P&Q Profile: Sandvik Mining & Rock Technology’s Jeff Heinemann

By |  February 19, 2018


Sandvik Mining & Rock Technology, in conjunction with Dyno Nobel, recently hosted the 12th annual Quarry Academy seminar in San Antonio. Jeff Heinemann, vice president at Sandvik, took a moment to reflect on the origin and evolution of this educational event, which has provided aggregate producers opportunities to absorb ample knowledge on aggregate processing that positions them to operate more efficiently.

P&Q: How did Quarry Academy first come to be, and how has this event effectively grown over the years?

Heinemann: It was tough when we started out because producers were training their own employees. And then the downturn in the economy happened. We weathered that really well, but during those lean years we were lucky if we had 60 attendees because everyone was drawing back. Ideally, we want to be at about 135 attendees each year.

We were ready to discontinue it at one point, but we knew this education was needed. How do you budget for it when there’s a downturn in the economy? The people who organize the event said we believe in this. We asked ourselves what we could do to help producers really refine some of the things they’re doing.

Photos courtesy of Sandvik Mining & Rock Technology

Quarry Academy is about doing things more efficiently. That’s what our education is all about. We take a lot of pride in this event. We really go out of our way to make it non-commercial. The last thing we want to do to producers is ask them to pay to come and then talk about equipment the whole time. That’s not what Quarry Academy is about. It’s about process improvement.

P&Q: Quarry Academy is unique in that it essentially covers aggregate production from start to finish over the course of three days. What’s the thought behind structuring the education in this fashion?

Heinemann: By covering drilling, blasting, screening and more, we feel we are one of the few, if not the only company in conjunction with Dyno Nobel, as well as Volvo (whose representatives serve as guest speakers), to really represent the whole value chain. All that really matters is that cost at the scale house. That’s what Quarry Academy is all about: analyzing how can we affect every process along the value chain.

P&Q: A number of the processing concepts discussed revolve around change, something aggregate producers are often reluctant to make. Why should producers be open to changing a process that might not necessarily be “broken?”

Heinemann: This is an industry that was really not too excited about change. Say you’re working for a large company or you’re a quarry manager and things are going well as is, and a salesperson comes in with a better “mousetrap.” But yours is working. Why would you change? The adoption of newer technology can be very difficult. We as vendors need to monetize that technology for them. If we go in and say we can save you X cents per ton, and we can prove it and guarantee it – and here’s the data – now that’s real.

P&Q: The aggregate industry is obviously trending older, but you drew a rather young crowd to this latest Quarry Academy seminar.

Heinemann: The demographic has changed over the years. The first few years there was an older crowd, but the demographic has definitely gotten younger. We are seeing that shift.

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