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Advantages aplenty with new Hopkins Sand & Gravel plant

By |  May 10, 2022
The new cone crushing plant lines up directly with the screen plant and delivers the in-and-out chassis Hopkins Sand & Gravel sought. Photo: Superior Industries

The new cone crushing plant lines up directly with the screen plant and delivers the in-and-out chassis Hopkins Sand & Gravel sought. Photo: Superior Industries

Crushing plant mobility really matters to Hopkins Sand & Gravel. 

Hopkins’ contract crushing business is on the upswing, and its crew tackles setup and teardown up to 15 times per year throughout northwest Wisconsin. To fine-tune its processes, the company recently added a new portable crushing and screening spread to its fleet. 

According to crushing supervisor Cameron Hughes, the highly mobile plant speeds up site-to-site relocation while delivering greater uptime and reliability on the job. Along with a portable chassis for each plant module, all equipment systems and components on the plant – including the automated controls – are manufactured by Superior Industries. 

Hughes and his team worked with Superior and its dealer, Rock Machinery, to configure the spread to Hopkins’ specifications.

“The cone plant lines up directly with the screen plant and offers the in-and-out chassis that we wanted,” says Hughes, who represents the fourth generation of the family-owned business that his great-grandfather founded.

According to Hughes, all of the on-plant conveyors fold out from the chassis, eliminating the need to access, transport and set up additional jump or transfer conveyors. 

“The plant offers a very precise, one-shot setup, which is a big aspect of its portability,” he says.

Time-saving results

The portable Guardian horizontal screen plant at Hopkins Sand & Gravel is a 6-ft. x 20-ft. model. Photo: Superior Industries

The portable Guardian horizontal screen plant at Hopkins Sand & Gravel is a 6-ft. x 20-ft. model. Photo: Superior Industries

Hughes stresses that speed is the top advantage gained.

“This plant is designed for quick setup and teardown with its hydraulic run-on legs and heavy-duty hydraulic jack systems,” he says.

Hughes says the time-saving results experienced have been significant from the start. With previous plants, Hopkins Sand & Gravel had to power the hydraulics with a 12-volt battery. The process was slow, especially in colder weather. 

Now, with hydraulic run-on legs, Hughes says Hopkins cut that part of setup from two and a half hours down to a single hour.

“It’s a lot more efficient for us,” he says. “All the hydraulics are easy to access and operate. You can adjust up or down by simply hitting the lever.”

As for total teardown and setup time, Hughes says it used to take Hopkins a full two days.

“With the new plant, we’ve cut more than a half day off that process,” he says. “That keeps us from working in the dark, which keeps the crew happy. We also have the time to do a quick test run the day before, which helps with production.”

Designed for portability

On-plant conveyors eliminate the need to have additional off-plant conveyors to feed and transfer material between circuits. Photo: Superior Industries

On-plant conveyors eliminate the need to have additional off-plant conveyors to feed and transfer material between circuits. Photo: Superior Industries

According to Matt Voigt, portable plant manager at Superior Industries, his company’s manufacturing approach offers unique advantages.

“Because Superior manufactures all the crushing and screening equipment and components – including idlers and pulleys – we can design crushing and screening circuits that are far more compatible with portability,” Voigt says. “It also gives us the ability for flexible customization to meet the contractor’s needs, such as making adjustments in size and weight, or altering a component for proper clearance.”

According to Voigt, Superior designs for quick setup and teardown.

“While most manufacturers offer systems that must be continually leveled and readjusted using pins, the Superior systems feature ‘pinless’ hydraulic jacks that quickly lift and hold the plant in the desired position,” Voigt says. “This eliminates the need for cribbing or the time-consuming task of fitting the pins into place while trying to level the plant.” 

Voigt adds that the mobile spread at Hopkins Sand & Gravel features a portable P400 Patriot cone crushing plant and a portable 6-ft. x 20-ft. Guardian horizontal screening plant – each of which is mounted on its own chassis.

“We’ve designed the plants to run in greater conjunction with each other for peak production levels,” Voigt says, adding that the on-plant conveyors eliminate the need for additional off-plant conveyors to feed and transfer material between circuits. “On the Hopkins spread, the screen plant features an overhead feed conveyor, and the cone plant has a rear feed and rear discharge conveyor. This allows them to simply pull in their screen plant and back in the cone plant at 90 degrees to it, and they’re ready to go.”

Safety, efficiency and automation

The mobile spread at Hopkins Sand & Gravel includes a P400 Patriot cone crushing plant. Photo: Superior Industries

The mobile spread at Hopkins Sand & Gravel includes a P400 Patriot cone crushing plant. Photo: Superior Industries

Hopkins Sand & Gravel equipped its Patriot cone crushing plant with Superior Industries’ Vantage automation system. 

Originally designed just for cone crusher diagnostics, the Vantage system is a controls system that links the entire cone plant, allowing for safe, automatic start-up of the cone and all plant components – including the lubrication and hydraulic systems, heaters and multiple conveyors.

One of its biggest advantages is safely controlling motor starts and stops with one touch of the screen, Superior says. With no operator intervention needed, the system ensures the crusher is always starting up and shutting down safely, as well as in the proper sequence to protect the machine and its performance.

Hughes says the Vantage system is key to maintaining safe, efficient operation for Hopkins.

“The crew doesn’t have to manually interact with the machine,” he says. “We can do all of our diagnostics while we are running right from the screen, such as monitoring temperatures and pressures. Should any event occur, the system will automatically shut down the cone and the crusher feed.

“The whole automation package is so user-friendly with everything you need being right at your fingertips,” Hughes adds. “It saves a lot of time and energy on the troubleshooting side of things.”

Carol Wasson is a veteran freelance writer for the aggregate and construction equipment industries.


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