Mastering Peak Efficiency
It’s All In The Material Handling Details
Achieving peak efficiency levels is an everyday feat of engineering and teamwork at the Geneva Rock Products Point-of-the-Mountain site near Salt Lake City, Utah.
The facility has long been lauded for its commitment to sustainability, energy savings, and safety – which is well illustrated by a unique energy-generating downhill overland conveyor system that was commissioned more than five years ago. This much-touted material handling system (which according to the company had paid for itself in under three years) transfers up to 3,000 tons of material per hour from a mountain of upper-ledge rock to ground-level processing operations – while generating enough electricity to power the entire facility.
As to the latter, most folks would say that Geneva Rock has indeed reached its peak performance; however, the company continues to climb higher and higher with ongoing improvements to each circuit and system, and to every transfer point, belt, pulley, idler, and more. For Geneva Rock, truly mastering peak efficiency is all in the material handling details.
Geneva Rock Products
Salt Lake City, Utah
Aggregates: Sand & Gravel
When specifications for the use of recycled asphalt became far more stringent in Utah, Geneva Rock Products needed to avoid segregation of material. Superior recommended the use of a 150-ft TeleStacker Conveyor, designed to eliminate segregation by stockpiling in windrows. The production manager of this operation says one of the biggest advantages of working with Superior is the fact that they are one of the very few manufacturers to design and build both the conveyor systems and the components.
Desegregated recycled stockpiling
One of the facility’s most recent upgrades was revamping material handling methods in their asphalt recycling operations. When specifications for the use of recycled asphalt became far more stringent in Utah, the operation needed to avoid segregation not only in the materials but also in the oil content of the recycled asphalt. “When the rules of the game change, we need to change with them,” says Geneva Rock Aggregates Production Manager Ed Clayson, an industry veteran with more than 45 years of service.
Once again, Clayson says that his company consulted with Superior Industries, a single-source provider of aggregate processing equipment and material handling systems and components. “Superior Industries had designed and manufactured our downhill overland conveyor, which has performed flawlessly since we put it into operation,” he says.
Superior recommended the use of a 36-in. x 150-ft. TeleStacker Conveyor, a telescoping radial stacking conveyor that eliminates material segregation by stockpiling materials in windrows to ensure that the stockpiled material meets specifications.
“There is quite a variance in the oil content between the chunk asphalt and the milled asphalt that’s hauled into our facility for recycling,” says Clayson. He explains that previous to the use of the new TeleStacker Conveyor, they had used a standard radial stacker to stockpile the recycled asphalt, and then they would try to blend the material with the use of a dozer – and even with additional material handling, there was too much discrepancy in the specs.
“The TeleStacker Conveyor has eliminated these costly issues as we introduce the material back into our HMA plant,” he says. “We’re getting more uniform gradations in our pile and have not had any specification issues to date. Due to the way the unit is programmed, we get a much better blend of material, and the product is the same on one end of the pile as it is on the other,” says Clayson.
latest design developments
Superior Industries designed and manufactured the very first telescopic radial stacker in 1997, and over the years, feedback from the field has led to numerous innovations in their design.
“The latest design advancements to the TeleStacker Conveyor make it the best value for the money,” says Clayson. He adds that his team particularly likes the new FD Auto Level technology, which automatically maintains a level head pulley while in radial travel mode – an important factor since an uneven conveyor structure is one of the leading causes of belt mistracking on radial telescopic conveyors. “In the location where we’re stockpiling, it’s not like we can build a concrete pad or runway to keep it perfectly level, so the auto-leveling feature is a really big deal that ensures the integrity of the belt and structure,” he says.
Equally important, says Clayson, is the addition of a material flow sensor (the SonicScout™ Material Sensor) which causes the telescopic conveyor to stop radial travel should there be a stoppage in feed material. “With recycle, there is often some contamination in the material that may stop material flow. If there is no feed material hitting the conveyor, the sensor causes the conveyor to stop its travel, preventing the potential of gaps in the stockpile,” he explains.
Lastly, Clayson says that the unit’s PilePro™ Automation program is user-friendly, easy to operate, and easy to troubleshoot via one call to Superior’s in-house automation team. The zoning technique of the program allows Geneva Rock to build a higher volume stockpile on a limited footprint. “We need to stockpile as much as we can in our designated area. During the winter, we’ll build a 30,000-ton stockpile that will feed the asphalt plant all summer long,” he says.
A big advantage in working with Superior, says Clayson, is the fact that they are one of very few manufacturers to design and build both the conveyor systems and the components. “I have been around conveyors and components throughout my entire career and I am a firm believer that Superior offers the best components on the market. We maintain a large inventory of their pulleys and idlers, and over the years, they have delivered significant cost-per-ton savings due to increased wear life and belt protection.”
One of the standouts of the component line, he stresses, is the Chevron Pulley, a V-shaped wing pulley that extends belt and pulley life by preventing rocks and debris from becoming trapped between the pulley’s wings. Versus a conventional wing pulley, the V-shaped pulley deflects material far more effectively, while providing smooth operation with less vibration, less belt wear, less of an impact and load on the bearings, and less noise.
Superior is also providing custom idlers for Geneva Rock in a few locations. “We have two existing overland conveyors built by other conveyor manufacturers, and the components on them do not offer the quality we require. To eliminate the potential of costly downtime and belt damage, we are changing out the idlers on those conveyors with the custom components provided by Superior,” says Clayson.
preparing for success
“When we need a solution, we don’t just buy the equipment, but we also buy the service and support that goes with it,” stresses Clayson. “We’re very lucky to have the highest caliber of support from both Superior Industries and its local dealer, Kimball Equipment Company. I’ve learned over time that you can’t do this by yourself. Having the right solutions and the right support makes us successful,” he says.