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Mobile circuit boosts output of Barossa Valley quarry

In the past 12 months, a trio of modern mobile crushing and screening units have helped a site improve its productivity and deliver vital materials to its parent company’s operations.

Seelander Quarry is located in Penrice, in the heart of South Australia’s famous Barossa Valley. The exclusive 14-hectare quarry has been operating since 1950 and officially was branded as Seelander Quarries when operator Mick Seelander bought the site in 2002.

The site was acquired in 2016 by the Femia family group, which has considerable quarrying and concrete interests in South Australia. These include Premix Concrete SA (comprising three plants, a fleet of 30 concrete trucks, a cement tanker, three tipper trucks, and a laboratory), Clinton Sands on the Yorke Peninsula, Adelaide Industrial Sands (AIS, whose sands are extracted from Clinton Sands), and Cast-A-Pebble, a subsidiary of AIS which sells decorative pebbles and white quartz for landscaping supplies.

Seelander Quarry, which has a crew of seven on-site, including a quarry manager and three in production, is extracting aggregates from a deposit of a combination of white and blue marble, a hard mica bluestone and a marble limestone.

“One of the products is a Seelander blend of the white and the blue, which goes into concrete mixes, and the blue tends to be diving under the white in some places,” explained quarry manager Lance Sorson, a 40-year quarry veteran who has only been in charge of the site since September this year. “We do traditional quarry methods, including drill and blast, and we chase both the white and the blue. A lot of it goes into concrete mixes and style crete as well.”

In fact, Seelander Quarries predominantly produces its materials for Premix Concrete SA and the stone is very specific for its concrete batch plant requirements. “We produce traditional sizes, including 20/10, 10mm, 7mm concrete aggregates, sand as a by-product, and some of it goes to landscape yards, in terms of colours, but mainly we operate to support our premix business,” Sorson added. “We’re not a large operation. We’re comfortable with an output of about 150,000 tonnes per annum.”

Defined Mobile Plant

One of the major changes that the Femia family implemented upon acquiring Seelander Quarry was dispensing with an ageing fixed crushing plant and introducing modern mobile crushers and screens and a fleet of the latest model front end loaders to undertake processing of aggregates on the site.

In the past five years crushing and screening has been undertaken by a relatively simple arrangement of a mobile impact crusher feeding a portable screen. This became unsustainable for the quarry to meet its sister company’s needs, so the decision was made by Seelander Quarries and Premix Concrete SA’s managing director Frank Femia to upgrade its inventory.
Enter Tim Sharrad, the territory manager for Porter Equipment Australia, based in Adelaide. “I first met Frank Femia in December 2019 and we got talking from there,” he recalled. “In late May, early June of 2020, Frank purchased a Hyundai loader from us for Adelaide Industrial Sands and from there our discussions turned to Seelander and its requirements. Frank had some plant that was due to be replaced, and wanted more quantity and reliability.”

To determine the right type of plant for the deposit, Porter arranged for some of Seelander Quarry’s blasted rock samples to be forwarded to Sandvik HQ’s laboratory in Svedala, Sweden. This enabled Porter to input the material samples into Sandvik’s plant design and compare against thousands of material samples to better predict capacity and wear rates within the crushing chamber. Once the data was collated, Porter and Seelander Quarries collaborated on accurate portable plant designs.

The plant that touched down at Seelander Quarries after August 2020 were two Sandvik mobile machines: a QA451 Doublescreen and a QI442DDHS impact crusher. “Historically, we were replacing an impact crusher so they wanted to maintain some rock shape,” Sharrad said. “Shape is extremely important to them.”

The QA451 sizing screen is fitted with Sandvik’s Doublescreen system which utilises two 3m x 1.5m, triple-deck high velocity screenboxes (1200mm rotations per minute shaft speed) in the one machine. The primary screenbox acts as a fines extractor and the secondary box as a grader. The Doublescreen system can produce up to 30 per cent more volumes of in-spec material than conventional incline screens working in the same footprint. The QA451 also has the benefit of a 6.15 g-force which effectively moves and separates the material.

