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Underperformance And Process Controls in Aggregate Production- Part 1


Process Control in Construction Aggregates


For much of the past decade, heavy industry has devoted a substantial portion of CAPEX to developing “end-to-end” digitalized process technology to optimize production in industrial sectors across the board. We’ve been following the transition to 5G,  advanced AI, machine learning, BIG Data, and analytics in heavy industry here at Resource Erectors for decades.

 In 2022, real-world results are now making their digitized mark, most especially in one of 2022’s most active human resource sectors, one that has dominated our heavy industry professional job board all year and into Q4, and that is the booming aggregates sector. As North American aggregate companies move assertively to meet the surging demand, it’s no wonder that a broad range of lucrative, professional career opportunities in industrial minerals including aggregates, dimensioned stone, and sand are available now at Resource Erectors.

The Global Aggregates Market is Booming in Q4 2022 and Beyond

The global aggregate market size was estimated at USD 507.46 billion back in 2021. Experts at  forecast the soaring agg market to hit around USD 837.3 billion by 2030, and the sector is poised to “crush the numbers” by posting a hefty CAGR boost of up to 5.72% from 2022 to 2030. 

For industry watchers, that’s not a surprising prediction, considering that aggregate operations are required for essential supplies of the world’s crushed stones, gravel, and sand. The broad array of applications includes concrete and road base materials for commercial, residential, industrial, and infrastructure uses. 

In the recent article “Improving Site Performance” at the unprecedented demand for aggregates demands peak performance in crushing plants, concrete production, and high-grade silicas for manufacturing. 

Metso Outotec is one company capitalizing on the continuous improvement philosophy with process monitoring technology that unveils the hidden profits lingering behind old-school manual process controls. Without digitalization, underperformance based on a few of the more obvious KPIs, such as power draw, is one of the “root causes” of lost production and profit. 

According to the company’s website, Metso Outotec is “your partner for positive change in North America.” 

construction aggregate process control

“From ore to metal, our new combined offering includes industry-leading technology and comprehensive aftermarket solutions that will maximize performance at every stage of your operations.”

The sustainability-focused company, with 15,000 employees in 50 countries, provides global process control solutions to:

  • Improve plant energy and water efficiency
  • Boost productivity to achieve peak performance
  • Reduce risks to the environment with product and process expertise. 

What aggregate plant manager doesn’t have these priorities? But without automation, digitization, and the analytics that make plant processes virtually transparent to decision-makers, achieving those bullet point goals and achieving peak performance and profit just isn’t going to happen. Aggregate plant operators are stuck with inefficient, sometimes wasteful manual controls that eat up the bottom line.  

So where does the process of continuous improvement begin? Where are the pain points in aggregate plant production performance? 

Key Points in Crusher Operations Performance

Understanding the key areas of the plant processes and developing the ability to precisely adjust machine operations can improve performance in many aggregate operations. Engineers with immediate process improvement on their minds will do well to check them out first. 

 Key areas that can become profit-gobbling pain points in aggregate production operations: 

  • Feed and location arrangement of crushers and screens
  • Feed levels of the plant crushers
  • Surge protection between stations
  • Closed Side Settings (CSS), speeds, strokes
  • Crushing chambers suitable for specific purposes
  • Screening efficiency and apertures
  • Operating stroke and throw parameters of screens

Increasing Asset Performance in Crusher Operations

It’s important to remember that continuous monitoring and continuous adjustment, involve subtle “tweaking”. For process engineers in crusher operations, the target is not a perfect process but ongoing relative improvement. 

On the other hand, it’s possible to achieve significant gains in throughput just by changing a single crushing chamber from one that’s just “good enough” to the optimal chamber designed for a particular application. In this way “asset performance” contributes to gains in a market-worthy product. 

Process Performance: Control and Adjust

Controlling and adjusting the process for maximum throughput could probably be the universal job description for process engineers, always in demand in every heavy industry sector, from manufacturing to mining, to civil construction. Identifying and reducing or eliminating bottlenecks altogether increases the entire plant circuit capacity. 

Efficient distribution of the load between different stages is essential. That means that fundamental feed control systems and the onsite plant set-up can cause major impacts on operations. But engineers need to be aware of the shortcomings first in order to correct and improve them. 

That’s where digitization can provide the data that allows analytics to kick in real process performance with precise, plant-wide control adjustments. 

For seasoned aggregate engineers who have heard it all before when it comes to process control and adjustment pitches, Metso Outotec is dangling a unique incentive to increase the monitoring role of processes that is lacking in many plants.

The company is making a bold promise, offering commercial arrangements so that those aggregate operations who partner with them for Performance Services will only need to pay for the performance gains they actually receive. 

Crusher operations aren’t the only aggregate sector to utilize the machine learning curve in 2022. In Part 2 of this blog series,  End-to-End Digitization- AI and Machine Learning in Concrete Production, the industry watchers at Resource Erectors will take a deep dive into Titan America’s state-of-the-art smart cement plants.

construction aggregate operations manager jobs

About Resource Erectors

At Resource Erectors we bring decades of specialized human resource experience working with the industry-leading companies that build our infrastructure and mine our essential resources. We specialize in recruiting hard-to-find skills and talent among the best professional engineering and management candidates in aggregates, industrial minerals, civil construction, mining, concrete, bulk materials handling, construction materials, gypsum products, and more. 

Whether you’re building your next dream team or you’re ready to take your career vertical with a better-paying job more suitable to your experience and qualifications, Resource Erectors has the heavy industry connections you need. Over 85% of Resource Erectors candidates placed are still happily contributing to the success of their companies today. When you’re ready to join the 85% don’t hesitate to contact us today so we can all get to work.

Aggregatesconstruction aggregate marketsconstruction materialsfuture of mining industryInsiderminerals processingmining automationProcess Engineering
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