“Meeting the specific needs of owner-managed quarries requires us to develop a flexible and highly responsive approach,” says JD Singleton, general manager of Trio® and Enduron® products at Weir Minerals. “We established a comminution team to sell Trio products directly to our customers rather than via a distribution network. In conjunction with our existing branch network we provide crushing, screening and material handling expertise as well as applications, capital project management, product management and product support.”
Many of Weir Minerals’ larger mining customers require permanent on-site teams to ensure optimal equipment performance and uptime. While the smaller size of most quarries does not warrant this full time on-site presence, they still deserve the same high levels of support.
A Trio TC36 short head cone crusher installed in a quarrying application.
The acquisition of the Trio Engineered Products Inc group of companies by The Weir Group PLC in October 2014 provided a substantial installed base of Trio products in Africa and the Middle East, further enhancing the brand with Weir Minerals’ well established support network across the region.
Weir Minerals is the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) for Trio products and it now services all the products – crushers, screens, feeders and conveyors– directly, further supported by a specialist roaming Trio product support team. This team is staffed with extensive experience in the crushing and screening field.
Small is big
Singleton highlights the fact that the number of independently-owned quarries in southern Africa far outnumbers those owned by large corporations, with many small South African towns boasting two or three different quarry operators.
“Even on a global level, the pattern is similar,” he says. “The top eight producers in the aggregate industry worldwide account for only about 10% of all aggregate production.”
Weir Minerals Africa’s strategy to support this segment includes maintaining large stockholdings of spare parts at its Johannesburg warehouse and regional branches so that these are quickly available when required, to minimise unnecessary downtime of the plant.
“We can support the owner by giving them individual attention for their particular equipment and processes,” he says. Key to the business approach is the focus on solutions; on listening to the quarry owner and customising a specific solution for the individual quarry.
“What we have managed successfully since day one is to help customers increase their capacity using their existing infrastructure, and we can apply this experience to any quarry owner who needs assistance,” he says.
In addition to Weir Minerals’ flexibility, there is the significant contribution made by the business research and development (R&D), based on its 146 years of experience in design and engineering. Since the acquisition of Trio, continued progress in R&D has led to the development of the Trio TP cone crusher range, for example.
Fit for purpose
“Quarry operators need to ensure that the crusher selected is fit-for-purpose and will meet the precise requirements of their operation,” says Singleton. “Weir Minerals’ crushing and screening application and product support engineers first conduct a full assessment of the crushing operation, looking at factors like material feed size, product type, capacity required, product sizes required, shape of material, hardness and moisture.”
The right choice of equipment can then be made from the business’ comprehensive portfolio, with capacities from 50 tph to 1 500 tph and catering for all ore bodies. An added advantage for customers is that the team of applications engineers and engineering support operate from the same premises, so customer-specific solutions can be jointly developed.
“We arguably have the widest product range in the sector, so we can offer complete plant solutions in aggregate,” he says. “This includes primary or jaw crushers, grizzly feeders, apron feeders, screens for both primary, secondary and product screening, cone crushers for secondary and tertiary crushing, conveyors, pan feeders, horizontal impact crushers, and vertical shaft impact crushers. A comprehensive range of conveyor solutions is also available.”
In addition to Weir Minerals’ crushing expertise and equipment, the business also brings to the quarrying industry its wet slurry offerings, adapted from its experience in mining applications.
“Significantly, Weir Minerals can provide customers with solutions in both these fields,” he says. “This allows us to support customers who want to take advantage of the market for washed building sand.”
Sand washing is vital to create a good quality building sand; this consists of removing the ultra fine material to generate a product that can be safely used in construction work. As the mining of river sand becomes more difficult due to environmental controls and regulations, the production of manufactured sand has become a growing business opportunity for quarry operators as a by-product of stone crushing.
“By applying our knowledge of cyclones and pumps to sand washing processes on small quarries, we have managed to improve some customers’ efficiencies by over 30% and reduced their total cost of ownership, whilst utilising existing infrastructure,” says Singleton. “One local client was able to increase production by 6,0 tph, simply on the strength of our cyclone installation.”
With a portfolio including the world renowned Warman® pump, Cavex® hydrocyclone, Enduron® dewatering screens and Linatex® wear-resistant rubber products, Weir Minerals can design and construct a sand washing system that is remarkable in terms of high efficiency and low maintenance.
As the market leader for modular plant solutions, the design of the Trio modular structure plant can create extra value for customers by potentially lowering the cost of construction, shipment and installation.
“With our modular Trio plant solutions, we can configure our feeders, crushers, screens and washers into semi-portable or stationary modular structures,” he says. “These have become especially popular as smaller quarries in Africa and the Middle East are rushing to meet the growing market for construction materials as a result of infrastructure and private property developments currently underway.”
