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Partnerships push Hawaiian Cement into the future

By |  August 8, 2019
Hawaiian Cement incorporated several wet processing solutions from CDE at its concrete and aggregate operation on Oahu. Photo courtesy of CDE

Hawaiian Cement incorporated several wet processing solutions from CDE at its concrete and aggregate operation on Oahu. Photo courtesy of CDE

Hawaiian Cement is an integrated construction materials business serving all of the major Hawaiian islands.

Established in 1959 with the construction of the first cement plant on Oahu, the company now operates as part of Knife River Corp., which purchased Hawaiian Cement in 1995.

Hawaiian Cement is divided into three divisions. Its cement division operates cement distribution terminals in all major Hawaiian harbors, while the concrete and aggregate divisions are located in the Halawa Valley on Oahu and at the Puunene Quarry in north central Maui.

The Oahu concrete and aggregate operation, with about 135 employees, is capable of producing in excess of 1 million tons of aggregate per year. Still, Hawaiian Cement was incurring the cost of shipping in excess of 150,000 tons of sand every year from British Columbia, Canada, in order to sustain its activities.

Considering this, Hawaiian Cement sought to enhance its own production rate by investing in new plant technology that was capable of realizing the operation’s full potential.

Finding a partner

Ultimately, general manager Sean Haggerty appointed CDE to develop a custom-built wet processing solution for the Halawa Valley quarry.

“We appreciated that Hawaiian Cement needed a full-service partner who could work to understand their feed materials and specific needs, to co-create the right solution quickly,” says Eoin Heron, business development director of North America for CDE. “Hawaiian Cement already has a very effective CDE plant, but for us, no two plants are the same. We wanted to build upon what was working for the company in Maui and establish a designated and comprehensive project team to work hand-in-hand with them to design, manufacture, install and commission a custom-built solution for this site.”

According to Hawaiian Cement, its island location poses unique challenges for the company and its team. The quarry has a lot of clay and silt material that is not ideal for concrete production, leaving a surplus of B-grade material.

In addition, there is a moratorium on harvesting and mining for natural sand on Oahu. As a result, the quality of manufactured sand that was previously being produced at the Halawa Valley quarry was not of the company’s high standard, leading to the dependency on Canadian imports.

An aerial view of the Hawaiian Cement plant, with the AquaCycle thickener positioned in the center. According to CDE, the AquaCycle recycles up to 90 percent of used water. Photo courtesy of CDE

An aerial view of the Hawaiian Cement plant, with the AquaCycle thickener positioned in the center. According to CDE, the AquaCycle recycles up to 90 percent of used water. Photo courtesy of CDE

Still, Haggerty and his team are cognizant of their carbon footprint. Hawaiian Cement values taking an ecologically-conscious approach to production, having used recycled aggregate to develop sustainable concrete.

With the environment in mind, the company sought a smarter washing solution that could contribute to the company’s values and sustain an eco-friendly future.

“With this being our third project with Eoin and the team, we were fully certain CDE could deliver our desired outputs while championing a more sustainable method,” Haggerty says. “Being an island community, we have long since been committed to eco-friendly practices, so it’s great to work with the wet processing and washing experts who are promoting a new world of resource.”

According to Heron, global demand for construction sand is more than 15 billion tpy. The United States faces increasing demand for infrastructure investment in roads, highways, bridges, tunnels, air travel and broadband.

And the industry is gearing up to deliver these civil projects in the face of diminishing natural resources – or in Hawaiian Cement’s case, restricted resources.

“Our sustainable technology, producing washed and graded manufactured sand, has removed the dependency on natural sand, which is a finite resource and increasing in cost,” Heron says. “By utilizing normally low-value crusher fines for sand production, we can extend the life of natural resources and add huge commercial value to our customers’ enterprises. That’s exactly what we’ve enabled for Hawaiian Cement.”

Other considerations

In addition to importing sand from afar, water is a tremendous cost to an island-based company.

In securing a new washing plant, Hawaiian Cement wanted to reduce the amount of water it used for both environmental and financial purposes. But the company needed an innovative solution that would deliver a range of results.

CDE guaranteed its technology would maximize productivity through water recovery and washing of manufactured sand, improving the quality and quantity of production on the site through sustainable methods.

Hawaiian Cement’s Sean Haggerty did not want an off-the-shelf wet processing solution. To him, it was critical that his company team with a partner who understood Hawaiian Cement’s goals. Photo courtesy of CDE

Hawaiian Cement’s Sean Haggerty did not want an off-the-shelf wet processing solution. To him, it was critical that his company team with a partner who understood Hawaiian Cement’s goals. Photo courtesy of CDE

“We didn’t want an off-the-shelf piece of machinery,” Haggerty says. “It was important that we worked directly with the manufacturer and that they understood our aims. We had witnessed the success of our Maui division under president Jason Macy and Maui’s general manager David Gomes, but we needed the advice and support in establishing this new system at our Oahu site, and CDE [has] been there every step of the way.”

According to Haggerty, CDE’s team took the time to understand the site, its feed and its needs, working with Hawaiian Cement to maximize the efficiency of the new plant and deliver a smarter, integrated solution.

