Edition 10 | Summer 2021

In this Edition:

  • Opinion: High Demand Brings Challenges
  • Case-Study: Fulton Hogan, Appleby Washing and Chip Plant
  • 2021 Demo Day: NZ's Biggest Quarrying Equipment Event
  • Apron Feeders vs. Belt Feeders

High Demand Brings Challenges

2021 has been a challenging year but also an exciting one. From our travels and conversations with quarries and customers, it's very rare that any quarry is short of work at the moment. But, high demand also brings its own challenges, like finding skilled staff in a hot labour market and maintaining product availability.

One of our clients tried to slow demand by lifting their prices, however, this only had a short term effect. After a week or so, they were just as busy again. This goes to show how much pressure the quarrying sector is under to deliver on the demand from the construction and infrastructure industries.

Businesses often seek to alleviate demand challenges by bringing on more staff. Not just labourers, but skilled people who are willing to learn and able to take on increased responsibility in the business, which is particularly important as a business grows.

With a shortage of skilled staff available, how though can a business meet the needs of increased demand (assuming the business is planning on making more product)?

One answer is to get more out of the people we have. Now, I don't mean push them harder and work them around the clock, rather, equip them with the tools that enable them to be more productive. Add smarts and efficiencies rather than just more people. The various technological revolutions that have occurred over the last few centuries have enabled workers to do more, and now, in the information age what is available to quarries to do more with the people they have?

Machinery and automation.

For example, we recently commissioned a stacker for a customer of ours who had this exact issue. The business had an R3h, excavator and loader, but only one operator. The operator can't both feed the R3h and move the material, but because the product pile quickly built up, he frequently had to stop production and do just that. So even though production from the R3h was good, it was inefficient, in this case, an extra person on the loader could have solved this issue, but no person was available. Instead, we solved the issue with a stacker, which increased this one operator's efficiency immensely.

Other machinery and automation solutions:

  • Belt scales. Improve loader cycle time by calculating tonnages off the machine belt. Great for contractors or single customer jobs.
  • Stackers. As mentioned before it helps reduce loader movement frequency but can also be utilised to eliminate unnecessary movements.
  • Software. Nothing techy or hard, but software like Xero can automate your accountancy and invoicing, making repeatable tasks faster, and at the end of the day no one really enjoys bland office work, so why not make it easier?

Bert Hart

General Manager

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Case Studies

Fulton Hogan Appleby Plant Case Study

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.

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2021 Demo Day: NZ's Biggest Quarrying Equipment Event

2021's Equip2 Demo Day featured more gear than ever. With over 20+ pieces of equipment and CAT gear, it's NZ's Biggest Quarrying Equipment Event.

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What is the difference between Belt and Apron Feeders?

With Apron Feeders and Belt Feeders, the question is often which one is better? Both have their pros and cons depending on the application.

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Have you registered for the 2023 Equip2 demo day?

Click here to see more information