Rock to Road

Products & Equipment Pits & Quarries
Making Frac Sand Portable

CEMCO and McLanahan collaborate on leading-edge project.

October 11, 2012  By Laura Stoneburner

McLanahan Corporation has engaged CEMCO, Inc., a leader in the design
and manufacturing of material reduction equipment, to produce the
industry’s first and only Portable Frac Sand Plant.

McLanahan Corporation has engaged CEMCO, Inc., a leader in the design and manufacturing of material reduction equipment, to produce the industry’s first and only Portable Frac Sand Plant. The Portable Frac Sand Plant offers an economical, efficient means for the production of two sizes of frac sand used in oil and natural gas drilling applications. The plant is easily transported from one deposit site to the next, enabling frac sand mining at multiple locations.

CEMCO and McLanahan worked together to develop the industry’s first portable frac sand plant.


Created in response to the growing demand for highly specialized frac sand, McLanahan and CEMCO designed the Portable Frac Sand Plant to allow for high-volume production without the need to own and operate multiple stationary plants and obtain building permits. Based on McLanahan’s stationary frac sand plants and process, the Portable model features proven design and technology in a configuration that’s easy to set up, take down and transport. Only two operators are needed to assemble and disassemble, and setup takes less than eight hours. Additionally, the plant is highway legal, meeting all state DOT requirements for transport.


The entire design of the Portable Frac Sand Plant is based on McLanahan’s Hydrosizer. With more than 30 years of proven performance in a variety of applications, the Hydrosizer is an essential plant component that’s able to make the discrete cuts necessary to meet frac sand requirements. Sand enters the Hydrosizer from the top, while a column of fresh, clean water pushes upward from the bottom of the machine. The water moves at such a rate that only particles of plus 70 are carried up and over the unit, while coarser materials drop from the bottom of the Hydrosizer. This separation is key to the process, as only plus-70 particles are considered true frac sand.

CEMCO’s specialized, self-erecting Portable Frac Sand Plant is designed for high-volume production, offering an average output of 150 TPH, and built for continuous-duty, 24/7 operation. From the initial feed, material first reports to a sump, which pumps the sand and added water up to a cyclone.

This cyclone is mounted to the self-erecting Hydrosizer, which separates sand of plus-70 mesh and transports it to a system of vibrating dewatering screens. Screens dewater the sand and convert it to a stackable, removable material. Meanwhile, the minus-70 mesh sand is recycled through another system of cyclones, which again separates out the plus-70 mesh, putting it through the dewatering screens and converting to a stackable material. The entire system ensures all usable frac sand is processed and separated into the two sizes, with minimal material waste.

Although highly advanced in engineering and design, the plant is easy to operate. One-touch screen control panel regulates and determines the operation and characteristic of the entire plant with a central power distribution panel to power all the electric motors and pumps. McLanahan offers training on the system and operation to every customer.

The all-electric powered plant is designed with minimal moving parts, resulting in less maintenance than conventional sand washing equipment. Additionally, there’s less worry of costly downtime from excess friction or damaged bearings. The Hydrosizer is constructed with special coatings, and wear-resistant polyurethanes are used throughout the plant to increase durability.

The standard plant design features two units on separate chassis, enabling it to stay within the legal transportable height of 13.5 feet, and meet all DOT requirements with just an over-width permit needed for the Lites-Out chassis. Set-up sizes of each unit are: 11.5 feet wide by 44 feet long by 30 feet high, and 8.5 feet wide by 50 feet long by 12.5 feet high, when erected. The two units connect with just four hoses, creating one complete, integrated plant. Every unit can be fully customized to suit each customer’s specifications.

Article submitted by Laura Stoneburner, a public relations writer for Ironclad Marketing. The article has been modified for Aggregates & Roadbuilding magazine by Andrew Macklin.

Print this page


Stories continue below