whole unit, and one day in the next couple of years if we get any busier, we’ll decide it is probably time to look at upgrading it. If so, we’ll certainly be looking at Sandvik.’ 


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