L.G. Everist unloading system boosts facility production

By |  October 7, 2016

Transloading is defined as transferring a shipment from one mode of transportation to another.

At the L.G. Everist transloading facility in Sioux City, Iowa, high-quality aggregate is unloaded from a 60- to a 100-car train each day, before being stockpiled and loaded onto short-haul trucks for delivery to the region’s construction sites.

Transloading provides significant cost savings and flexibility in transporting aggregate products where and when they are needed – especially when a facility’s unloading and material handling systems are designed for maximum efficiency and productivity.

Photo courtesy of Superior Industries

Portable jump conveyors transfer material to a telescoping radial stacker, while allowing the operation to easily add or extract a unit as needed. Photos courtesy of Superior Industries

Founded in 1876, L.G. Everist specializes in a range of rail transloading services. Currently celebrating 140 years in business, this fifth generation, family-owned business operates seven transloading facilities and 14 aggregate processing operations.

According to the company, it owns one of the largest fleets of railroad equipment of any aggregate producer in North America. Today, its Sioux City facility unloads up to 100 railcars per day and stockpiles up to 30 aggregate products with the use of a new unloading and material handling system from Superior Industries.

In previous years, the facility had struggled with an older, smaller unloading system that took a lengthy shift, plus overtime, to unload a 60-car train.

“To meet demand, we needed to stockpile more material within our compact footprint and significantly shorten the unloading time of each railcar,” says Lee Saude, equipment resources/project manager for L.G. Everist. “With our new system, we have done that.”

Because of the need to expand, Saude says the two choices were to repair the old system or to upgrade to a larger, more efficient system.

“We went with the upgrade because we knew we needed some big conveyors, and we needed to move material fast,” he adds.

Replacing a single-hopper system that could only unload via one door of a railcar, the new system provides a three-hopper system that can unload three doors of a pneumatic railcar simultaneously. The material conveying systems are designed to allow for fast and flexible in-pit moves to quickly adjust to the different products being stockpiled. The use of telescoping radial stacking conveyors allows higher-volume stockpiling within a tight footprint.

The design of the system was initiated by the L.G. Everist engineering team, and then continued in consultation with Superior Industries and its regional dealer, General Equipment.

“We chose them based on our very positive experience with both the factory and the local dealer over the years,” Saude says.

With onsite assistance from the manufacturer, startup began in April of this year, followed by a bit of fine-tuning to meet all desired requirements. Saude says he is excited to monitor productivity gains and costs of ownership throughout the seasons to come.

Managing growth

Photo courtesy of Superior Industries

Railcars are unloaded over an under-track, three-hopper system that transfers material to three inclined belt conveyors.

The Sioux City transloading facility is serviced by D&I (Dakota & Iowa) Railroad, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of L.G. Everist. The D&I rail service operates from Dell Rapids, South Dakota (home of the company’s largest facility), to the Sioux City site.

“When the rail system was developed in the early 1980s, it was a new-found freedom,” says Sioux City Plant Superintendent Mark Bowden, an industry veteran who started with the company in 1979.

“At that time, if we could unload 20 railcars per day and stockpile only eight or so different products, that was a big day for us,” Bowden adds.

Over the decades, the operation grew to unloading 60 to 80 railcars per day. With its older, smaller unloading system, the operation could unload a maximum of five to six cars per hour – or about 500 tph into its single-hopper system.

“In the past, a 60-car train would take us more than 12 hours to unload, and then we had maintenance to do, as well,” Bowden says. With the new system, Bowden says the crew can unload a 100-car train in less than 10 hours, which almost doubles past capacities; and allows for maintenance after the shift. From about 30 stockpiles, the operation loads out anywhere from 4,000 to 10,000 tons of aggregate onto trucks, or 300 to 500 truckloads per day.

System design

Photo courtesy of Superior Industries

The TeleStacker conveyor provides increased stacking capacity, while preventing material segregation.

Bowden explains that the operation uses pneumatic railcars, each with three doors. Within the yard, the locomotive is operated remotely from a mobile controller box to advance the train as needed. One by one, railcars are unloaded over an under-track, three-hopper system.

With the push of a button, the three railcar doors open, and material from each bin unloads onto three inclined 36-in. belt conveyors.

“To adjust to changing materials, we can vary the speed of the conveyors coming out of the hoppers, or adjust the gates to affect material flow – opening them up more for denser materials or shutting them down a bit for lighter materials to avoid overflow,” he explains.

From the inclined conveyors, material is moved to a transverse 48-in. belt conveyor, which transports material either to the east or west depending on the product type. Portable jump conveyors transfer material to a Superior Industries TeleStacker, a telescoping radial stacker.

The jump conveyors allow flexibility, as units can be easily added or extracted depending on the ever-changing volume levels of the stockpiles.

“We can pull out, put in, or move the conveyors very quickly,” Bowden says. “It used to take us from one to two hours to adjust between products. Now it takes us mere minutes. It saves us so much time.”

Telescoping radial stacking conveyors can provide increased stacking capacity. Operations can stockpile up to 30 percent more material under each stacker, Bowden says. And additional stockpiling is important within a limited footprint.

Even more important is the benefit that telescoping conveyors allow the plant to avoid costly material segregation by stockpiling in very thin lifts or layers, with each layer consisting of a series of windrows of material.

“In our business, segregation and material degradation is an issue you have to overcome,” Bowden says. “With these conveyors, we can eliminate that completely.”

As for maintenance issues thus far, Bowden says they’re minimal.

“The system is heavy-duty and reacts well to abrasive material,” Bowden says. “Its design is pretty straightforward with all components being standardized so we don’t have to inventory a lot of different parts. The conveyors are also equipped with belt cleaners and scrapers, so we can protect our belts – and keep our pit clean.”

Photos: Superior Industries

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

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