Cover Story: QLD quarry’s Hyundai ma­chines

Earthmovers & Excavators - - News - Words and im­ages by Greg Keane

It’s one thing to want to achieve a sus­tain­able quar­ry­ing op­er­a­tion; it’s another thing to find the earth­mov­ing equip­ment to achieve that goal. Scot­bar/RTI has turned to Hyundai ex­ca­va­tor and wheel loader through Porter Group

Sus­tain­abil­ity is a big is­sue for Queens­land sand­stone quarry op­er­a­tor Scot­bar, trad­ing as Rock Trade In­dus­tries (RTI), so this was an im­por­tant fac­tor in its re­cent pur­chase of a Hyundai R250LC-9 ex­ca­va­tor and Hyundai HL770-9 wheel loader for its Wa­ter­fall Quarry.

“They had been talk­ing to us for a while about switch­ing to Hyundai,” RTI di­rec­tor Al­lan Payne says. “They showed us real fuel con­sump­tion fig­ures from real cus­tomers, and those fig­ures looked good against what we had been us­ing.

“We had been loyal to another brand of ex­ca­va­tor, but started to have some is­sues with the lat­est ma­chines that we didn’t have with ear­lier mod­els. That was what re­ally got us look­ing se­ri­ously at al­ter­na­tives.”

Al­lan re­gards the equip­ment and the backup be­hind it as a pack­age, and his deal­ings with Porter Group staff gave him the level of com­fort to com­mit to the Hyundai pur­chase.

Heli­don-based RTI has its own main­te­nance staff, and will look af­ter the rou­tine ser­vices but call on the Porter Group to do the ma­jor ser­vices on site.

Nor­mally the words “sus­tain­able” and “quarry” are not found in the same sen­tence. Heli­don has a his­tory go­ing back to the 1880s of ex­tract­ing sand­stone blocks used in the con­struc­tion of pub­lic build­ings, both in Aus­tralia and over­seas.

Wastage is tra­di­tion­ally high – as lit­tle as 20 per­cent of the re­source is sold as di­men­sion stone and the re­main­der is gen­er­ally stock­piled as waste.

How­ever, while Rock Trade In­dus­tries has a range of di­men­sion stone and ran­dom rock prod­ucts, it also has a man­u­fac­tured wall prod­uct in­cor­po­rat­ing sand­stone faces, and the com­pany of­fers a wide range of stone land­scap­ing prod­ucts as well as gravel, sand and road­base prod­ucts.

The in­vest­ment in the wash­ing plant pro­vides a real point of dif­fer­ence, with an R&D project ini­ti­ated to re­lease sin­gle quartz crys­tals and pro­duce a su­pe­rior sand that is clean of im­pu­ri­ties and suit­able for engi­neer­ing ap­pli­ca­tions such as un­bound pave­ments, con­crete and graded as­phalt.

The road­base ma­te­rial it­self has been the sub­ject of a sep­a­rate re­search and de­vel­op­ment in­vest­ment, while there is also a project to com­mer­cialise a sus­tain­able al­ter­na­tive to tiling and cladding.

The goal is to achieve 100 per­cent use of the ex­tracted ma­te­rial, and Al­lan es­ti­mates

that cur­rently 95-96 per­cent util­i­sa­tion is be­ing achieved.

This high-qual­ity sand is a growth area for RTI that com­mands a pre­mium price on the mar­ket be­cause of the recog­nised ben­e­fits of its prop­er­ties.

The Hyundai HL770-9 is an ad­di­tion to the wheel loader fleet, and is ded­i­cated to load­ing the con­stant stream of trucks from the sand stock­pile. This loader has an on­board weigh­ing sys­tem so that the trucks and trail­ers can be loaded to ca­pac­ity but not over­loaded.

The growth po­ten­tial for this sand is such that Al­lan ex­pects to re­quire a fur­ther two load­ers to ser­vice this de­mand (there are cur­rently five load­ers in the RTI fleet).

