Portable plants help company power through tough times

By |  September 19, 2014

A Nevada company produces aggregates using a team of portable plants, sometimes working alone, sometimes in tandem.

The pile at Q&D Construction’s yard in Sparks, Nev., at one time consisted of more than 100,000 tons of asphalt and concrete.

That was the pile at its peak.

The pile completely faded away at one point during the height of the Great Recession. But as Q&D COO Lance Semenko says, the great mound of material typically has somewhere between 50,000 and 70,000 tons of material in it these days.

The pile hovers in that range because customers and Q&D’s own crews consistently bring asphalt and concrete chunks to the yard. Q&D’s crushing and screening equipment, meanwhile, continuously recycles the material received between April and November each year.

“When times were really tough around here, 2009 to 2010, we had nothing in the pile,” Semenko says. “Now, the pile is getting back up there. There are more public works going on, slowly. It’s not where it was, but it’s getting to where we can at least have a good, decent pile.”

Put to use

Three portable plants, specifically a Cedarapids 1100 jaw crusher, a Cedarapids 1300 impact crusher and a Powerscreen Chieftain 2100 triple-deck screen, work in tandem to process material at Q&D. According to Semenko, the fleet typically handles between 200 and 225 tph at the company’s 20-acre site that’s about a 20-minute drive east of Reno, Nev.

Q&D Construction hasn’t restricted the Cedarapids 1100 to its Sparks yard, though.

“We find ways to take advantage of the situation we have, whether it’s taking this machine downtown on a busy street and figuring out a way to make the recycled asphalt work for us on street jobs,” Semenko says. “We’ve used it on two street jobs, and I think [its portability] is one of the reasons we got the jobs.”

Q&D has found opportunities for the Cedarapids 1100 on other jobsites, as well.

“We’ll take the jaw to a mine,” Semenko says. “That’s fairly quick, in and out. There isn’t really a sizing mechanism [on it] – it produces a 4-in. minus. So we’ll just take a jaw out there and knock it down on their site.”

The company also used the Cedarapids 1100 to crush material for a shopping mall project. For road jobs, Q&D has crushed material to make road base.

“It runs pretty well when it’s up and running,” Semenko says of the Cedarapids 1100. “It’s not like we’re having to fix it a lot. The downtime is minimal. The ease of operation is another feature we like about it. It’s not that hard to operate.”

A three-man crew operates the Sparks yard each day, Semenko says. One person runs and maintains the machines on a full-time basis while two others load material and manage the pile.

Caterpillar excavators, dozers and one loader are fundamental to the jobsite, Semenko says. An excavator with a pulverizer on its end is useful in crushing concrete and capturing steel. A jaw crusher magnet is a key tool, as well. It captures about 1,200 tons of steel each year that Q&D recycles.

Golden year

Q&D Construction, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, didn’t own crushing and screening equipment until 2007. The company’s roots are in commercial building, but it established a heavy civil department in 1983 – and more than half of the company’s annual revenue derives from this area, Semenko says.

Semenko joined the company in 1993 along with about 40 other employees who are still with Q&D, he says. The company has evolved further since then and into areas such as commercial recycling.

“Our biggest opportunities are in northern Nevada,” he says. “We bought some property out of town, and we bought the master lease on an old landfill that was right next to it. If you want to dump there, depending on how big the pile is, you can dump there for free. We can make a little revenue off that if we need to.

“But we also have the landfill where we can dump any kind of dirt – not garbage or trash.”

Q&D Construction makes drain rock, pea gravel and a “water sand,” which Semenko describes as a concrete-type material, from the materials it collects.

“If people are digging out and dumping their trucks, the trucks are taking the dirt to the dump,” Semenko says. “We’re like a half-mile from the freeway on-ramp. They stop there, get a load of sand and go to the jobsite.”

Semenko says a Nordberg ST171 track-mounted screening plant is yet another portable plant Q&D owns and operates. This particular machine, however, has more niche uses.

“If we’re in a cobbly place and we want to screen the cobble out and keep the sand, we’ll use it,” he says. “We think of that as a special tool. It doesn’t have an exact use for us.”

Take note

A jaw crusher magnet is a key tool, capturing about 1,200 tons of steel each year during the company’s recycle work.

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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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