A Veteran Contract Crusher Discussed Benefits of Automated Telescoping Conveyors Versus Conventional Radial Stackers
Contract crushing is an ever-changing business – from site to site and from rock to recycle. Staying on top requires unsurpassed flexibility, reliable equipment and rapid mobilization. Seasoned contract crushers, such as Jim Marcou, say it’s not a game for the inexperienced player. Marcou is the president of Dunbarton, New Hampshire-based Marcou Construction, a family-owned portable crushing operation whose customer list includes some of the biggest names in the aggregate industry. “These major producers will hire us to handle their new quarry startups, or their additional tonnage requirements. They demand excellence and that is where we flourish,” says Marcou.
As such, he likes taking on the toughest jobs, the hardest rock, and the most exacting specifications. When the job is done, his success is measured at the stockpile. And for that reason, Marcou prefers the use of automated telescoping conveyors to that of conventional radial stackers – a choice that clearly delivers a competitive edge, he says.
Among Marcou Construction’s portable equipment fleet are two Superior TeleStacker Conveyors (130-foot units, each manufactured by Superior Industries of Morris, Minn.). “As to efficiency and quality, these units give us a great advantage over our competitors,” says Marcou who adds that his team is the first operation in the region to access the technology.
The company purchased its first TeleStacker conveyor in 2001. The second unit (a fully automated model) was acquired two years later. Before the use of telescoping conveyors, the operation built its stockpiles with loaders, dozers, and numerous standard radial stackers – a conventional method that Marcou happily dubs as “history.” However, as to today’s innovative, automated telescoping conveyors, this veteran contract crusher eagerly points to a number of key benefits.
Dunbarton, New Hampshire
Aggregate: Crushed Stone
Marcou Construction, a family owned portable crushing operation, added two 130-ft TeleStacker Conveyors to their portable equipment fleet for improved efficiency and quality. With greater demand for fully desegregated stockpiles, the automation package was crucial to stockpile in very thin layers (windrows) and prevent end-of-pile overrun. The automation also allows this portable contractor flexibility in stockpile shapes, sizes and configurations.
building fully desegregated stockpiles
“Today there is a greater demand for the fully desegregated stockpile. When we saw that trend coming on, we knew we needed to be ahead of the curve. That’s why we invested in a second TeleStacker conveyor, one equipped with a complete automation package. This level of automation means that we don’t have to use any additional equipment to build the desegregated stockpile,” says Marcou.
A standard radial stacker can help minimize stockpile segregation, but it cannot overcome it. Bottom line, Marcou has found that an automated telescoping radial stacker is truly the only way to build a “fully desegregated” stockpile. It stockpiles in very thin lifts or layers, with each layer consisting of a series of windrows of material. To accomplish this, the conveyor must be in motion continuously. So automation is highly preferred over manual operation.
The Superior TeleStacker conveyor accesses a PLC-controlled automation system that prevents end-of-pile overrun. The variable positions can be adjusted on each pass, allowing each subsequent layer to be narrower. This eliminates overrun and creates the completely desegregated stockpile. Consequently, the use of the TeleStacker conveyor protects the operation from the costly deduct penalties associated with material segregation – while also eliminating the labor, time and expenses involved when restoring previously in-spec material.
meeting unique stockpiling needs
To be effective, says Marcou, the portable contractor must operate with maximum flexibility and adaptability. Consider that an automated telescoping conveyor can be programmed to create stockpiles of many different shapes, sizes and configurations. For example, Marcou Construction may come upon an unusual site layout that is more suited to a rectangular or pie-shaped stockpile. Or they may need to stockpile inline over a reclaim tunnel for more live storage.
Furthermore, the customized automation packages available to Superior TeleStacker conveyors may extend the contract crusher’s service capabilities beyond stockpiling. Units can be programmed to build the linear piles needed when loading into a rail car, or onto a barge. Or, the conveyor can be programmed to hit specific, multiple targets by progressing in a desired order from one feed opening or bin to another.
realizing greater mobility
“Using one automated telescoping conveyor means that we’re moving less equipment (multiple conveyors and loaders) from site to site. Plus, these telescoping units take to the road with ease,” says Marcou.
Superior TeleStacker conveyors are available as road-portable and in-pit portable models. Preferred by highly mobile operations, the road-portable option features Superior’s patented FD-series axle assembly. Its hydraulically operated stacking wheels can be lowered into working position, and the conveyor main frame can be raised and lowered while on the transport wheels, eliminating the need for expensive, high-maintenance undercarriage compensation. Alternatively, in-pit moves are made easy with a new, patent-pending swing axle assembly option. It features a load-equalizing walking beam that distributes the load throughout the axle; and its overall design eliminates the need for compensation linkage.
Attracting & keeping the best customers
Marcou says that upon the addition of an automated telescoping conveyor, the operation gained significant “customer interest” because “we can do things for the customer that we could not do efficiently with conventional units.” Unlimited stockpiling flexibility, he says, results in higher production capacity at lower costs. “But ultimately the large producers we work with depend upon our accuracy, our quality, our safety and our on-time performance. Customers don’t want to risk using the fly-by-night guys. Customers call the contract crusher who will do the job reliably. Our automated conveying technology helps us stay at the top of the list,” he says.