Simpler controls are attracting new customers to crushing and screening sector.
By Steve Skinner01 June 2009
Simpler controls are attracting new customers to the crushing and screening sector. Steve Skinner reports on the more user friendly machines coming onto the market.
The evolution of mobile crushing units and their ease of use means contractors are venturing more and more into aggregate production themselves.
"A big growth area is new customers," said Tommi Lehtonen, vice president of product management and sales support at Metso. "We see general or road contractors expanding their businesses to include crushing equipment as they've seen it's easy to work with track mounted units to produce their own material."
For both new and rental customers, the key requirement is ease of use. Mr Lenhtonen told CE, "Our philosophy is to design our machines so that they're as simple to use as possible. This makes our machines ideal for new operators and for those who might just be renting for a week or so."
Rubble Master hopes to capture this market shift through the introduction of ‘Rubble Master Go!' a concept the company believes will enable newcomers to the business to be successful from the outset.
Gerald Hanisch, CEO said, "We want to remove every conceivable obstacle and support customers to such an extent that all they have to do is literally push the button to get started."
‘Rubble Master Go!' was launched on the company's RM70 model and will be available from this summer. Sales Manager Harald Windner told CE, "The thinking behind the ‘Go!' principal was to ensure that every user can operate the machine properly from the word go and earn money from the very beginning as a result.
"The user interface is so simple that anyone will feel confident in operating the RM70 from the outset," said Mr Windner.
Keestrack has introduced mobility to its user interface through the launch of its Key-vision system. An on-board control system and remote control operator panel featuring a full colour touch screen, Key-vision means a machine can be run by a loader operator without him having to leave his cab.
"As well as the control panel, Key-vision enables remote monitoring and diagnostics," said Yves Hauben, chief electrical engineer at Keestrack. "Through GSM or internet connection, a machine owner can see an overview of all the operating parameters and maintenance intervals.
"We've produced the whole package so that it's as customer-friendly as possible," said Mr Hauben.
Sandvik has simplified the controls on its ASRi 2.0 crusher control system to provide a more user-friendly interface. "The update means operators can get more out of their crushing system," said Arvid Svensson, business development manager at Sandvik Mining and Construction.
"In many cases, operators simply don't have time to understand the full intricacies of a system. The updated ASRi 2.0 controls are much more user friendly and easier to absorb," Mr Svensson told CE. "Furthermore, remote operation enables users to run their machines from their PCs. Theoretically this means an operator in Germany could run a machine in Australia."
As well as ease of operation, Sandvik is currently trialing a new mantle (shroud in a cone crusher) that it believes represents an important development not just for Sandvik, but for the entire sector.
The Flexifeed mantle effectively expands the crusher inlet. Unlike a traditional circular mantle the Flexifeed features a recessed section that increases the input area, effectively combining two crushing chambers in one.
"Traditionally, an operator selected a cone crusher with a chamber capable of dealing with the largest piece of rock that was to be fed into it," Mr Svensson told CE. "Invariably this meant the chamber was really too big for the application because operators were selecting chambers capable of coping with oversize rather than primary material."
An oversize chamber decreases performance and lifetime because more of the work is done in the bottom of the chamber, thus using less of the equipment's manganese wear parts and increasing localised wear.
"What we've seen in trials with Flexifeed is an increase in lifetime of wear parts, less downtime and an ability to operate with more precise settings that means a finer product and better quality aggregate," said Mr Svensson. "I believe a number of customers can benefit from this system."
The environmental benefits of crushing and screening, particularly in demolition, are massive. "When you think about 30000 tonnes of demolition material for example, how many trucks would you need to take it to a dump site and how much ground would it fill?" said Mr Lehtonen.
"Compared to processing on site and using as base you're saving thousands of truck loads, a move that offers major environmental benefits as well as logistical and financial advantages."
While there are clear environmental benefits, the issues of noise and dust created by the sector are never far away. "Environmental concerns are a real issue," said Mr Svensson. "To get a permit for a new installation in most countries today is quite a task, so encapsulation for noise and dust reduction is becoming increasingly important."
Mr Lehtonen told CE, "We have research related to dust and noise emissions and trying to improve our machines related to these areas all the time. Fuel economy is also an environmental and cost aspect that we are continually trying to improve upon.
"From an engineering and delivery perspective we are geared-up for the upgrade of our machines to Stage IIIB emissions compliance in 2011, although there are questions about whether we should go straight to Stage IV compliance because of the expense of the exercise," Mr Lehtonen told CE. "In designing our Stage IIIB compliant equipment, we've done so with Stage IV in mind."
Maskin Mekano launched two new screens in 2008 in the shape of a S1403 mobile three-decked screening station with four onboard stockpiling conveyors and also a compact LS302 screening plant.
The S1403 features Maskin Mekano's innovative screenbox, which has an aggressive stroke and is almost horizontal, while hydraulic jacking legs and conveyors mean that the unit can be set-up in minutes. Electric drive, an effective three-decked STE screen and rapid swap design all lead the Swedish company to proclaim that, "there is no longer any reason not to choose a mobile screening solution."
The electric drive compact LS302 is equipped with an STE 2-26 double-deck screen and the aggressive stroke prevents plugging.
Again featuring Maskin Mekano's almost horizontal screenbox, the LS302 is ideal for the precise division of small material and a frequency controlled feeder designed in collaboration with Skako Comessa means that the LS302 is particularly suited to handling wet and sticky material.
Austria's Hartl Powercrusher launched two new mobile compact crushing units last year, the PC1 impact crusher and the PC2 jaw crusher. Both units are available with a full-length screen deck that is easily attached or removed and can be transported with the crusher.
The key to the two new machines is that they are larger than existing Powercrusher machines, with larger crusher openings resulting in greater throughput - both can process up to 250 tonnes/hour. Hartl considers that they are both suitable for recycling applications and also aggregate processing.
The PC2 features Hartl's jaw crusher, which is designed to operate in the most rugged environments. "The up-thrust toggle system produces a quattro movement in the jaw, which increases the feeding capacity of the crusher and also ensures secondary crushing at the crusher outlet," said a Powercrusher spokesman. "This guarantees a highly efficient production rate and produces more cubically shaped material than standard down-thrust toggled jaw crushers," he continued.
Size too is a feature of the company's new HCS 6015 high capacity screen. With a 6 x 1,5 m screening area on both decks, the HCS 6015 offers maximum capacity while maintaining a 3 m transport width.
The 94 kW motor is positioned at the top of the screenbox to alleviate dust problems and overheating while mobility and stability comes from 4 m long tracks.
In certain situations fixed crushing and screening facilities will always hold their own, but there's little doubting that mobile units represent the biggest growth opportunities in the sector.
"There's a trend to mobile machines even though mobile systems are, to a degree, a compromise," said Mark Hezinger, marketing manager at Kleeman. "In particular, we are seeing static systems being replaced by combined mobile units and we see this market developing further."
Kleeman will launch new products at the end of 2009 or early 2010. Mr Hezinger told CE, "Almost 100 years of knowledge from our stationary systems is being applied to our mobile units. Product knowledge is extremely important, and detail is critical to gain performance."
Pat Brian, global sales director at Terex Pegson and Powerscreen believes flexibility will be key to the future. "Flexibility of equipment and the ability to be flexible are crucial. Even in these difficult times, people are viewing mobile systems as a flexible option.
"We believe this industry has a very bright future. We think the right mobile units with a best in class aftermarket support will be the key to success and, as such, we believe we're well placed to maintain and grow our market position," Mr Brian told CE.