Mobility on the move

By and |  October 23, 2013
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The portable system Hamilton Aggregates employs has progressed the operation from a single quarry to a business with three highly productive sites.

Hamilton Aggregates traces its roots back to February 2006, when Edward and Genia Hamilton decided the time was right to set up their own quarrying business. Edward’s 12 years in the industry as a quarry planner, in which he had the task of designing the most efficient operation processes, provided him with the expertise and vision to see that given the right economic opportunities, his family could run a profitable venture.

The Bonds quarry located in Clinton, Ark., where Hamilton Aggregates settled, had an initial plant that included an Extec (now Sandvik) C12+ mobile jaw crusher and an E7 mobile scalper, which were rented from the local distributor of Sandvik mobile crushers and screeners. From the outset, Edward developed a 20-year plan to acquire more equipment to supply a varying and growing demand.

He chose to utilize the capabilities of mobile units to make his operation more productive. The different models in Hamilton’s mobile range can be put to work in different combinations to suit different customer material requirements. The mobility and flexibility suited Edward’s lean-processing approach, and with guidance from the Sandvik distributor, he decided to purchase his first complete set of mobiles.

Getting started
Hamilton’s full initial setup, consisting of an Extec C12+ jaw crusher, an E7 scalper, an S5 doublescreen and an X44 cone crusher, allowed the site to produce 360,000 tons in 2007. In 2008, an extra jaw and scalper were added to the operation, which expanded an additional five acres and produced 400,000 tons.

Hamilton’s production declined to 300,000 tons in 2009. Still, the Hamiltons’ focus on efficient production processes resulted in commercial prospects that led to the opening of an extra 10 acres in the quarry. Today, the operation’s setup includes a Sandvik mobile QJ341 jaw crusher, a QE440 scalper, a QA450 triple-deck screener and an Extec X44 cone crusher. The machines represent the main material processing plant at Bonds.

“There is a misconception that you cannot use the mobiles as the main equipment in a quarry,” Edward says. “These machines can be very productive and are very cost effective.”
The user friendliness of the machines contributes to their lower operating costs, Edward adds, as both crushers and screeners are designed for ease of operation. One operator can run the whole train.

“These mobiles are quality machines,” he says. “They provide us with lower operating costs and high production for their size.”

Illustrating Edwards’ sentiments are a variety of final material sizes that are produced at Bonds. The sizes include 1-in. used in concrete rock; 1/2-in. asphalt chip; 3/16-in. asphalt dust; 1 1/2-in. road base; and 4- to 12-in. erosion-control material.

Another shining example
The Greers Ferry quarry, located in Higden, Ark., is another example of how understanding customer needs allows the Hamiltons to successfully grow their business. The Greers Ferry site was acquired in order to supply material for the construction of a bridge for the Highway Department of Arkansas. The supply of high-quality and competitively priced aggregates was crucial in securing the winning bid.

In addition to the low costs of material transportation due to the proximity of the quarry to the construction site, Edward knew that in order to provide the required high-quality material at competitive prices, the quarry’s output had to be planned from the blasting stages. Even though this planning can come at a higher price, because tighter patterns can be costly, Hamilton can also eventually save money on secondary crushing.

“For every nickel I spend [blasting], I save a dime in the crushing,” Edward says.
Specifically, a Sandvik QJ340 jaw crusher – the predecessor to the current QJ341 – is run in tandem with a QE340 scalper, crushing and screening limestone at 24 in. That is then used for the foundation of the bridge, in addition to base, gabion and rip rap.

The constant supply required from the Greer Ferry quarry emphasizes the need for reliable aftermarket support.

“Providing good customer support has made us competitive in this market, so getting good customer service from [the dealer] – Crushing Tigers – has been essential,” Genia says. “The fact that we can pick up the phone and speak to somebody who knows about crushers and our business is a big thing.”

The full product offering Sandvik has available, which caters to smaller producers as well as larger operations such as Hamilton Aggregates, has been an added bonus from an after-sales perspective, Edward says.

“The full range of Sandvik mobile crushers and screeners offered through Crushing Tigers proves very efficient for the running of our operation [because] we speak to the same set of people who already know our needs and our business,” he says.

A third success story
Hamilton’s Prior Mountain quarry, located in Quitman, Ark., supplies material on demand for the local market. This is accomplished because the mobile crushers and screeners may be

Hamilton Aggregates owners Genia and Edward Hamilton (center) pose with co-owners of their distributor, Crushing Tigers. Pat Doab (left) is managing director, and Brian Costello (right) is sales director.

Hamilton Aggregates owners Genia and Edward Hamilton (center) pose with co-owners of their distributor, Crushing Tigers. Pat Doab (left) is managing director, and Brian Costello (right) is sales director.

easily and quickly moved between quarries, with production starting rapidly because of the machines’ quick startup. This flexibility allows Hamilton Aggregates to be highly responsive to different customers’ needs.

The versatility, coupled with the Hamiltons’ vision, permitted Hamilton Aggregates to diversify into contracting in 2009. This has been so successful, the Hamiltons say, that the current revenues for this activity amount to 20 percent of the annual turnover. Furthermore, the prospects for added expansion of this side of the business are favorable because of the resale value the machines get.

Over the last seven years, Edward’s and Genia’s vision has transpired, enabling Hamilton Aggregates to progress from a single half-acre quarry to a business that now operates three separate, highly productive quarries. Hamilton Aggregates has produced more than 2 million tons of material, supplying a customer base that has grown to include gas industries, road asphalt companies and even nearby counties. PP&E

Virginia Varela-Eyre is marketing manager for the Americas at Sandvik Construction. She can be reached at virginia.varela-eyre@sandvik.com.

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