Moving a portable sand and gravel crushing operation from one location to another as quick, safe and economically as possible has always been one of the biggest challenges faced by producers.
Early in its evolution, portable sand and gravel processing equipment was cumbersome, expensive and labor-intensive to move. Each component of the crushing and screening process required at least two or three transfer conveyors for feed, discharge, and movie material to the next processing stage.
Realistically, a rudimentary single stage, 4-piece crushing spread consisting of a feeder, crusher, screen and power van (and all of the supporting conveyors and stackers) could easily become 10 to 15 pieces that require eight or more loads to haul. On top of that, there would be all of the labor and support personnel and equipment required for tearing it all down, loading it on trailers, hauling it to the new location and setting it back up again.
Despite the advancements in technology and process's that have been developed and used throughout the industry over the years, it is still not uncommon to hear statements like, “It took us 3 weeks to tear all of it down, and another 3 weeks to set it back up.” (David Freels, Godbey Red-E-Mix before the purchase of an ELRUS Spread – Shameless plug.)
For crushing operators, the costs associated with tearing down a spread, moving it to a new location and setting it up again can be quite significant. Many operators think they know what those costs are without really investigating the hours of revenue lost, and where savings could be made.
Measuring the cost
Calculating the cost of a move is fairly straightforward. Many factors make up the cost of moving a spread including the time of the move, the cash costs of using cranes, trucking costs, labor costs and of course, the cost of lost revenue during the down time. The more pieces of equipment you have to move, the higher the complexity of the move and the associated costs. Another thing to consider is that when you involve cranes, there is a greater safety risk to your workers.
Reducing the costOperators who believe that all moving costs are unavoidable may want to consider the following questions
- Could the number of loads be reduced?
- Can we eliminate or reduce the need for expensive support equipment like cranes?
- Can the overall plant design be simplified so that fewer pieces need to be disassembled, moved and reassembled?