Aggregates Manager

October 2013

Aggregates Manager Digital Magazine

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Page 23 of 90

OPERATIONSExperience ILLUSTRATED Voices of Stu Russoli A t ccording to Stu Russoli, product marketing manager – construction with Mack Trucks, Inc., trucking efficiency begins with the spec'ing of the truck. "If we know you're going into a quarry, we can make sure the truck is set up for that," he says. "I think the biggest thing is the gearing of the transmission and being able to get in and out of the pits without becoming bogged down." According to Russoli, the entire powertrain — engine, transmission, and axles — should be coordinated to work together. A powerful engine with high torque-rise (peak torque at low RPM) can get the truck rolling quickly when it's loaded. In addition, a lightweight suspension allows a truck to carry a somewhat larger load, which means fewer trips to move the same amount of material. Also, having air tanks inside the rail, and the fuel tank and aftertreatment as far forward as possible allows space for additional lift axles and body equipment that aggregate haulers need. "A lot of it is making sure the customer and truck salesman understand how the truck should be spec'd and customizing it correctly," Russoli explains. "Spec'ing is very important — getting the right ratios, getting the right transmission, and getting the lighter weight suspension for the load you'll be carrying. The customer can specify the percentage of time the truck will be on the road, the percentage of time it will be in the quarry, and the types of loads it will carry, and we can spec the truck from that information. Our salesmen have access to Mack engineers for any additional assistance they may need in creating the right truck for the customer." Kirk Fuller A t utomation is the name of the game when it comes to truck transportation, says Kirk Fuller, plant manager for Lehigh Hanson's Bridgeport Quarry near Chico, Texas, where the loadout system has been highly automated since 2007. "One of the efficiencies of getting the trucks in and out of the quarry is the limited contact the driver has with the scalehouse and vice versa," Fuller says. "So, all of our customer trucks are equipped with RFID (radio frequency identification device) tags. We've been able to greatly reduce the time it takes a customer to get in and out of Bridgeport Quarry." As a truck passes the scalehouse on its way into the quarry, it slows to 15 miles per hour so the tag can be scanned. In addition to providing information about the company and the truck, the tag specifies which product the truck is picking up. The driver is then directed to the proper lane at the loadout silo to receive the desired product. The tag is scanned again at the loadout silo to make sure the driver is in the correct lane. Once this is verified, the truck is driven onto a scale beneath the silo where it is loaded. The scale tells the driver when the truck is full, and the RFID tag records the weight. The truck then leaves the loadout silo and proceeds to an express lane at the scalehouse. Express lanes do not have scales, as the weight of the loaded truck is already recorded on the customer's RFID tag. As the truck pulls into the express lane, the tag is read again, and a ticket is issued to the driver. The driver never has to leave his truck and is quickly back on the road to make his delivery. Fuller says they also work with their customer base to coordinate material pickups so they know when a customer is coming. "We try to time our customer pickups," Fuller says. "Part of the goal is to keep trucks from lining up to get loaded. The communication between customer and facility ahead of time has paid better dividends than just opening up the gate and letting the customers in. We know ahead of time if a customer is going to turn 10, 20, or 30 trucks on an individual product, so we can be more prepared than if they just show up. We have a pretty good idea of our peak load times and can communicate that with the customer to let them know if they need to back up or move forward 30 minutes to ease traffic. That helps them route their trucks more efficiently." Mike Sabo D t ecent roads to and from the loadout area in a quarry are important, says Mike Sabo, an owner/operator truck driver working for H&K Group, Inc. (Haines & Kibblehouse) out of its Douglassville Quarry in Pennsylvania. Bad roads can slow a trucker down, costing time and money on loads, and can sometimes cause damage to the truck or tires. The loadout process is also key in getting trucks in and out of quarries quickly and efficiently, he says. A good loader operator can mean the difference between being able to drive right out of the quarry to make the delivery, or wasting time having to dump off some material because the truck is overloaded or having to go back to the loader to have more material added because the truck didn't have enough material loaded the first time. "I'm running out of Douglassville Quarry," Sabo says, "and the loader operator there is very good. The quarry's loaders are equipped with scales, so the loader operator can get you within a couple hundred pounds of your load limit every time. That's really important. At some quarries, you might spend 45 minutes to an hour trying to get loaded and out the gate, and that's not good for anyone." Aggregates Manager OperationsIllustrated_AGRM1013.indd 22 9/18/13 3:23 PM

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