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Astec equipment making an impact in Aussie applications

Astec’s range of material processing equipment is making an impact in Australian applications from recycling to aggregates and mining

Servicing the Asia-Pacific region since 2008, Astec Australia is a subsidiary of US-based Astec Industries which, through its extensive collection of brands, encompasses everything from crushing and screening equipment and bulk material handling systems to asphalt and concrete production.

Founded in the US in 1972, the company expanded globally with a focus on manufacturing equipment from ‘rock to road’. That growth was achieved both through its own innovation and by acquiring and building some of the world’s leading brands.

In 2021 the decision was made to rebrand, and all 16 subsidiary companies – including KPI, JCI, Breaker Technology, Osborn and Telsmith – were brought together under the Astec name.

“There’s a lot we do,” Astec material solutions business line manager Adam Gordon says.

“People don’t realise how diverse we are. We’ve got tracked jaw crushers and scalpers, tracked screening plants, tracked cone and impactor plants, as well as materials handling systems.”

Tracked plants

Astec services its customers from locations throughout Australia, and demand for its products is high.

“Australia represents a high proportion of the world market for tracked plant,” Gordon says.

“There’s strong demand here for high-quality, high-production, solid and reliable equipment.”

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To meet that growing demand, Astec continues to invest in its manufacturing facilities. Its factory in Omagh, Northern Ireland – which produces the company’s mobile crushers and screens for international markets, including Australia – has seen several expansions in recent years.

Astec’s tracked equipment is manufactured at the company’s facility in Omagh, Northern Ireland. Image: Astec

“We’ve transferred our US tracked plant designs to Omagh,” Gordon says.

“That whole area of Northern Ireland is a key manufacturing hub, with well-established logistics supply chains and all the economic efficiencies that it brings.

“So, as well as benefits such as reduced shipping costs, manufacturing in Omagh also frees-up manufacturing space in our other facilities around the world. If we need to supply additional tracked units, we can simply dial up production at one of our US factories.”

As to why mobile plant is proving to be so popular, Gordon says it’s down to flexibility and reliability.

“We’ve been building mobile crushers and screens for more than 30 years,” Gordon says.

“And, over that time, we’ve been committed to a program of continuous improvement. Through our own innovation and by responding to feedback from our customers, we’ve been able to develop a range of tracked plant that is robust, reliable and designed specifically for Australian conditions.”

Another benefit is that mobile equipment can be moved around and between sites, and used for different products, thereby taking advantage of a fluctuating market, he says.

“Tracked equipment is easy to relocate. And that ability to go from job to job is a real advantage for operators.

“If you look at a lot of our civil projects, a tracked plant will be delivered and from there you can add a jaw, a scalper, a screen and a cone – all of a sudden you’ve got a 200-plus tonne an hour crushing plant onsite.

“It’s then crushing 25,000 to 30,000 tonnes a month for a couple of months before moving on to the next project.”

A broader rollout

A standout example of one of Astec’s high-volume tracked plants able to provide that flexibility is the FT2650 mobile jaw crusher.

The FT2650’s optional hydraulic relief system prevents damage occurring when an uncrushable object enters the jaw crusher chamber. Image: Astec

The FT2650 can handle production rates of up to 400 tonnes per hour. And, according to Gordon, the crusher has another significant advantage.

Other crushing equipment could seize up or become damaged when trying to handle difficult material, but the FT2650 comes with an optional hydraulic tramp iron relief system that eliminates the issue.

“In a traditional crusher, a piece of steel that’s stronger than the crusher would cause enormous stress to the machine. You’ll bend a shaft or next time it happens it’ll break or, worst case, crack the jaw frame,” Gordon says.

But the FT2650’s hydraulic relief feature allows pressure spikes to be relieved quickly in the crusher, so the operator can hit reset and then re-start production.

“When an uncrushable comes through the FT2650, it is not a major problem, and if the plant shuts down for any reason, with material in the jaw, the operator can hit relieve and cycle the jaw hydraulically, safely crushing that material out of the chamber without any stress on the frame,” Gordon says.

This reduces maintenance costs and increases plant availability, while also providing significantly higher safety for operators.

“It also means someone doesn’t have to manually open the jaw crusher. They can stay safely outside the jaw crusher chamber and the rock is broken up without exposing the operator to danger.”

For more information on Astec’s range of mobile crushing and screening equipment, visit: www.astecindustries.com

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