How producers are making the most of available tech (Part 2)

By |  July 30, 2022

SCOTT ALEXANDER (KILGORE COMPANIES): I think there’s still a huge disconnect between the technology and the application. Our industry is a basic business. You can take some large plants that are multimillion-dollar production facilities. They may have a lot of technology and the ‘horsepower’ with the employees there to be technologically savvy. But, for the most part with half-million-ton-a-year plants or smaller – which is the average across the country – you still have very unsophisticated operators. I’ve seen applications made where a plant manager can have the greatest dashboard in the world that can tell them their tons per hour and everything they’re doing. But when you ask them about their dashboard, they don’t even know what a dashboard is. 

We need to get there, but we’re far from it. I’ve had manufacturers meet with me and ask: ‘What kind of technology do you want to see?’ They’ve said: ‘We have so much technology now, but [customers] are not using it.’ I mean, it’s kind of embarrassing to admit that, as an industry, we’re very lacking there.

It’s great that we’ve got all kinds of minds working hard to come up with fantastic ideas for us. But we’ve got to get the people in there and the training in place where it can be implemented and applied.

Photo: Chris Kimball


CHRIS KIMBALL (BELT-TECH INDUSTRIAL): I started in this industry in 2006. The aggregate world at that time was like the farmers: everything was old school. They made it work no matter what, and they had a lot of tribal knowledge.

Well, that tribal knowledge is going away. The technology is coming in, but the aggregate industry doesn’t know what to do with technology. It’s data overload.

What’s important – and it seems like the ones who are successful are doing this – is hiring in preventative maintenance, predictive maintenance and using those tools to think ahead. They’re using the widgets where you don’t have the experienced person.

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