Upgrades position Quality Stone & Ready Mix for the future

By |  August 13, 2019
Site preparation, including excavating and pre-splitting a face, was critical to lay the groundwork for Quality Stone & Ready Mix’s new primary crushing plant. Photo by Kevin Yanik.

Site preparation, including excavating and pre-splitting a face, was critical to lay the groundwork for Quality Stone & Ready Mix’s new primary crushing plant. Photo by Kevin Yanik.

The Holloway family has operated the Quality Stone & Ready Mix quarry in Shepherdsville, Kentucky, for more than 50 years.

Three generations of Holloways have history at the quarry, and the family’s roots in the region’s construction trace back four generations to a family member who hauled lime and stone to area farms.

A second generation of Holloway brothers took their father’s original venture a step further by establishing a ready-mixed concrete business with a portable plant. The brothers, David and Gene, quickly realized the power of furnishing their own raw materials, acquiring a mine property by 1966 to get a family rock quarry going.

As the quarry operation evolved, ownership responded over the years by periodically upgrading and strategically moving components of their processing plant. In 2018, Quality Stone & Ready Mix took on one of its most significant capital projects to date, relocating its primary crushing plant and upgrading the vast majority of it to better position the operation for the coming decades.

“The move got us a little bit closer to the source and reduced our haul a little bit,” says Kevin Holloway, Quality Stone & Ready Mix vice president. “But the main reason to upgrade was the primary plant was built in the 1970s and was worn out, rusted and too small.”

In its old primary, Quality Stone & Ready Mix could barely dump one 35-ton load into the feed hopper at a time. The restriction limited the operation’s load-and-haul efficiency, forcing four rigid-frame haulers to continuously idle.

The setup also slowed the operation downstream, where articulated haulers stockpiling finished products were limited in how much material they could carry.

Fortunately for the Holloways, their new primary plant is already paying dividends. The Holloways estimate their new primary plant is 20 percent more productive than their old plant, with material handling procedures upstream and downstream experiencing tremendous benefits.

“We had planned this project for years,” says Brian Holloway, Quality Stone & Ready Mix vice president and brother to Kevin. “We probably talked about this 10 years ago, wanting to reposition the primary and put it closer to where we’re coming from with the future reserves. It just made sense, but it took a while for us to be in a position to do it.

“As the older pit started to be depleted, we realized most of what we were doing was going to be on the other side of the property,” he adds. “It made sense to go ahead and build the new primary system in place and be able to switch over to it.”

Preparatory measures

Of course, establishing a new primary plant site is no simple task. According to the Holloways, about a year’s worth of site prep went into the project.

“We had to excavate woods and pre-split a face,” Brian says. “We got all of that done and built almost all of [the plant] to where we could just shut down and do very little to switch over.”

Still, managing the project while also continuing regular production required the Holloways to balance resources. Quality Stone & Ready Mix also had to be mindful of Process Machinery, an engineering and design firm based in nearby Shelbyville, Kentucky, that teamed with the operation to erect its new primary plant.

“We tried to stay ahead of schedule as far as what Process Machinery’s people were doing,” says Jesse Holloway, Quality Stone & Ready Mix superintendent and son to Brian. “We had to do this before they could do the concrete. Then we had to do this before they could do that. Trying to managing all of that alongside production and allocating all our workers, machinery and resources was pretty difficult. We were stretched thin.”

Working alongside Process Machinery’s team was a great experience, though.

“They built this entire plant in their shop,” Kevin says. “It’s like a factory. Their shop is pretty impressive to go through. They hauled it out here and assembled everything.”

Accommodating a new electrical system was one of the more sizable tasks Quality Stone & Ready Mix and Process Machinery teamed on.

“We had to run a new electrical service to power this plant,” Kevin says. “We had to have a new power building and the power company had to put in a new transformer. We had Arrow Electric put everything underground.”

Plant components

Moving the recently rebuilt 4248 Hewitt Robins jaw crusher, the one component of the old plant that Quality Stone & Ready Mix retained in the new plant, was also quite the adventure.

“Process Machinery rented a humongous crane (300 tons) and picked it up in one piece, set it on a lowboy and brought it over here,” Kevin says. “The move only took a couple days. Process Machinery worked around us through the entire project. We hardly had to shut down at all, which was good because we only had enough inventory on hand for a few days. A smaller crane would have meant disassembling and then reassembling, which would have taken a lot longer.”

