Reinventing business to optimize profits

By |  February 22, 2016

PQ1602_csa_materials-2Achieving long-term savings means analyzing every inch of an operation. For leading West Texas producer CSA Materials, calculating the costs of moving equipment and its method of stockpiling material led to an annual savings of nearly $8 million.

CSA (Crushed Stone & Asphalt Products) Materials is a subsidiary of family-owned construction and paving firm Reece Albert Inc., headquartered in San Angelo, Texas. CSA Materials was launched in the mid-1980s with the goal of supplying hot-mix aggregates and base material for Reece Albert Inc. The company later grew and diversified by supplying asphalt aggregates and base material to other local contractors in West Texas.

In 2012, CSA Materials grossed about $30 million in revenue. But its outdated equipment needed to be upgraded as the company sought to expand to meet the needs of the growing marketplace. With the development of West Texas oil boomtowns and $1.4 billion in state funding allocated to maintain the state’s massive highway infrastructure for 2015, CSA Materials knew it could achieve substantial growth with the right equipment and dealer support in place.

After in-depth testing and factory visits, CSA Materials purchased an all-new fleet of equipment from Texas Bearing Co., a KPI-JCI and Astec Mobile Screens authorized dealer. This included eight FT4250 track-mounted impact crushers, a 4200 ProSizer, five 150-ft. SuperStacker telescoping stackers and three GT205 track-mounted screens. The company also recently purchased two FT2500 VSI crushing plants – the first FT2500 sold in the United States – and is leasing a fourth GT205 screen plant.

In just three years with new equipment under its belt, CSA Materials had grown its revenue nearly 40 percent, bringing in about $48 million and producing nearly five million tons of material, according to Daniel Rowzee, operations manager. “Our growth has just multiplied tremendously.”

Adam Smith (left), service manager for Texas Bearing Co., talks with Chris Duplooy, plant foreman for CSA Materials.

Adam Smith (left), service manager for Texas Bearing Co., talks with
Chris Duplooy, plant foreman for CSA Materials.

Smarter stockpiling

One of the company’s most significant cost-saving measures was switching from stockpiling material with dump trucks and scrapers to stockpiling with a telescoping stacker, Rowzee says. He was familiar with them from past experience as general manager of concrete paving for APAC-Tennessee. “There’s no doubt that it’s the best way you can stockpile material.”

The road-portable SuperStacker is designed to increase stockpile capacity by 30 percent and is designed for building a desegregated stockpile and ensuring the quality of in-spec product. This prevents the costly expense associated with reprocessing materials, and it helps eliminate re-blending and product discounting. By controlling the extension of the stinger conveyor, producers can build layered windrows to minimize stockpile segregation.

Rowzee says the SuperStacker is capable of significant cost savings because there is no longer a delay from the haul trucks when stockpiling the material.

“The trucks aren’t your limiting factor anymore,” Rowzee says. “The crusher is the only limiting factor. So as a result of getting rid of the dump trucks, your costs go dramatically down. It’s just a smart way to do it.”

The switch to a telescoping stacker led to a savings of $1.50 per ton, Rowzee says, which at five million tons of production equates to $7.5 million in savings each year.

Equipment selection

When CSA Materials was formed, it started with crushing and screening spreads that included four used portable crushers, but the rapid growth demanded a newer, more powerful alternative, says Wesley Coleman, production and equipment manager for CSA Materials, who manages the purchasing decisions for the company.

PQ1602_csa_materials-1

In just over three years with new equipment, CSA Materials has grown its revenue by nearly 40 percent.

Coleman tested a variety of industry-leading brands of mobile crushers. For months, he trialed rental units, tracked production and then compared figures. His top priorities in equipment selection were production, mobility, service and parts availability, but he also wanted to find a one-source supplier that would simplify training and limit the number of stocked parts.

“I wanted to find something that I could use throughout the company that would keep everybody on the same page,” Coleman says. “And I found that buying American-made meant I could get my parts a lot quicker and a lot cheaper, with faster service. Trying to find out-of-state parts would cost me two or three days of production, and that really turned me off from foreign manufacturers.”

CSA Materials saved money by using telescoping stackers for stockpiling, which helps eliminate re-blending.

CSA Materials saved money by using telescoping stackers for
stockpiling, which helps eliminate re-blending.

The equipment also had to thrive in the tough Texas conditions, Coleman says. The material found in West Texas is typically caliche, a very soft rock, with pockets of limestone that can be used to make base material. The limestone is wet and sticky, which meant any crusher and screen used had to be capable of processing that challenging material.

With 10 active mines spread across the large expanse of West Texas, it was important for CSA Materials to find equipment that was versatile enough to handle the diverse material that can be found at different sites.

“The material can be variable even inside each location,” Rowzee says. “For example, in Midland, you find pockets of softer limestone. It’s very hard to find – you have to do a lot of research and exploration to find something that would even marginally meet specs for hot mix aggregates out here. Generally speaking, if we can mine 30 ft. deep out in West Texas, it’s a gold mine. The top 8 ft. are usually a soft caliche and the bottom 18 to 22 ft. are a good-quality material to use.

“So we have to take that into account when crushing,” he says. “I’ve been here for four years, and it’s been an education to me. That’s why Wesley Coleman, our production manager, is so important to me. He grew up here, and it takes someone who really understands how to handle it out here and knows how to process the material to actually do it.”

Dusty, windy conditions

CSA Materials aims to use versatile equipment that handles diverse material found at its 10 sites across West Texas.

CSA Materials aims to use versatile equipment that handles diverse
material found at its 10 sites across West Texas.

It was Coleman’s extensive experience in the dusty, windy Texas climate that led him to shy away from electronic-heavy equipment.

“Electronics don’t like dirt,” Coleman says. “We’re in a very dusty, windy climate, and dust has a huge effect on electronics.”

Mobility and ease of transportation also played a critical determining factor for Rowzee and Coleman, who move equipment regularly in the remotest parts of Texas. The idea was to find something highly mobile and road-portable where they could get in, crush and get out without any hassle or delay.

Coleman ultimately selected KPI-JCI and Astec Mobile Screens’ FT4250 impact crusher along with the GT205 track-mounted screening plant and portable SuperStacker to pair together in three mobile crushing and screening systems. By replacing the company’s aging portable system with more compact and efficient equipment, CSA Materials was able to reduce the required transport loads from 26 to just three.

Another benefit is the FT4250’s reduced travel height, which allows it to fit on one truck instead of two.

With each move previously costing $50,000 and now only $7,000, the company claims it is able to achieve a savings of nearly $400,000 per year (when calculated for three plants each moved three times a year).

“That’s a huge savings,” Coleman says. “Not only that, but I can be up and running in one day versus 10 days. That’s an enormous increase in production, as well.”

With an eye to the future, CSA Materials also added two FT2500 VSI crushing plants to add to its fleet, which is expected to triple asphalt rock production this year.

Photos: KPI-JCI, CSA Materials,  Astec Mobile Screen

Michelle Cwach is the media relations manager for KPI-JCI & Astec Mobile Screens, an equipment manufacturer for the aggregate, construction, recycle and mining industries.


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