Anderson Columbia expands into Texas

By |  August 4, 2017

Permitting specifications within the state of Texas stipulated that Anderson Columbia operate with a maximum of two crushers and two screens.

Such a restriction posed a threat to the company’s ability to effectively produce quality, finished aggregate products before the first stone was even crushed at the Tejas Quarry, a greenfield site in New Braunfels, Texas. The final approved permit also limited Anderson Columbia to produce no more than 200 tph.

So, if Anderson Columbia was to successfully launch an operation in New Braunfels, it needed a plant that offered the flexibility to maximize throughput and make a variety of quality, finished products.

The challenge was a daunting one, but Anderson Columbia wanted a foot in the door of the booming San Antonio market. So the company trudged onward with its initiative.

“We’re the largest road builder in Florida,” says Dan Johnson, vice president and general manager of Anderson Columbia. “Our owners were somewhat familiar with Texas, and they always envisioned growth to be more diversified and somewhere with more consistent weather.”

New market, new plant

A 1/2-in. x 3/8-in. product from the primary 1830 plant emerges on a 36-in. x 70-ft. portable stacking conveyor. Photos courtesy of Dave McLaughlin

Anderson Columbia originally considered other markets out West as expansion opportunities, including Arizona, California and Colorado. One of the company’s senior estimators was from Texas, so Anderson Columbia sent him around the state to quote jobs.

Anderson Columbia first ventured into Laredo, where the company secured a number of jobs. The company targeted the San Antonio market next, but the aggregate reserves available there are difficult to permit, Johnson says. They’re also not necessarily of the best quality, as clay becomes an issue many producers combat.

Anderson Columbia pressed forward knowing the hurdles, though, and it carved out a spot in New Braunfels. But entry to the region required production to start slowly, meaning Anderson Columbia must rely on some rather unique crushing and screening solutions from the outset.

Johnson and others worked closely with Kolberg Pioneer Inc. (KPI), Johnson Crushers International (JCI) and Astec Mobile Screens to develop those solutions. The plant ultimately designed for Anderson Columbia includes two identical portable 4250 horizontal shaft impactors that simplify parts stocking and maintenance, Johnson says.

Also included in the system are two portable screening and washing plants, each consisting of a 6-ft. x 20-ft. triple deck horizontal screen with high-pressure spray bars to clean stone, as well as a 5044-32T twin sand screw that features 32-ft.-long dual shafts with 44-in. diameter flights. The screws are fed at a rate of 1,000 gpm to ensure the cleanliness of Anderson Columbia’s manufactured sand product.

In addition, bearing and drive belt upgrades improve the plant’s performance, Johnson says. KPI-JCI and Astec Mobile Screens coordinated with Anderson Columbia on a clarifier and supporting pumps and wet systems.

The plant can’t quite run itself, Johnson adds, but it comes close with the latest programmable logic controller (PLC) automation in a weatherproof motor control center (MCC) that’s equipped with a Siemens switchgear, motion-detecting smart wheels on conveyors and other electronic details.

“They did the layouts, the engineering, all of the automation and put the equipment layout graphics on the control screen,” Johnson says of KPI-JCI and Astec Mobile Screens. “It’s fantastic to turn to one company and get a complete solution.”

Custom solutions

Photo courtesy of Dave McLaughlin

Material is fed to the primary 4250 crushing plant. The plant is equipped with a 50-in. x 18-ft. vibrating grizzly feeder, a 42-in. x 50-in. horizontal shaft impactor and a 48-in. front discharge conveyor, all mounted on a triple-axle chassis equipped with hydraulic stabilizing jacks and a complete dust suppression system. The finished product off of this primary is generally a 1.5-in. base product, according to Dave McLaughlin.

According to Dave McLaughlin, major accounts director at KPI-JCI and Astec Mobile Screens, the plant’s design will provide Anderson Columbia with the flexibility it needs to serve the market with quality products for years to come.

“With Anderson Columbia venturing into a new market, they don’t necessarily know if they need 100,000 [tons] annually of a certain product or 200,000 [tons] of that,” McLaughlin says. “One way you typically go into a market not knowing the product mix requirements is to build a fractionated plant. You stockpile fractions, and when the customer buys a sort of blend of rock you mix it and deliver it.”

The plant at the Tejas Quarry is not, however, a fractionated plant.

“It’s two crushers and two screens with great flexibility,” McLaughlin says. “With two triple-deck screens you can make five or six products. The problem comes when you want to make 10 different products and you don’t know how much of the 10 you need to make. So we designed the system with a lot of flexibility.”