Additionally, higher-capacity components were incorporated in the new primary to elevate Quality Stone & Ready Mix’s production. For example, the operation’s old primary included a 5-ft. x 16-ft. double-deck scalper. The new plant contains a 6-ft. x 20-ft. triple-deck scalper.

The feeder hopper is also larger with a capacity of 100 to 120 tons.

“We had a 42-in. x 16-ft. feeder,” Kevin says. “Now, we’ve got a 52-in. x 26-ft. feeder. Everything’s bigger except the jaw crusher.”

The new feeder is already benefiting the operation’s four Euclid R35 haulers and its Kawasaki 115 loader.

“Before, the trucks had a lot of wasted time where they were just sitting around idling waiting for the feeder to empty out,” Jesse says. “Now, because the feeder holds so many loads, they can just back up and go. They’re spending all of their time hauling instead of one-fourth of their time sitting.”

Likewise, the two Volvo articulated haulers that handle Quality Stone & Ready Mix’s stockpiling are vastly more efficient.

“We have two 40-ton Volvos that do our stockpiling,” Kevin says. “I know a lot of people stockpile with conveyors. We’re down in a hole, and we didn’t really have enough space to convey it out. So we still truck it. The articulated trucks are a lot better at stockpiling. They’re agile. They can back up the piles and go places where a rigid truck won’t go. They dump quicker.”

The rigid-frame haulers also dump more at a time now because the plant’s bins are fuller.

“They make their trips more efficiently now,” Jesse says. “They get full loads every time.”

What’s next

The operation currently utilizes four Euclid R35 rigid-frame haulers in its load-and-haul application, but 60-ton trucks could be in Quality Stone & Ready Mix’s future. Photo by Kevin Yanik.

The operation currently utilizes four Euclid R35 rigid-frame haulers in its load-and-haul application, but 60-ton trucks could be in Quality Stone & Ready Mix’s future. Photo by Kevin Yanik.

The Holloways see additional opportunities to operate more efficiently with their new plant. Investing in larger haul trucks and possibly automation could be the next steps forward at Quality Stone & Ready Mix.

“We’re still running 35-ton trucks but we plan to go to 60 tons soon,” Kevin says. “If we had 60-ton trucks we could run two instead of four.”

When it comes to investing in heavy machinery brands, Quality Stone & Ready Mix’s philosophy is generally to go with what’s historically worked.

“We had good luck with our Euclid,” Brian says. “But things change. They haven’t made the trucks we use for years, and we’re going to have to phase them out pretty soon. We may go with a Euclid again or we may not. We’ll look at what’s out there.”

The same goes for pit loaders.

“We’ve used Michigan and Volvo loaders over the years,” Brian says. “If you get one you’re not happy with, maybe you go in a different direction the next time. We just try to go with what we feel like is best at that time.”

Last year, the timing finally made sense to set up Quality Stone & Ready Mix’s new primary plant, which is positioned to take the operation out another 30 years.

“It’s a lot of added work but it sure is nice when you finish,” Kevin says of the project.


All in the family

While Kevin Holloway (left) and his brother Brian Holloway (center) remain active in the aggregate operation, Jesse Holloway represents the next generation of the family company. Photo by Kevin Yanik .

While Kevin Holloway (left) and his brother Brian Holloway (center) remain active in the aggregate operation, Jesse Holloway represents the next generation of the family company. Photo by Kevin Yanik .

Three brothers – Brian, Kevin and Jonathan – remain active at Quality Stone & Ready Mix, and a fourth brother, Richard, stepped away in recent years after decades of service to the family company.

According to Brian, the four brothers contributed equally to the business, but in their own unique ways.

“We all worked hard,” says Brian Holloway, vice president of Quality Stone & Ready Mix. “We kind of evolved, realizing if one brother handled one area of the business that another could handle another area. We worked pretty efficiently with each other.”

Over the years, Brian and his brother, Kevin, handled production. They kept the plant running and people and equipment moving.

“I did a lot of maintenance and electrical repairs,” Brian says. “If we’re building something like a new road, I would usually do a lot of that while Kevin was more involved in pricing and bidding jobs.”

Richard kept the operation’s equipment up and running for many years. Jonathan, meanwhile, continues to manage the company’s ready-mix business.

“Everybody does whatever it is he has to do,” Brian says.

Jesse Holloway, Brian’s son, represents the next generation of the company.

“I’m 34,” says Jesse, who serves as superintendent. “I worked in the summers when I was in school. I’ve grown up and been around the business officially now for 16 years.”


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