He emphasises that all crushers and screens in the Trio range can be mounted on skids, making it unnecessary to spend time and money on large civil related infrastructure to support these plants. The plant can also be constructed in a mobile, wheeled configuration; this allows the plant to be moved to a different position on site or to a different site as the operation evolves.
Optimising existing plants
Apart from installing plants and equipment to customer specifications, Weir Minerals’ skilled staff can also optimise customers’ existing equipment and processes to provide profitable results.
“With our application and product support experience, we will even visit customers who have products that are not our own, to see what improvements can be made,” Singleton says. “We can help customers to work out the total cost of ownership, so that they can make a more informed decision about the products they choose.
“On a recent project, we assisted a customer to achieve a 45% reduction in his maintenance downtime; using the total ownership cost approach in each application within the plant, the team can provide a realistic estimation of potential savings for the customer.
“At the end of the day, we have to answer this question: How do we help our customers to make more money?” says Singleton. “We do this through improving their uptime, reducing their energy consumption, and lowering the cost of ownership of their equipment.”
It starts with an operations audit across the plant, or a specific audit of a particular piece of machinery, and the identification of bottlenecks in the process. “We take a solutions-driven approach that attacks the bottlenecks by ensuring the right equipment and product support is applied to the problem area,” he says. “This results in increased production and income.”
In most quarry operations, the prime concern is to keep the plant running efficiently; a maintenance contract for the plant is one solution offered by Weir Minerals. In this arrangement, a product support specialist will conduct monthly checks on machinery and advise on preventative maintenance actions that must be taken.
“This strategy ensures that there are no surprises in the operation, and any downtime can be scheduled so that it has the least possible impact on output and revenue,” he says. “We customise not just the solution, but also the service and spare parts offering for the plant because every application is different.”
He emphasises that every customer has different cycles in their business and looks at their operations differently. “So our approach is to go and listen before we tailor a solution for what they need,” Singleton says. “And after we begin a relationship with a customer, Weir Minerals is there to support the customer. This is the promise we make based on our longstanding reputation, to ensure peace of mind for every customer.”
R&D pushes the productivity envelope
Ongoing commitment to research and development by The Weir Group ensures that customers have access to the latest technology in pursuing higher productivity and more profitable bottom lines.
Two products with the greatest impact on customer operations are the Trio TP® cone crushers and Trio TV® vertical shaft impact (VSI) crushers, machines that are responsible for producing final product and therefore directly improve revenue streams.
According to Rasheel Sukdhoe, business development manager Trio crushing and screening equipment, applying the right crushing technology in these areas can help quarries to increase flexibility and reduce operating costs. “The Trio TP cone crusher, for instance, has been engineered with a unique combination of high crushing force, high throw and high pivot point. Its steep crushing chamber angle and large crushing stroke allows operation at optimum speed for a fine product, while its crushing action delivers maximum throughput and excellent inter-particle breakage.”
The Trio VSI® crusher, engineered for use in tertiary or quaternary stage crushing, also offers high throughput with reliable and cost efficient performance; it features advanced open table designs, multi-port rotors and a larger bearing capacity than most other VSI crushers in the industry.
Available with three interchangeable chamber configurations for maximum application flexibility in producing high quality cubical aggregates, this crusher also features the externally adjustable feed tube which allows adjustment without opening the crusher.
The Trio comminution brand from Weir Minerals ,with operations across the globe which includes crushing, screening, washing and materials handling solutions, and the Trio product team for Africa and Middle East operates out of Johannesburg, with dedicated staff in Zambia, Ghana and Dubai.
The business has a strong global footprint with branches in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australasia. It is well known for its unique and innovative designs when customised equipment is required for specialised applications, allowing collaboration with customers to create high value solutions for their special needs.
With more than 150 manufacturing and service centres across 70 countries, Weir Minerals is always close at hand to support its Trio® product range.
User-friendly features on the Trio range of equipment make it easy to operate, monitor and maintain. Service support teams provide multi-level training, which assists workers on the front line of operations to quickly master all necessary skills to operate and maintain the machines, leading to lower operating costs.
Washing – wet or dry
Many quarries are turning to Weir Minerals’ sand washing solutions, incorporating Warman slurry pumps, Cavex hydrocyclones, Enduron dewatering screens and Linatex rubber hoses and rubber lining. The modular plants are available in stock units and can wash 50, 100, 150 and 200 tph of dry feed. Customised solutions are also available, depending on the customer need and application. These sand washing plants incorporate the best hydraulic designs in slurry pumping and cyclones, to provide maximum production with minimum footprint.