May 13th, 2013
Trucks vs. Conveyors: The Smarter Investment For Your Operation
When it comes to selecting a material handling system, a number of factors must be considered, such as costs, safety, labor and environmental impact. As contractors seek to make every dollar work harder for them, it's critical they carefully examine how they are transporting material from place to place.
Material handling systems provide several potential advantages, which include (but are not limited to):
- Safety. Conveyors require fewer personnel to operate, reducing exposure to fewer hazards. Conveyors can include numerous safety devices, including chord switches, zero speed switches, plugged chute switches, etc.
- Environmental. Conveyors operate quietly, can operate to enclose dust, and can be elevated or buried to be blended into the landscape to reduce community impact for unscarred, pollution-free operation.
- Reduced labor. Conveyor systems can be monitored and/or automated from a central control system. Typically, the time required for maintenance of belts, idlers, etc. is minimal (eight hours/week is typical for high-capacity systems according to the Conveyor Equipment Manufacturers Association [CEMA]). Conveyor systems are well-suited for preventative maintenance programs including automated lubrication systems, automated warning systems to detect heat/noise signatures, etc.
- Low energy costs. Electric power costs are more constant than liquid fuel. With conveyors, there is no need for idling in line or empty return trips, which is common with mobile hauling equipment. With conveyors, decline grade sections act as a generator and assist in propelling incline/horizontal sections, and in some cases, systems are completely regenerative. As the disparity between electricity and liquid fuel costs increases, the economic advantages becomes very dramatic.
- Reduced maintenance. Material handling systems do not require expensive support systems commonly required with material hauling equipment. Conveyor systems requires only basic maintenance skills as compared to more sophisticated electronics and engines associated with trucks. Conveyor systems only require minimal inventories of spare parts (belt repair kits, rollers, etc.), which represents a minimal financial burden and requires relatively little storage space.
- Improved economics. According to CEMA, overland conveyors are more economical than trucks beyond .6 miles (one KM). Beyond .6 miles the time/mile cost may be as low as 1/10 the cost by haul truck. Estimated operating maintenance cost/year for belt conveyor is 2% of the purchase cost, and +5% of the belt cost. On average, belts must be replaced every five years for hard rock applications and up to 15 years for non-abrasive materials. Well-maintained systems reliably operate at above 90% availability.
It's important to remember that overland conveyors do not require haul road maintenance expenses, which can cost $15-$20K annually for 3,500 feet of road. While trucks and conveyors typically depreciate at 7-10 years, conveyors can operate 25+ years. Conveyors do not require dedicated operators/drivers and can be managed by maintenance staff. And if additional hauling distance is required, conveyors can be lengthened, where trucking distance/cycle time is increased and additional cost is incurred.
It should come as no surprise that every organization in our industry is taking a hard look at their model as it relates to their material handling systems based on the current and forecast realities. As solution providers, we owe it to ourselves and to our business partners to embrace as much knowledge as we can. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact our in-house material handling expert Jodi Heirigs at email@example.com or 605-668-2590.
May 10th, 2013
Using Postcards to Build Relationships, Increase Sales
Connecting with your customers – and potential customers – through postcards is a smart and inexpensive way to remind them of your products and services, but if done incorrectly and without a strategy, direct mail can go from hand to trash in a matter of seconds.
Why does sending a direct mail piece like a postcard matter in this digital age? Postcards are like mini billboards in customers’ mailboxes and on their desktops. Sending postcards to your customer list on a regular basis keeps your name in front of them and reminds them of your current specials and offers. Savvy dealers use postcards to remind customers to call for annual “check-ups” on parts needs, discuss start-up issues, or remind them of new products they might have on the lot for rental. KPI-JCI and Astec Mobile Screens also offers big, easy-to-read customer case study cards, which offer valuable customer testimonial for a variety of applications.
Remember, postcards are an inexpensive way to correct your mailing list. If the address on a postcard is wrong, the postcard will be sent back with an address correction if it is sent first-class. Oversized postcards can be sent bulk rate if there are at least 200 pieces in your mailing, but sending first class gives you better feedback if your address is wrong. Weigh your options before choosing to save money with bulk mailing. It’s safe to assume that half of your customers’ names and addresses are inaccurate within three years unless updated.
