Aggregates Manager

November 2013

Aggregates Manager Digital Magazine

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OPERATIO Modu 1 2 Best of both worlds Bolt, Plug, and Play E quipment manufacturers are always working to understand — and meet — the needs of their customers. And one plant category that has grown from manufacturers' marketing due diligence is that of the modular plant. In the last decade, modular plants have taken root, so to speak, as an alternative to traditional "stick-built" plants. In some ways, they are seen as providing benefits of both portable and stationary plants. A modular plant is designed, manufactured, and shipped in modules that include the skids and machines, along with ancillary components such as crossrails, chutes, motors, drives, and hoppers — and also stairs, catwalks, and handrails. These components are preassembled at the factory to the greatest extent possible, while still allowing the units to ship using standard freight and/or by cargo container. Once the modules are delivered onsite, they stack via a crane, and assemble together using a minimum number of bolts to attach each section. They are similar to portable plants in that they arrive mostly complete, with onboard wiring, and can be set up and running in a matter of days, as compared to the weeks, and even months, required for a stick-built stationary plant. At the same time, modular plants differ from portable plants in that they are, indeed, stationary and robust, allowing for greater production capabilities and more open design for better ease of maintenance. So why wouldn't a producer simply choose a modular plant over a traditional plant as the obvious choice for every stationary plant purchase? Some operators prefer or require extensive customization, and modular plants are not as open to custom engineering needs as a stick-built plant. Extremely large plants cannot usually be built as a modular unit. Also, in many cases, a modular plant can have a greater upfront capital cost because of the work and materials that go into the plant while it is still at the factory. But producers who might be shocked by the up-front cost need to put the entire picture of a plant startup into perspective. "With a stick-built plant, you have time spent in outside design work, planning and erecting the structures, taking a piece at a time, and (welding or bolting) it up there," says Hershel Geeo, principal at Geeo Systems Limited. "It can be more cost-effective from a construction standpoint if you are spending more money up front for the ultimate package, so that you're up and running — and making money — more quickly." Mark Crooks, modular product line manager for Terex Minerals Processing Systems, agrees with most of those points — although he notes the preengineering that has gone into a modular plant design can often reduce the up-front cost, as compared to a customdesigned stick-built plant. "The plant modules are actually more economical because they are pre-engineered," he says. "And then we match the modules to the customer's application." Built from self-contained units and linked by simple belt conveyors, modular plants fit a niche between portable plants and stationary plants. They are fixed, skid-mounted plants. The modular design not only provides producers with quicker setup than traditional stationary plants, but the plants also ship easily as standard freight in cargo containers, which makes them attractive for purchase on a global basis. 4 5 Plug and play The speed with which the modular plant can be built and started is one of its biggest benefits over a stick-built plant. Like the structures themselves, the electrical components of a modular plant spread are also designed and prewired in the factory to connect quickly and easily for "plug-and-play" ease of startup. Once the components are connected to each other and to the electric power source, the plant can be up and running. AGGREGATES MANAGER OperationsIllustrated_AGRM1113.indd 18 10/17/13 1:56 PM

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