The ex­ist­ing pro­cess­ing fa­cil­ity is a pi­lot plant de­vel­oped to prove and re­fine the con­cept, and the im­mi­nent con­struc­tion of a full-scale pro­duc­tion plant will gen­er­ate the vol­umes that de­mand the pur­chase of ad­di­tional wheel load­ers.

The Hyundai R250LC-9 ex­ca­va­tor re­placed an ex­ist­ing ma­chine, and this al­lows com­par­isons to be made. De­spite be­ing smaller than the ma­chine that it re­placed, the Hyundai is achiev­ing com­pa­ra­ble pro­duc­tion while burn­ing sig­nif­i­cantly less fuel.

“Based on what we are see­ing to date, we ex­pect that op­er­at­ing costs will be 30-35

per­cent lower, and this is for a ma­chine that cost over 15 per­cent less than the ex­ca­va­tor it re­placed,” Al­lan says.

The Porter Group also sup­plied the Fu­rukawa rock breaker that is fit­ted to the Hyundai R250LC-9.

There are 25 ex­ca­va­tors in the RTI fleet, rang­ing from 13 to 50 tonnes. Some of these are in non-core ap­pli­ca­tions and older than the pro­duc­tion ma­chines, which are re­placed at in­ter­vals of four to five years.

The quarry gen­er­ally op­er­ates from 6am to 6pm on week­days, but in pe­ri­ods of peak de­mand it will also do a 6am to mid­day shift on Satur­days.

Many of the ex­ca­va­tors cut out blocks with rock saw at­tach­ments that have been built by RTI, which will of­ten build or mod­ify equip­ment and at­tach­ments to suit its own re­quire­ments and op­er­at­ing en­vi­ron­ment.

Di­a­mond wire saws are used in ar­eas where the rock is too hard for the tung­sten car­bide teeth of the saws, while floor saws are used to cut the base of the blocks and ex­ca­va­tors with ham­mers are used for break­ing out the in­di­vid­ual blocks.

While sus­tain­abil­ity is cen­tral to how RTI op­er­ates, the busi­ness is founded on four core val­ues of peo­ple, in­no­va­tion, com­mu­nity and legacy. The com­pany’s in­no­va­tion pro­gram isn’t just about the pro­cess­ing and end use: it cov­ers the whole ap­proach to busi­ness and has seen RTI part­ner­ing with the Univer­sity of Queens­land Busi­ness and its UQ UConn Sus­tain­able Busi­ness Pro­gram, which in turn part­ners with Iowa Univer­sity in the United States.

This has seen vis­its from US aca­demics in the past three years.

As ar­eas are worked out, they are shaped to meet the end use of the quarry, which will be a com­mu­nity legacy just as the busi­ness will be a legacy to fu­ture gen­er­a­tions of the fam­i­lies that own it.

Al­lan sees the op­er­a­tion sup­port­ing these fam­i­lies for at least a cen­tury, with the busi­ness model be­ing some­thing that can be taken to suit­able re­sources around the world.

While in its in­fancy, the re­la­tion­ship be­tween Porter Group and Rock Trade In­dus­tries also seems sus­tain­able.

Re­li­able, pro­duc­tive, eco­nom­i­cal equip­ment – sup­ported by a dis­trib­u­tor that pro­vides sup­port and ad­vice as re­quired, as well as re­li­able and timely parts and ser­vice sup­port – are key el­e­ments of de­liv­er­ing a sus­tain­able quarry op­er­a­tion.

The goal is to achieve 100 per­cent use of ex­tracted ma­te­rial, and Al­lan es­ti­mates that cur­rently 95-96 per­cent util­i­sa­tion is be­ing achieved

Far left: Scot­bar/RTI’s 25.2-tonne Hyundai R250LC-9 ex­ca­va­tor Left: Al­lan Payne and his Porter equip­ment

Far Left: Al­lan Payne is dwarfed by his Fu­rukawa hy­draulic ham­mer, also bought from Porter Group

Left: The Hyundai HL770-9 wheel loader is ded­i­cated to load­ing the con­stant stream of trucks from the quarry’s sand stock­pile

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