Here are some other tips to keep in mind as you plan your direct mail strategy:
- Always include a special offer for your customer when you send a postcard. Encourage the customer to contact you for additional information. If possible, use the most powerful word in the English language – “FREE!” Find a way to give something “free” in your offer- whether that’s a hat, flash drive or even lunch.
- Offer a variety of ways for the customer to contact you. The more response mechanisms you offer (toll-free phone number, website, e-mail, fax), the higher your rate of response.
- Be sure your postcard design complies with postal regulations. Use an experienced company to design and mail your postcards to ensure the mailing process goes smoothly. All KPI-JCI and Astec Mobile Screens direct mail pieces meet this requirement.
- Send postcards out twice a few weeks apart. Sending the same offer to the same list the second time returns 50 percent of the first-time response.
Have questions? Contact the KPI-JCI and Astec Mobile Screens Marketing department at 605-665-9311.
April 22nd, 2013
How to Use Pugmill Systems to Stay Green— And Save Money
The need to be creative and utilize existing alternative materials is a reality in today's world. Fortunately, recycled materials are just as valuable as the virgin materials that they replace. Here are just a few examples of common processes being performed every day with pugmill systems that enable processing surplus, discarded or hazardous materials into usable products - usually at a fraction of the cost of virgin materials.
ROLLER COMPACTED CONCRETE
Consumers demand durable pavements that can stand up to heavy traffic and environmental attrition at a minimal cost. Producers today are finding they can dramatically boost their profits by mixing recycled concrete with Portland Cement and water to deliver a product that brings all of the necessary characteristics at a fraction of the cost of fresh virgin mix.
Cement-treated base (CTB) is an intimate mixture of aggregate and/or soils combined with portland cement and water that hardens after compaction to form a durable paving material. CTB can be used to consume surplus or contaminated materials and is widely used as a pavement base for highways, roads, streets, parking areas, airports, and materials handling and storage areas.
Cold-in-place recycling (CIR) is the future of re-surfacing. The process is performed in-situ with minimal disruption to the community by removing damaged layers with a milling machine, processing the millings with a crusher, screen, and pugmill, and then replacing and compacting it in place as a new surface course – all at a fraction of the cost of hot-mix asphalt.
Environmental clean-up projects generally require the stabilization or encapsulation of soils deemed hazardous to the environment. A pugmill mixing system is a perfect way to meter and mix a neutralizing agent - whether in the form of cement and water, lime, or a biological agent. Once treated, stabilized materials are widely used as pavement base or construction fill materials.
The world is your oyster when it comes to transforming surplus materials, by-products, and/or undesirable materials into valuable, useful materials. Once we realize that recycled mixes and construction materials are worth what they replace, there are significant profits to made if we’re up to the task.
April 12th, 2013
Prepare for Failure, Increase Your Profitability
There are a lot of costs to consider when your machine goes down. After you add up the lost man hours, labor hours for repair, possible equipment or tool rental charges, repair parts cost and lost production, the costs can become a little staggering.
This is why -- now, this is going to sound funny -- producers should always prepare for failure. I don't mean you should make a plan to fail; rather, plan for what you will do if your equipment decides to fail. As we all know, Murphy's Law always seems to hold as true as the laws of gravity when it is crunch time. Every producer has been there before: You have a large contract with awesome early incentive rewards, you go to fire up the plant, and whoa, Murphy strikes again.
Now, there are countless parts to a solid equipment failure contingency plan, but I am going to focus on just one segment for the sake of brevity. Budgets, your equipment, workload and priority of jobs will dictate what you put on the ground. In any scenario, you probably will never have everything you need in stock.
This is where your local dealer and/or the factory come in. Talk with your local dealer so you at least know what it is they do and do not carry. You might be surprised what they have in stock or will put in stock for you.
Then, if there are any concerns, you should consult with the factory. Between the two, they may not have everything down to the last lock washer on the ground; however, you will at least know what kind of lead time you may face. Just knowing is three-fourths of the battle as it gives you the necessary information to plan.
