INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGY IMPROVES EFFICIENCY AT BULL RUN PLANT
At Luck Stone they’ve been breaking rocks for nearly a century. After 92 years in the quarry business they know a thing or two about stone, yet there’s always technological innovation waiting on the horizon to make processes more efficient and intuitive at their plants.
When Luck Stone acquired a new TTX36 Rockbreaker System with a BXR85 breaker from Breaker Technology Inc. for its Traprock (diabase) quarry Bull Run Plant in the spring of 2016, they were certain they would be pleased with the equipment, having used other technology from BTI in the past. From the plant managers to the Rockbreaker’s operator, there has been no disappointment.
“We were looking for something that was well-built, strong and reliable long term,” explain plant managers Warren Paulson and Steve Walk about their choice. “The last time we upgraded the equipment was in the mid-90s so we were pretty impressed with the technological improvements. We came back to BTI because their product seemed to be a lot stronger and better manufactured, as we’ve used their mobile breaker so we’ve had experience with BTI before.”
To the managers at the Bull Run Plant knowledge and customer service were the key components they were looking for in their search for new machinery. The company was on the hunt for a manufacturer that would stand—quite literally—behind their product.
“The Rockbreaker is doing a great job taking care of any oversize, but equipment like this can be a bit of a challenge sometimes. BTI’s equipment is self-supported, and the service people are extremely knowledgeable. It’s a partnership because they are here to help us with any technical issues,” says Paulson.
From a business standpoint breaking rocks more efficiently has meant saving time and money, savings that Luck Stone is able to pass onto their customers and use to reinvest in their operations. However there’s more to the business of breaking rocks than business. A lot of it comes down to precision, power, reliability, minimal downtime, and the safety of the operators.
“We’ve seen a lot of advances in automation and control with the newer technology. The equipment they manufacture today is so much more focused on the miners’ safety than what we were seeing in the field 10-15, or even 30 years ago,” says Walk. “We’ve also got the operator sheltered, instead of being exposed to the elements, and we can have the operator run the machinery via remote control to prevent unnecessary exposure to cold or hot weather, and dust.”
“As of right now the plant processes 2500 tons of rock a day, and there are constant trucks coming through here,” says operator Kawliga Ramsburg. “The new Rockbreaker has an 8500 lb hammer, which is enough power to bring down any big rocks or any material that lodges in the bridge. The hammer is a nice size and it’s a lot faster than equipment I’ve used in the past.”For the operators, there’s something unequivocally viscerally satisfying about shattering rock into dust and rubble, even at the length of a machine’s arm.
Ramsburg particularly enjoys working with the TTX36’s computer. The computer runs an IQAN-based control system with a multifunctional display interface, which allows Ramsburg to visually interact with the new technology. The system provides simplified hydraulic and electrical troubleshooting, a real time display of the operating system, data logging, and system alarming or warning messages, among other options.
“Once you get into the tech and learn what you are doing, it’s actually pretty simple. It’s definitely a nice piece of equipment and has all the power to do what it needs to do,” he says.