Sandvik QA451 Doublescreen in a recycling application

The 68-tonne QI442DDHS impact crusher can operate in both primary and secondary applications. It is equipped with the four-blowbar CI621 Prisec horizontal shaft impact crusher, with a feed opening of 1360mm x 800mm, a maximum feed size of 800mm, and a 328kW Caterpillar C13 engine. Other features include a hydraulic raise/lower product conveyor to prevent rebar obstruction, a double-deck pre-screen for accurate fines removal, a new rotor position and locking device, new hammer locking wedges for quicker removal and fitting, and a wedge removal tool for safer installation and detachment. There is also the optional detachable double-deck hanging screen able to recirculate oversize and/or provide up to three stockpiles.

More recently, Seelander Quarries acquired its third Sandvik mobile unit: a QJ341. “Frank always had plans to use the jaw crusher as a primary before the impactor because you can break the material down better with the jaw in front,” Sharrad added.

The QJ341 primary jaw crusher incorporates a 1200mm x 750mm single toggle jaw crusher with hydraulic adjustable closed side setting (CSS) that can accept up to 650mm into the chamber. Its hydrostatic drive enables reverse function for safe unblocking and the ability to restart with a full chamber, and a jaw level sensor regulates material flow into the chamber.
Sharrad said all three Sandvik mobiles can crush and screen separately or be used in a train. “The jaw feeds the impactor feeds the screen,” he said. “But if you just want to clean crushed fines, you can run them through the screen. You can run them individually.

The use of the impactor is to get a specific shape. It’s a great all-round machine, often used in other applications like recycling. The hanging screen enables you to recirculate material or stockpile as you can also run the conveyor at 90 degrees.

The QI442DDHS is equipped with the Prisec horizontal shaft impact crusher and a 328kW Cat C13 engine.

Increased Reliability

Sorson said the addition of the QJ341 to the crushing and screening mix had significantly improved Seelander Quarry’s output in recent months. “The addition of the jaw and the conversion of the impactor to a secondary has helped the reliability tenfold. It’s smoothed out the humps. The impact crusher was the primary and secondary crusher all in one, and while it worked well, I would say it’s a far better circuit now with the jaw in there.

Further, going back even 12 months, all three Sandvik machines have certainly outperformed the old ones. They are each pulling 20 to 30 tonnes per hour more than the previous models.

I also shouldn’t forget my own small crew, who have done an excellent job of pushing out the tonnes.”

Sorson also praised the programmable logic controller (PLC) and other automation features of the mobile units. “The feeder has a remote the operator can use if he needs it and we’ve just ordered a communications cable between the two crushers to facilitate smoother processing. The PLC has enough brains behind it to know when to stop taking more rocks and the feeder works off load amps. It’s a fairly straightforward, user-friendly system. All information and diagnostics are available on a screen. It’s really a ‘set and forget’ system. The only time you really need to inspect the system is if it stops, so it’s very clever from an electronics point of view.”

Seelander Quarries selected Sandvik’s Security Plus program, which provides additional warranty cover on some of the equipment. The company opted for the silver and gold service agreements, with coverage of two years/3000 hours and three years/6000 hours respectively. It also took out a seven-year MyFleet telematics fleet subscription to monitor key metrics and schedule servicing.

Compliments and Caffeine

Sorson said he was pleased with Porter’s service and support, and had kind words for Tim Sharrad. “Tim’s really good, a good listener and he’s open-minded. Porter is relatively new in Adelaide, but they’ve been excellent, particularly in terms of support. At this stage of the purchase, I’d happily recommend Porter and Sandvik gear to other quarries or contractors. If there’s a complaint I have about Tim,” he joked, “it’s that he never brings me coffee each time he visits the site!”

Sharrad said that feedback from Seelander Quarries had also been positive. “From a production point of view, they’ve certainly increased their productivity with the QJ341 and at the same time they’ve maintained their rock shape, which is paramount for them. We’ve had some great upside. Lance hasn’t been there long but he has been a pleasure to work with. He determined that the jaw was the right tool for the job.

“For me on a personal level, dealing with Lance, and Frank and his team across all of the divisions has been a pleasure. We’ve worked well together on some service issues. We are delivering a screen for the Clinton Sands Quarry at the moment – a Sandvik QA441 double-deck screen, which is the same as the QA451 at Seelander but with a double-deck Doublescreen, not a triple-deck.”

And Sharrad acknowledged he had been remiss on the coffee. “I’ll have to take one out to Lance next time!” he laughed.

For more information about Seelander Quarries and the other divisions of the Femia family group of companies, visit seelanderquarries.com.au

For more information about Sandvik mobile crushers and screens available through Porter Equipment, visit porterce.com.au

This article was originally published in Quarry Magazine, December 2021.

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