Resource Erectors Industry Watch Q4 2021
24/7 optimized production is the rule in construction aggregates rather than the exception now. Aggregate operations by the end of 2021 are under the gun and have no time for downtime. Not with a market share of nearly $74 billion on the table over the next 5 years. According to Technavio:
“The aggregates market share is expected to increase by USD 74.96 billion from 2021 to 2026, and the market’s growth momentum will accelerate at a CAGR of 3.85%.”
The demand for aggregate materials has never been higher as the construction and infrastructure sectors recover from the pandemic shutdown. Projects already on the books now need to be completed, even while infrastructure investments around the world continue to pile on demand for aggregate construction materials, among other staples of industry in short supply.
Aggregate companies across North America are taking lean, clean, process improvement to new levels. Every piece of equipment is under scrutiny; from custom tailgates on heavy haulers, to the shape of water tanks, to the traditional particle separation processing plant. Even the use of water itself in plant operations is under scrutiny, all in the effort toward continuous improvement in such diverse mining and construction aggregate sectors including:
- Quartz (silicon)
- Cement concrete
- Bituminous concrete
- Fly ash
- Manufactured sand (construction and plaster)
- Diatomaceous earth (silica)
Wet Processing Without Settling Ponds
As we perused the latest industry wrap-ups and forecasts for 2021 Q4, two underlying themes are apparent that affect the future of the aggregates industry. The first of course is pandemic recovery and catching up on supply chain backlogs. The second is the expansion of operations to meet escalating demands for 2022 and beyond, and meeting the challenges of water management required for increased production without increased OPEX.
Wet processing expert Tom Wick summed it up in an article about his company CDE’s new plant for Lone Star Aggregates in Texas:
“One thing you need in the aggregate business is clean water. Lone Star Aggregates was trying to recycle their water in a settling pond system, and it wasn’t enough. Settling ponds incur substantial maintenance costs and, depending on the setup of the site, significant investment in equipment and man hours to ensure a consistent supply of clean water is fed back into the plant.”-
Settling Ponds: Good For the Local Environment Bad For the Budget
What engineer wouldn’t feel immediate relief when told that the settling ponds at his aggregate operation would no longer be his headache?
For aggregate plants, water has always played a primary role in cleaning, sorting, and particle production. But maintaining settling ponds and other water facilities is also a perennial thorn in the side when it comes to environmental impact and compliance.
They are expensive to maintain, and in a “good, better, best” rating system the settling pond is only rated a “good” grade. While good for the environment the OPEX incurred is a constant drag on the bottom line. These silt and sludge collectors are the epitome of constant high maintenance. Settled solids must be removed periodically with long reach excavators to keep up water storage capacity.
One Texas aggregates leader is eliminating the hassles of settling ponds in the quest for quality clay-bound limestone.
Water Recycling: Better For the Bottom Line at Lone Star Aggregates
The Lone Star Aggregates quarry team in Florence, Texas realized that tapping into that lucrative limestone resource would require a significant upgrade and overhaul of existing processes to have any chance of expanding production and operations. Escalating customer demands for paving, asphalt, and concrete production are fueling the expansion.
The solution for Lone Star is a custom built CDE water washing/ recycling system that eliminates the hassles of settling pond maintenance with a custom combination of CDE modular technologies including:
- The dual pass AggMaxTM 251- modular log washer setup for scrubbing and sizing.
- CDE’s EvoWashTM – classification and dewatering system sizes, washes and dewaters the material and captures plus #200 sand.
- CDE’s A900 AquaCycleTM- thickener allows up to 90% of the process water to be recycled and recirculated back into the system, offering near-total independence from fresh water supplies.
And now for an upgrade that every mine, pit, and quarry operation that deploys heavy haulers can use.
Tailgating for Profits in Mines and Quarries
Under-hauling in aggregate and mining operations can eat up the bottom line as quickly as a settling pond can drink up the profits with exorbitant maintenance requirements.
But a little tailgate can save a lot of OPEX.
When loads are running at 10-15% under capacity it doesn’t take an Einstein to do the production math.
“Many aggregate producers found that adding a tailgate to their haul trucks makes a substantial impact on their overall hauling efficiency. For example, five 70-ton capacity trucks hauling aggregate could provide an additional benefit of up to $16,300 per day with the addition of tailgates, when factoring in increased production, extended tire life and reduced haul road maintenance.”- Evaluate tailgates, water tanks to maximize uptime
The simple aftermarket investment in a tailgated fleet can provide benefits that include
- Increasing the volume of hauling material.
- Allowing loaders to safely dump materials in the middle of the body, rather than the front.
- Extending hauler tire life
- Improving the loading target
- Better weight distribution and overall truck stability.
About Resource Erectors
Aggregate careers have been one of the hottest human resource commodities here at Resource Erectors in 2021, and we only expect the professional job market in this high demand sector to heat up even more in 2022 and beyond. We maintain ongoing recruiting and candidate placement partnerships with the industry-leading companies in mining, engineering, civil construction, aggregates, construction materials, and more. We bring decades of specialized heavy industry recruiting experience to the table when it’s time to build your company’s next professional dream team.
If you’re an experienced professional looking to make a strategic career move, Resource Erectors can connect you with the companies who know that their experienced human resources are their most valuable assets, so don’t hesitate to contact us today to get the wheels in motion.