Optimizing the ‘rock factory’

By |  January 6, 2012

Optimizing the “rock factory” was the common thread running throughout the 2011 Quarry Academy in San Antonio. The three-day program, operated by Sandvik Mining and Construction and Dyno Nobel, brought the latest concepts and technologies of each phase of quarry operations into an interactive series of more than 30 classes. More than 100 people attended sessions covering the blasting, crushing and material handling functions within a modern operation.

This year’s program included hands-on sessions with simulators for Sandvik’s drills and Volvo’s wheel loaders. Cemex’s New Braunfels Texas operation opened its Balcones Quarry for a tour and several demonstrations by the Sandvik and Dyno Nobel teams.

The theme of this year’s program was “Lighten Your Energy Footprint.” In line with that theme, a presentation on lean process set the tone for many of the programs’ sessions, which demonstrated how quarry processes can be analyzed, providing the raw information needed to make improvements.

The issue of safety was touched on throughout the event and was capped by a presentation by former astronaut Mike Mullane. Mullane related his experiences with the NASA space program to demonstrate the importance of documenting safety issues and keeping them at the forefront of ongoing planning.

Jeff Heinemann of Sandvik and E.J. Burke of Dyno Nobel served as hosts for the event. Heinemann said, “We were pleased to see the continued interest from the quarry community.” The next Quarry Academy will take place Nov. 13-15, 2012, in San Antonio.

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