Here at KPI-JCI and Astec Mobile Screens, we recognize just how important this plan is to your profitability. As an Astec company, we embrace our core value of dedication to our customers. In essence, when we see a "need" on the part of our customers, we do our very best to fill it, especially when it comes to providing parts and service. While there are many manufacturers that sell equipment, not all of them are as dedicated to providing a robust and comprehensive product support program.
This is why we launched the PDQ parts line more than 10 years ago. What we did not realize when the PDQ program was conceived was it would take on a life of its own. It has grown beyond our wildest expectations. As we have broadened our product offering into other areas, we have continued to expand the PDQ parts program along with it. What started out as supplying best-fit parts for a couple of specific machines has grown into supplying parts for a broad array of crushing, screening, washing, material handling and mobile equipment with almost a full parts offering available for Cedarapids crushing and screening equipment and Eagle fine material washers, coarse material washers and log washers.
We are definitely excited about the new endeavors on the horizon of this program. If you would like to learn more, visit our website at http://www.kpijci.com/customer-support/pdq-parts/.
We hope we don’t have to hear from you, but we know Murphy will eventually score a win here and there. When he does, just know we are here ready to be the key piece in your plan to increase uptime.
Kolberg-Pioneer, Inc. and Johnson Crushers International (KPI-JCI) are not affiliated with, sponsored by or licensed by Terex Corporation and Cedarapids, Inc., manufacturers of ELJAY™ and CEDARAPIDS® products, or Eagle Iron Works, manufacturer of EAGLE™ washing equipment. ELJAY™ and CEDARAPIDS® are trademarks of Terex USA, LLC and/or Terex Corporation, and EAGLE™ is a trademark of Eagle Iron Works. Other names or designations for items of equipment described herein may be considered to be trademarks of the manufacturers of such products. Nothing in this advertisement should be taken as a claim that Kolberg-Pioneer, Inc. and Johnson Crushers International are affiliated with, sponsored by or licensed by any such equipment manufacturer.
April 2nd, 2013
How To Turn Waste Into Profit Through Attrition Crushing
A common challenge we have seen among aggregate producers – especially sand and gravel producers – is a surplus or an abundance of natural pea gravel. This material has generally been washed or screened and is "clean," and from a business perspective it is of little value in that there are not many uses for it in the construction industry, thus is generally in low demand. Typically this material falls in the 3/8-inch to 1/2-inch size range.
In addition to this material taking up valuable real estate, large surpluses create a burden on the financial statement because once the material has been processed and is to be considered finished goods inventory, taxes must be paid on this "product."
Jeff Lininger, product manager for the Johnson Crushers International (KPI-JCI) products based out of Eugene, Ore., recently delivered a presentation at the AGG1/World of Asphalt conference held in San Antonio, Texas, to educate attendees as to new methods that can be used to process this material in a newer generation cone crusher.
In the past, only a VSI crusher could be used to process such material – but this was often at prohibitive operating costs because the design of these machines in an abrasive environment meant a high consumption of white iron and higher indirect labor cost. But today’s new generation cone crushers offer an alternative method to effectively process this material in an economical manner.
Historically, cone crushers were not a very viable tool because the combination of chamber geometry, eccentric stroke, and operating speed did not provide a favorable environment to crush such small material without creating unfavorable wear patterns and/or crusher overload.
However, today's newer cone crushers – such as the Kodiak Plus series – provide a environment which is favorable for crushing these surplus materials into a manufactured sand that can be used in concrete and/or asphalt mixes.
The process is relatively simple:
- A surge hopper and a feeder that feeds the crusher in a manner which ensures that the chamber is kept full of material at all times;
- A relatively coarse discharge setting inside the crusher enabling "multi-layer" or "rock on rock" attrition crushing inside of the chamber;
- A vibrating screen configured with relatively high-frequency and low stroke generally provides the most favorable screening action to separate fine materials most efficiently;
- A "hopper level sensor" that monitors the volume inside the crushing chamber and automates the feed rate to the crusher can greatly assist the operator to optimize system performance.
A white paper which provides a more comprehensive overview of this process is available for download. If you have any questions or would like to speak to an application expert about this exciting new process, contact Jeff Lininger or an application specialist by calling the JCI factory at (800) 314-4656.