By design, Anderson Columbia can make dry or wet products. It can make four or five different spec products at a time. The company can also make specialty products as needed through flop gates and blending chutes that allow material to be blended and/or recrushed.

“There’s good flexibility for a portable system,” McLaughlin says.

Johnson agrees.

“A lot of portable plants are mix and match, but this has a nice control house and a nice automation package,” he says. “It’s so much cleaner, safer and durable.”

The plant meets Anderson Columbia’s needs in another capacity, as well.

“We’re kind of asphalt centric, so we do things our way,” Johnson says. “Some plants might be more broad based and want to supply ready-mix rather than asphalt. But we’re more focused on asphalt, so we might do things differently.”

Anderson Columbia’s plant is also unique in how it produces base rock, Johnson says. The company can produce base rock with throughs from the grizzly feeder, and it has the flexibility to turn off sprays and make a clean base product off the first 6-ft. x 20-ft. screen.

“We’re in a screen-limited situation,” Johnson says. “So we fine-tuned our JCI screen’s stroke, speed and the amplitude to produce more quality products. Even with the screw washers underneath the screens, we want to retain as much of the minus 200 in both products.”

Anderson Columbia primarily makes 1/2-in. stone, 3/8 in. and sand with its system.

Key details

Photo courtesy of Dave McLaughlin

The finish screen, or secondary screen, on the 1830 plant is shown here. This electric portable plant contains a 6-ft. x 20-ft. triple-deck screen with a 44-in. x 32-ft. twin sand screw, two 24-in. product cross conveyors – all mounted on a triple-axle chassis. Plus, 1/2-in. material off this screen is recirculated back to the secondary 4250 for further reduction while finished products include 1/2 in. x 3/8 in., 3/8 in. x 3/16 in., and #4 x 0.

One detail that was particularly important in the Anderson Columbia impactor plants was the selection of three-bar rotors, adds Tim Harms, crushing and screening product manager at KPI.

According to Harms, the use of two three-bar rotors – as opposed to four-bar rotors – gives the plant the maximum amount of flexibility in Anderson Columbia’s application because the secondary crusher can serve as a primary crusher when needed.

“The main focus is proper penetration,” Harms says. “We need proper penetration of the blow bar circumference at the right speed, so the material is struck by the bar rather than glancing off of the edge of the bar if the rotor is moving too fast, or, conversely over-penetrating into the rotor core if the rotor runs too slow.

“Four-bar offers similar advantages, but there are some things that are a little more defined,” Harms adds. “In any setup with the three-bars, we have a good combination of timing and we’re able to adjust the speed to give a very good performance in a broad range of applications. If this plant was always run strictly as a primary and a secondary, then we may have made a different selection for the rotor in the secondary.”

The plant’s ability to handle the Tejas Quarry’s clay-heavy material is another feature that stands out, says Taylor O’Bryan, material handling sales engineer at KPI.

“The amount of clay in the shot fluctuates,” O’Bryan says. “So the primary plant is equipped with a gate that can reject an awful lot of the finer clay contamination when necessary. Or conversely, if the material is cleaner the finer material from the shot can be sent forward to the remainder of the plant.”

According to Harms, the system may reject as much as one-third of material but it’s more cost-effective for Anderson Columbia to deal with undesirables on the front end versus downstream. After all, having a clean, saleable rock is essential for Anderson Columbia.

“Like a lot of washing plants, there’s a significant challenge associated with obtaining and managing the large amount of water required to wash and clean material,” O’Bryan says. “The dirty water can be managed conventionally, but having process equipment allowed Anderson Columbia to remove a large percentage of the solids before the water ever reached the ponds.

“We helped each on the front end to get the plant spec’d out and all of the process equipment sized,” he adds. “But also, when we were designing the plant our electrical team worked to make controls accommodations where necessary and to incorporate starters into the MCC for some of the pumps.”

According to O’Bryan, some after-sale controls are being incorporated to help Anderson Columbia accommodate the varying amounts of clay in the material.

“When the plant feed is very dirty, the operators need to reject more material at the primary but, of course, the resulting feed to the secondary then has a lot less material and a coarser gradation because we’ve dropped a lot of that fine dirt out of it,” he says.

The PLC upgrades monitor a belt scale on the secondary and increases or decreases plant feed to ensure that the secondary receives a consistent number of tons per hour.

Avatar photo

About the Author:

Kevin Yanik is editor-in-chief of Pit & Quarry. He can be reached at 216-706-3724 or

Comments are closed