Porter Press Extra: Scotbar/RTI

By: Greg Keane, Photography by: Greg Keane

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  • Earthmovers & Exacavators

[SPONSORED CONTENT] It’s one thing to want a sustainable quarrying operation; it’s another thing to find the earthmoving equipment to achieve that goal. Scotbar/RTI has turned to Hyundai gear through Porter Group

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Sustainability is a big issue for Queensland sandstone quarry operator Scotbar, trading as Rock Trade Industries (RTI), so this was an important factor in its recent purchase of a Hyundai R250LC-9 excavator and Hyundai HL770-9 wheel loader for its Waterfall Quarry.

It took a bit of romancing for Porter Group to get the sale over the line, RTI director Allan Payne says.

"They had been talking to us for around 18 months about switching to Hyundai," he says. "They showed us real fuel consumption figures from real customers, and those figures looked good against what we had been using.

"We had been loyal to another brand of excavator, but started to have some issues with the latest generation machines that we didn’t have with earlier models. That was what really got us looking seriously at alternatives."

Allan regards the equipment and the backup behind it as a package, and his dealings with Porter Group staff gave him the level of comfort to commit to the Hyundai purchase.

Helidon-based RTI has its own maintenance staff, and will look after the routine services but call on the Porter Group to do the major services on site.

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Normally the words "sustainable" and "quarry" are not found in the same sentence. Helidon has a history going back to the 1880s of extracting sandstone blocks used in the construction of public buildings, both in Australia and overseas. Wastage is traditionally high – as little as 20 percent of the resource is sold as dimension stone and the remainder is generally stockpiled as waste.

However, while RTI has a range of dimension stone and random rock products, it also has a manufactured wall product incorporating sandstone faces, and offers a wide range of stone landscaping products as well as gravel, sand and roadbase products.

The investment in the washing plant provides a real point of difference, with an R&D project initiated to release single quartz crystals and produce a superior sand that is clean of impurities and suitable for engineering applications such as unbound pavements, concrete and graded asphalt.

The roadbase material itself has been the subject of a separate R&D investment, while there is also a project to commercialise a sustainable alternative to tiling and cladding.

The goal is to achieve 100 percent use of extracted material, and Allan estimates that currently 95-96 percent utilisation is being achieved.

This high-quality sand is a growth area for RTI that commands a premium price because of the recognised benefits of its properties.

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The Hyundai HL770-9 is an addition to the wheel loader fleet, and is dedicated to loading the constant stream of trucks from the sand stockpile. This loader has an onboard weighing system so that the trucks and trailers can be loaded to capacity but not overloaded.

The growth potential for this sand is such that Allan expects to require a further two loaders to service this demand (there are currently five loaders in the RTI fleet).

The existing processing facility is a pilot plant developed to prove and refine the concept, and the imminent construction of a full-scale production plant will generate the volumes that demand additional wheel loaders.

The Hyundai R250LC-9 excavator replaced an existing machine, and this allows comparisons to be made. Despite being smaller than the machine that it replaced, the Hyundai is achieving comparable production while burning significantly less fuel.

"Based on what we are seeing to date, we expect that operating costs will be 30-35 percent lower, and this is for a machine that cost over 15 percent less than the excavator it replaced," Allan says.

The Porter Group also supplied the Furukawa rock breaker that is fitted to the Hyundai R250LC-9.

There are 25 excavators in the RTI fleet, ranging from 13 to 50 tonnes. Some of these are in non-core applications and older than the production machines, which are replaced at intervals of four to five years. The quarry generally operates from 6am to 6pm on weekdays, but in periods of peak demand it will also do a 6am to midday shift on Saturdays.

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Many of the excavators cut out blocks with rock saw attachments that have been built by RTI, which will often build or modify equipment and attachments to suit its own requirements and operating environment.

Diamond wire saws are used in areas where the rock is too hard for the tungsten carbide teeth of the saws, while floor saws are used to cut the base of the blocks and excavators with hammers are used for breaking out the individual blocks.

While sustainability is central to how RTI operates, the business is founded on four core values of people, innovation, community and legacy.

The innovation isn’t just about the processing and end use: it covers the whole approach to business and has seen RTI partnering with the University of Queensland Business and its UQ UConn Sustainable Business Program, which in turn partners with Iowa University in the US. This has seen visits from US academics in the past three years.

As areas are worked out, they are shaped to meet the end use of the quarry, which will be a community legacy just as the business will be a legacy to future generations of the families that own it. (Allan sees the operation supporting these families for at least a century, with the business model being something that can be taken to suitable resources around the world.)

While in its infancy, the relationship between Porter Group and Rock Trade Industries also seems sustainable. Reliable, productive, economical equipment – supported by a distributor that provides support and advice as required, as well as reliable and timely parts and service support – are key elements of delivering a sustainable quarry operation.

 

 

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