Quarry Academy a draw for producers seeking process improvement

By |  November 20, 2017

George Fensome, area manager for Sandvik Mining & Rock Technology, delivers a Quarry Academy presentation on horizontal shaft impact and vertical shaft impact crushers. Photo by Kevin Yanik

Dyno Nobel and Sandvik Mining & Rock Technology hosted their 12th annual Quarry Academy in San Antonio last week.

More than 130 aggregate producers, dealers and others gathered for three days of education focused on best practices to improve process efficiency.

Cemex, Martin Marietta and Rogers Group were among the most highly visible aggregate-producing organizations at the event, which included a last-day visit to Cemex’s Balcones Quarry in New Braunfels, Texas.

“We take a lot of pride in this event,” says Jeff Heinemann, vice president at Sandvik Mining & Rock Technology. “We really go out of our way to make it non-commercial. This is about education.”

Quarry Academy speakers covered the entire aggregate production value chain, from mine planning to sizing and processing. Representatives from Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE), an event partner, addressed the loading and hauling component of the value chain while Dyno and Sandvik representatives led the bulk of Quarry Academy’s seminars and workshops.

Dan Johnson, general manager at Anderson Columbia, attended Quarry Academy for the first time, along with colleagues.

“I came to Quarry Academy expecting and hoping to learn something, and we’ve found some answers to some very difficult questions by dealing with the Sandvik people on cone automation,” Johnson says. “They’re going to get their experts together to help us regulate our cone crusher from an external source where we can read the bin levels, send it to the cone crusher, and the cone crusher will open or close depending on the bin level and help us regulate the bin level where we have no other means to do it. [It’s] fantastic.”

Lance Griffin, Cemex’s director of aggregate operations for Texas and New Mexico, shares details of the water reclaim and sand plant at the company’s Balcones Quarry. Photo by Kevin Yanik

Jesse Rickmon, a sales engineer at Paschal Associates, also attended Quarry Academy for the first time.

“We try to send a representative from our company every year,” says Rickmon, whose company represents Sandvik in the Southeast. “The one nice thing Sandvik does is they bring the latest technologies and incorporate it into their training sessions.”

According to Quarry Academy representatives, there is typically a waiting list of producers who want to attend the San Antonio event each year. Between 130 and 140 people usually attend Quarry Academy.

“If we get any bigger than this [size] it loses its personalization – and that is critical,” Heinemann says. “We have the right blend of people here, with producers doing various things. Some do their own drilling and blasting; some do shot services. We agree that 135 is about the right number.”

This year, Sandvik and Dyno established a scholarship for a mining school student. Bethany Witter, a mining and minerals engineering student at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, received the 2017 scholarship. As the recipient, she will have the opportunity to attend Quarry Academy in 2018.

In addition, Sandvik and Dyno plan to launch a brand-new event next year called Mining Academy. Mining Academy will take place in Branson, Missouri, and will focus on operations with underground quarries.

“This is for the room and pillar limestone mine,” says Bill Hissem, senior mining engineer at Sandvik Mining & Rock Technology in North America. “There’s probably 100 or so operations that operate that way in the U.S.”

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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 kyanik@northcoastmedia.net.

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