“We worked together with CDE’s dedicated project team, consisting of electrical engineers, process engineers, technical, finance, project managers and more,” Haggerty says. “We had a point of contact for every step. The experience has exceeded both our expectations and their promise, extending right through to after-sales care. Being on an island, we appreciate this can be difficult but CDE [went] to lengths to mitigate the inconvenience, ensuring a smooth service.”

Haggerty also appreciated that the input of his team members was valued, especially about elements that would affect them in the day-to-day running of the plant – including housekeeping and preventive maintenance measures.

Designing the plant

From there, CDE’s design and engineering teams were able to work from a comprehensive brief to develop the most efficient solution for the Halawa Valley site.

CDE developed a fully integrated plant for Hawaiian Cement built around the EvoWash. The plant includes an M4500, pictured, and the AggMax. Photo courtesy of CDE

CDE developed a fully integrated plant for Hawaiian Cement built around the EvoWash. The plant includes an M4500, pictured, and the AggMax. Photo courtesy of CDE

“A fully integrated plant was developed based around the existing EvoWash wet processing plant and including an M4500 and AggMax,” Heron says. “Our modular machinery allowed for this integration and was identified as the most efficient system to achieve the company’s ambitions, with an AquaCycle and buffer tank also included to recycle and store water.”

The plant is currently producing up to 345 tph of aggregate used in Hawaiian Cement’s concrete products, comfortably meeting the monthly aggregate demand of 60,000 tons.

The efficiency of the plant is optimized using a waste water treatment unit, the CDE AquaCycle thickener, which allows recycling of up to 90 percent of the water used via a system that settles the solids from the dirty water in a controlled environment and expels sludge into the nearby settling ponds.

Hawaiian Cement’s new plant produces up to 345 tph of aggregate used in concrete products. Photo courtesy of CDE

Hawaiian Cement’s new plant produces up to 345 tph of aggregate used in concrete products. Photo courtesy of CDE

On an island, water is a tremendous cost and is not as readily available. This new system was ideal for Hawaiian Cement because it meant taking less water from the island.

In addition to customizing the plant to suit their business objectives, CDE opted for a marine-specification finish due to the island’s salty environment. This ensures maximum life of the asset by means of galvanizing, marine spec paints and stainless steel bolts.

At the Halawa Valley quarry, Hawaiian Cement is now producing 3/4 in., 3/8 chip and manufactured sand. The plant is capable of cleaning the aggregate to a standard that meant it could reduce its dependency on Canadian sand, providing a financial savings to the company.

“By reducing our dependency on import sand as well as boosting our product offering, CDE’s technology is a game-changer for Hawaiian Cement and is instantly feeding into our company’s bottom line,” Haggerty says. “We were already well-established, and the potential is there for more customer acquisition and to expand into new markets with new lines. It’s been extremely positive.”

The service side

With the plant fully operational and producing a new product, Hawaiian Cement looks forward to supplying existing customers while exploring new markets and opportunities. Photo courtesy of CDE

With the plant fully operational and producing a new product, Hawaiian Cement looks forward to supplying existing customers while exploring new markets and opportunities. Photo courtesy of CDE

In addition, the process from order to completion was relatively swift given the scale of the task at hand, with the plant designed, manufactured, pre-wired and pre-tested at CDE’s assembly facilities.

After delivery, installation and commissioning by CDE engineers, members of the project team remained in Oahu for up to three weeks to ensure the plant was fully operational before leaving the island.

Once the plant was running, the CDE CustomCare service took over. Michael Dambra, CustomCare regional service engineer at CDE’s Cleburne, Texas, office, keeps in regular contact with the team in Oahu following his visit during installation and commissioning.

“Whether it’s questions about parts, tech advice or checking stock levels, we [have] ongoing communication with Sean and his team to ensure the smooth running of the plant,” Dambra says.

According to Haggerty, this kind of service provides Hawaiian Cement much-needed assurance.

“Living on an island, we know the reality is you can’t get everything locally,” he says. “But we have had a comprehensive and full-circle service with CDE. The project team went above and beyond, staying in Hawaii to ensure we were fully operational and happy with our new plant, and are always checking in. It’s comforting to know we have a dedicated team readily available should we need assistance.”

According to CDE, the AquaCycle is pre-wired and features a factory-assembled cone section with an integrated sludge pump allowing for rapid setup and commissioning. Photo courtesy of CDE

According to CDE, the AquaCycle is pre-wired and features a factory-assembled cone section with an integrated sludge pump allowing for rapid setup and commissioning. Photo courtesy of CDE

According to Heron, CDE proactively works with customers to ensure plant optimization and return on investment.

“For this project we had a very succinct ROI brief and Hawaiian Cement will be able to recoup that cost within a very short period of time,” Heron says. “We hope the positive results seen so far for the company continue.”

With the plant fully operational and producing the new quality product, the Hawaiian Cement team is looking forward to not only supplying its existing customers and applications, but exploring new markets and opportunities.

Currently, the operation is supplying ready-mixed concrete to various government, private and commercial projects, including a Honolulu rail project, high rises and homeowners. It is also providing both engineered and non-engineered fill materials related to site work.


Information for this article courtesy of CDE.


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