Continuous conveying at a Kentucky plant

By |  January 9, 2017

You’ve likely seen conveyors that seemingly stretch on for miles at aggregate operations before. But it’s unlikely you’ve seen a single conveyor that stretches upward from one point to another like the one at Hinkle Contracting’s Bourbon Limestone in Paris, Kentucky.

According to Hinkle’s Warren Hawkridge, the conveyor that continuously stretches from an underground 42 x 48-in. Lippmann jaw crusher to a faraway surge pile measures 1,248 ft. long. The drop from the top of the conveyor to the bottom is 308 ft., he adds.

“Most of the undergrounds I’ve been in are more like a corkscrew down,” says Hawkridge, vice president and general manager of aggregates. “I can’t recall the last [operation] I’ve been in that was just one continuous decline down.”

Maintaining the conveyor can present unique challenges.

“There’s a lot of pre-planning that has to go in,” says Donnie Spencer, area operations manager of Hinkle Aggregates East. “Say you have to do maintenance on the belt [related to] a splice. You’ll need equipment that’s capable of handling the load and, once you cut it, keep [the belt] from slipping out.”

One outside service provider experienced the challenge of maintaining the conveyor firsthand.

“We had somebody come in to fix a splice on the belt, and they must have let the belt go three times,” Hawkridge says. “We do have a 25-ton counterweight on it, but you’ve got to have a system – clamps, cables and things like that. The [service provider] got all ready to handle the splice and the cable let go. When that happens, it all goes flying back downhill, there’s a big wad at the bottom and you have to pull it back up again.”

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About the Author:

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

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