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Fulton Hogan Appleby Plant Case Study

Alana Mays
24 Jan

Fulton Hogan in Nelson New Zealand is one of the largest development companies in the country. To feed their high demand for aggregates with projects like roading and dam construction, they recently had to upgrade their chip plant.

Fulton Hogan Appleby Plant Case Study

Fulton Hogan needs no introduction, and alongside their well-known roading and infrastructure arms, is also one of the biggest Aggregate producing businesses in NZ.

With dozens of Quarries across NZ, some of which have been established for more than 50 years, equipment will inevitably need updating to keep pace with demand.

Appleby Chip and Concrete Ag and Sands Plant Upgrade

Fulton Hogan's Appleby Chip and Concrete Ag Plant, located outside of Nelson is one such Plant that is on the radar for improvement. Appleby was built as a static plant over 40 years ago, and it has, over time, been incrementally upgraded. Still, the underlying platform was aging, which was showing in some process bottlenecks and increased R&M.

The question was not if it needed upgrading, but who and what would supplier would be able to provide an ideal solution that met Fulton Hogan's business case.

Due to the importance of the Appleby Chip and Concrete Ag production, upgrading the equipment and processes would take place in stages to mitigate production loss and the flow-on effect it would have on Fulton Hogan's projects.

There are two key parts to Appleby's static production equipment; the Chip Plant and the Concrete Ag and Sands Plant, both of which are interconnected. Rather than undertake a complete upgrade which would not only take longer, it would have an overly negative effect on production as one Plant could continue production whilst the other was replaced in a staged rollout.

The upgrade was planned as two separate stages; Stage 1: Chip Plant Upgrade and Stage 2: Concrete Ag and Sands Plant Upgrade.

This case study will focus on the first stage, which has been completed.

Chip Plant Requirements

As part of the planning and investment process, Fulton Hogan's local Nelson office prepared a business case and what would be required from a new plant. James Blacklaws led the planning and tendering of the project, with experience in both the planning and commissioning of static and mobile quarrying equipment, James outlined seven critical requirements for a successful new Chip Plant:

  1. Must be able to produce crusher dust separate from the wet screen circuit.
  2. Produce the same chip products or more varieties in line with spec.
  3. Create less pea metal.
  4. Must fit within the narrow site footprint.
  5. New plant to use proven components rather than be custom engineered.
  6. Stop cross-contamination of chip products when stockpiled.
  7. Must not stop the concrete ag and sand plant's production during construction.

Pre-Sale Project Planning

Fulton Hogan sought proposals from major suppliers in NZ & AU capable of supplying a Chip Plant that met their needs. The tender and proposal process necessitated a thorough review of each solution and how each supplier would ensure it would meet expectations.

In the end, Equip2's Chip Plant solution was selected as it met the key criteria listed, which not all proposed solutions could.

James Blacklaws and Fulton Hogan also factored in that COVID had heightened their awareness of working with NZ based businesses as restrictions had meant that internationally based businesses would not be able to support the Plant due to ongoing restrictions.

Equip2's solution revolved around an MWS modular plant, which is customisable according to what the Quarry needs but utilises proven components, a faster build time and standardised parts for easier servicing and availability. Designed to "bolt together" modular Quarrying Plants enables flexibility without the high cost of engineering and troubleshooting that may follow. Fulton Hogan only needed to involve an engineer to build the concrete platforms.

Following on from consultations with Fulton Hogan, Equip2 and MWS put together the equipment plan and CAD modelling of the Plant to be installed at Appleby. This aided Fulton Hogan's Quarry Management to see how the Plant would exactly fit on the site.

Chip Plant

The 3D CAD modelling was a benefit to the planning phase, enabling more certainty around the design execution of the concrete platforms which had been a pain point for James on previous projects. Platforms need to be precision designed and laid so that the Plant sits correctly and everything does truly bolt together; incorrect heights or placement could have significant impacts on cost and the timely delivery of the project. By utilising a completely defined CAD model, the civil engineer could access additional measurements, loading points and other structural information about the Plant.

Project Execution

Whilst planning the project, James involved Troy Adamson (Quarries Resource Project Manager), who would lead the on-site works and commissioning.

Meeting with Bert from Equip2, James and Troy formulated a plan to stockpile as much chip products as possible to prevent projects from backing up; a loss of production, although undesirable, was expected to upgrade the Plant.

Thanks to thorough preparation and planning by James and Troy the decommissioning and build of the new Plant proceeded without any hangups and ahead of schedule.

Beginning the process, the original Plant was disassembled with belts recycled into liners and the steel structure and componentry either reused or sent for recycling; very little of the original Plant went to landfill.

The aforementioned concrete platforms were laid, ready for Equip2 to assemble the MWS Plant. The Plant arrived in 11 containers and was fully assembled in just 12 days with the remaining part of the commissioning; wiring and piping, looked after by Fulton Hogan.

James, who has managed many builds for Fulton Hogan, installed a timelapse camera to aid post-reporting.

With the MWS Chip Plant assembly complete Fulton Hogan could start using the dry circuit, consisting of a Barmac and Double Deck screen to produce crusher dust while the rest of the Plant was plumbed and wired into the control tower. The operational dry circuit helped restore revenue and productivity earlier, providing extra value while the rest of the Plant was completed.

Stage 1 Post Project Conclusion

The installed MWS Chip Plant consisted of a feed hopper, barmac, double deck dry screen with a flow divider, triple deck wash screen and dual split dewatering screen. The innovative set-up has met and surpassed initial expectations in 6 critical areas.

  1. The Appleby quarry can now produce grade 2 chip and separate crusher dust before washing or produce dust only.
  2. Production increased compared to the old plant, with the addition of extra products. (TABLE % / out of 100)
  • Grade 2: Old: 0 New: 26
  • Grade 3: Old: 13 New: 30
  • Grade 4: Old: 8 New: 27
  • Grade 5: Old: 13 New: 23
  • Grade 6: Old: 8 New: 16
  • Crusher Dust: Old: 0 New: 100

Total Processing:

  1. The MWS plant reduces pea metal creation and enables the Barmac to process Peas into crusher dust for blending, reducing the current pea metal stockpile and resource wastage.
  2. Water and power usage is the same as the previous plant, improving the quarry's environmental footprint with more material created with the same energy and water usage.
  3. The cost of the build and implementation had minimal variation from the plan, no surprises with costs or contractors with everything matching up without rework.
  4. There were no H&S incidents or issues to mitigate as container and component weights were documented and the assembly process clearly defined.

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