In 1977, Rocky Mountain Materials & Asphalt Inc. was a small company that dealt mainly in decorative landscape rock and miscellaneous aggregate materials. Today, 30 years later, the company is a leading producer of aggregates and paving materials on the Front Range of Colorado. Over the years, it has grown to the point where it now operates five gravel operations, two hot-mix asphalt plants and two concrete plants, including a new state-of-the-art pre-mix concrete plant.
"We're staying busy," said Tom Smith, director of quarry operations for Rocky Mountain Materials. "We do a lot of work for the county and for the five military bases here in this area." The company's primary market is the Colorado Springs area, where Rocky Mountain Materials maintains its headquarters.
"We got into the concrete business six years ago because the demand was high in Colorado Springs," Smith explained. "At the time, a contractor couldn't get concrete without waiting as long as two weeks. So we bought a plant, put it up, and before we knew it, we had 40 trucks delivering concrete. We put up our second concrete plant — the new pre-mix plant — and everything is going well."
The innovation, growth and diversity of Rocky Mountain Materials have led to some significant equipment acquisitions in the last year, as well.
We needed to upgrade some of our main production equipment, Smith said. Earlier this year, we bought a Kodiak® K300 cone crusher and a 7×20 Combo screen from KPI-JCI to use in the rock pit where we get the aggregate for our asphalt plants.
This was not Smith's first experience with KPI-JCI crushers or Combo screens. Back in 2004, the company bought a Kodiak K400 cone crusher and an 8×0 Combo screen. That setup is now located in the company's concrete rock pit. In that same rock pit, Rocky Mountain operates a KPI-JCI 72×0 wet deck with twin screws.
As far as the Combo screen is concerned, Smith said the concept is working well for them in their operations because of its unique capabilities.
"I like the Combo screen," said Smith. "I have been in this line of work for a long time and I have always preferred flat screens. But the Combo screen has some definite advantages. It has an inclined section at the head end — and that section of the screen gets the material stratified across the deck and down to the third deck much quicker. As a result, you get to use much more of your third deck than you do with a typical flat-screen unit. On a flat-screen unit, you are really only using the last 10 feet of a 20-foot screen. But the Combo screen is built in such a way that the material gets down there to the third deck within the first 2 feet of the screen."
Smith said the main reasons for upgrading the equipment had to do with finding ways to speed up the processing, increase the production and reduce downtime.
"Aggregate processing is the starting point for our company's overall concrete and asphalt operations. If we don't produce aggregate, our concrete crews don't work and our hot-mix asphalt crews don't work. If we're not productive here in the rock pits, then nobody else in the company is going to be productive, either.
"For that reason, one of the things we look for in an equipment supplier is customer support and service-after-the-sale. We had some small problems with this equipment at the beginning. It's a fact of life: You're going to have problems with anything you buy. But KPI-JCI reacted very quickly when we called them for assistance. And because of that quick response, they were able to keep our downtime to a minimum."
Unusual situations can sometimes bring very unusual and perhaps even surprising solutions. For example: Morrow & Sons Inc. of Fraser, Colo., recently faced two major challenges in its gravel, excavation and construction business. The company is located in Middle Park, in the heart of the Rockies some 72 miles northwest of Denver. The firm's production of washed concrete sand was being severely hampered by a troublesome, old washing and screening plant — and the company also needed a portable crusher — fast.
Morrow & Sons has been a family-owned business since 1970. The business is mainly excavating and road construction, in addition to sand and gravel production.
The quarry itself encompasses approximately 135 acres and will ultimately reach 80 feet deep. "Right now, we are still at about the 20-foot level," explained Cary Morrow, vice president of the company. "We're only in it about 20 acres right now, so we have a lot left for the grandkids."
Solutions to the two challenges — the selection of a new wash plant and a new primary crushing operation — needed to be both practical and economical. The Morrows talked with KPI-JCI to work out the details.
Today, Morrow & Sons' gravel pit just outside of Fraser has two crushing plants. One is an older ElJay crusher with a 45-inch cone that feeds to a 6-foot by 20-foot three-deck screen. The other is the new equipment purchased from KPI-JCI: a Kodiak 300 cone crusher, a KPI-JCI SM 2148 portable jaw crusher and a KPI-JCI 7-foot by 20-foot horizontal three-deck screen.
The KPI-JCI SM 2148 crusher features an overhead, eccentric jaw design to maximize shaft and bearing life. The jaw design also maximizes throughput by employing a more efficient crushing chamber.
Design of the Kodiak 300 features all roller bearings. The crushing chamber delivers an impressive production volume, with a high percentage passing the closed-side setting.
"I'd tell other producers that they should look at that Kodiak 300 cone crusher," said Morrow. "Why? Mainly because it is an impressive, high-production cone. It will really eat rock!"
Morrow noted that the Kodiak 300 cone crusher's unique configuration has another significant advantage:
"It has a little steeper incline on the cone head — which means that rock entering the cone just walks down through it. It has a different thrust to it. It's a very interesting cone. We put 6-inch material into it and break it down to 1.5-inch size. That's what we have it set at right now and it gives us a bunch of product. We're running river rock, mostly sand. The largest rock we have in here is probably in the 18-inch to 20-inch size, and then down to the sand."
Star of Morrow & Sons' washing facility is a modification of the KPI-JCI Model 1800 portable screening and washing plant. It consists of a KPI-JCI 7-foot by 20-foot horizontal screen over a single, 44-inch sand screw. "With the situation we're in, a single sand screw is all we need," Morrow explained. "Our material here is really clean. We can pour a lot of material through that single screw."
The plant's design offers the advantage of positioning three stacking conveyors under the screen discharge chutes. This eliminates the need to constantly remove screen covers and lets the operator concentrate on feeding the plant and maximizing productions.
"We're probably putting out about 300 tph of two materials combined. That's a ratio of about 50-to-50. We are getting about 150 tph of 3/4-inch washed rock and about 150 tph of the sand soil. That's pretty good. We had a smaller wash plant before, but we always need more. Isn't that the whole idea of a business enterprise?"
The plant has lived up to this demand, helping Morrow & Sons triple production rates from the previous maximum output.