Up & Crushing
Automated Cone Crusher Boosts Efficiency & Plant Uptime
Tulsa Rock Quarry is boosting plant uptime and crushing efficiency in a big way. The 360-acre limestone operation is one of six locations owned by Tulsa, OK.-based Anchor Stone Company, which has long provided much-needed, high-quality construction aggregate to its region.
Recently, Tulsa Rock replaced an older impact crusher with a new automated cone crusher at its secondary crushing circuit and the result is a major gain in daily production capacities at lower costs per ton.
“We needed to get away from impact crushing and reduce our maintenance costs and power consumption,” says Anchor Stone Processing Engineer Mike Neal. He stresses that one of the biggest challenges with impactors is having to keep an eye on the primary, constantly monitoring the feed that’s being sent to the secondary circuit.
“An impactor can easily plug, causing hours of downtime and potential damage to crusher components. Previously, we had to open the impactor up every night and inspect it.” He notes that with the new cone, that costly maintenance downtime is eliminated.
“Quite simply, once you put a pen to it – figuring out what operating costs were before and what they are now – it makes a lot of sense to upgrade to an automated cone. We’ve lowered our operating costs, while improving our plant uptime significantly,” he says.
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 says the cone was chosen for its innovative design, heavy-duty construction, ease of maintenance, and the versatility and simplicity of its automation system.
Superior’s product engineering and in-house automation teams worked closely with Anchor Stone onsite to ensure that the crushing circuit would perform to exact specifications while increasing efficiency and safety; and reducing wear costs and recirculating loads. “The support from Superior is excellent. They’re always there for us, and that’s all you can ask for,” says Neal.
Anchor Stone Company
Aggregates: Crushed Stone
Patriot® Cone Crusher
Tulsa Rock Quarry, a 360-acre limestone operation, replaced an older impact crusher with a new automated P500 Patriot Cone Crusher at its secondary crushing circuit and the result is a major gain in production capacities and lower maintenance costs.
Next Level Cone Design
“With the latest cone designs, it’s such a benefit to have a new cone crusher in our plant,” says Neal. He explains that the operation had always avoided cones in the past as older-style units did not offer tramp relief, for example. “In prior years, a piece of metal stuck within the cone demanded the dangerous task of cutting it out with a torch,” he says.
Mike Schultz, crushing product champion for Superior Industries, says that the design of the Patriot Cone and its automation ensures day-to-day reliability, and prevents the potential of costly machine damage.
First, he explains that the cone’s unique tramp relief system is designed with fewer accumulators for minimized maintenance. Most important, he points to the inclusion of a secondary pressure relief valve that ensures the crusher will open if a tramp event occurs. “So even if an accumulator fails, the secondary relief valve will provide immediate pressure relief, allowing the crusher to open,” he says.
Additionally, he adds that inverted design of the tramp release cylinders means that the hydraulic cylinder rod seal is not exposed during operation, which greatly reduces the potential of contamination and failure.
Secondly, Schultz says that the cone’s automation package is a safety feature that acts as a warning system, alerting operators to conditions such as bowl float, excessive amperage or temperatures, and lubrication or low-flow oil issues.
Another reason why Anchor Stone chose the Patriot Cone, says Neal, is its weight and heavy-duty construction. Schultz acknowledges that the unit is definitely more robust than the typical cone. “To make sure it will withstand the toughest applications, Superior’s engineers have beefed up the strength of the machine with a heavier-duty adjustment ring, base frame, eccentric, and clamp ring,” he says.
The Patriot Cone is equipped with Vantage® Automation, which is completely designed and built in-house by Superior Industries. Anchor Stone Plant Operator/Electrician Joey Doolittle says the automation system is very user-friendly. “The touchscreen is very simple to operate, and we can train a new person on it very quickly,” he says.
As an electrician, Doolittle stresses that that one of the best features of the system is its sensor communication network that accesses a standard 4-wire cable system from the cone crusher to all auxiliary systems. “This streamlines setup, 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. If there’s a problem with one of the sensors, we can open up that junction box and easily pinpoint it,” he says.
Other systems are far more complicated, says Doolittle, and typically have dozens of separate conductor wires running from the PLC to each component. “These small sensor wires don’t fair too well in the environment, making downtime common, and troubleshooting quite difficult,” he says.
big efficiency benefits
Neal says that one of the operation’s biggest benefits from the new crushing circuit is being able to make setting adjustments on the fly. “This gives us greater flexibility when we have changes in material feed and allows us to easily tweak material processing within all circuits of the plant. Prior to the new cone, it was challenging to make the same adjustments that we quickly make now with the push of a button,” he says.
The auto-feed function, which automatically maintains optimum production levels, says Neal, is another big 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’s going to maintain the desired amperage on the motor to make sure it’s operating at its highest efficiency,” he says.
As a veteran processing engineer, Neal stresses that if you can maintain the desired level and the desired amperage, you’ll achieve the desired throughput. “This cone runs all day, every day, in and out – and that’s a big benefit right there,” he says.